Guru Pooja – Giving Yourself to Become an Invitation to the Divine

With devastating logic and scientifically verifiable methods, Sadhguru has presented spirituality as a technology for self-transformation. Then how does the ritual of Guru Pooja, which has been an integral part of the spiritual process offered at Isha for over thirty years, fit in? Read on to find out.

An Outpouring of Who You Are

Sadhguru: The pooja [1] that is performed here has a different quality than the poojas that are normally done. When a person who is into meditation does pooja, it should have a different quality. If a pooja is just a process of begging, it has no great significance. The process itself is a powerful method if done meticulously. Though it needs to be done meticulously, it is not an exercise. Guru Pooja has to be an outpouring of who you are.

There is a lot of difference in doing pooja to an idol that you just believe in and doing pooja to something that is alive and experientially true for you. For that matter, any pooja becomes alive only when the object of your pooja is alive. When a person does pooja to an object which is alive for them – alive outside and within them – the pooja attains a different kind of significance.

The Fastest Way

There are so many things that you can never learn by yourself. To learn about what this life is, one lifetime is simply not sufficient. There is a distilled knowledge of many lifetimes in certain people. To grasp that, we have to create the right situation within ourselves and Guru Pooja is a good way of doing that. By yourself, it would take many lifetimes to learn whatever understanding I have within me. People went through hundreds of lifetimes and arrived at a certain wisdom that we can grasp. They are willing to give, but we should create the right situation to receive. Guru Pooja is a very important and powerful device towards becoming receptive within yourself.

The Right Way to do Guru Pooja

When you do Guru Pooja, you should be fully there – nothing else should be present. The reason you have to learn the whole process perfectly is so that you do not have to think. The moment you think, there is no meditation. Similarly, the moment you think about what to do, there is no pooja. That is why, before we start the pooja, the arrangement should be perfect. Everything should be in its right place so that everything just flows. Guru Pooja is not something you do. It should simply flow out of you.

[1] Ritual worship.

Coming in Touch with a Subtle Energy

The pooja can be a very powerful process. It is an easy way of making contact. Today, modern science is clearly telling us that what we call matter is just energy. From this basis, we see the human body as seven chakras. These seven chakras are like seven rungs of a ladder, or a process of moving from the gross to the subtle. The grossest manifestation of this energy is the physical body. As the same energy becomes more subtle, we call it etheric body, astral body, mental body, spiritual body, etc. What we call a Guru is a subtle form, or rarefied existence. Pooja is a process through which you can bring it to a denser manifestation or close to physical reality.

You may have heard of Ramakrishna Paramahamsa’s experiences with Kali. His pooja was so intense that she became a physical reality. If the science of pooja is handled properly, with the right attitude, things can happen in such a big way. It could be made use of to go a little deeper into ourselves, into everything that we call Yoga.

Shodasha Upachara – The Essence of Guru Pooja

The offering part of it is known as shodasha upachara. These are sixteen ways of treating a Guru. The pooja is not in the song but in the offering. If you really make it an offering, then everything you offer is yourself. Then the pooja acquires a different kind of quality. Suddenly, there will be a different atmosphere and energy around you. Most people do not have the fortune of doing pooja to a live Guru – they have only dead Gurus. But when the Guru is alive around you, the pooja can be extremely powerful. There could be rare moments when things happen in a different dimension altogether, as some of you have seen in some poojas that we have done.

Becoming Godlike

The feeling and consciousness with which you make this offering is very important. What you can give, you simply give. That is all. Guru Pooja is not a prayer – it is an invocation. It is about invoking the highest within you. It is about inviting the Gurus, serving them, elevating them to the status of gods, and in the process, elevating ourselves to the same status. God is not the ruler of this world. God is an offering. Everything has simply been offered. He does not rule this world. We are ruling this world. Being a god does not mean to become a boss. God is not the boss – he is our servant. Every day, he is serving us to make our life happen. Guru Pooja is to bring that consciousness into a person.