The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.
Acharya Prashant (AP): Upāsanā is not worship. Upā-Āsanā means sitting close, being close. Āsanā means position — your position the place where you are. It is related to Aṣṭi, Aṣṭi means existence. Upā means close. So, being close is Upāsanā — Upā-Āsanā.
Usually, in the name of worship we make the worshipped one even more distant, that is a distortion of the spirit of Upāsanā. When you are worshipping someone, do you get close to them or do you turn them even more distant? Real Upāsanā is intimacy. Upā-Āsanā — being close not really adoration but intimacy.
So, resolving to gain closeness to Gods or human beings for the sake of desire fulfillment is bondage. It’s amply clear. Is it not? If I can be close to that influential person, my desires will be fulfilled and that’s what most people want. Don’t you want to be very well-networked? Don’t you want to be well-connected? Don’t you want to hob-dob with the who’s who in the elite circles? That is bondage. Why is that bondage? In the same way, the tendency to accumulate stuff is bondage.
You want to be with someone in the wish that this closeness will grant you some inner completeness or joy. But you are going to that person with the clear belief that you are worthless or of a limited worth. Are you not? Had you not felt that you are worthless compared to that person, why would you have gone to him or her in the first place? So, most of our relationships are bondages because they do not exist from the reason of our fullness. They exist from the reason of our incompleteness.
Mostly when we form a relationship it is coming neither from the realization that one is already full nor is it coming from the intention to gain fullness. Both these are alright. If you relate to someone, without any particular reason without any particular purpose without any particular motive, nothing more wonderful than that. You are already full and therefore, you don’t have a specific motive in connecting to the other. Why are you connecting to the other? Just fun. No particular reason. What’s the relationship all about? Nothing in particular. It just is. So, this is the best way to relate.