Bhakti – External and internal worship

People often wonder whether it is best to worship inside or outside, that is, mental worship or the worship of external forms. Actually one should do both. However, most people cannot practise internal worship by visualizing an inner image so they worship external forms. They go to the temple and worship. There is nothing wrong with this at all. The purpose is to lead to devotion to a particular form. If the external worship develops bhakti towards a specific form then this is a good way to begin on the bhakti path. This specific form can then be worshipped internally. The purpose of both external and internal worship is the inducement of meditation. From this will come spontaneous worship of both the inner and outer environment. It will be seen that there is not really much difference between them.

The best approach is to worship both in the outside and the inside worlds, but with awareness. One should act and worship in the outer world through detached work – karma yoga. At the same time one should try to introvert awareness through hatha yoga and raja yoga. This is the integral approach.

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