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Anil Kumar’s Talk on ‘PRAYERS’ during Deepavali festivals - 2001
Pranams at the Lotus Feet of our Bhagawan,
Brothers and Sisters!
often look to God in different ways. If we just ask anybody, why do you need
God? Do you need God at all? Why? Why do we need Him? How do we approach Him?
What is the loss if I do not know anything about God? What is the profit by
knowing God? What is the benefit by going to Him? What is the point of contact?
What is the contract between us? These are all certain thoughts that come to our
mind. In the light of Bhagawan's message, let us discuss this topic this
point of contact between a devotee and God, the process of contact, is PRAYER. A
devotee is in contact with God through the medium of prayer. Prayer is the only
means of communication between a devotee and God.
it necessary to pray? Why do we pray? Why should we pray? Most often when we
pray - let us be very frank - we pray when we are in dire need of Him. A family
problem makes me pray to Him. A political ambition makes me pray to Him. Social
status, financial gain, success in life, these are all the different things that
make me want to pray. We understand prayer to be a submission of requests, a
memorandum of appeals, a sort of help towards success.
friends this, in quintessence, is the real meaning of prayer for most of the
people. If you ask the followers of different religions, why do you pray? My
father is sick, so I pray to Him. Why do you pray? I want my son to get married.
Oh I see. (Even without your prayer, he can get married himself!) But still I
want to pray so that he may not make a wrong choice. In other words, the
marriage problem is the situation that prompts me to pray. I applied for a job
and I appeared for interviews. But still I prayed to Him that I might get a good
job. 'O God, Thou art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy Name. We want you to help me.
This is my problem, O God. Please help me!' This is the sort of prayer made by
the followers of all religions. But, spiritually speaking, that is a prayer made
out of utter and total selfishness, utter social selfishness. 'I am selfish. I
want to win the election. So I pray to Him.'
have one god (Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupati) here in our country and we pray to
Him, 'O God, I will offer You my hair if my son gets a seat in the engineering
college!' God, who is responsible for your hair, need not wait for a return of
the same hair! We have brought down God to the level of the hair! (It is also a
nice bargain because you don't lose anything: just wait for 15 days to have the
hair grow back again!) In other words, prayer has become a sort of business. 'I
offer You ten coconuts in the temple if I get a promotion.' Or, ' I offer You
twenty-five coconuts, if I get couple of Lakhs of my hundreds of thousands of
profit in my business.' Twenty-five coconuts may not cost you 100 rupees in
exchange for hundreds of thousands of rupees of profit! Ah-ha, that's wholesale
business! We want to bribe God. We want to please Him with our hair or coconut
or types of flowers in exchange for promotions, marriages, positions, or
you see God is not that poor of a businessman! He knows calculations! He's also
Manager of the Universe. We know only business management, MBA. But He knows the
management of the whole Universe! He's the Manager of the Cosmos. He knows the
value that you attach in these sorts of prayers.
In other words, today prayer has become a business transaction. Prayer is
business today as we do it. We have reduced prayer to the level of need-oriented
- an emergency situation: 'My relative is in the hospital!
I pray to You, God, please rush immediately from Heaven. See to it that
he will be healthy. You may be busy, but I'm not worried. My relation's in the
hospital! Rush immediately!
Shall I make You an ISD (international) call now?' (God is so secure that
He has no phone contacts. Good! Or else, had He had a phone number, He should
have had to have a receiver all over His body in order to receive all such
the point is, our prayer is only need-oriented. Prayer has become just a call of
necessity. Prayer has become a matter of business today, utterly and totally
selfish. Can I call it 'prayer'? Can I call myself 'religious'? Can I claim to
be 'spiritual'? Selfishness and spirituality are opposite poles. Actually
speaking, selfishness and religion can never go together. Selfishness
and spirituality are opposite poles, one positive and the other negative.
Such prayers are completely selfish.
what is prayer? What does Bhagawan
say about it? Why should we pray? What are the wider implications, the deeper
significance of prayer? Let us try to investigate this topic of prayer this
morning to the extent to which Baba prompts me from within to share with you.
Prayer to begin with is humility. Prayer is humility. Yes, I very well remember
what had happened in my school days. I was in the 12th class. I was asked to
offer prayer on the college school anniversary day, School Day. On that School
Day function, I was asked to pray. I learned by heart Rabindranath Tagore
prayer, "Where the mind is without fear, where the knowledge is free."
That's what I read at that time. "Where the clear stream of reason has not
lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit." I learned it by
heart. An hour before the function,
my class teacher called me. "Are you ready?" "Yes, Sir!"
"Come on, repeat now." "Where the mind is without fear, where the
knowledge is free...” That's what I said. He heard me patiently and then he
said, "This is not prayer." "What, Sir! This is prayer! What more
could be prayer?" He said, " You are praying as if you have caught
hold of the collar of God, 'Where the mind without fear, where the knowledge is
free...'. This is violent prayer. This is prayer out of pressure. It cannot be
called a prayer by any sense at all." Then he told me, "As you pray,
there should be humility. As you pray, there should be reverence. As you pray,
it carries with it a note of adoration, a worshipfulness, respect. But when you
pray, 'Where the mind without fear...', your voice is not in anyway
prayerful." That is the first lesson I have learned from him. Since then I
have understood that I cannot be loud in my prayers, that I cannot be rough and
tough or harsh while in prayer. So,
my friends, what is prayer?
The one who is not humble is not prayerful. He may offer prayer, but he is not
prayerful. Prayer is not reading and shouting loudly. Most
often we want to pray loudly so that everybody will know that we are a devotee
because 'devotee' has become a status symbol now.
So, 'Oh, let me say it loudly so that people will consider me a religious man, a
good man, a reliable man,' (though not true!). So we often do that. A man of
humility only can offer a true prayer. Ego
and arrogance have no place in this beautiful, wonderful act of prayer. Prayer
'O Lord, Swami, I pray that I'll be an instrument in Thy Hands. I am only an
instrument in Your hands, Bhagawan. I do not take credit for anything.' If I am
successful as a surgeon, yes! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! If I am successful as
a teacher, Hallelujah! Hail the Lord! Praise the Lord! So, everything goes as
praises to the Lord. I don't have any claim because I am only an instrument. The
mike cannot claim the quality of the speech. It is only an instrument to magnify
or amplify the sound. That's all. Similarly, prayer is submission, meaning, 'O
God! I submit myself in Your Hands as an instrument.' But we should be worthy
instruments. A doctor cannot work with instruments that are full of dust and
rust. The instruments must be sterilized. The instruments must be clean enough
so as to be used in the Operation Theater. Prayer is submission where we make
ourselves worthy of the Divine Mission.
somebody said, "O God! I dedicate my life. I offer my life to Your
Hands!" One gentleman spoke along those lines when Bhagawan was there in
Kodaikanal. He went on saying, "I dedicate my life. I give my life."
Swami heard patiently because Patience is Swami. Swami is Patience. He's patient
enough to bear with us. He is patient enough to bear with all our lapses and
misgivings and mistakes. So now at the end of the talk of that gentleman,
Bhagawan said, "You dedicate your life to Me? Do you know what is meant by
dedication?" That man said, "Swami, I offer myself unto You!"
"I see. First own your life first. Do you think that this body belongs to
you? No! Are you the owner of this body? No! Why? You see that which you should
not. You hear that which you should never hear. You think of that which you are
not supposed to. You visit those places, which should not be visited. So, the
senses are not under your control. The body is not under your control. And yet
you say, 'I dedicate my body to You, God!' How can you offer another man's
property as a gift to someone else? If I take your watch and say, 'I offer it to
you as my gift,' something is wrong with me. You should have authority. You
should have every claim on that. You should be an 'owner' to dedicate. You
should be an 'owner' to commit. You should be an 'owner' to donate.
Without any ownership, without any claim on that, 'I offer myself...’.
