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Worship According to Propensities


The Matsya Parana says that there are 18 Puranas (supple­mentary Vedic literatures). Out of these, there are 6 Puranas each written for: Peopic in die mode of ignorance or tamo guna (These  Puranas glorify and recommend worship of Shiva and his consort, Durga).

People in the mode of passion or rajo guna (These glorify and recommend worship ot brahmaand other demigods).

People in the mode of goodness or sattva guna (These recom­mend the worship of Lord Vishnu or Lord Krishna).

This variety in the modes of worship is presented by the Vedic literature so that anyone and everyone can worship according to their natural propensities. Consider, for example, worship of Lord  Shiva. Lord Shiva is an avatar (a guna avatar, to be more spe­cific) of Lord Krishna and he rules over those in the mode of ignorance. A few real-life examples graphically illustrate what worship  in the mode of ignorance is.


•If you visit Kankeshwar (Lord Shiva's temple close to Bombay) you will find sadhus smoking charas. Even if you suggest to them that a sadhu should be free from intoxicants, they will  smile at you and quote extensively from Shaivite scripture to Prove that the devotees of Shiva must take intoxicants to worship Him properly! They will further say that on Maha Shivaratri,

the taking of 'bhang' is an essential part of the celebration.


•According to tantric worship the worshipers of Durga are required to have the five M's: maans (meat), matsya (fish), madira (liquor),maithuna (sex), and mura (parched rice) to worship her  properly.


These forms of (regulated) worship are the only means by which graded minds can be enticed to glorify God. If this kind of regulation is not prescribed for them, such people are anyway going to  11 §e in such sinful activities day in and day out. If anyone in such mode of ignorance agrees to follow such basic regulation (like having these undesirable items only on Maha-Shivaratri) as given  in the scriptures, he will be considered saintly in his society and others will be inspired to follow in his footsteps. And when those in mode of ignorance follow these forms of worship they  gradually arrive at a higher state of consciousness. For example, in the Vedic scriptures, it is advised that animal sac­rifice should be performed to please Kali. This injunction is for those who  are in the mode of ignorance and are addicted to meat eating. It is designed to wean them from this habit. The sacrifice of a goat to goddess Kali may be performed only once a month on  amavasya (the moonless night). The devotee of Kali has to per­sonally cut the throat of a goat while chanting a mantra in its ear. The mantra means: 'My dear goat, in this life I sacrifice you to  goddess Kali, in the next life you may do the same to me(!)' On performing this sacrifice several times even the most demonic worshiper of Kali will wake up. As he realizes that he is creating  terrible future suffering for himself, spiritual wisdom dawns. In this way arriving at a higher consciousness he  abandons the con­sumption of meat.


Just as this method of worship elevates those who are in the mode of ignorance, similarly the Puranas give methods of worship for el­evation of those who are in the modes of passion and  goodness. Thus we see that the Vedic scriptures are scientifically designed by God to gradually elevate all followers to spiritual perfection.