Swami Satyadharma- Discussing Ritual
An important way that we can connect with the divine is through ritual. Ritual is something I feel that has really been lost today. Do you know what ritual means? People don’t respect it and they don’t try to bring it into their life. But ritual means to develop symbols, symbols for the divine and then to utilise those symbols in your life, in your home, and in your environment around you.
If you have been to India, you can understand why that experience is so powerful. In India today, they have brought ritual into their lives. Not only in their homes but also in their communities and in the institutions all around, ritual is very alive. There are symbols of the divine everywhere, in the streets and in every home, every corner and every school. Little candles are being offered with little flowers and little gifts. Somebody walks by and says a mantra, a prayer. In the home before eating, some food is offered to the divine. This is the ritual, but these rituals bring the divine into our life.
So ritual doesn’t mean abstract, because we have some idea that the abstract divine is the best form of the divine, but ritual doesn’t go for that. Ritual goes for a formulated something. Today, we are so into things… we really respect things like houses, trucks and things that we buy. Yes, we love things. So in this material world we need ritual, we need to place the divine into a thing that we can look at, touch, see and we can give something, offer something. We can connect; we can talk to it, pray to it, and say a mantra. So, to bring god, the divine into our life through symbols, that is called ritual.