69. Difference Between Pooja (Worship) and Sadhna (Religious Practice) | Way of Living


Question: - Should one (Pooja) worship Kaal Brahm or not? Please show evidence in Gita.

            Answer: - No, one should not. Let me first tell you the difference between Pooja (worship) and Sadhna (religious practice).

            Bhakti i.e. Pooja: - Like we know that there is sweet, pure water under the earth. How can we obtain it? For that, a bore is made into the earth with a boring machine. An iron pipe is put into that bore, and then a hand pump is installed. Then we obtain that pure, life-giving water.

            Our venerable object is water. Consider the equipment used and the effort made to obtain it to be Sadhna (religious practice). If we will keep worshipping the equipment, then we cannot obtain water. The venerable object is obtained through the equipment.

            Another example: - Like a faithful wife respects all the members of the family, mother and father-in-law as her own mother and father, sister-in-law as her younger or elder sister, brother-in-laws as younger or elder brothers and their wives as younger or elder sisters, but she worships her husband. When they separate from the family, she takes all the items that belong to her and take them to her husband’s house.

            Another example: - Like, we wish to eat a mango. The mango fruit is venerable to us. We need money to obtain it. To collect money, one has to do labour, job, farming, then the mango fruit is obtained. Therefore, mango is the venerable object and the other activities are the sadhna. One has to perform Sadhna (religious practice) to obtain the worshippable object. Sadhna (religious practice) is different from Pooja (worship). It has become clear.

            The ongoing question is that should one worship Brahm. In its answer, it has been stated that – one should not do it. Now let us show evidence in Shrimadbhagavat Gita.

            In Gita Chapter 7 Verses 12 to 15, the Giver of the knowledge of Gita has told that the bhakti of the three gunas (Rajgun Shri Brahma ji, Satgun Shri Vishnu ji and Tamgun Shri Shiv ji) is futile. Then in Gita Chapter 7 Verses 16-17-18, the Giver of the knowledge of Gita has described the salvation attained from his bhakti as “Anuttam” i.e. bad. He has said that four types of people do my bhakti.

Artharthi: - Those who perform rituals according to the Vedas for acquiring wealth.
Aart: - Those who perform rituals according to the Vedas for removal of crisis.
Jigyasu: - Inquisitive people who want to know about God. (After gaining knowledge, they themselves become orators.)

He has described all these three types of worshippers of Brahm to be useless.

Gyani: - A Gyani learns that a human life is very difficult to attain. On acquiring a human life, one should get one’s welfare done. They also become aware that salvation is not possible by the worship of other gods. Complete salvation is only possible by doing exclusive worship of one God. Because of not finding a Tatvdarshi Saint, based on whatever understanding they had of the Vedas, taking ‘Om’ naam (mantra) from Yajurved Chapter 40 Mantra 15, they worshipped Brahm considering him to the Almighty God, but they did not attain salvation. ‘Om’ naam is of Brahm-Worship. One attains Brahmlok with it which has been proved previously. In Gita Chapter 8 Verse 16, it has been stated that all the loks (worlds) upto Brahm Lok recur, that is, the worshippers who go to Brahm Lok also return in the cycle of birth and death in the world.

The salvation that has been mentioned in Gita Chapter 15 Verse 4 is not obtained by the worship of Brahm. It has been stated in this verse that – “Slashing the ignorance with Tatvgyan, one should search for that supreme state (place) of the Supreme God; having gone where, worshippers never return to the world.”

In Gita Chapter 7 Verse 18, the Giver of the knowledge of Gita has said that – these Gyani souls (the fourth type of worshippers of Brahm) are noble, but because of absence of Tatvgyan, they remained situated in my ‘Anuttam’ (bad) salvation. The Giver of the knowledge of Gita has called the salvation attained from his worship as ‘Anuttam’ i.e. bad; therefore, even worship of Brahm is not right.

