Some say work is worship and some insist that a seeker need to perform ritualistic worship to a deity in the form of an idol to merge with Truth, while others plead that the ritualistic worship is not needed to attain Absolute. There are chances that when a young seeker who listens to the three statements get confused and at times these talks intimidate him to some extent. But for one who has understood Vedas well there is not even an iota of doubt and he simply tread forward choosing that path which he is capable with.
Let me try to explain: There is mention of Karmakanda (Path of Rituals), Upasanakanda (Path of Worship) and Jnanakanda (Path of Knowledge) in Vedas to attain the Truth.
Karmakanda is for those under the sway of their mind feeling happy and sad as the situation prevails, who have likes and dislikes and hence are attached to delusions and illusions. Such seekers need some kind of a support to comprehend Truth. That support is their mind. With the mind there is a need to retain "I" ness and practice discipline, attend discourses and cleanse the mind regularly and polish it always. This way of attainment is called “Pipilika Marga” the way of the Ant. One can observe that an ant slowly climbs up to the trunk of the tree and marches forward to the branch and finally reach the fruit and enjoys the taste of the fruit.
Upasanakanda is where the seeker deals with “why” aspect of rituals in addition to “how” and stage by stage moves forward towards comprehending Truth. This path includes concentration and meditation on deities, mental worship. This is an intermediate state for a seeker; if Karmakanda cleanses the mind of impurities, Upasanakanda helps the mind to gain single pointedness, to concentrate. This way of attainment is called “Markata Marga” the way of the Monkey. A monkey jumps from one tree to another lands on the branch which has fruits and grabs the fruit and tastes it.
Jnanakanda is the ultimate state. A seeker here in this state realizes that there is higher authority that is controlling the natural forces such as Volcano (Fire), Tornado (Wind), Torrential Rain (Water), Tremors (Earth) and Avalanche (Space). The seeker is convinced that just doing good deeds is not the ultimate goal of human life. The only way to end sufferings of human life is to get liberated and end the cycles of Birth and Death once and for all. This liberation yields the final merger with Brahman, the Supreme Being. This way of attainment is called “Shuka Marga” the way of the Parrot. The parrot fly down from the sky lands on the branch of the tree with fruits and pecks at a fruit with its beak and starts relishing the fruit.
In the Karmakanda the support of mind is always there just as the branch is there for the ant to climb the tree to get the fruit. In Upasanakanda the support of the mind is occasionally needed just as the monkeys need the branch of the tree to jump and grasp the fruit. In Jnanakanda the support of mind is needed very little, just as the parrot seldom needs the help of the branch except for landing on it and relishing the fruit.
But one has to notice that the fruit is attainable in all the three ways, it depends on the faith and endurance in the path a seeker has. Ant may not be as quick as monkey or monkey may not be as quick as parrot in getting the fruit but importantly all the three finally get the fruit. If the ant try to imitate the money and try to jump or if monkey looks at parrot and try to fly and if the parrot ties to climb the tree like the ant it will delay its approach in reaching the fruit.
Every seeker attains the ultimate if he treads the path in whichever way he is comfortable……… Do you agree???