Protocol and Rituals

Posted by the Central Committee & filed under Communications.

Dear brothers and sisters,We received queries concerning different aspects of life in Sahaj.
On this occasion we would like to cover the topic of Protocol versus ritualism.

With love and respect, the members of the CC

Protocol Versus Ritualism

“First of all, we should see that our conditioning takes over our innocence. It makes you extremely ritualistic. Even in Sahaja Yoga, I’ve seen, I’ve heard also, that people are extremely, extremely ritualistic. Now the ritualism is like this: that you have to say something three times, you say it three times, seven times, like tied up people. I’ve seen some Sahaja Yogis like that. …

So one should understand a difference between a protocol and ritualism. An innocent child knows the protocol. … So for children, you see, innocent children, the worship, everything is not ritualistic. It is heartfelt. You feel it from the heart: how to do the worship, how to show your love. Is very sweet way an innocent person does it; while a person who is very ritualistic, he may even beat another person because, “Why did you do this? You should not have put camphor in it? Why did you put the camphor so? It’s very wrong.” There’s nothing wrong. If you do it with your heart, with your open heart, innocently, anything is all right. It is the open heart which is necessary, not the closed heart — “Why did you do it? Why didn’t you do it? Where did you sit? What happened?” Nothing.

Now you are in the Kingdom of God and here there are no such rules and regulations that you should be ritualistic.”

HH Shri Mataji Shri Ganesha Puja 19/9-1993, Cabella

When we come to Sahaj we are seekers of self-fulfillment. As we stay in Sahaj we become bhaktas because increased proximity to the Divine means love raised to the power of bliss. Protocol is the manner in which the respect and awe from our heart approaches the glory of this dimension. Rituals translate the Protocol in a specific behavior and release auspiciousness and vibrations when it carries this inner dimension of devotion and commitment.
Ritualism however is the death of true Protocol because it suffocates the living content of worship through the empty shell of the procedure. The difference between rituals and ritualism often sets in when rituals become routine. Yogis register the loss of vibrations. Pujaris and attendants should be attentive to sometimes renew processes to restore their freshness.

Let our worship be living. For instance, Sahaj officials in charge of rituals (Pujaris), unlike their counterparts in other religions, should not be identified to their function or the podium on which they officiate, but should pass on their knowledge to others as renewal in the performance of rituals is a way to maintain the inner freshness of the worship. The temptation to elaborate complicated rituals must be contained by referring to what Shri Mataji found appropriate for us.
Pujaris could train younger pujaris of host countries as opportunities arise. Moreover, pujaris that were groomed directly by Shri Mataji, such as Anant Damle or Antonio Scialo, should be approached so they kindly would put their recollection on Her instructions in writing.
But is Protocol only about worship? We were told it is also about us. Sometimes we forget but most of us understand we shall not establish a world wide genuine spiritual community through dictating, ostracizing, lobbying, trying to influence opinion or campaigning through anonymous web letters.
Those who red the epic or watched the movie the Ramayana remembered the sayings of Shri Mataji: giving respect to others was one of the sure ways Shri Rama opened the hearts of everyone. His example is before us. A correct Protocol, often subtle and discrete, is a beautiful manner to express respect as a form of love in all aspects of life. Our Mother made no mystery that this includes the way yogis relate with each other’s:

“Some people know more rituals, others know more protocol, but it does not matter. I know the one who loves me. The one who loves others, loves me the most. I don’t care about your protocols and rituals. It is nonsense for me. What does it matter to me? It makes no difference whether you say good morning or good evening to me. What you say to your brothers and sisters is the important thing.”

HH Shri Mataji Chelsham Road, London, 24/5/81

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