Thursday, April 23, 2009

What is a Prayer? What is Faith? Who is a true devotee?

Prayer is "the act of communicating with god"Specific forms of this may include praise, requesting guidance or assistance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one's thoughts and emotions. The words used in prayer may take the form of intercession, a hymn, incantation or a spontaneous utterance in the person's praying words. Praying can be done in public, as a group, or in private.Prayer is our direct line with heaven. Prayer is a communication process that allows us to talk to God! He wants us to communicate with Him, like a person-to-person phone call. Cell phones and other devices have become a necessity to some people in today’s society. We have bluetooth devices, blackberries, and talking computers! These are means of communication that allow two or more people to interact, discuss, and respond to one another. To many people, prayer seems complicated,but it is simply talking to God. some confuse themself.To some praying is a duty,something that has been nurtured within them by family since young. these kind in most cases pray not out of love or devotion but out of fear and respect..To some its about gaining something from it. These kind exist the most. praying and making vows are like a business deal. they pray something and when their prayers are answered they vow to do special poojas and offerings in return...if someone says worship of this particular god grants them wealth for example,then the dump the deity they were worshiping and jump to another. or they wont hesitate to give up their faith and embrace another for their own selfish reasons, because it juz don't mean much to them compared to their needs.then when they go through hardship in life, they blame god! many of us question our faith and god when something goes wrong in life but how many of us think of him and thank him when something gd happens? personally there are many i know who fall in this catagory, infact i have a few such people in my family and friends circle..then we have those who never prayed or had faith in the begining, then become pious all of a sudden just over do, over react and talk alot like a intellect.i envy these people for their enthusiasm but its just that they sometimes don't get their facts right.without realizing they tend to offend and hurt people with real devotion and faith.they like to comment on their way of worship,sincerity beliefs and devotion.some involve themself in some particular way of worship or faith and try to bring in their family and friends in it. thats not wrong as Adhi shankara Bagavadpada once said"the mode of travelling may defer but the path is one, towards parabramham! but when someone refuses to join them these people condemm their faith and talk lowly of it.these kind have a long way to go...
the saying in tamil "நிறை குடம் நீர் தழும்பாது" says it all. your prayer, faith
and way of worship is for you to know and for god to judge on how sincere you have been. its something only you and god share. when people talk about god and worship, if you feel they are wrong and would like to share something you know,do so. if you think they will not except it then leave them alone. even if they are doing something wrong somehow they would get god's his eyes each and every one in this world is his child! god has his own way of teaching his child what's right. take Kannappa nayanar for example.he offered meat to siva and worshipped him as being a hunter he knew nothing about worshipping siva but all he knew was siva was the almighty god. he was not rejected by siva, instead god took them as fruits and flowers...god wants your love and true devotion only.."he who offers a leave, a drop of water or even mention my name with utter love and devotion shall be blessed and get salvation" lord krishna's word in the gita. devotion starts with respect,fear and ends with limitless love. when there is love there is no more fear sometimes even respect. god becomes your friend. someone whom u belive knows u well and someone you trust with everything..sometimes when u feel he is not listening to you, anger comes upon him. but within minutes your inner heart tells you that whatever happens will be for good as he noes the best and will only do and give u the best with your interest in mind..its like trusting your mother and knowing that a mother knows best! there are people around who show such clean love and devotion towards god without doing any kind of worship. their worship is only within them. some don't belive in god but only in love and care shown to fellow mankind.these are the kind of people who win god's love instantly as love is god and god is love. where there is love, there is god present there. we may worship god like mad and do all sort of poojas,dyanam,japam,annathanam but when we don't have compassion and love for our fellow mankind we never get into his good books. no one can judge another on whether he has god by his side...nor take pity on them thinking that we are a perfect devote.
at the end of the day, ask yourself if u have been perfect all your life and how sincere u have been towards god. never judge someone else's faith as for some its a way of life and for some its just like loving someone in their own family. to some its no one else in life but god to turn to.they may have their own rights with him which is not for anyone to know,judge or comment on.
sage narada once asked lord vishnu who was the greatest devotee ever and expected the lord
to answer that is was him. lord vishnu handed him a cup full of oil and asked him to go around the world thrice without spilling a single drop first. but he promised to reveal the greatest devotee to him when he finishes the task. naradha did as told. when he asked the lord who was the greatest devotee, the lord pointed to a poor farmer. naradha was shocked as he utters the lords name every minute and always thought he was the greatest vishu baktha. how can the farmer even be in his par? the lord said" naradha he wakes up in the morning , utters my name then goes abt doing his daily routine and utters my name again before he sleeps.he dosen't even pray for anything as he feels whatever that happens in his life is my decision and will be only good for this period of time that u went around the world with the cup of oil, how many times did u utter my name or even think of me? your only aim was to complete the task wasn't it?" naradha just bowed his head down in embarresment.the story tells it all and needs no further explanation.
