Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Mood of Unmotivated Prayer

Prayer reaches God when we are sincere.  In India, Vaisnavism is one of the leading forces of Devotional life.  The great mystical Saints of the Vaisnava lineage teaches us to cry and pray that the Lord our God will accept us.  Prayers should be pure.  The only thing worth praying for is that our mind may be more and more attracted towards God.  We shouldn't pray for the things of this world, for they give temporary pleasures and pain!.  The proper mood of prayer is to become genuine in one's relationship with God, through love and devotion to God.  Prayer purifies the heart and attracts the attention of the Lord.  A repentant mentality is most conducive for spiritual advancement because "sinful desires burn up in the fire of repentance".  Being an ocean of mercy, the great Saints will rescue the repentant devotee desperately trying to escape the sufferings of material existance.  We should submit our most confidential problems and desires in prayer and lamentation songs, and patiently ask the Lord to help and heal us.  To begin upon the path of devotion  (bhakti-yoga), Yeshua (Jesus) teaches that we should "love God with all thy heart and all your soul".  So how does one genuinely love God more than any of the other things we love.  To pour out your heart and beg for mercy.  An example of this is the prayer of a great Vaisnava Saint Madavendra Puri, "I have indulged in numerous lifetimes, in every form of sinful activity, yielding to my lust and other passions which have led me to great sufferings.  Yet, now I am giving them up.  Realizing the Truth, I now surrender myself into Your protection which alone can save me from fear.".  Bhaktivinode Thakur prays like this "My only desire Oh Lord, which I submit at Your lotus feet, is that you please awaken in my heart constant UNMOTIVATED devotion to You.  Let the attachments I have for material things, be transferred to attachment for You alone.  I pray my love for You may remain undisturbed both in misfortune and properity.  Day after day may my love for You increase by the power of Your Holy Names.  May I live in heaven or hell, as a bird or a beast, but may devotion to You always remain in my heart". 

The language of prayer should not be cheap.  Use words full of feeling, carefully chosen in it's most sincere honest yearning.  God is interested only in the love you have to offer Him.  He is already taking care of your everyday existance, according to the wheel of samskara (karma lifetime after lifetime).  "Please bless me and keep my mind always pure and forever fixed upon You, for I am helpless without any shelter.  Please be my Guardian and Guide.  Reveal within me the Kingdom which I so yearn for".

Without prayer, no advancement can be made.  The Buddhists, Hindus, Vaisnava's, Catholics, Muslims and Sufi's all pray upon japa mala rosary beads to purify their consciousness so that they can be pure enough to realize the Kingdom within.  We should always be anxious at every step to use every moment to advance our love for God.  Here is an example of a great Vaisnava Saint's daily schedule. 

8pm - 10pm - Sleep (2 hours)
10pm - 4am - Writing
4am - 4.30am Rest
4.30am - 7am - Chant on japa mala rosary beads
7am - 7.30am - Correspondence
7.30am - 9.30am - Study of ancient scriptures
9.30am - 10am - Bathe and eat 1/2 ltr milk, fruit and 2 capati's (flat breads)
10am - 1pm - Court duties (he was a Judge)
1pm - 2pm - Refresh at home
2pm - 5pm - Court duties
5pm - 7pm - Translate ancient Vedic Sanskrit scripture
7pm - 8pm - Bathe and eat dinner 1/2 ltr milk, rice and 2 capati's (flat breads)

Summary of Daily Schedule

Sleep 3 hours
Write 8.5 Hours
Japa, prayer and study 4.5 hours
Work 6 hours

PRACTICAL APPLICATION - Where do you waste precious time?  On the phone?  Text messaging?  Drinking?  Sleeping?  Watching tv?  Talking about nothing important with people?  Shopping?  Computer?

See where you waste time daily and make a concerted effort to cut down on these wasted activities.  There is a time for work, a time for sleep, time for family..... where is your time for God?  Is it once a week at Church or the Temple / Mosque?  Or is it daily?  The Muslims pray and bow to God 5 times a day, as well as spend time chanting japa mala rosary, repeating God's Holy Names.  The Vaisnava's bow and pray 3 times per day and spend at least 2 hours daily chanting Gods Holy Names repetatively.  Try to use the example above, of Bhaktivinode Thakura's amazing life rhythm to inspire a change in the way you spend your time.  See where you leak time, and plug it up doing things to advance your consciousness towards the goal of life i.e. entrance to the Kingdom.  We don't have to die to enter the Kingdom, we need to enter the Kingdom now.  It is here within us now, not when we die, it is always there for us to dive deep into.

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