as Perceived By Ranjit Kumar Rehan*
Prayer is such a significant aspect of human life that right from the infant stage ,human
beings start watching ,listening,visualising & realising. We start remembering the ,
wordings & sequencing well before being initiated into the process of getting literate. It
is irrespective of simple n natural local dialect - Hindi & Sanskrit in Mandir ( temple) & Arya
Samaj , Gurumukhi in Gurudwara ,Arabic mixed Urdu in Masjid ( mosque ) and English
in Church .
At the age of 11 , I observed my Dadi doing daily Paath ( recital ) of Sukhmani Sahib with
her eyes closed , while the Gutka ( book ) used to be at her side . My frequent 2 questions
were calmly answered with showering of love ( with kissing of my forehead) by her and
saying :—‘ 1. I close my eyes as I have seen much of the world    2. On any disturbance I
restart from the correct line .’ All this prompted me to learn Gurumukhi from her & read
one or two stanzas under her patronage cum guidance.’

Sunday mornings were quite busy in the Arya Samaj with my father .Learnt reciting rather
singing Sanskrit mantras with others by initially reading from the Book of ‘Sandhya and
Havan ‘. Pronunciation gradually became perfect ,first in Lucknow & later in
Lansdowne ( now in Uttarakhand ) .It was only in Meerut that I learnt something
like Ten Commandments from 3 Churches in  vicinity. But more with 2 friends in Mission Compound .Seedling for Love was sown there where they used to utter & practise - God
is love & love is God .

During my stays in Dubai , more in 2018 ,19 & early 2020 ,I learnt about five pillars of Islam . Zakat
( donations/ charity ) is given due importance while Prayer assumes utmost significance
in Islam . It is different from 5 Ks of Sikhism .Poorest of the poor believing in Islam do
some charity during Ramadan & Eid . For some sects in Pakistan it is essential to do
defined charity at least during Bakrid . Also had been lucky to listen to the Pravachans of Maharaj Ji
of Radhaswamy Satsang Beas & his magnificent handling of Questions & Answers sessions during his Sharjah ( UAE )visits in 2018 & 2019.The adept
handling revealed his deep & intense love towards human beings .
It could be visualised that he had been seeing God in each person from
each sentence he uttered in response to inquisitive queries.

Prayer is basically an act to connect to and have close rapport with
object of our worship or praise . Initially it may be monologue but
gradually it becomes communication which may be self driven /
induced by assumption.Takes the shape of direct appeal or petition .
Reaching the stage of ‘ Tera Keeya Meetha Laagey ‘ culminates
into ecstasy & liking each Act of God ;which is rare though not
unachievable. We tend to accept the possibility of life after death but not the life before birth. It is here that in order to insure our better future
we resort to prayer as a means .

Materialistic approach has been overpowering the humanity. William
Wordsworth had very aptly observed :- ‘Getting & spending we lay
waste our powers . Little we see in Nature what is ours .’ Most of us
are selfish & tend to pray only in times of distress & with some motive.
Normal humans pray for getting their sins washed away,for health ,
education,career ,marriage , family ,wealth ,position,fame etc . For
them prayer is not a priority. Though it is lost resort yet is taken up as the last resort due to pressing materialistic needs . They adopted the
concept of praying at the weekends or at spare time . Such people tend to abandon prayer even at the bleak chance of gaining a few currency notes .This is despite knowing that He is the Most Merciful & Ever Forgiving . While prayer is not book keeping & accounts to match debits & credits .
It is sheer Love which teaches the art of giving & giving without reciprocity .

Prayer done with ulterior motive ,purpose & with an eye on the result diverts our attention and hampers concentration . Our each step
takes us nearer to the goal or far from it . Rare people pray in the
Glory of God .That also has the hidden vested interest of getting
Moksha ( salvation), Unison or have His favour on the Day of
Judgement (kayamat ke din ). All this dichotomy despite knowledge
& belief in the words of Lord Alfred Tennyson - ‘ more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of ‘. With PRAYER we can attain the state of
everlasting freedom & unshakable peace & happiness for ourselves while
generating harmony in the society .

From the time immemorial, human race finding itself incapacitated
has been in pursuit of the Omnipotent Power .Even written evidence
belongs to over 5000 years . It is common knowledge that Hindus
chant mantras , shlokas & arti ; Christians perform Mass ,make sign
of cross ,say Graces over meals ; Sufis whirl ;Jains worship the images of Punch Parameshthi- Arihant and twenty Tirthankaras (lit. "ford-makers") and siddha (infinite liberated beings). In their temple ,Jains recite “ Namokaar Mantra “ nine times .In Jainism, the purpose of prayer is to break the barriers of worldly attachments and desires and to assist in the liberation of the soul. Strange it may look Jains do not pray for any favors, material goods or rewards. Muslims do The kneeling & prostration- Salat , Namaz ; Jews swaying back & forth and
bowing ;while Sikhs do Ardas ,Bani ,Paath ,Shabad,Keertan ;Buddhists
light three incense sticks & pray by chanting "Om Mani Padme Hum" which translates to "Hail to the jewel in the lotus." In most of the Monasteries they touch big bells installed in Big Circle .Moreover ,chanting of ‘ Nam-myoho-renge -kyo morning & evening ‘ more devoted Buddhists recite two significant Chapters of the Lotus Sutra along-with that . It was in 1893
in Chicago that Swamy Vivekananda reiterated that EVERY HUMAN
BEING IS A SOUL DIVINE . To spread his teachings & ideals Vivekananda
Kendra ,Kanyakumari was founded on 7th January ,1972 . Though it took
three years to adopt Prarthana for the Kendra & it’s branches scattered
throughout India . The last two lines are quoted below :-
जीवने यावदादानं स्यात् प्रदानं ततोऽधिकम् ।
इत्येषा प्रार्थनाऽस्माकं भगवन् परिपूर्यताम् ॥४॥
It means as under :—
What ever we receive in life let us give far more than that. This is our prayer O Bhagavan! Please fulfil .
The Kendra with this Mission is in the service of humanity through its Dedicated Life Workers following the essence of the Prarthana .

