PARAMAHAMSA SRI NITHYANANDA - When worship becomes a chore! IF OUR heart is not fully engaged in an undertaking, it immediately becomes a chore. Even worship becomes a chore when our heart isn’t in it. When we feel involved, all hard work becomes a joyful worship. When our heart isn’t engaged in a task, we are distracted. Even as we pluck flowers, or prepare offerings for our favorite deity, our thoughts stray on something else, or someone else. We might be thinking about our office work or other events in our life. We fear that we will invite the wrath of God by not praying. Many in India chant the 1,000 names of Vishnu and his consort Lakshmi everyday. They are proud of the practice. They think they are doing a great job. They are proud that they don’t eat a morsel until they finish their prayers. But, the truth of our chanting is different. From the moment we begin to chant or soon after we begin to chant, we are anxious to see the verse number. We are desperate to know how much more we have to chant. We want to keep ourselves happy by seeing how close we are to the end. Sometimes, we want to follow the verses to chase boredom away. We feel tired. Our mind has no rest, even when we worship. Chanting becomes another chore for us. This is true even when we perform daily rituals. We perform the rituals regularly, automatically, thinking of something else all the time. We fear that our greedy desires will remain unfulfilled without these rituals. We simply can’t focus on chanting, prayer or the spirit of worship. We have no awareness of what we are doing. We do it like automated robots. When enlightened masters pray or chant they do it for an entirely different reason. They don’t make anything, even the seemingly insignificant task like plucking flowers, a ritual. They neither chant nor pray out of fear or greed. Worship isn’t another ritual for them. The only reason they do anything is because they want to. They do it because they have a deep urge to do it. They do it from the depth of their heart. They express their love through worship. Their love, during worship, exudes out of them, from the very depths of their heart. An enlightened master is in love and in tune with nature. An enlightened master is in tune with God. For such people, work and worship merge into one.