No, no, no! First, assess yourself whether you are an owner or not. When can you
be an owner? When you can control your sight, when you can control your
audition. So prayer is submission, meaning, claim the ownership first. Be the
owner, be the master of your body, of your life. Prayer: 'I submit this life
unto Thy Hands, my Lord. O Lord, I submit my life unto Your Hands as an
instrument for the fulfillment of Your Mission, O God! Make use of me.' That
should be the prayer. Prayer is submission. Third point is prayer is surrender.
But do we really surrender as we pray? No. Our prayers are conditional. 'If I
don't get through the examination, I will not go to the church for a year to
come! I will not see the face of God in the temple. Let Him start missing me at
least. Let Him miss me for some time! I am not going to live with this, my Lord,
if You fail me in the examination!' If everything is OK, we are prayerful. Or
else our attitude is 'Thank you and goodbye!'. This is not prayer. Prayer is
surrender. What do you mean by surrender? In Lord's Prayer we say, "Thy
Will be done on Earth as it is in Heaven." Not your will or my will. After
all my friends, if
we submit ourselves into the Hands of God with the total spirit of surrender,
unconditionally, do whatever You want. certainly we'll be on the positive side!
No doubt you are going to be beneficiary out of this spirit of render.
Prayer is surrender. The result may be positive or negative. You may pass in the
examination or fail. You may be profited in the business or you may be put to
total loss. But prayer is prayer. Preparedness, readiness for anything that
might happen in life, preparedness for anything, be it failure or success,
defeat or victory, whatever that might happen, is real prayer in the strict
why should I pray, if whatever is meant to happen is going to happen?' That may
be your question. 'Why should I pray after all? Whatever is bound to happen will
happen! Why waste our time? Why? If whatever is going to happen is certain, why
should I pray?' We pray only to give us the spirit to bear any suffering, the
courage to bear all situations or eventualities, and the spirit of preparedness,
to accept success and all positive things in life in all humility. Yes, that is
preparing psychologically or mentally to meet all situations, both positive and
negative. That is prayer.
prayerful man is never frustrated in life. A prayerful man is never egoistic in
life because he knows, 'Thy Will be done on Earth as it is God has got His own
Master Plan. Things happen according to His Master Divine Plan. It will happen.
What He wills, will happen, not what we choose or what we prefer. So prayer is a
preparation to meet any situation, not a choice or a preference. 'I pray to You,
God, in anticipation of my success in the examination.' No, no, that's not
prayer! 'I pray to You, God, in expectation of cure, or at least payment if the
small medical bills, if not the heavy medical bills.' That's not prayer! Prayer
is only a preparation to meet any challenges in life, that way or this way.
There's one character from Bhagavata. He is a little boy by the name of
Prahlada. Unfortunately in his family, he's a devotee and his father is a real
non-devotee! Opposition parties in the same family. It happens in every family!
When the father is a devotee, the mother is not. When the mother is a devotee,
the father is dead against it. When both of them are devotees, the children are
on the street! This has been a problem not only now. This has been there then
also. We are very much confused thinking that it is only our problem. No, no,
no. It is the problem of everyone everywhere since ages.
the point is that this little boy unfortunately had his father as the opposition
leader, questioning him all the time. The son says that there is God. Father
says that there is no God. The son wants to pray to God. But the father wants
him to pray to him only, not to anybody else. "Better you pray to me.
That's enough. Why God?" This has been a constant conflict, inciting
disturbances and much agitation. The father is driven to a situation so as to
take it as a challenge. "After all, a nursery school fellow! When the whole
world is at my beck and call, when all the stars and the planets and the sun and
moon, the seasons, the five elements, are all under my control, the dirty tiny
tot, an urchin, a nursery school fellow, how dare he says 'No!' to me!?! When
everybody prays to me out of fear, this boy says, 'Nothing doing. I pray to
God'! What's wrong with him???" The father took it as a challenge. He sent
Prahlada to schooling under able senior, experienced professors. Prahlada
converted those teachers also into devotees! "See, education is
useless!" Now the father resorted to violent methods. He has thrown
Prahlada from the mountaintops. He has allowed elephants to trample him with
their feet. The boy was bitten by snakes, but yet he survived all tests and
challenges! Bhagawan often recites one poem about this story. What does that
poem say? This young boy, Prahlada, never shouted, "Help me! Help me!
