We are given some ways to worship like burning camphor, doing abhishekam etc. It is said that when we doesn't follow all these God will not be impressed.

It is also said that when one prays with unflinching love, God accepts it just as in the case of the great Bhakta Kannapa who fed non-veg for Lord Shiva.

Burning of camphor indicates burning of ego. If the devotee has surrendered his ego to the Supreme Lord, should he still have to burn the camphor? In a similar way, several practices represent surrendering of several bad qualities. If the devotee doesn't have those qualities, is it always necessary for them to do those practices?

Why is Lord strict about those rituals? Can love dis intensify his strictness?

  • 1
    I am sure there are many many views on this but one of them. Sri Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it." Also the great Saint Ramakrishna Paramhamsa has said: "You will know that your ritualistic worship has come to an end when your eyes become filled with tears as you repeat 'Om Rama'." So all these rituals serve one reason: focus on God. So start focussing on God and then will develop Love for Him. These poojas and mantras serve the purpose of putting one's mind to focus on God.
    – Sai
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 16:01
  • 2
    Any ritual (chanting, meditating, reciting slokas, pooja, aarti, vandanam) if done with sincerity for sustained period of time will lead to Love for God. Once Love for God comes, then the focus on rituals (in many cases) drop off. The great bhaktas like Radha, Ramakrishnaji, Hanuman, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, were known not for their ritualistic worship (alone) but mainly for the great faith and love that they had for God. So if you choose to do rituals (or even pick one ritual that suits you), please do it with sincerity and unwavering mind. This will lead to Bhakti, depending on effort
    – Sai
    Commented Nov 21, 2014 at 16:08
  • I think this is too broad, I will wait for others to decide over this
    – Mr. Alien
    Commented Nov 23, 2014 at 13:44

2 Answers 2


One should follow the rules of formal worship (karma) until unflinching love - parabhaki - is attained. Just because a devotee may think they have unflinching love doesn't mean they do. If you think you have unflinching love for God and you have not seen God, then it's only your ego, and not unflinching love.

One should follow the rules not for God's edification (God is no fool to be taken in by camphor) but for our own good. We learn to love God through practice and repetition. Patanjali says in (Yoga sutra I. 13-14.) that practice is necessary. Formal worship teaches practice. It is through practice that we learn to control the mind and direct it to God. It is by long and constant practice. Vyasa said is repetition is necessary. See also Mundakya Upanishad (III. i. 5) "...is attained through unceasing practice..." Formal worship is practice.

When God is attained, formal worship is not necessary. See Gita (III. 17-18.).

When parabhakti is attained, formal worship will drop off by itself. There is a story in Ramakrishna Paramahamnsa Gospel that says: "After the attainment of God, religious duties such as the sadyha drop away. One day some people were sitting on the bank of the Ganges performing the sandyha. But one of them abstained from it. On being asked the reason, he said: 'I am observing asoucha. I cannot perform the sandyha ceremony. In my case the defilement is due to both a birth and death. My mother, Ignorance, is dead, and my son, Self-Knowledge, has been born.'"

  • How i missed this beautiful answer! One request though, please bold out the following line if you like: "If you think you have unflinching love for God and you have not seen God...."
    – Be Happy
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 12:28

It is not necessary to follow rules while worshiping, BUT, whether to follow rules or not depends completely upon whom you are worshiping. If you are worshiping some god or deva and any other higher or other realm beings, then following rules is necessary because without proper process they will not be able to take your offerings. And the second reason is that, most worships are done to have some material gain or fulfillment of some desires. These are effects, and for them to take place there has to be proper cause in terms of the process of the worship. So there are many do's (vidhi) and don'ts(nisedh) laid out for worships. But for God, the supreme being, the case is different.

If you are worshiping God, the supreme being, then there is no requirement of following rules if you are doing pure and niskama bhakti, that is, you are worshiping Him without any personal desires. This type of devotion is called as raganuga bhakti, which is done out of love.

But a person's heart needs to be clean and pure to a certain level until he can love and worship God for no reason at all. So in the beginning there are certain rules and regulations to be followed which act as a set of practices and increases the person's attachment towards God. This type of devotion done following proper rules of vidhi and nisedh as laid out in the scriptures is known as vedi bhakti. But at the end of the day, any such injunctions for worshiping God only server the purpose that you remember Him always and don't forget Him. So says the Padma Purana :

smartavyah satatam vishnur vismartavyo na jatucit
sarve vidhi-nishedhah syur etayor eva kinkarah

"Remember Shri Vishnu always, do not forget Him at any time." All injunctions and prohibitions of the scriptures are only but its subservient.

Camphor is not burnt to burn ego

I know it's said like this that we burn this or that for this and that, but that's hardly the actual reason. Camphor is burned because of its fragrance giving essence which purifies the air and the surrounding atmosphere of the place of worship. And there is a relationship between the air element and puja. The purer the air, the easier it would be to convey your worships to the realm of gods and higher beings. https://hinduism.stackexchange.com/a/653/38

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .