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 Title : WHY DO WE PRAY Author : Mr Rasik Bihari Manjul

There is no religion in this world where there are no beautiful prayers. Even in Islam, in which there is violence, cruelty, sex, and in which there is no forgiveness, no abstinence, no self-control, no humility, no tenderness of heart, no truth, no contemplation, no sacrifice, no disinterestedness, no bachelorhood, there are excellent prayers of God. The Shiv-panchakshari Sankalp in Hinduism is observed as Namaz five times in a day. Even so, somehow, I like the great prayers of God mentioned in the Veds. Actually, the Islam is diametrically opposite of the Hindu principle "There is no greater religion than doing good unto others, and there is no greater contrary to religion than creating trouble for others." A non-Muslim is called ‘Kaffir" in Islam, and there is to be no soft treatment for him, according to Islam. In spite of this, Islamic prayers are to be performed five times every day in various postures, sometimes kneeling, sometime sitting on the haunches, sometimes standing, and sometimes lying prostrate on earth, and all are incomparable. If this was not something great, why would Mahatma Gandhi, ever devoted towards prayers, use the word "Allah" in his daily prayers? I firmly believe that the beloved God of every Hindu, Lord Shiva, is the very Msakkeshwar Mahadev whom every Muslim calls "Sang-E-Aswad" or the Black Stone and kisses it with great devotion and love. The black Shaligram is supposed to have become so soft and plain because of all kinds of animals have been rubbing it with their tongues, and just in the same way, the Black Stone has also become soft and loving because of being kissed by all those Muslim devotees. This is a known fact. When I understood this fact, I have also decided to say each word of my prayers five times, and I have been following it religiously. But have you ever thought why there are all these prayers of God in the first place? These prayers exist, because every human soul is tied by three kinds of bondages. He is unable to release himself from them, which is why in defeat, he prays the Lord God to release him and give him the joy of salvation.

You must be thinking, what is this prayer? I will tell you. I will tell you the prayer - Mantra - as well as the three bondages. Now please pay attention: O Treasure of All Virtues Worthy of Selection, O Most Beautiful Lord, if our bondages are above, release them above, if they are in the middle, release them there, if these are below, release them below, and destroy them. O Immortal, O Unending One, (release us) so that we may be perpetually devoted unto you, may we live completely without sin for ever. (RigVed 1/24/15).

Note: The word "Varun" appears repeatedly in the Veds, but it does not denote the God of Rains or Water, but it denotes the Supreme God.

In this Mantra, however, the word "Varun" indicates neither of the above. Here, it means "worthy of selection"; and one selects only the best. The Supreme God is not just beautiful, He is the most beautiful. There cannot be anything more beautiful than Him. If He was not the most beautiful there would be no beauty in this world. All the beauty in the world is only because of Him. He is so beautiful that the soul gets attracted to Him immediately.

The real meaning of the Mantra: "O Varun! Kindly release us from our intellectual, mental and desire-related bondage which are above, in the middle and below, respectively. O Aditya! So that we may live without any sins perpetually abiding your rules."

If man had so much power that he could release himself from all the sins committed in all those lives, why would he seek the support and help of God? The elephant asked frantically for His help only because he could not release his leg from the crushing jaws of the alligator. It was only when no one responded to Draupadi’s calls for help that she desperately called Him. It was only when all efforts of Arjun failed that he sought help of Lord Krishna, and then Lord Krishna advised him about his duties in the Geeta. Same is the case of every soul mired in the cycles of worldly affairs. The soul beseeches the Supreme Soul, "O Varun, kindly release these bondages which hold us in captivity." When the devotee is unsuccessful in all his attempts, what alternative remains there for him, other than that he should request the all-powerful God to release him from the bondages of all these excellent qualities (Intelligence, physical courage and bravery, and momentary, temporary pleasures derived from desires)? Just think, what a great prayer this is, which requests the God to release him from these three bondages. These are the three bondages that are hurdles on the way to salvation.

When the God, hearing this desperate prayer, slowly releases the soul from the bondages, the soul, enjoying himself in the sea of utter joy and happiness, experiences total freedom and a complete oneness with all the world. He feels that He is not away from me, nor am I away from Him.

What a wonderful, logical, psychological and spiritual this prayer is! Can the soul ever be able to cut away from these bondages all by himself, without the blessings and help from God? Never! He requests God to cut the bondages and let them fall down, because he does not want them to go to his head again.

Now, the question is, why does the soul prays God to cut the bondages, rather than doing so himself? He does want to free himself, but he cannot, because he does not possess sufficient powers. Thus, he is unsuccessful. And that is why he desperately prays the Omnipotent One. Unless and until he does not pray with utter desperation, God won’t hear his prayers.

When Rukmini asked Lord Krishna as to why He waited till Draupadi was totally humiliated and had to cry so much, Lord Krishna replied immediately that Draupadi was asking for help from others, and as soon as she prayed Him for help, He reached there instantly to help and protect her. God never makes it late, and if He does, He immediately apologizes to the devotee. At the time of killing the demon Hiranksahyapu, Lord Nrisimha said to Bhakta Prahlad, "Forgive me, Son, if I was a little late."

Does any other religion have such powerful prayers that call even the Almighty? That is why I am always tempted to lose myself in prayers. Doubtless, this Vedic prayer is really great. Everybody knows the power of a prayer. Mahatma Gandhi used to say that he would become mad if he did not pray.

This is exactly what a soul wishes from the Supreme Soul. This is his salvation and this is his goal. I used to sing the Hindi prayer that combines the gist of all the four Veds (RigVed for knowledge, YajurVed for duty, SamaVed for worship and AtharvaVed for becoming a role model). It says: O God! Please gived us knowledge that fetches joy, please remove all our bad qualities quickly. Please taked unto Yourself, so that we may live in a virtuous way, support the truth, be pious and brave.

Whoever has written this prayer must have really got the very gist of all the four Veds in his heart and mind. I really salute him.

Prayers can also be oral, and their power is such that it can make even God cry. If anyone wants to really see the effect of an oral prayer, he should read "Sudamacharit", the epic written by devotee poet Narottam Das. God is shown to be crying in it. God is very prompt in lessening the weight of the devotion of His devotees. In the RajSuya Yajna performed by Emperor Yudhishthir, God Himself cleaned everything after the Rishis had their food. Lord Ram ate the half-eaten fruits offered by Shabari with great affection. Lord Krishna ate even the peelings of the bananas offered by Vidur’s wife. God longs for devotion and love, nothing else. It is to be really experienced how quickly and easily God, who performs the last rites of Jatayu the vulture king, lifting his dead body with His own hands, can be won over by heart-felt, sincere devotion and love for Him.

Tag Names : Ved
Other articles of this author :
1 Supernatural Literature
3 Credit and Inspiration of the Vedas
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