Help!" No, no, no, no. He did not ask for an ambulance to be brought there.
He did not shout for cab or police people to come to his rescue. No, no, no. Or
first aid to be brought. Nothing. He was only singing the Glory of God,
"Narayana, Narayana, Narayana!" He went on singing the Glory of God.
He never cried for help. He never cried due to any suffering. He never said,
"This is my state. O God, are You blind? Why don't You see me? Are You
blind? Don't You see me being thrown from the mountain top? Don't You see me
being thrown into the fire? What happened to You???" He didn't say that. He
only went on saying, "Narayana, Narayana, Narayana" prayer. What
happened? This prayer made Narayana to be at Prahlada's beck and call, just as
when an officer rings the calling bell, the peons will come running saying,
"Yes Sir, what can I do for you?" God has become this boy's servant
because the boy went on repeating His Name. He's ready to help Prahlada at any
time. Before the father threw Prahlada from the mountaintop, God was already
there to catch him. Something like a cricket ball caught by the players there!
God was ready to catch him so that he'll not be injured. If the boy is injured,
it is a matter of insult to God, not to the boy. When the boy is thrown into the
ocean, God was already there with His outstretched Hands, just to keep him
afloat so that he would not sink and drown. When Prahlada was thrown into the
fire, His Hands already were there, lifting the boy above the fire, so that he
was not burnt. Therefore my friends, this prayer of simply the repetition of His
Name unconditionally will save us at any and every point of time. We don't have
to ask Him. This is the efficacy and greatness of prayer.
Bhagawan tells repeatedly in most of His Discourses about this beautiful
example of Prahlada, who simply chanted His Name, never mentioning his
sufferings, never mentioning the scorching heat. He never mentioned the burning
sensation. He never mentioned the body pain, though he was put to all these
kinds of suffering. He was only chanting His Name. That is what we call 'prayer
is surrender'. "I'm ready, God! If You want to test me, OK, I'm
ready!" Yes! Prayer is
surrender. Prayer is humility. Prayer is submission. And then prayer gives
What is bliss? Bliss is not a worldly matter. Bliss is not a worldly feeling.
Bliss is not a physical object. Bliss is not a psychological state of mind.
Bliss is a non-dual, spiritual state where one is above success or failure. He's
above pain or pleasure. He's above profit or loss. That is, the non-dual state
is bliss. We often confuse bliss for happiness. No. Happiness is worldly, while
bliss is spiritual. So, that spiritual height, bliss, is prayer and prayer is
bliss. Prayer is for bliss and prayer is bliss. Prayer is to take you to bliss.
Prayer is to be blissful. Prayer is to enjoy bliss because bliss is prayer and
prayer is bliss. That's what should be. And then what else is prayer?
is a total dependence or reliance in God.
My friends, we depend on people. We depend on electronic gadgets. We depend on
electricity. Therefore, we often get power failure! We depend on people.
Therefore people become traitors. They betray us. We depend on money. But that
would not come to our rescue when we are in danger or any trouble. Many things
cannot be purchased. Many things cannot be acquired by money. Please understand
this. We depend on many, many, many undependable people and undependable
objects. Prayer wants you to depend
on God. Prayer wants you to repose faith in God. Prayer wants you to rely on
God, not on people, nor objects, nor on the world. When once we depend on God
through prayer, it is His responsibility to take care of us. It doesn't matter
even if we falter. It doesn't matter even if we just overstep. It doesn't matter
even if we overdo certain things. A simple example as Baba has given: A child
was walking along with the mother. The mother caught hold of the hand of the
child and she was taking the child around the garden for an evening walk. While
they were walking like that, a strong, grown-up boy came and said, looking at
the child, "Hey! I'll beat you! Take care!" He said it just in fun.
The child also said, "Come on! I will also kick you!" How can a child
fight with a grown-up boy? The child said, "I am ready to fight with
you!" Why? How? "My mother is here. I am safe. Come on. I'll beat you,
you useless fellow!" Because he caught hold of the hand of the mother, he
is ready to challenge any grown-up boy! Similarly, prayer is what we call
absolute dependence on God, total dependence on God. Let whatever things happen!