Reason: - There was a Gyani (knowledgeable) soul, a sage named Chunak. He chanted ‘Om’ mantra and performed Hathyog (forceful meditation) for thousands of years. As a result of which, he acquired siddhis (supernatural powers). By the worship of Brahm, the cycle of birth and death, heaven and hell will continue forever because in Gita Chapter 2 Verse 12, Gita Chapter 4 Verse 5 and Gita Chapter 10 Verse 2, the Giver of the knowledge of Gita has said that – Arjun! You and I have had several births. You do not know; I know. You, I and these kings had taken birth in the past as well and will be born in the future too. Do not think that all of us have only taken birth now. The sages and these gods do not know about my origin because all these have originated from me.

It is self-evident from this that when the Giver of the knowledge of Gita, Brahm, also takes birth and dies, then how can his worshippers be immortal? This proves that by the worship of Brahm, that salvation cannot be attained which is mentioned in Gita Chapter 18 Vesre 62 and in Chapter 15 Verse 4. The Giver of the knowledge of Gita has given clear instruction in these verses that – ‘O Bharat! Go in the refuge of that Supreme God, Param Akshar Brahm, in every respect. Only by the grace of that Supreme God, you will attain supreme peace and the Eternal Supreme Abode i.e. Satyalok. After understanding Tatvgyan, one should search for the supreme state (place) of God, having gone where, worshippers never return to the world.’ Please think that the Giver of the knowledge of Gita himself takes birth and dies. Therefore, the salvation achieved by the worship of Brahm has been said to be ‘Anuttam’ (Bad).

Now let us further narrate the story of Sage Chunak: - Sage Chunak chanted the ‘Om’ mantra and did Hathyog (forceful meditation). God is not attained by the way of worship mentioned in the Vedas (Rigved, Yajurved, Samved, and Atharvaved). Its evidence is in Gita Chapter 11 Verse 47-48. The Giver of the knowledge of Gita, Brahm, has stated that – ‘O Arjun! This is Viraat form of me, Kaal Brahm. Nobody before you has seen this form of mine. I have shown this form to you by doing you a favour. This form of mine cannot be seen, that is, attainment of Brahm is neither possible by the way of worship mentioned in the Vedas, that is, by the recitation of ‘Om’ mantra, nor by austerity, nor by performing sacrificial ceremonies etc, that is, Brahm is not attained by the way of worship mentioned in the Vedas. This was the reason that sages like Chunak also kept describing Brahm as formless. Sage Chunak acquired supernatural powers. As a result of which, he became famous in the world. Worshippers who have acquired siddhis (supernatural powers), with their batteries charged by the years of religious practices, destroy their bhakti by cursing someone or by blessing someone. They destroy their bhakti by doing incantation on someone with their siddhis, and by receiving praise in the world, themselves become lords.

There was a Mandhata Chakravarti King. He had rule over the entire earth. He tried to find out in his kingdom that – ‘Do the other kings on earth, who are under me, want to become independent?’ Therefore, the king wrote a letter and tied it around the neck of his personal horse. It read – “Whichever king does not accept the subjection to King Mandhata may capture this horse and become ready for a battle. The king has an army of 72 crore soldiers.” Hundreds of soldiers also went along with that horse. They went around the whole earth. None of the kings captured that horse. It became clear from this that all the small kings of the earth accepted the subjection to Chakravarti King Mandhata. All the soldiers who were with the horse were returning happily. On the way back, there was a hut of a Sage Chunak. Sage Chunak asked the soldiers who were mounted on horses that – ‘O Soldiers! Where had you gone? Where is the rider of this horse?’ The soldiers told the entire account to the sage. The sage said, “Did no one accept the battle with King Mandhata?” The soldiers said, “No one has the might in his arms and no one has drunk breast milk of their mother to be able to fight with our King. The king has an army of 72 crore soldiers. We will break his jaw if someone will dare to fight.” Sage Chunak, who was a worshipper of Kaal Brahm, said, “O Soldiers! I accept the battle with your king. Tie this horse with the tree adjacent to my hut.” The soldiers said, “O Pauper! You do not even have anything to eat. How will you fight with King Mandhata? Do your bhakti. Why are you calling for misfortune to befall you?” The sage said, “I will see whatever happens. Go and tell your king that Sage Chunak has accepted your battle.” When the king learnt about it, he thought, “Today one poor sage has dared, tomorrow someone else will dare. One should nip the evil in the bud.” To scare the public, to kill one person, the king divided the army of 72 crore soldiers into four squads. First he sent a squad of 18 crore soldiers to fight with the sage. The worshipper of Kaal Brahm, Sage Chunak, with his (siddhis) supernatural powers made four missles, that is, he made four nuclear bombs. He released one missile which destroyed the army of 18 crore soldiers. The king sent the second squad. The sage released another missle. In this way, the worshipper of Kaal Brahm, Sage Chunak, destroyed the army of 72 crore soldiers of King Mandhata.