The rule of love is to give something to the one we love, so it is natural for a devotee to offer something to God. This act is worship. But, there are times when our love takes the form of asking something from the one we love; in this case, God and so we make our needs known to Him. This is prayer. Both worship and prayer are expressions of love to God. They arise out of a common source that rests on three principles: faith, love and sincerity.In worship, we offer something to God. We do not seek much. We express our love through offerings. We chant hymns in praise and of adoration to God. A person of metaphysical or philosophical temperament may consider worship to be extremely irrational. The temperament that needs worship seeks an expression of love-not merely through contemplation, meditation or prayer but through a tangible human act of offering a gift to God.Worship has different forms. Instead of being external, it can also be internal or mental. The mental offerings need not be physical objects but moral or spiritual qualities such as purity, forbearance, self-control and compassion. In the Bhagavad Gita, Sri Krishna mentions that the best kind of worship is that in which every moment and every act is offered to God. Walking, eating, speaking - all actions become an offering to the Lord. One of the famous verses in Bhagavad Gita says, " Brahman is the ritual, Brahman is the offering. Brahman is the one who offers to the fire that Brahman. Those who see Brahman in every action will find Brahman." All actions are given the color of worship.Swami Vivekananda, the great preacher revived a distinctly spiritual form of worship: the worship of God in humanity. This is a very effective Vedanta practice for this age. We have to feel the presence of God in all men and women, but not as a mere idle contemplation. Just as love in order to be dynamic to manifest itself through action, so the worship of God in humanity must declare itself through concrete action and through service. Where ever there is need- physical, mental or spiritual- there is the opportunity to serve humanity through tangible action. That is worship, Swami Vivekananda said and he taught us how to perform this worship. We have to remind ourselves that it is the 'Atman' - the universal spirit residing in all beings that we are worshipping.As we analyze prayer, its two fold nature becomes apparent. We see the positive aspect of prayer when we pray for faith, purity, self control and devotion to God. We see its negative aspect when we pray to be separated from 'maya' or ignorance. It is by a combination of worship and prayer, based on love, that our minds become purified. We need both these practices to take us through the various stages of spiritual evolution until, ultimately merging, they give us the supreme object of our search- the vision of God.
Prayers and devotion to the Lord is one of the three paths of self actualization in Hinduism.
The ancient Indian philosophers elaborated three ways for self-actualization -GYAN, the path of knowledge, KARMA, the path of action and BHAKTI or the path of devotion. It is the third path of Bhakti which guides the individual to submerge himself, his ego, his pride and his arrogance in his devotion to the almighty lord of universe. Prayers are a means to this end.
When an individual prays to the Lord, he devotes all his attention to the almighty god. The form in which the Lord is worshipped could be either SAAKAR, meaning a human like form, or it could be NIRAKAAR or formless. In bhakti, the individual loses his own ego in worshipping that form and almost attains a merger with it. Prayers are thus considered an essential part of bhakti.
Bhakti or worship and devotion to the almighty Lord is supposed to be a path for self actualization. Hindu PUJA (worship) is actually an expression of devotion, and the foremost way of doing it is by singing the prayers of the Lord, or the ARTI- a prayer describing the magnificence of the Lord along with a request to keep us under his shelter, bless us with his compassion and show us the right path in life. These prayers are the primary feature of every puja. It is usually associated with TILAK or placing the red powder on the forehead of the idol or the photograph of the Lord or the Goddess, depending upon whichever form you prefer to remember him.
The ARTI or the prayers are sometimes associated with music, and devotees also express their emotions in the form of bowing or prostrating before the Lord's idol. Some even dance with devotion, feeling the proximity of his presence while others with close eyes just seem to have entered into a trans, almost as if away from this world.
Prayers help people in three important ways. First of all, regular prayers are reminders to self that there is an almighty Lord of the universe who is always there, aware of everything and capable of taking care of us. Since the Lord is benevolent and fair, and rewards everyone as per their deeds or KARMA, it is a belief that provides hope to the people that good will prevail over evil. This is one of the most important factors for people having faith in our values, fairness and humanity.Second, by being able to express their faith, people are able to relate to the god whom they cannot otherwise experience or observe, and this simple activity reinforces their faith in an omnipotent power of universe and helps them sustain their belief.
Third, prayers are often said or sung together in temples or in homes, and this common activity performed while thinking about the Lord helps people to develop a common bond of faith that extends to each other as well, thereby fostering a society based on trust and dependability.Prayers in Hinduism are the simplest act to express your faith in the Lord and his fairness. For ordinary people, it is also the most common means to reinforce their faith and develop a social understanding of abiding by the rules of fairness and truthfulness.
i may not be good with my words and may have been a little long winded but i sincerely hope this reaches many as its something i have been wanting to talk about. why is it so hard for some to understand i don't know .well maybe its for god to make them do i shall leave it to him.
im not someone who knows everything but i belive in sharing the good i have learnt from knowledgable ones and i definately belive in respecting faith of others. i oppose the idea of judging and comparing the faith and level of devotion of others strongly! be sincere to yourself and god and he will do you good,he will love you. help others if u can and be sincere to your fellow men.that will bring you closer to god. kindly dont comment and judge other of their faithnenevr take pity on them who are we to take pity on someone when we ourself have benn taken pity of somewhere along our lifes? god is the only one who has the rights to do so and shower his grace and love on us...REMEMBER GOD KNOWS THE BEST and he knows everything too...think about it mate.

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