He will take care of me! That kind of assurance should be there.
simple example comes from John Hislop, whose name is quite familiar among Sai
devotees. He came to Puttaparthy long back. (Of course he made repeated visits
here. I am just narrating one experience out of many he had.) He wanted to
attend Sivarathri. He started his journey in his car. While the car was going
ahead towards Puttaparthy, it broke down in the middle of the thick forest. Some
problem was there. He got down out of the car. 'I should be there by tomorrow
morning for Darshan time. What an awful situation it is! This car broke down in
the middle of the way! What am I to do?' He got ready. He owns a car there in
his place. He wanted to repair it himself. He got his clothes spoiled, but he
could not repair the car. He wanted to put all the screws and nuts and bolts and
check up everything. He could not fix it. He called for the help of some other
people. They too helped by pushing it, thinking that it could then pick up some
speed. It did not move an inch! Well, he was fed up! ONLY THEN, he started
praying to Bhagawan, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram!" (In case of emergency, dial
number 100, the Control Room! It's the Control Room, don't you know that!?!) So
he started saying, "Sai Ram, Sai Ram!" (Number 100!)
"Emergency!" Immediately at that time a lorry was speeding that way. A
lorry was coming. The lorry driver got down from the truck and said, "May I
help you?" "Yes! This is my problem." He got down and repaired
it. Hislop said, "Thank you" and that truck driver left that place.
When Hislop was about to pay some money, he did not find the truck nor the
driver there. They vanished! He reached here on time and he sat there for
Darshan. Swami was passing by. He said, "Thank you, Bhagawan! Somebody
came, a driver came, and helped me so I could be here in time." Swami said,
"Driver? I am your driver. I am the driver! Why do you say 'driver'? I am
the driver!" (Hislop:) "Oh, Swami!" Then Bhagawan went and
stopped and looked behind and said, "Had you called for the driver earlier,
you would have been here one hour before! You would have been here one hour
before! You called for Me in the end, one hour or two hours later! What can I
do?! I was waiting there. You never called for Me. You wanted to repair it all
by yourself. All right. Manage, manage. I have other people to look to." So
my friends, prayer is total dependence on God. Like the child, our business is
to clasp and to hug Him so that He would land you to a safer place because in
His Hands you are quite safe and secure. That's the reason we say, 'O Father! O
Father! O Divine Father!' meaning it is the duty of the father to take care of
His children. Their security and the protection, they are His duties towards His
children. Therefore, prayer is total dependence.
is a process.
Prayer is timeless. Some people say before taking food, "Now let us pray.
Let us pray. Shall we say a prayer?" Oh I see. The rest of the day what are
you doing? Some people say, "My prayer time is six to seven." Oh-ho,
and the rest of the time? "My prayer time is three to four." No, no.
Prayer is timeless. We can continue to pray. 'Everywhere all the time think of
Me!' Thinking of God all the time, everywhere, is prayer. So my friends, prayer
cannot be brought within the framework of time. Prayer is timeless. Timelessness
is prayer. But we condition prayer to a day: "Sunday is the day of my
prayer." What are the rest of the days? What happens to the rest of the
days? "Friday is my prayer" or "Thursday is my prayer."
Horrible! No, no. Prayer is continuous. Prayer is one of continuity to Eternity!
Prayer is not for the moment. Prayer is not at the moment. Prayer is not a
particular place at a given point of time. Prayer is a continuous process.
Prayer is timeless. Prayer is beyond time and space. There's no particular place
for prayer to be offered. "Sir, I have got a puja room.:" Oh, I see.
There you pray? Outside? Play cards? Rest of the rooms, drink alcohol? What do
you mean? Every inch is a place, an altar. Every inch, every step is altar, a
holy shrine for God to reside in and receive your prayers. So yes, prayer is
is beyond space,
which has to go on while the breath continues. That's what Bhagawan says.
"Faith in God is your Swaasa, your breath." So when should you pray?