Please think: - Rishis-Maharishis (sages) should not interfere in affairs of kings. The reason is that the sages chanted ‘Om’ mantra for thousands of years for the attainment of God. They did not attain God because in Gita Chapter 11 Verses 47-48, it is written that Brahm cannot be attained by the way of worship mentioned in the Vedas (four Vedas – Rigved, Yajurved, Samved, and Atharvaved). Therefore, (siddhis) supernatural powers appear in the sages by this. Due to ignorance, they considered this meander only as the achievement of bhakti. As a result of which, despite doing bhakti, they did not attain that state (place), having gone where, one does not have rebirth because they did not find a Tatvdarshi Saint. It has been mentioned in Sukshm Ved that: -

Kabir, guru bin kaahu na paya gyana, jyon thotha bhus chhadey moodh kisaana |
Guru bin ved padey jo praani, samjhe na saar rahe agyaani ||

Garib, bahtar kshoni kha gaya, Chunak rishishvar ek |
Deh dhaarein jaura firen, sabahi Kaal ke bhesh ||

            Meaning: - Because of not finding a Tatvdarshi Saint, the religious practice that worshippers perform is an arbitrary practice against the injunctions of the scriptures, by which a worshipper does not obtain any benefit. There is evidence in Gita Chapter 16 Verses 23-24 that – ‘O Bharat! A worshipper, who abandoning the injunctions of the scriptures, performs arbitrary practices, attains neither happiness, nor siddhi (supernatural powers) and nor salvation. Therefore, scriptures only are the evidence for you in determining which religious practices should be performed and which should not.

            Without a Guru i.e. a Tatvdarshi Saint, whether one keeps reading Vedas, or even learns them by heart, one remains unknowledgeable. Like the Brahmins in the past used to cram the mantras of the Vedas. He who used to learn the mantras of all the four Vedas was called Chaturvedi. He who used to learn the mantras of three Vedas was called Trivedi. But because of not knowing the profound mysteries of the Vedas, those sages despite cramming the Vedas remained unknowledgeable. It is stated in Sukshmved that: -

“Peeth manukha daakh ladi hai, oont khaat babool |”

            The meaning is that in the olden days Manuka raisins were transported on camels through deserts. The camel used to carry delicious Manuka raisins on his back and himself used to put his mouth in the thorny acacia tree and eat acacia leaves. Without knowledge, all the sages used to roam around carrying the Manuka raisins-like four Vedas, and they used to worship the acacia-like Kaal Brahm, from whom neither one attains the eternal supreme abode nor supreme peace. Then it is mentioned in Sukshmved that: -

Banjaare ke bael jyon, fira desh-videsh |
Khaand chhod bhush khaat hain, bin Satguru updesh ||

            The meaning is that in the olden days, nomads i.e. traders used to load sacks of sugar on bulls like that on donkeys, and transport them from one place to another. The bull used to have sugar in the sack on his back, but himself used to eat hay. Similarly, because of not getting Tatvgyan from a Guru, the sages used to cram the sugar-like Vedas, but because of not understanding them properly, they used to perform religious practices contrary to the Vedas.

