By Sanskrit Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)
This is very important because Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said, “Whenever a man enters into that state, even for a moment, his prayer is granted”. Therefore, having established our link with the Supreme Master through Prayer, is it not foolish to pray for petty worldly things? Rev. Babuji Himself says, “It is folly to pray to God for petty worldly ends except in most exceptional cases when peace of mind is greatly disturbed for want of bare necessities”. Rev. Chariji Maharaj also has said, “We should pray only for noble things and we should pray without any selfish notions. Very often, when our prayers are answered we are in trouble”! He has also said that we should not pray for the relief from head-ache, for getting money or even for knowledge. Therefore, we have to be very careful even when He asks us, “What do you want?” We should say, “Nothing except you, Master”, for everything other than Him is only transitory.
Unfortunately, in all our religious literature, including our sacred Vedas, we find the sages praising the powers of Nature or Gods and praying to them to bless them with wealth, health, progeny, strength etc. Even the first Ṛg of the Ṛg Veda (considered to be the oldest literature) says,
“agnimīḻe purohitam yajñasya devaṁ ṛtvijam hotāraṁ ratnadhātamam”
(“I worship the Fire, who is the priest, the deity of the sacrifices, the knower of Vedas, the performer and one who gives the precious jewels”).
Similarly, all throughout the Stotra literature, we find people glorifying the various gods and finally begging the gods to bestow upon them various benefits.
In the Bhagavadgītā (VII.16), Lord Kṛṣṇa says,
“caturvidhā bhajante māṁ janāḥ sukṛtino'rjuna
ārto jijñāsurarthārthī jñānī ca bharatarṣabha
(“O, Arjuna, four types of people worship Me. They are those who are afflicted, those desirous of knowledge, those desirous of wealth and a Jñānī”). But of these four, who is the best? The Lord answers (VII.17) thus:
“teṣāṁ jñānī nityukta ekabhaktirviśiṣyate
priyo hi jñānino'tyarthamahaṁ sa ca mama priyaḥ”
(Among these, the Jñānī, who is ever established in Me with single-minded devotion, is the best. I am dearest to him and so is he to Me”)
This also clearly shows what we should pray for. Rev. Chariji Maharaj referred one incident during His speech on 30th April 1986 (Rev. Babuji Maharaj’s 87th birth anniversary celebrations) at the Congress Grounds in Chennai. An abhyāsi was about to leave Shahjahanpur after staying with Rev. Babuji Maharaj for some day. Rev. Babuji Maharaj asked him, “What do you want?” The abhyāsi replied, “Babuji, I want 25 paise to go to my village”. Later, Rev. Babuji Maharaj remarked, “This man had come all the way to Shahjahanpur and what he got was only 25 paise”.
It is also important to note that most of us pray only with selfish notions, i.e., ‘I’ predominant. I pray for my wealth, health, to get rid of diseases, for my spiritual progress. Rev. Chariji Maharaj said once, “To Rev. Babuji Maharaj also we prayed like that, when He was in the physical frame. When He was in the hospital, some abhyāsis prayed to Him for liberation, Central Region, Realisation etc. before He passed away. Just imagine, what would have He thought at that time. How much of agony and suffering He would have undergone at that time. He would have felt, ‘Look, these people don’t want me. They want only Central Region etc. There will be someone who will come next to me. He would give them all these. Let me go away”. This is a very, very great lesson for us that we should be aware of what we pray for”.
Rev. Chariji Maharaj has also said, “Wrong prayer gives you wrong result”. We have many stories in our mythologies to illustrate this. Let us see one simple story. One demon (Bhasmasura) did penance for a long time and when Lord Śiva appeared before him and granted him a boon, he prayed, “Lord, on whose head I lay my hand upon, his head should be burnt to ashes”. This was granted. He wanted to test this on Lord Śiva Himself and poor Śiva ran from him! At last, Lord Viṣṇu had to come in the form of a beautiful damsel and made the demon touch his own head so that the demon was burnt to ashes.
So, we should always pray for the noble cause, for the right cause. We should always pray for the ‘highest’ that He can give us. And what is that ‘highest’? Nothing except Himself! So, we should always pray to Him for Him alone and not for the things that He can give us, however great that may be. In The Garden of Hearts, Rev. Chariji Maharaj has pointed out this great truth with the story of Arjuna and Duryodhana. Before the Mahābhārata war started, both of them went to Lord Kṛṣṇa seeking His help. Arjuna said, “My Lord, I want only You”, whereas Duryodhana was happy to take all the army of the Lord. We know what happened in the end.
This teaches us a great lesson that when the Master Himself is with you, what is the need for anything else at all?” I we possess all the wealth in this world and yet do not possess Him, then it is absolutely useless. On the other hand, even if we don’t possess anything materially and possess Him in us always, we are the monarchs. As Rev. Babuji Maharaj said very clearly that not even all the riches of the greatest emperor of this world could be equal to the one what Rev. Lalaji Maharaj gave Him. What was that? Rev. Lalaji Maharaj gave Himself to His disciple Rev. Babuji Maharaj.
Therefore, we should pray to the Master that we need Him and Him alone and not for things that He can give us. If we pray sincerely like this, even He won’t have any choice and He will yield Himself as He is always ready to give, Nay, He is always giving – giving Himself. Once, Rev. Babuji Maharaj said, “Spirituality is a charitable work. The Master always gives to whom-so-ever comes to Him because of His compassion and love towards all the beings. He goes on giving. We have to pray in such a way that He is always in us. Now, we come to the most important and final question which will be addressed in the next article.