Timmings of prayer have been earmarked as per the convenience
of human race .Irony is that we have to carve out a little time for
Almighty who has impartially given 24 hours to each . Many devote
time from one to five times in a day . Rare are the species who devote
most of their time in prayer . Scriptures and saints have been
advocating the most suitable time being ‘ wee hours ‘. Civilisation of
Egypt is, interalia, known for devising times & timmings of offering prayers by their studies of Solar system .Based on that , Egypt in its Exhibit in Ibn Batuta Mall of Dubai has depicted the rationale
behind timings for prayers offered during a day . In India , Time clocks
were constructed on basis of the Sun’s movements.In most of Hindu Temples , the main deity is treated as living being & all the daily routines like bathing , feeding ,clothing with seasonal dressing,made up n ornamentation,resting & sleeping are performed as per the need & season with utmost devotion. It shows devotional touch . Somehow,
prayer teaches us the lessons of tolerance,shedding myths ,false
notions & ego. UAE even declared the year 2019 as ‘ The Year Of
Tolerance .’

It has been my experience in Dubai to liken the recitals of Mosque
( Masjid ) with those from a Mandir or a Gurudwara . These release
quite similar vibrations in the atmosphere . In all likelihood , most
of the Peer - Paigambers ,Saints , Gurus , Priests invariably believed
in unison of the Omnipotent & Omnipresent God .Undoubtedly , the
melodies & vibrations are very soothing for all beings having life .

All religions have emphasised the significance of ethics in the path
of spirituality . Love is the edifice on which it continues to stand .In
fact love is the means & aim of spiritual path & prayer is a method .
It helps to get unified with the Unifying Force . In Islam love of Allah
demands total & unconditional obedience while in Christianity God
is Love & Love is God .It is easy to serve with feeling of love & without
any consideration of reward or reciprocity.Love induces us to match
& synchronise our thoughts with actions .Love generates compassion
& motivated action without reciprocity.

Prayer removes egoism & enables us to reach a state of gratefulness.
It gives us 3 unique weapons of patience, perseverance & self analysis.
It prevents & wards off evil thoughts & deeds . Great motivator to bring continuous change for the better .More we pray ,our focus ,patience,
calmness and concentration in all our thoughts & deeds get enhanced.
Prayer teaches us not to differentiate between human beings of
different faiths and removes false notions ,narrow mindedness. It
initiates us towards Universal Brotherhood - Vasudhaiv Kutumbkam which the dire need of humanity suffering from perrenial unrest at
global level.

Prayer generates hope,faith & has the ultimate power of make a person
Unison with God . Prayer enables us to realise the philosophy that ‘all
is delusion, nothing true in this transient world ‘. Prayer keeps us balanced in all situations. A balanced mind leads to balanced thinking
& actions .It enables us to realise significance of following couplet by late poet Sahir Ludhianvi :-
इक पल की पलक पर है ,ठहरी हुई ये दुनिया ।
इक पल के झपकने तक, हर खेल सुहाना है ।।
Ik pal ki palak par hai,thahri hui ye dunia .
Ik pal ke jhapkne tak har khel suhana hai .
The world is precariously placed on the eyelid .Everything looks so
beautiful till it blinks . We tend to forget that ‘all is delusion,nothing
true in this transient world . Prayer provides the only means to fulfill
the real purpose of life .

We know that man comes on this earth with closed fists & goes
empty handed .At birth an infant starts life by weeping while at
the time of departing leaves others weeping .Therefore
it is of prime significance before , during & after one’s life . In
fact , Zingadi Ke Saath Bhi, Zindagi Ke Baad Bhi. Culmination of
Karma ,Bhakti, Gyan ( wisdom ) & Love is the prayer.

Somewhat realisation has come that in the spiritual field ,things have not changed much ,perspectives even less .We have seen that infants
regard their mothers as having almost supernatural powers . The child surrenders to her and she becomes the saviour .Unfortunately, they don’t stay small for long. Even after growing,we remember our mothers
on any pain , injury or problem. A sense of gratitude is capable of showing us the right path .Why not to take refuge in Him who has
vowed to save all those who have surrendered ? Despite immense
Benevolence,humanity is yet to fully learn to take advantage of becoming sharnagat . Prayer is the ultimate means and end .
With regards & best spiritual wishes 
Ranjit Kumar Rehan*

Unedited. As received by email (Exrbites Group)
M G Warrier
Blog 5048
February 20, 2020


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