Miracles happen in the realm of an absolute trust. – Raghavendra
Devotees are strange people. They are eternally drunk.
You don’t know what a drunk man does. It all depends on his whims. Similarly, devotees show their love in strange ways. Like a madman – you cannot predict.
A devotee is so eternally drunk in love that he does whatever he wishes. Like Bedara Kannappa, a hunter who loved Shiva so much he did not hesitate to pluck his own eyes to present them to Shiva. This kind of a deep devotion does not hold anything back. Shiva presented himself before Kannappa and gave him new eyes.
Visit an ancient temple, you will find people conducting strange rituals. People pierce their tongue, their chest or palm, hold fireworks, or stand still for years.
Ritual is something you practice because someone practised it and achieved success. It did not come out of your heart.
So, it does not work. It is not your true expression. It is fake. You are doing it not out of love, but out of greed. Somebody got results, so you are doing it. Not out of love for your deity.
Still, some rituals have become a deeply embedded in the consciousness of the people that they really work. There are temples where people conduct some pooja and their diseases, Infertility is cured.
But these are temporary solutions. Bhakti lets you make your own rules. You ask and it is given. Without any rituals. Bhakti does not need rituals, it needs your love.
Does a Bhakta follow any ritual?
A true devotee never follows a ritual. But does this mean he does not follow a routine?
A mother loves her daughter. She baths her every morning, dresses her up and feeds her regularly. Same thing every day. She does very earnestly like it is a ritual. But, is it a ritual? She is doing it just because she needs to follow the ritual?
No, she is doing it all because she loves her daughter. Because she knows her daughter’s needs.
These two things transform a dry ritual into something divine – love and understanding.
If you love Shiva, you should know what he likes and what he doesn’t like. Same for any deity you have chosen to worship.
If you have a miniature Shiva linga you worship every day, you should learn how to worship it. You may not offer him pooja with Bilva each day. But, could you not offer it at least once a week? Like feeding a porridge to your child once a week?
Even taking care of a child is a ritual. But for you, it is a fresh act every day – With a lot of love and care.
Do the same with your deity.
He will be pleased.