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Om Sai Ram

Om Sri Sai Nathaya Namah.

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Sunday, November 15, 2009


Time and again, we have judged others, others have judged us and so on – on the prayer factor. “She is so amazing, she prays so much” or “He is so awful, he does not even take the name of God”. All statements we can hear so easily, say so easily, without even realising that we are making the biggest error, today, of making prayer a measuring tool for good or bad.

Furthermore, it gets worse. So many people project themselves as ‘prayerful’ people, only to be accepted socially. If it is not that, then everyone is praying for a desired goal to achieve. Mantras that were taught in schools and other institutions were for bettering people, but unfortunately, today, they are used for achievement of health, wealth and everything else. The actual essence of what the Gita or the Vedas were trying to teach us got lost in the wild maze of desires. So one must have desires, in fact, but one must use the mind to achieve them and use prayers and mantras to focus the mind.

Contrary to this, however, things have changed today. We all make it a ritual that we must sit to pray for the desires of the day or we all must feed some hungry person out there so that the gods are pleased and abundance will fall in our laps. The whole concept is lost; to find it, one should start with the essence – what is the meaning of prayer? In a nutshell, it means devotion. All our sacred books tried to teach us that the highest form of devotion is first to oneself. A very powerful phrase said by a master was, ‘Hands that help are holier than lips that pray.’

A point to be noted here is, how many of us are actually doing this? It is very easy to feed thousands of people and feel great about it, but the question is, was it done out of
an ulterior motive, to achieve something else, or was it done because somewhere, there is a great urge to help? The philosophies do say that it is good to feed and clothe the hungry, but the best service rendered is when one can teach another enough to earn a livelihood on their own strength, instead of always making them rely on other people’s help, which slowly becomes a bad habit. Service to others is a very good way to transform each one of us into a better person, as with service, the compassionate self within us takes birth.

That is what prayer is. Pray to tap your own good qualities and to source your inner strengths to achieve things, and pass it on to others so that they can achieve too. This is what devotion is. As the Gita suggests, the highest prayer is to oneself. Just correcting our wrongs, establishing the good through our own conduct and spreading it to others is the best mantra. There’s no point in reciting mantras the whole day when every action that follows is nowhere near goodness, nowhere near kindness. So many of us pose as great donors to charities, so many of us want to be awarded for our undying faith and the good work we’ve done, but this is all trivial. What one needs to do is find one’s own self and help others find themselves, and the world will change into a better place. So instead of wasting time sitting and praying, why not get up, go out there and change the world in whatever small way you can? This is the best mantra.

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