            For instance:

            In Shri Devi Puran (Sachitra Mota Type Keval Hindi, Published from Gita Press Gorakhpur), Fifth Skand, on Page 414, it is written that: - Ved Vyas ji said that – The Brahmins of Satyayug were complete scholars of the Vedas. They used to worship the Goddess i.e. Shri Durga ji. They used to have an intense desire to build a temple of Shri Devi in every village.

            Readers may please ponder:

            In all the four Vedas and in the summary of these very Vedas, Shrimadbhagavat Gita, nowhere there is instruction of the worship of the Goddess, so what sort of scholars of the Vedas were the Brahmins of Satyayug. In this same Shri Devi Puran, Seventh Skand, on Page 562, 563, Shri Devi ji said to King Himalaya that – “You may relinquish my worship too. If you want to attain Brahm, then relinquishing everything, chant only ‘Om’ mantra. This is a mantra of Brahm. You will attain Brahm by this. That Brahm resides in the Bramlok-like divine sky.” The readers will easily understand that when the Brahmins of Satyayug had this knowledge and way of worship, then what knowledge would the present-day Brahmins have? In the same Shri Devi Puran, Fifth Skand, on Page 414, this is also written that those who were considered to be demons in Satyayug are considered Brahmins in Kalyug. Brahmin is not a special caste. He who is striving to attain God i.e. Brahm is called a Brahmin whether he belongs to any caste. Currently, there are a few traditional Brahmins. Those who in saint-form deliver Brahmgyan (knowledge of God) are more in numbers; they are called Brahmins i.e. Guide-Gurus and they are devoid of Tatvgyan. Therefore, it has been said that without a Tatvdarshi Guru, nobody gained knowledge of the profound mysteries of the Vedas. As a result of which, they used to read the Vedas, but used to perform way of worship contrary to the Vedas. In the Vedas and the Gita, the worship of the three gods (Shri Brahma ji, Shri Vishnu ji and Shri Shiv ji) is forbidden. The entire Hindu society has been centered on these very three gods by the unknowledgeable saints. They are themselves doing and making others perform the worship of Shri Goddess Durga, Shri Vishnu ji and Shri Shiv ji. This knowledge of folklore (baseless stories) has been going on since ancient times which is erected like a wall in front of me today. I deliver knowledge mentioned in the scriptures. I show it on a projector. But considering the previous ignorance to be true, despite seeing the truth with their own eyes, people are not accepting it. They oppose me, and send me to jail.

            It is mentioned in Sukshmved that: -

Garib, ved padae par bhed na jaane, baanchaen Puran atharah |
Patthar ki pooja karein, bisre sirjanhara ||

            The meaning is that they read the Vedas and the eighteen Purans, and worship the idol. They have forgotten the Param Akshar Brahm, the Creator-of-all, mentioned in the Vedas. By worshipping the other gods, they remain devoid of that supreme peace and the eternal supreme abode i.e. that supreme place of the Supreme God that has been mentioned in Gita Chapter 18 Verse 62 and in Chapter 15 Verse 4. It has been written in the Sukshm Ved that: -

Guruvaan gaam bigaadae santon, guruvan gaam bigaadae |
Aise karm jeev ke la diye, fir jhadae nahin jhaadae ||

            The meaning is that the gurus who are devoid of the knowledge of the Vedas and are unfamiliar with Tatvgyan, by narrating the ignorance of the scripture-opposed knowledge and way of worship in every village, have misled the people so much so that now they do not become ready to relinquish the scripture-opposed way of worship despite explication.

            In Gita Chapter 16 Verse 23, it is written that abandoning the injunctions of the scriptures, by performing arbitrary practice, neither one attains (siddhis) supernatural powers, nor happiness and nor salvation.

            On the other hand, you read in the tale of Sage Chunak that Sage Chunak gained (siddhis) supernatural powers. The readers have to understand that siddhis are a by-product of bhakti; like even barley has husk which has a lot of awn in it. When an animal eats it, it causes lots of wounds in the mouth. These siddhis are obtained by worship of Kaal Brahm as were obtained by Sage Chunak.

