1) Mentally connecting with GOD is meditation, reading, writing and even listening.
2) Prayer is talking with GOD by chanting, reciting, reading aloud slokas, poems, songs etc
3) Pooja is ritual
படமாடும் கோயில் பகவரைக் காணபல வேண்டும்
நடமாடும் கோயில் நம்பரை எங்கும் காண்
We need help, guidance and money to see or pray to picture/idol/icon/symbol in a temple. But living/moving GOD or divine in creations are every where. No effort is required.
One popular preacher stressed the need for guru or some one like him to take you near GOD, which is a very difficult path for normal persons. What he was actually discussing is, how to see and pray to Lord Renganatha idol in temple (idol form). He is right in that and he just knows, how to pray to IDOL. For connecting to Lord Renganatha (GOD), no need for middle men or there are no certified/authorized guides.
Inspiration for this:
படமாடும் கோயில் பகவர்க்கு ஒன்று ஈயில்
நடமாடும் கோயில் நம்பர்க்கு அங்கு ஆகா
நடமாடும் கோயில் நம்பர்க்கு ஒன்று ஈயில்
படமாடும் கோயில் பகவர்க்கு ஆது ஆமே! [திருமூலர் திருமந்திரம் 1857]
When we offer items to God in the form of picture/idol/icon/symbol, it will help the temple or certain organization only. Will not benefit needy or deserving people. Instead if we help or offer things to needy (poor, deserving), it will also go to (REAL) GOD in any form, including the one in temple. Serve GOD through serving people or the needy.
6.65 திருக்கச்சி ஏகம்பம் - திருத்தாண்டகம் (long poem shortened)
ஓங்காரத்து ஒருவன் காண் .. உணர் மெய்ஞ்ஞானம் விரித்தவன் காண் ... விரித்த நால்
வேதத்தான் காண் .. சில் உரு ஆய்த் தோன்றி எங்கும் திரண்டவன் காண் ... எழில் ஆரும்
பொழில் ஆர் கச்சி ஏகம்பன் காண்; அவன் என் எண்ணத்தானே.
Shiva (Real one) has to be realized, seen every where as many deities, life forms etc.. But GOD is ever pictured or present in my mind as kanchipuram Ekampan in beautiful garden temple.
In a town, there was a vishnu and shiva temple and a mutt. All are putting lot of effort for making prasad. They all had a doubt if GOD eats prasad (sort of complaint). One day GOD told (in the dream) to mutt head, head priest of vishnu and shiva temple, that GOD will visit next day during prasad time 12 noon, to eat prasad.
Next day was a very hot Summer day. Next day, they all got prepared. News started leaking and some more people joined the event. Most of the shops and hotels were closed early.
GOD went as a dog to shiva temple. Shiva temple was full and sanctum was closed for outsiders, waiting for GOD. The hungry dog was beaten and driven out of the temple. Poor flower seller, took pity and gave some food. She was happy to feed a poor creature, seeing GOD (bairava) in hungry dogs.
GOD went as a old saivite beggar with ash all over the body to Vadgalai Vishnu temple. All were busy waiting for GOD. Gate keeper told old beggar, that free meal session will be delayed by more than 2 hours that day. After GOD leaves, prasad will be served to Vadgalai first and then to other vaishnava sects and finally to general devotees. The beggar told gate keeper that he is very hungry to wait and sat down very tired. He was thrown out as he was obstructing the path. One of the small hotel owners felt pity and gave him food, though he has closed his shop. He does not bother to go to temple to see GOD, as he understood serving people is serving GOD. Devotees are superior to GOD. (periya puranam on saints, got its name and considered as superior to Sivapuranam)
GOD went as a lady by auto to mutt. Mutt people were controlling the guests. Like in other 2 places, Prasad time is delayed. Mutt people were very busy in homams and other rituals. The lady could not even get inside the mutt. She told the auto driver, that she does not have money to go to hotel or travel back. She is hungry and tired to walk. Auto driver helped her to go to simple hotel slightly far, to get food and left her in the bus stop. Auto driver took charges only for dropping at temple. He told her that he has to serve/help the devotees. He can not lie or cheat in the holy place.
GOD did not turn up as per mutt and temple authorities!
Shiva temple authorities announced, GOD came and told the temple chief/head priest, that GOD needs a garden as the weather is very hot inside the sanctum. There will be number of collection events.
Vishnu temple authorities announced, GOD came and told the temple chief/head priest, that GOD could not even walk outside, as interest could not be paid for his marriage loan. There will be collection drive to collect funds for paying GOD's interest.
Mutt authorities announced, GOD has approved the mutt, to be the sole GOD's representative. Mutt's chief is aVyasa's successor.
Similar stories are in Mahabharatha and all. But felt in my last cultural heritage tour to Sringeri, Palni and Tirupathi.
(1) None of the pandits/viswans are going to recognize GOD, if at all GOD comes.
(2) Learned is not searching for truth, but they are trying to prove their version of truth.
(3) Religion/Spirituality is the biggest business.
(4) One can find lot of real spiritual people every where, at times very small number inside mutts/temples also.
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