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What Is a Chosen Deity?
Paola: I practise karma yoga, but it is evolving slowly for my jiva. From the five-points list the easiest part was about studying the scripture, which I do every day, either listening to James or reading satsangs. Easy was also worshiping my parents; I just opened to contact with them and my recently widowed grandma. And I’m taking care of them in a way that is possible for me from another city. I am taking care of the people I know when it is needed and participate in charity events if they cross my way.
Sundari: Excellent. More than this is not required.
Paola: I only have difficulties with the worshiping deity: I have none. I was brought up in the Catholic religion, but it is not mine anymore. I always talked with God, but it was not a Catholic one, just a companion and knower, or everything. But it has no form. It is just in me. So I’m not sure if it this “worshiping of the chosen deity.”
Sundari: By “chosen deity” we mean a symbol of the self that speaks to you or represents the self for you. Any symbol will do because awareness sees only itself, and as reality is conscious because it is consciousness, it responds in whatever way you relate to it. You can worship it as nature, as people or the people you love, as an icon or even as the light of a candle. It does not matter.
God is you as the jiva of course because neither God nor jiva exist without consciousness. But God (we prefer Isvara) is also the Field of Existence, the Creator. As the Creator, Isvara has knowledge of all objects in the field and all the forces that run it. As the jiva, even though your essence is consciousness, you only have knowledge of objects you have contact with and you only create your subjective reality. So for a happy life and for a peaceful mind, the jiva must understand Isvara so that it can follow the natural or universal and personal laws running the field. There is no way to be free of the limitation of the field (mithya) without understanding the identity between Isvara and jiva – how and why they are the same but different. That field, Isvara, takes care of everything, including all your jiva needs. In loving the field and all objects in it with the karma yoga attitude, you are worshipping yourself in name and form. It is a very effective way to negate the doer, render vasanas non-binding and take care of the childish ego. I attached a short summary of the Isvara-jiva aikyam for you.
I have attached a FAQ I wrote recently on who or what God is. I don’t think I have sent it to you. Read it, as it will clear your understanding of why a devotional practice in conjunction with karma yoga is so important.
~ Love, Sundari