Beloved Baba gave (this message) for the opening of ‘Mehersthan’:
Tear the curtain of set ceremonies and rituals, and you will find that I am the worshipped, the worship and the worshipper.
Your first query is whether rituals are to be totally avoided.
In answer, I must tell you dear brother, that as the Avatar of the age, Meher Baba wants you to believe that He does not want the true worship of His lovers to be entwined with rites and ceremonies of ‘Yagna’ and ‘hom-havan’ or any other form of ritual.
Baba does not want His lovers to ever offer their prayers to Him padded with any sort of formal practice or set customs. Any ceremony, on which the rust of formal observance from past ages has long since set in, should never be entertained in His house of worship.
Baba has often stressed that He has come again as the Avatar of this age to cut clean through the things which restrict the voice of true worship of God to the point of strangulation.
Beloved Baba further clarifies that when love for God is expressed spontaneously, then it is worshipping Him indeed; and such outbursts of true worship can be seen sometimes in the form of an offering of flowers and garlands, in singing hymns and bhajans and arti, in ecstatic dancing or rolling in dust, etc.
When such expressions are spontaneous and not formal, and are in praise of the Highest of the High, they constitute true worship of God, for this reaches Him and is acceptable to Him.
But when the mind expresses itself in patterns of formal rites and rigid ceremonies, it is nothing more than an empty echo of the habit of countless generations, performed automatically without ‘heart’. Baba says that such worship not only does not reach Him, but holds the worshipper more firmly in the grip of ignorance.
The Ancient One Pg.191 – 193