Until breath stops! How long should you pray? Until you stop breathing. Where
should you pray? Until you continue to breathe. So prayer is timeless,
spaceless, a continuous, eternal process not limited by time or space.
That's the reason why in the Holy Bible it is clearly said, "When you pray
there at the crossroads loudly, God is not going to hear. God is not going to
hear your prayers where you shout at the crossroads because you want the public
to know that you are a spiritual man. You want the recognition of society that
you are a spiritual, religious man. Prayer is not exhibition. Prayer is not
pomp. Prayer is not show. Prayer is simplicity. Prayer is personal. In a
discourse Swami narrated how he had saved the life of Sri Rajendran (Kodai Care
taker), who was very much present at the moment in life? Please understand this.
God is so intimate. God is so near. God is so dear. He will take you into His
confidence. We can just share whatever happens. Prayer is personal. Bhajan is
collective. Singing Bhajans is collective, meaning in a community. But prayer is
personal, where you alone open your heart to Him, "O God, this is the
thing." And you talk to Him openly. A simple example: Some of the people
who are privileged to have interviews tell, "Swami, I have committed a
mistake. It's my mistake, I admit, Bhagawan. Please excuse me." (Swami),
"Eh! Past is past. Forget about it. Past is past. Why you go into it?
Finished! Don't bother about it!" Why? God forgives. But man never
forgives. Man remembers into the next life also! He'll follow you, if possible!
Man never forgives! If
there is anyone who forgives unconditionally, He is God.
'There are certain things I have done which I don't want others to know.' God
will protect your dignity. He will uphold your respect. 'There are certain
things which I can't tell everybody because I'll be put to shame.' No man is
prepared to be put to shame. No man is prepared to be humiliated. No one is
prepared to be insulted. 'But there are certain things which I have done that
would put me to shame, insult and humiliation. With whom else can I confide
other than God? Prayer is personal, which you can tell to Him. And God will take
care of you.
simple example: (These are all from Swami's Discourses.) There was one scholar
who was very much appreciated by the king. He was very much appreciated and
patronized. He was always in the forefront. The king used to praise this
scholar, "You're a great man." Scholarship is competition. Scholarship
is ego. Scholarship is pride. So among scholars, there will be no unity. Among
scholars, you don't find any understanding. Scholars will not agree. They agree
to disagree because scholarship makes them so egoistic that it will not allow
them to agree with anybody. Even if you say, "There is broad
daylight", another scholar will say, "It could be much better."
If you say, "It is cloudy" he will say, "Yesterday it was much
more." The scholarship will not allow him to agree with you. So, many
scholars started hating him because this scholar was patronized, especially
preferred and praised by the king, which is natural. Other scholars went to his
house. "Do you think that you are a great man? Do you think that you are
unique? Come on, we challenge you! Let us argue now on this issue. Come forward
with your knowledge. Come forward with your scholarship. Let us see who will win
in this debate." Who is a scholar? A true scholar is one who has
equal-mindedness, the spirit of equality, the balanced state of mind, with no
feeling of superiority, with no complex whatsoever. He is a scholar in the true
sense of the term. This man got up and said, "Sir, I accept defeat in your
hands. Let me not argue with you. You think that I am a scholar. I do not know
whether I am a scholar or not. The king likes me. I don't know why. I know you
are greater than me. Why I was patronized, I do not know! Please leave me. I
accept my defeat in your hands." Further, the scholar went to the extent of
saying, "I will give you in writing, in black and white, OK? And then put
it in a sealed envelope. You can show it to the king so that he will not look at
my face next time; so that he will encourage you; so that he will patronize you;
so that you will get into his sight; so that you would be near him. The scholars
were very happy. This man wrote on paper, "O Lord, I lost in the hands of
the rest of the scholars. I am nothing in front of them." He gave that
letter signed, and put it in a sealed envelope. "Show to the king," he
said. That evening everybody assembled, including this man. "O King, you
think this scholar is a great man? No! He surrendered. Do you know that? He is,
after all, nothing in front of us. He gave it in writing." The king said,
"All right, read that letter." They opened the cover, took out the
letter, and read that letter. What was written there? "O King, all these
pundits are defeated by me! I won this morning. This is for your
information." In fact he had given that letter, accepting his defeat, in
the beginning. The whole letter is rewritten by God Himself! The letter is
rewritten by God Himself because the prestige of the devotee is the prestige of
God. The dignity of a devotee is the dignity of God. The respect of a devotee is
the respect of God because there is no difference between you and Him. Therefore
God will certainly uphold your dignity, your prestige. He'll never allow you to
be humiliated. He will never allow anyone to be put to shame at any point of
time. Prayer is personal. I can take Him into my confidence and tell Him all
that has been happening in the screen of my life, in the vistas of my life,
along the firmament of my life, across the horizon of my life. I pray with all
the diffidence, with all the regret and repentance, because prayer will make God
to forgive me. Forgiveness is Divine. Revenge is human. Vengeance is bestial. So
when once you consider prayer as personal, God is ready to forgive. Then from
all these steps we have to go further.