Consider a siddhi (supernatural power) that is obtained by doing bhakti according to the injunctions of the scriptures to be husk of wheat, which is useful and easy to consume for the animals.

The purport is that the siddhis that are obtained by not performing religious practices according to the scriptures destroy the worshipper, because the sages out of ignorance use those siddhis and cause damage to someone. By blessing someone, they finish the power of their bhakti that is earned by chanting ‘Om’ naam, and they again become empty.  

Like Sage Chunak destroyed the army of 72 crore soldiers of Mandhata Chakravarti King. He also lost the siddhis of his bhakti. It has been stated in Sukshmved that:

Garib, bahtar kshoni kshay kari, Chunak rishishwar ek |
Deh dhaarein jaura (death) firaen, sab hi Kaal ke bhesh ||

            Meaning: - The greatest sage among the sages, Sage Chunak, destroyed the army of 72 crore soldiers. These appear to be Mahatmas, but when one has to deal with them, they turn out to be like snakes. They curse a person on trivial matters. It is a common thing for them to unnecessary mess with someone. 

FAQs about "Difference Between Pooja (Worship) and Sadhna"

Q.1 Is worship (Pooja) the same as religious practice (Sadhna)?

No, worship (Pooja) and religious practice (Sadhna) are different. Pooja is performing the wholehearted devotion for attaining the revered object, while Sadhna is the effort and practices made to obtain the revered object itself. We need to perform religious practices (Sadhna) in order to attain the Worshipable (Pujya) God.

Q.2 Should one worship Kaal Brahm according to the Gita Ji?

No, the Gita Ji discourages worshiping Kaal Brahm. The Gita Ji says that the worship of the Brahm, including three gunas (Rajgun, Satgun, Tamgun) is futile, and this is why worship of Brahm is called as "Anuttam" or bad.

Q. 3 Can Brahm, as mentioned in the Gita, provide salvation?

According to the Gita Ji, worship of Brahm does not lead to the ultimate salvation mentioned in Chapter 15 Verse 4. The Gita Ji emphasizes seeking refuge in the Supreme God, Param Akshar Brahm, for achieving supreme peace and eternal salvation through enlightened Saint.

Q.4 Why did Sage Chunak, a worshipper of Kaal Brahm, acquire supernatural powers?

Sage Chunak acquired supernatural powers due to his long-term religious practices, including chanting the 'Om' mantra.

Q.5 How many types of people do the bhakti of Kaal Brahm?

In Gita Ji, Brahm has said that four types of people do his bhakti :

  • Artharthi
  • Aart
  • Jigyasu
  • Gyani


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Rajendra Nath

Shri Krishna Ji is the Brahm God who imparted the knowledge of Gita Ji. Brahm is not a separate deity. By worshipping Shri Krishna, we can attain salvation and reach heaven. Hare Krishna!

Satlok Ashram

We appreciate your engagement with our article. Brahm, also known as Kshar Purush or Kaal, is mentioned in the Holy Gita Ji and is  the father of the three deities - Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva Ji. This information is supported by our article and the teachings of Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj, which are based on all holy scriptures. We recommend that you gain a complete understanding of spiritual knowledge before embarking on your spiritual journey in human life by reading the book "Jeene Ki Rah" and listening to the spiritual discourses of Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj.

Akriti Suryawanshi

The story about sage Chunak is unbelievable. How can a person possess such powers? Science takes too much time to develop atomic energy. It seems like a fairy tale.

Satlok Ashram

Dear reader, your opinion about our article is valuable. Spirituality delves into realms beyond what science can explain. Spiritual practices, such as scripture-based worship and mantras, are so potent that devotees can attain extraordinary abilities. This phenomenon is well-documented in our scriptures. Moreover, we recommend deepening your understanding of spirituality by listening to the spiritual discourses of Saint Rampal Ji Maharaj and reading the book "Jeene Ki Rah."