We generally hear much about Upäsāna i.e. the marga or path of worship and Vicharāna i.e. the path of enquiry. Many people have asked me about this, so I shall try to bring some clarity to it. Upäsāna is taken from the root word Upa meaning to be near and Asana to sit. Thus, it means to sit near. Upanishad were drawn from Upa meaning to be near and Nishad meaning to hear. In the ancient times and in some places till date, you can find Guru-Shishya parampara being followed and you can see disciples learning from the Guru physically sitting near him. Collect the knowledge and you have Upanishad. But in Upäsāna you require to connect to an object – it can be a Guru or a deity – and then you meditate upon it. Upäsāna basically begins from heart.
Now another important point comes into mind and that is what should be the qualities of the object on which we want to meditate upon. This is a state of query as well as the state of enquiry. Now who can resolve the queries and end the enquiry that you have? By reading different books and scriptures. Now this is not a easy task. Hundreds of books generating innumerable thoughts will naturally be an impediment in the path of Upäsāna. This is what happens mostly to many seekers who are literally caught in this trap. When Upäsāna is done without Vicharāna, then it is like a blind person leading another blind one. Too much thinking and enquiry pumps up one’s ego of knowing. When this happens, then you have most certainly lost the very purpose of Vicharāna. Once the ego is inflated, then the true worship will lose its meaning.
Now how can we reach a situation where Upäsāna and Vicharāna can be related to each other so that worship is done in a pure and simple manner?
Some points should be kept in mind:-
a. A person who walks the path of gaining knowledge will only aquire words but when a seeker gains knowledge, it is from the heart and yearning is there from the soul to seek.
b. Any meditation you do should culminate in happiness. This happiness will blossom from within, only then the whole process of meditation is said to be achieved. Once this state is achieved then the process of meditation shall be repeated and this is called as Anuraga or passion.
Now when Anuraga is the basis for Vicharāna then the actual Upäsāna happens. Upäsāna becomes Vicharāna once we are able to do the whole process without any doubt or discrimination. This is Viveka. Once you are able to correlate both Upäsāna and Vicharāna in your path, then the beauty of Paritah Vrajati occurs. What do you mean by Paritah Vrajati? There are two meanings:-
a. One who wanders everywhere
b. One who wanders renouncing everything
Upäsāna takes a person closer to the object in such a manner that there is no difference between the Sadhaka and the Sadhya. Both become one, thus in this stage the person is released from the bondages set by the world and he becomes a Parivrajaka. Such a person is pure Dharma, pure Karma, pure Bhakti, pure Yogi. They are beyond all that, which we think we know and seek. They have reached a state where everything is them and they are everything.
Atma Sanchaya Dhwani
Volume 1 Issue 14; 15th Nov, 2006
One thought on “Upäsāna vs Vicharāna Marga”
You teach beautifully. Thank you.