Prayer is not isolation. Prayer is not aloneness. Prayer is not solitude. Prayer
is togetherness. What is togetherness? You must be seeing and listening to the
prayer given before the Divine Discourses on all occasions there in Prashanthi
Nilayam. A few boys come and recite a few slokas. (Anil Kumar recites a Sanskrit
prayer frequently chanted.) What does it mean? They are not meaningless mantras.
They are not mantras simply learnt by heart and repeated verbatim. They have got
depth. They are pregnant with depth. They have got profound meaning. What does
it say? The opening stanzas, the opening prayer before the commencement of the
Divine Discourse conveys this message:
us move together. Let us grow together, one another. Let us move together and
grow in intellect. Let us grow together along the path of wisdom, in
intelligence. As we grow together, let us move together without
misunderstanding, without conflict, without fighting. Let us grow in strength.
Let us grow in affluence, in plenty and prosperity. Let us grow in strength and
is the opening prayer. Prayer is togetherness. Prayer is living together,
growing together, being considerate towards one another, and showing concern for
others. That is prayer. A man of prayer has always concern for others. My
friends, most of you must be familiar with Bhagawan’s beautiful definition of
'culture'. It was Eliot who said, "Way of life is culture." Eliot's
definition, a famous writer of English literature, he said, "Culture is a
way of life." But Bhagawan Baba has said - He has gone a step further - He
said, "Concern for others is culture." When I sit there in Darshan
line, if I go on pushing everybody, I'm uncultured. If I don't allow you to see,
I'm uncultured. If I am a block in front of you, I'm uncultured. If I'm not
decent enough, if I am not disciplined, I am uncultured. Therefore, concern for
others is culture. Prayer is growing together, growing together in harmony, in
unity, in perfect understanding. We are all fellow pilgrims along the same
pilgrim path, in the same process of pilgrimage. We are all on pilgrimage
towards God at the pilgrim center of Prashanthi Nilayam. We are all fellow
travelers. That is a prayer.
What do I mean? Towards the end of Bhajans, what do we say? "Loka Samastha
Sukino Bhavantu." Our prayer is not absolutely individual. Our prayer is
not absolutely limited to personal gain. But yet it is universal: Loka Samastha
Sukino Bhavantu. I don't pray for the prosperity of India, for the prosperity of
Andhra Pradesh, for the prosperity of Puttaparthy, for the prosperity of me
alone. It is not prayer! No, no, no, no. God
has got 'filter paper' to filter out nonsensical, whimsical prayers! (Anil Kumar
jokes:) That's why He adjusts His hair quite often! His crown of hair serves as
a filter not to permit in such prayers. He permits that which should be
permitted, not all the nonsense. So nicely He adjusts His hair! "Start the
prayer..." So beautiful to look at that scene. When the wind god is anxious
to touch Him, this God adjusts the hair as it begins to toss either way like the
sunflower or the daffodils moving along with the music of the wind, exactly to
the beat of the wind. Right? Music is there in the wind. Why not? There is music
in the sound. So, as the flowers are tossed, His hair also tosses, He adjusts
this 'filter paper' so as not to hear false prayers, selfish prayers, brutal
prayers, or violent prayers.
do you mean by violent prayer? Most of you must have been seeing newspapers
recently. A famous film actor has been abducted or kidnapped by a gangster named
Veerappan. Newspapers say he prays every day. 'Oh-ho, you pray so that you can
successfully kidnap some more? You pray so that you can successfully kill as
many as you want?' That is violent prayer, harmful prayer.
