When devotion for the Lord in the devotee’s mind becomes intense and deep, when his yearning for the Lord’s association ripens and maturates, he no more waits for specific moments of worship. He is not satisfied by such occasional time-bound worship. Naturally and spontaneously his whole life then turns into a worship. He sees divinity in everything around. He worships the Lord not through particular devotional actions, but through all actions that he performs. He associates God in every thought, speech and activity.
आत्मा त्वं - Worship God Through Every Activity
|Listen to Shloka here|
Thou art my Self (Ātmā); my intelligence is Girijā (one born of the Himalayas, i.e. consort of Lord Shiva); my life forces, sense-organs, are Your attendants; my body is Your abode (Temple of the Lord); experiencing the objective world is Your worship; my sleep is the state of samādhi; moving about with two feet is circumambulating You, O Lord; all the words and speeches are hymns about You; whatever action I perform, O Lord Shambu, it is all Your worship alone.
Points for Introspection:
Throughout the day, one remains busy in various worldly affairs. Most of the activities that he gets involved in, leave him tense, anxious, fearful and disturbed. He is never restful while performing any particular piece of activity as his mind becomes anxious about various other chores that await him. In the midst of hectic and intense activities, one misses the touch of God and divinity. He hardly finds divinity in the mundane day-to-day actions and interactions.
However, leaving aside all his worldly activities and responsibilities, when a devotee pursues his devotional routines, his mind gets filled with devotion and divine love. Whether he stands in front of a deity in a temple with folded hands looking intently at the Lord’s face, seeking refuge, or whether he sits near his own pooja-shrine and devotionally cleans the place, lights a lamp, burns incense sticks, decorates the deity with sandal paste, kumkum and flowers, chants prayers, hymns or meditates – he is filled with a kind of divine delight and holiness which he does not find when he is engaged in usual worldly activities.
A devotee wants to think of God unbrokenly; wants to remember God with all fondness without fail, but he is not able to. His thoughts and worries regarding his house, family, property, profession as well as his own body engage and overpower his mind so much that he forgets God most of the time. He wishes to spend longer hours in devotional practices, but his duties and responsibilities do not allow him. He feels sad and hopeless and wonders what should be done to remember God always!
However, when devotion for the Lord in the devotee’s mind becomes intense and deep, when his yearning for the Lord’s association ripens and maturates, he no more waits for specific moments of worship. He is not satisfied by such occasional time-bound worship. Naturally and spontaneously his whole life then turns into a worship. He sees divinity in everything around. He worships the Lord not through particular devotional actions, but through all actions that he performs. He associates God in every thought, speech and activity.
This shloka is the description of such a devotee who worships God through every activity – whether devotional or mundane. He finds God everywhere and in everything. While dwelling in matters concerning his body, mind and intelligence, his life-forces, this devotee never feels he is away from God, he never misses divinity. He finds his Lord in all these. For him God is not an idol for worship who is at a distance from him, but is his own Self, present in his own heart. He feels the presence of the Indweller always.
Such a devotee considers his intelligence as Girijā – the closest consort of the Lord. Remembering this, whenever he dwells in his intelligence, he is filled not with pride etc. but with divinity. The associates of the Lord he considers as his life-forces. He considers his own body as the holy abode of the Lord. He feels blessed by his embodiment.
Usually, while performing devotional worship one collects various items of worship like lamp, flower, incense, camphor, sandal, kumkum, fruits etc. to be offered to the deity. In the deep state of devotion, the devotee no longer feels the necessity for such items of worship. All that he collects and enjoys through his five sense-organs, are his mental flowers and offerings, which he offers at the holy feet of the Lord.
Even his sleep becomes divine as he no longer considers it as ordinary sleep but turns it into sam¡dhi where he remains absorbed in the lap of the Lord. During the wakeful hours, with every step he feels he is circumambulating the Lord who is everywhere. All his talks become praises and hymns addressed to the Lord.
When a devotee has reached this depth and intensity in devotion, he never misses God. Even if he is immersed in intense activity, he is bathed in deep sublimity and divinity. All devotional practices and usual ways of worship become redundant for him. Instead of worshipping the Lord at some particular hour of the day, he now worships the Lord continuously through all his thoughts, speech and actions, through all his perceptions and enjoyments. His whole existence becomes an offering or worship to the Lord.
When we chant this shloka repeatedly, we understand how every moment can become a worship at the Lord’s feet, filling us with divinity and bliss.
आत्मा (ātmā) = Self; त्वं (tvaṃ) = you; गिरिजा (girijā) = Girijā (one born of the Himalayas, consort of Lord Shiva); मतिः (mati:) = intelligence; सहचराः (sahacarā:) = attendants; प्राणाः (prāṇā:) = life forces, sense-organs; शरीरं (śarīraṃ) = body; गृहं (gṛhaṃ) = abode; पूजा (pūjā) = worship; ते (te) = your; विषयोपभोगरचना (viṣayopabhogaracanā) = experiencing the world of sense-objects; निद्रा (nidrā) = sleep; समाधिस्थितिः (samādhisthiti:) = state of samādhi; संचारः (saṃcāra:) = movement; पदयोः (padayo:) = of the two feet; प्रदक्षिणविधिः (pradakṣiṇavidhi:) = ritualistic circumambulation; स्तोत्राणि (stotrāṇi) = hymns on the Lord; सर्वाः (sarvā:) = all; गिरः (gira:) = speech; यत् यत् (yat yat) = whatever; कर्म (karma) = action; करोमि (karomi) = I perform; तत् तत् (tat tat) = that; अखिलं (akhilaṃ) = all; शंभो (śambho) = O Lord Shambhu; तव (tava) = your; आराधनम् (ārādhanam) = worship.
(मम) आत्मा त्वं, गिरिजा (मम) मतिः, प्राणाः (तव) सहचराः, (मम) शरीरं (तव) गृहं, विषयोपभोगरचना ते पूजा, निद्रा समाधिस्थितिः, पदयोः संचारः प्रदक्षिणविधिः, सर्वाः गिरः स्तोत्राणि, यत् यत् कर्म करोमि तत् तत् अखिलं हे शंभो तव आराधनम् ।
(mama) ātmā tvaṃ, girijā (mama) mati:, prāṇā: (tava) sahacarā:, (mama) śarīraṃ (tava) gṛhaṃ, viṣayopabhogaracanā te pūjā, nidrā samādhisthiti:, padayo: saṃcāra: pradakṣiṇavidhi:, sarvā: gira: stotrāṇi, yat yat karma karomi tat tat akhilaṃ, he śambho, tava ārādhanam.