Why do we pray?

This article is graciously provided for republication by the author, Dr. Dinesh Sharma, an Ayurvedacharya, consultant Vastu Master, Vedic Astrologer and Ayurvedic Physician and teacher in the Himalayan Tradition of Yoga and Meditation for more than 30 years.

Why do we pray?Prayer relates to our faith towards an unfathomable power, which no one has seen or understood. Observing the systematic creation of this vast universe, milky ways, innumerable galaxies, billions and trillions of stars we deduce that there must be some creator. The water, seasons, sun rays and the fertility of earth support millions of species and billions of lives providing food and sustenance under a well coordinated system. This makes us postulate that someone is running this huge and gigantic show.

Our sensory perceptions and mind work in the limit of a body, which is minuscule in this huge system. The way a tiny fish can never see the vast ocean in which it floats all the time, our limited tools of contemplation fail to resolve this eternal mystery. Though we cognize and use our sense of reasoning to arrive at a conclusion but the informations with which we argue are again man made so the exercise turns fruitless.

Life humbles even the most hardcore atheist to 'surrender' in crucial moments. Prayer in true sense is this 'submission'. The genetic seed of gratitude and thankfulness brings this dedition. When man became social and learned to cultivate, he felt gratitude towards the nature for the reward of his hard labor. With reverence he offered a portion of the fruits of his toil to some unknown power, which provided him sustenance through a systematic providence. This obligation gradually turned into faith through devotion as the humanity evolved.

The core of prayer is the expression of gratitude.

In the subsequent millennia the simple prayer became ritualistic, formal and presumptuous when the organized religions started enslaving human mind for vested interests. Benediction got prejudiced and conditioned with the bias of sects and religions. It got worse when religions became political tools of exploiting the masses. Ritualistic conceit and supercilious pretensions got sanctity through books and sermons. Prayer places turned into the seat of political power balancing. Religious heads and politicians started conniving for mutual interests. They created a system to rule by coining words like right, wrong, sin, heaven and hell. Each continent witnessed almost similar establishment of such politico-religious power centers. Any uncomfortable question challenging the authority of the organized religion was dealt with cruel and stern punishment in the name of God. Prophets and saints, who preached direct connection with the ultimate reality through simple worship, were tormented throughout their lives. Later their messages were completely distorted to the tune of organized religions.

Prayer lost its true nature and purpose and got enslaved in the dichotomy of languages, verses, formalities and ceremonial conventions.

But what really is the prayer?

Prayer is when we bow in gratitude for what we have. Prayer is when we are grateful for the eyes which help us see this beautiful world, for the limbs which help us work, for the intellect which helps us plan our life. Prayer does not need any book, ritual, verse, guru or sermon. True prayer is unfettered of time, space or any sort of command. Prayer is when we cede with tranquility, purity, whole heartedly to that formless, omnipotent eternal energy which is beyond our reasoning and limited contemplation.

Attached with greed and desires, prayer turns into sort of a business with God. When we think of God to be an accountant, who keeps score of our material offerings, we degrade ethereal nature of the prayer. Prayer is not an indulgent tool to improve next life or for the direct access to heaven.

Selfless and benevolent resolve which heals sufferings and brings peace to the disturbed is also form of the prayer. Such service helps us to co-exist in this world with a guilt free, peaceful and joyful conscious with which we beseech contentment and elation for one and all.

'May we all live peacefully without any pain or fear to experience the beautiful moments of togetherness on this planet.'


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