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Sunday, December 21, 2014

PRAYER & Its Power

by Chinmaya

Climbing a flight of 200 stairs, as Surya reached the Shiva Temple at the peak of Mt. Bhupati, he reverentially stepped inside the shrine, kneeled down and with folded hands started chanting various prayer hymns to Lord Shiva. While chanting though, his mind felt ruffled; thoughts of his ailing mother at home and his ensuing Law exam kept him worried. Finishing the hymns, he started conversing with Lord Shiva, quite spontaneously and naturally, as if talking to an intimate acquaintance. He spoke about his mother’s illness and his exam, asking for Lord’s help. Very soon a deep sense of peace and assurance filled him… and he wondered – were those conversations indeed his prayers?

What is a prayer? Our inner concerns, feelings, desires when directed towards God usually gets called as prayers. Often this act of prayer is accompanied by gifts of flowers, fruits, wealth etc.

What makes us pray? Firstly, a firm conviction in God’s capacity to resolve our problems or satiate our desires plus a belief that God would “listen”.  Often this trust comes from “love” but could also be due to fear or influenced by social norms.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Fortunately No God Around

By Seeker

In his Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna class (12/16/2014, Tuesday) class, Swamiji emphatically said, "We are more fortunate than the people around Sri Ramakrishna." I cannot fathom the import of that statement. With great difficulty I imagine the form of Sri Ramakrishna in meditation. Many times this imagination may not be stable and attempts have to be made repeatedly to focus well so that the act of "seeing" Him becomes natural and uninterrupted. I wonder sometimes, when will this imagination be alive (i.e., the deity meditated upon responds to you continuously as any other person around you would do in your daily activity)? When will it happen? Some of you may imagine of His being alive much more concretely than I could do (as some of my fellow class-students revealed to me), nevertheless it is only a stronger imagination (although commendable).

In the midst of these struggles, if someone told me, all I have to do is to open my eyes and I will see Him, what more could I ask for? And the more wonderful surprise if I am told that I can not only see Him, but also talk to Him and even listen to Him! And furthermore, I am told that I can actually even serve Him by offering food or other essentials (if He accepts them)! After you have been told all that, you are also then told curtly, "You know what? You are actually more fortunate now by imagining Him. So forget this notion of actually seeing, listening to, talking to, serving Him." How would that go with you?