By Sanskrit Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)From time immemorial, human beings have been praying to gods of various names and forms for different things. Let us see our mode of worship from the historic past. Rev. Chariji Maharaj has written on this aspect in an article entitled “The Beauty of Sahaj Marg” (published in the Souvenir released on the occasion of the inauguration of the Ashram at Tinsukia, Assam and subsequently published in the Principles of Sahaj Marg (Volume 1). He has analysed beautifully the ‘aspect of worship’, how it underwent some modifications. First the man worshipped the Nature. Then he began to worship the powers behind the Nature. Later on, he gave some form to each of the power and then began to worship these forms. Thus, when we look into the earliest text of this world, viz., the Ṛg Veda, we find that nearly one-third of the text is devoted to Indra, who is the most powerful God, followed by Agni (Fire), Varuṇa etc. Then, as the days progressed, the worship of the Trinity, i.e., Brahma, Viṣṇu and Śiva came into prominence. Now, we find thousands of temples in India which makes us feel as if gods are being created or invented with so many names and forms for which we do not have any reference in the scriptures.
After the Karma Kāṇḍa portion (i.e., sections dealing with various rituals), in the Upaniṣadic time, Jñāna Kāṇḍa portion (section dealing with transcendental knowledge), the superiority of Brahman, the Absolute without names, forms and attributes was emphasised. So, the saints exclaimed, “kasmai devāya haviṣā vidhema” (To which God shall we offer sacrifice).
But, how to pray to the Reality without name and form? Can it be done? Is it correct? Lord Kṛṣṇa says in the Bhagavadgītā thus:
avyaktā hi gatirduḥkhaṁ dehavadbhiravāpyate”
(“It is more difficult to worship the Unmanifest Reality. And those who do so have to undergo lot of sufferings”).
That is why the Lord says very often in the Bhagavadgītā to worship Him, to be devoted to Him and to surrender to Him. He was the living Guru for Arjuna and also the Personality (Avatāra)) for that period and hence, he advised so. Rev. Babuji Maharaj has also said (Deva Vani p.284), “We should always pray to the Supreme Master, the omnipotent and the omniscient alone with a mind totally absorbed in love and submission to him forgetting even ourselves altogether. One should always pray to Him alone who is the Master in the true sense. I do not think it proper to pray to the slaves, i.e., to those powers which are sub-ordinate to man and which are potentialised by him. The ravages of time have now reduced them to a consumptive state. This is the proper way of offering prayer, which in such a state seldom goes unrewarded”.
Rev. Chariji Maharaj has told us once that when His Master Rev. Babuji Maharaj was in the hospital, even some of our senior preceptors had a doubt whether to pray to Rev. Lalaji Maharaj or God or to Rev. Babuji Maharaj Himself for His health. Rev. Charii Maharaj said, “Even for His health, we should pray to Him alone”. And also it is the duty of every sincere abhyāsi to pray for the health of Rev. Master.
Now, let us see our Mission Prayer. It reads - “O Master
Thou are the real goal of human life
We are yet but slaves of wishes putting bar to our advancement
Thou art the only God and power to bring us upto that stage”.
Rev. Babuji Maharaj has prescribed this prayer to all of us. Regarding the mode of offering the prayer, He says, “One thing more by way of practice is to offer daily the above brief prayer at bed time in the most supplicant mood and with a heart overflowing with love for the Divine”. He adds, “Repeat the above in your mind once or twice and meditate over it for a few minutes. The prayer must be offered in such a way as if some most miserable man is laying down his miseries with a deeply affected heart before the Supreme Master, imploring his mercy and grace with tearful eyes. Then alone can he become a deserving aspirant of spirituality”.
Now, let us analyse the Prayer of our Mission. It is addressed to the Master. Rev. Chariji Maharaj has said that God’s function was over after the creation of this universe. Thereafter, it is the work of the Master. The Master comes essentially for the change. Hence, our Prayer is always addressed to the Master. Moreover, Rev. Babuji has said, “God is mindless”. Our sacred texts also accept that God is attribute-less. Hence, when we pray to God, how can He receive our Prayer? Therefore, the divine takes the human form whom we address as MASTER, only to bring us all to our Original Source, our Homeland, which is Himself!
In the human form, He possesses the mind to receive our prayer. More than that, He has a heart which is full of love, affection, compassion to all the beings. Thus, our link with the Ultimate is established through Him. It is easier for the human beings to love the one with form and He exists in this form. Nevertheless, we have to go beyond form as Rev. Chariji Maharaj said, “We have to love Him both at the human level and at the divine level”.
The first line of the prayer says, “Thou art the real goal of human life”. It says that He is the real goal and not the stages like liberation, realisation etc. Rev. Chariji Maharaj once narrated an incident. Once in Shahjahanpur, an abhyāsi prayed to Rev. Babuji Maharaj to bless him with Brahmanda Mandal. After the abhyāsi left, Rev. Babuji Maharaj told Rev. Chariji Maharaj, “Look here, Parthasarathi, when I am here he wants Brahmanda Mandal. Rev. Chariji Maharaj told us then that He felt so sad because when the Centre itself (i.e., Master) is there, the abhyāsis are craving for this region and that region etc. Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said that if we fix our goal correctly, most of our job is over. This first line our our Prayer gives the correct picture of our goal, what we should aspire for in this life.
The second line says, “We are yet but slaves of wishes putting bar to our advancement”. It says that we pray with a selfish notion. “I want this, I want that” etc. Thus, we are only slaves of our own desires. This is a hindrance for our progress.
The third line says, “Thou art the only God and power to bring us upto that stage”. Here, we address Him as the God and also power. Many spiritual leaders have said, “God is Power”. But Rev. Babuji Maharaj has said, “God is powerless”.
Once, Rev. Chariji Maharaj clarified this point to us during a discussion. He said, “God cannot be power, for when power is generated, there should be disintegration. How can there be disintegration in the omni-pervasive God?” Here comes the beauty of Sahaj Marg. In our Prayer, we say, “O Master.. Thou art the only God and power to bring us upto that stage”. It means that Master possesses that which God does not possess and also He brings us all towards Himself, which the God cannot do (perhaps, this is a divine mystery that God Himself has chosen!). The Master does not merely push us or place us in that condition but He brings us. Thus, all along we feel his presence, His company with us, starting from the beginning in our path ‘Towards Infinity’ till we find Himself as the ‘Infinity’. On and on we go. Nay, He brings us. Thus, He is always in us, with us. Therefore, we feel the manifestation of the Master at all levels. Is it not a wonder that He transforms us into that Infinity that He Himself is!
Another aspect to be noted in the last line of our prayer is that we say to the Master that He alone is capable of bringing us to that stage in which He is and we do not crave for His power, His position etc. It is also important to note that a disciple can always be a disciple and never a Master! Because, in our Puraṇas, we find lot of stories. The classic examples of Hiraṇyakasipu, Ravana etc. who wanted to usurp the position of God or who wanted to be God were all destroyed. But the devotees like Dhruva, Prahlada and others who prayed to the Lord only to surrender themselves became immortal.