Thursday, August 13, 2009


What is prayer?

A question that has made me ponder for a long time. I do not know the answer to it, for I do not know what is it. Wikipedia describes prayer as a "act of addressing a god or spirit for the purpose of worship or petition. Specific forms of this may include praise, requesting guidance or assisttance, confessing sins, as an act of reparation or an expression of one's thoughts and emotions."

This definiton may work out good for everyone else, but for me, it does not.

As a Hindu, and a devotee of Sri Sri Thakur Anukulchandra, I pray regularly. In the evening as well as the morning, twenty minutes of chanting and meditation.

In all cultures, praying is an integral part of the religion they follow. Buddhism focuses more on it that any other religion. Prayer in Buddhism is much more of a meditation than a wish or a dialogue. The Buddhist understand prayer as connection of the individual to the eternal , of purification in the body that leads to the nirvana. This is connection of self -improvement by praying to some supreme power.
In Christianity, prayer is an integral part of one's life. Christians pray for their miseries, for their troubles, and for thanksgiving to the almighty God. Jesus, as he is the the son of the god, often is a central part of the prayer, because he loves all men, and takes the wishes of the righteous to the supreme god.
I can go on quoting various examples from a manifest of religions and philosophies, all concentrate on the same aspect. Gandhi made his 'Satyagraha' philosophy mking prayer as his prime weapon against the oppressive British government of that time; thus is shows the power of prayer : it can shake the very foundations of our society.

But the answer isn't clear yet. I asked 'what is prayer' not how it is.

For me prayer is the crux of all our emotions and deepest wishes that sprout from the depths of our soul.
That is prayer.

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