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Modes of Worship

The Veda is the most ancient as well as the most lasting knowledge (or Sastra) discovered by man. That is to say, man has not invented it; he has only recollected it in the serene silence of the soul. So, the Veda can lead man into the Vision of the Truth, unreachable by the senses and un-related to the material world. It is inaccessible to human reason because it is transcendent. So, it is described as Paramam Vyoma, the Great Protector, also Indestructible, Thath, Truth. These words denote all the four Vedas, beginning with the Rg Veda.

The term Veda was originally applied to the Supreme Lord, Paramesvara, the All-Knowing. (Veththi ithi Vedah - He who knows is Veda). Then it was applied to the principle of understanding (Vedayathi ithi Veda), that which makes known is Veda. The Rg and other Vedas have the all-knowing characteristic. So this meaning too is appropriate. Later the word was applied to activities in consonance with the Vedas - activities promoting the goals laid down, namely, Righteous, Economic, Volitional and Spiritual.

The Supreme Lord is All-seeing; He is the Person on whom all the hymns of the Vedas converge. The Vedas enable man to get the vision of that Lord and those who have earned that Vision are the Rshis. They were guided by the Vedas; many psalms, hymns and declarations emerged from them. As a result, the Supreme Lord Himself is referred to as the Great Sage (Maharshi) in the Brahma-Sutra. Among the 108 Names of Siva, the Supreme Lord, we find Maha-rshi and Mukhya-rshi (the Chief Sage, the foremost Sage). Even the Veda is personified and referred to as Rshi, for the same reason. Brahmam (the Vast Expanse) is another word which denotes the Supreme Lord as well as the Veda. Hence, all acts, undertaken with no other desire than the attainment of Brahmam, are also known as Brahma activity - Brahmayajna. A Rshi yajna is a sacrificial act - with no desire to earn the fruit ensuing therefrom - designed to gain the Vision of Truth.