Why should we pray?
By Sanskrit Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)
There are many among us claiming to be rational and argue that if at all there is God and if He knows everything, why should anyone pray to Him to be redeemed of his or her sufferings? If He is full of mercy and love, why should He make you suffer? This is a basic question anybody could ask us. To arrive at a solution, we should try to understand what suffering is. This question was asked to Rev. Chariji Maharaj once during a discussion. In a flash, Rev. Chariji Maharaj replied, “That which you don’t like”. This very crisp and apt answer of Rev. Chariji Maharaj points out that when we are faced with some situations which we do not like, we try to escape from there. Then we try to find means for it. We have to spend a lot of time and energy over this. Thus, we suffer. If we do not get the desired object, that leads us to dejection and despair forming impressions and subsequently we have to suffer. So, it is understood that God does not make you to suffer. He has given us, as Rev. Chariji Maharaj used to say, two potential objects, ‘Will to act’ and ‘Intellect to judge’. If we use it in the right way, even the sufferings become His blessings! In fact, the fifth maxim of Rev. Babuji Maharaj says, “Be truthful. Take miseries as Divine blessings for your own good and be thankful”. It is clear from this that we should not pray to get away from sufferings.
Rev. Chariji Maharaj used to quote one poem of Saint Kabir which sys, “When I am happy, I don’t think of the Lord. When I am suffering, I think of Him. Therefore, I prefer suffering than to be happy”. Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said, “Where can we find such matchless Ṛṣis of India who prayed to God that all the sufferings of this world should come to them?” So, we do not pray for getting rid of petty problems, be they of any nature.
Then why should we pray? First of all, when we pray sincerely, we try to establish our link with God. So, Prayer plays an important role in our union with God. Secondly, when we pray, we submit before the Lord Almighty our meekness, our inability and accept his superiority and greatness. Thus, automatically humility sets in our mind and when practised sincerely our attitude towards others also changes. It is worthwhile to remind here what Rev. Chariji Maharaj said about the need for an abhyāsi. He said, “An abhyāsi should always have humility”. Thirdly, when we pray to the Lord, we forget ourselves, i.e., we do not pray with the consciousness that ‘I am a millionaire’, ‘I am healthy’, ‘I am an intellectual’ etc. During the Prayer, everyone bows his/her head before the Lord or the Master and everyone becomes equal before Him!. Fourthly, Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said, “When the world emerged into the present form, the central point was already rooted deep in all the beings. This central point rooted in us being a part of the Supreme, turns our attention towards the Source. In Prayer, we try to reach upto the same central point”.
There is also another important reason for resorting to Prayer as an effective means in our sādhana. What cannot be achieved by human strength, human effort, human knowledge and will power can be achieved by our sincere prayer, from the deep core of our hearts. We have thousands of examples, where lives of people have been saved not due to the best available medical facilities but miraculously due to the ‘Prayer’ of the people from their hearts!
In Voice Real, Rev. Babuji Maharaj has given one example of a person who went to Him and said that he was not feeling the transmission though he had been trying to do meditation regularly for months. Rev.Babuji Maharaj has stated that though He was transmitting it was not going into the heart of the abhyāsi. It was not penetrating as there was resistance or a block like a big rock. So, he asked the abhyāsi to pray for six months sincerely. And after six months, Rev. Babuji was happy to find that the transmission, indeed, could enter the heart of the abhyāsi. So this is the efficacy of Prayer. Hence, Prayer forms an important role in our sādhana.
We can realise from this the efficacy of the Prayer and hence Prayer proves to be an indispensible aspect of our sādhana.