Chapter 40 — Shiva on the Worship of God

The god Shiva continued:—

It is of no consequence whether or not a devotee observes formal worship in its proper time and manner. It is enough if he adores the form of Shiva as the consciousness within himself, which is equivalent to worship of the soul (atma). This is attended with a delight that becomes manifest within himself. Full of spiritual light and delight, the devotee is assimilated and becomes the same as his god.

The meanings of the words affection and hatred do not belong to the holy soul as its separate properties. Rather, they blend together and die in the soul like sparks in fire. The knowledge that the dignity and poverty of men, and also their happiness and misery, proceed from God is considered to be worship of the Supreme Spirit which ordains them all. 5 The consciousness of the world as a manifestation of the Divine Spirit is also reckoned as devotion. A pot or other token for the spirit of God is also worship because God resides in it. The quiet and lightless spirit of Shiva is manifest in all his works of creation, so the whole sensible world is the form of the Supreme Spirit.

It is astonishing that every soul forgets its own nature and thinks itself to be a living soul residing in the body, just as they believe the Supreme Soul is confined in a pot or a painting. It is also astonishing how they attribute false ideas of worship, worshipper and the worshipped to the god Shiva who is the infinite soul of all and a pure spirit. The ritual of worship and adoration, which applies to the finite forms of gods (idols), cannot be applied to the worship of the infinite spirit of God. 10 The pure spirit of the eternal, infinite and all powerful cannot be the object of ritualistic worship which relates to finite gods or idols.

11 Know, O brahmin, that the spirit of God which pervades the three worlds and is of the nature of pure consciousness, is not to be circumscribed by any form or figure. 12 Know, O wisest of the wise, that we do not regard those who have their god limited by time and place as among the wise. 13 Therefore, O sage, retract your sight from idols and idolatrous worship. Adopt your view to spiritual adoration. Be of an even, cool and clear mind. Be dispassionate and free from decay and disease. 14 Continue to worship the Supreme Spirit with an unshaken mind by making him offerings of your desires and of all the good and evil that occur to you at anytime.

15 O sage who is acquainted with the sole unity, in the one uniform, even course of your soul and mind, you are thereby set above the reach of the miseries attending this frail life, just as a pure crystal is clear of the shades and impurities of all worldly things.