So in a universal prayer like Loka Samastha Sukino Bhavantu, Loka means
the entire universe. This means it is not only for humanity, but also for the
animal world, for the plant world, for the mineral world, for the whole
universe. 'O God, You have manifested in the form of matter, in the form of a
plant, in the form of an animal, in the form of a human being. Yes! Let the
entire creation, let the whole of the Universe, be happy, and be comfortable.'
That prayer is universal.
friends, prayer has got a multi-dimensional approach, a multi-dimensional
purpose, a multi-dimensional benefit. Prayer has to be viewed from that
standpoint or point-of-view. It is not a telegram sent in a state of emergency!
Nor is it merely shouting. Somebody
was once praying to God, "God, you should help me!" A modern man with
the latest computer education, a man of science and technology, who is abreast
of all laser sciences, he came and said, "You are praying to God. I hear
your voice. But do you think God will hear your voice? Where is God? I hear your
prayer. But do you think God will hear your prayer? Where is He? How long is He?
How distant is He?" Then this
first man said, "God is at that distance as to hear my voice. To the extent
that my voice reaches Him, He is there. If my voice could reach that distance,
He'll be there. So the distance between God and me is the same as the sound that
could travel to that distance. The sound that could be heard, to that extent God
my friends, these are all the different aspects of prayer which should elevate
us from level to level. As we pray and pray and pray, what is the end of prayer?
What is the end of prayer? To become prayer yourself! Then you do not exist.
Only prayer remains. 'I pray to God.' There are three: I am here. God is there.
Prayer is in between. Pray and pray until 'I' does not exist. I am no more. Only
prayer remains. That state of loss of entity, that state of loss of identity,
that state of disappearance of my name and form, where God only exists in the
prayer, when I am no more, that is the end of prayer. The end of prayer is
prayer. There's one character in Holy Bible: Eleisha. He prayed and prayed and
became prayer himself. Like that, we must pray and pray such that prayer remains
and we disappear.
Bhagawan bless you. Before I take leave of you, let me convey my Deepavali
Greetings to all our friends here. Deepavali is a holy festival where the
lighting of the lamps take place all over. The lamps are lit everywhere.
Deepavali is a day of darkness. You don't find any moon that night. It is pitch
dark in the night. Then we light the candles. It only means we are in the
darkness of attachment. We are in the darkness of delusion. We are in the
darkness of ignorance. We are in the darkness of bondage. We are in the darkness
of the world. We are in the darkness of lust and greed. We are in the darkness
of anger. So, we are in this darkness of suffering. We are in the darkness of
considering ourselves only matter, only physical. On Deepavali, the festival of
the lighting of the lamp, we travel from darkness towards the light. That light
is knowledge. That light is spirituality. That light is wisdom. That light is
effulgence, Self-luminous, Self-radiant. The Self-luminous, the Self-radiant
light is your own spirit. Your own spirit is the light and the delight to the
entire world. Deepavali is the day
of travel from darkness towards light. That's the reason why every shrine of
every religion will have lights. There in a church, we light the candle. The
candles are kept there at the altar. 'O God, allow me to travel along the path
of light.' So Deepavali is the day,
a celebration of light, the light of knowledge, the light of discrimination, the
light of the spirit, the light of consciousness, the light of wisdom, the light
that takes you towards the goal or objective of life, cut off from the darkness
of the mundane, ephemeral, momentary life of selfishness, cut off from the life
of darkness. The lighting of the lamp represents the purification and the
identification of the mind with light, so that the Self-effulgent, brilliant
Self-light would shine forth and spread everywhere.
Bhagavan bless you on this Holy Day of Deepavali.