A guru who did fire ritual everyday had a cat and tied it in a corner so that it would not jump around and disturb. When he passed away, his sishya wanted to continue the tradition of daily fire ritual based on what he observed and learnt. But he had no cat. So he bought a new cat and tied it in the corner! smile emoticon

Today’s rituals (fire rituals as well as others) are replete with many such figurative “cats” that various people ended up introducing at various times.. frown emoticon

Have a minimal focus on the technicalities and focus more on cultivating respect, love and understanding of Agni and a sense of surrender and wonder towards the Divine therein. Use ritual and its objects as tools to reach the Divine, rather than getting bogged down with their details.

Of course, just repeating “all is God” does not make one imbibe that understanding in one’s thoughts and deeper instincts. Towards that end, some actions and rituals are needed initially (even aatma vichar or contemplating “what is Self” is only a ritual initially). But do progress beyond rituals!

Jnana (wisdom that all is Self) and Karma (rituals and actions in general) are 2 wings with which the bird of individual self flies into the infinite sky of Absolute Self, as Maharshi Vasishtha taught Lord Rama in “Yoga Vasishtham”. Neither suffices and both are equally needed!!!