I heard many times the word Upasana. Upasana is used as suffix to the names of god or goddesses. For example: Sri Vidya upasana, Siva upasana etc.,

What is the meaning for the term upasana?


The meaning of Upasana in Sanskrit is "Sitting near" (Upa+Asana ,उप+आसन) but in general practice upasana also means a prescribed method for approaching a Deity or God or getting near to a deity (Ista Devata) from mind and heart.

Upasana is a systematic practice of worship for pleasing god or (Saguna Brahman) .But a devotee also can perform Upasana of Nirguna Brahman or deity less upasana by various ways mentioned in Yoga and Vedanta like meditating on some aspect of Brahman lke sky etc. or well known method of Upasana of OMKARA i.e. OmkarUpasana. Generally it is prescribed to take advice of Guru before starting Saguna upasana and or to follow ways , methods and procedures mentioned in Hinduism Scriptures.upasana also refers to methods of worship (Bhakti yoga). Deity Puja is is also sometimes called as Upasana i.e. worship involving songs, prayers and rituals etc.

In his book The Principal Upanishads - Swami Nikhilananda is providing some of the definitions of the scholars of the term Upasana and its benefits.

Upasana has been defined variously by different Hindu Philosophers. According to Sadananda it is a mental activity related to saguna Brahman. Vidyaranya states that it consist of uninterrupted meditation by mind on an object of worship learnt from a teacher whose words the aspirant accepts with unquestioning faith. Shankaracharya in his introduction to the Chhandogya Upanishad , says with reef. with the Upanishads that it's purpose is to procure a support for the mind approved by the teachings of the scriptures, and make the uniform states of the mind flow towards it in such a way that they will not be interrupted by any idea foreign to them.

In Upasana the idea of Brahman or a deity is superimposed upon the symbol as representative of the idea. (Nirguna Upasana)

The general result of Upasana is that it endows the mind of the worshipper with calmness , devotion ,Introspection , and concentration . It gradually loosens attachment to physical objects. The highest tangible result of upasana is the attainment of Brahmaloka ; but if it is performed without any motive , the result is purification of the mind which creates the mood for the final practice of Jnana , or the knowledge of Brahman.

From Perspective of Bhakti Marga the meaning of Upasana is explained By Parasara Bhattar a follower of Shree Ramanuja. According to him both terms bhakti and Upasana are synonymous and are part of service. His quotes are as follows.

The terms upasati and bhajati are forms of service.Hence the lexicographers write Seva , Bhakti and Upasati are synonymous.

The selfsame term upasana is explained in terms of Bhakti when it is when it is in the form of unlimited affectionate devotion towards Bhagavan on account of his being possessed of innumerable faultless qualities

The meaning of the term Upasana is also mentioned by Shree Adi Shankaracherya in his various Upanishdic Bhashyas. This PDF shodaganga article THE UPANISADIC CONCEPT OF UPASANA is mentioning them all. (see page 245) Mainly from Shankaras introduction to the Chandogya Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad 3.14.4

MEANING OF Upasana By Shankaracharya english translation.

Before going into elaborate discussions about the Upanisadic meditation or Upasana, we firstly propose to discuss the actual import of the term Upasana. Sankara defines Upasana as the inner transformation to acquire a higher mental state, where one concentrates on one object constantly recommended by the Scriptures like the uninterrupted flow of water or oil etc. In another place he says that when one has taken an object following the Scriptures and penetrates into it by surpassing all fluctuations of mind and thought, so that no disturbances are further caused anymore, then that is called Upasana, It is an undisturbed meditation of a contemplating mind upon one object, whether be it a deity or an idol of worship.

So Upasana or getting closer to god is a very important term in Hinduism in order to attain self realisation or Moksha. Upsana gradually takes away a devotee from materail world purifying his mind and making him fit to final practice of knowledge or Jnana.

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Upasana literally means to "come near or approach"

In terms of worship, it describes the act of "praising someone".

So when I say "Siva Upasana" It means I am praising lord Siva, recalling his great traits and the great deeds he had done, in order to approach him in such a way that I am aware of the greatness of lord.

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