The other day I was telling one of my regulars that I’d described the group house practice as starting with receiving darshan — receiving sacred knowledge, sitting in the presence of the divine embodied in a great being — from Uma and Sully, who wait downstairs for the students to arrive and expect a petting before everyone goes upstairs to practice.
” Is it darshan or puja [performance of ritual worship]?” my student asked. The two are intertwined. We naturally offer our gratitude and worship for those in whom we recognize the divine and from whom we learn to know the sacred.
What would our lives be like if we treated all our encounters and relationships as both darshan and puja, if we came to each person and being open to receiving a glimpse of the divine and the knowledge the divine imparts and approached each encounter as an opportunity to make puja, to formally act with reverence? The cats certainly expect it.