Author Topic: Prayer:  (Read 950 times)

Subramanian.R

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Prayer:
« on: December 30, 2012, 04:52:15 PM »
Editorial from Mountain Path, July - Sept. 2009:

I have seen a wonder, this magnetic Hill which forcibly attracts the soul! Having suppressed the mischievous mental activities
of the soul, who has thought of it even once, having drawn that soul, inwards, to face itself, the one Reality, and having made
it motionless (achala) like itself, it feeds upon the sweet pure and ripened soul. What a wonder this is! O souls! Be saved by
thinkikng of this great Arunagiri, the desroyer of the soul, who shines in our heart.  (Padigam, verse 10)

*It is often assumed that Sri Bhagavan was a strict Jnani whose entire focus was intent on conveying the subtle erudition of
Advaita, the basis of which is that there is no sense of other, there is only one, Brahman, in the apparent world of difference.
He systematically pointed out the delusion of our mind and brought home to us the necessity of remaining still in the awareness
of 'I' devoid of thought. He taught that there is no journey. There is no effort. There is only the One Supreme Consciousness and we
are That.

There was another side of Bhagavan which is equally important and valid. Bhagavan, like Adi Sankara that the other giant of
Advaita, was also a bhakta and His hymns to Arunachala reveal a heart pouring out both its anguish and ecstasy in the presence
of the Beloved. He revealed by the example of His mortal life how we can approach and be absorbed into the divine light of what He
called Arunachala, the Supreme Consciousness.

Sri Bhagavan showed  us a way through prayer to open up our hearts to the saving grace of Arunachala. But how can we follow in
His footsteps? For many of us prayer is a challenge. We may have the habit  of saying some traditional prayers, each day, which can
become stale ritual. Or when  the need arises out of confusion or suffering, our heart breaks out with an inchoate cry for help and we
call it prayer.  Ambrose Bierce, the American 19th century satirist defined prayer as it is commonly perceived: 'The act of beseeching
the Almighty to suspend the laws of the universe on behalf of one supplicant, confessed unworthy. (The Devil's Dictionary.)

There are also times, when prayer can become a hymn of gratitude for unexpected blessings. We read in the Vedas, the most
vigorous invocations and expressions of delight in the divine. These hymns of prayers which inspire, for the mantric recitation, has
a deliberate power to elevate us.             
             

There is another approach which is that by calmly waiting in silence, we are receptive to a higher power which may enlighten
our present darkness. By opening our minds and hearts, to the great silence, within, we create the space for insight and blessings
to be born. Prayer implicitly affirms that there is a purpose to our lives, and that there is a higher compassionate power to which we
connect.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.

Subramanian.R

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Re: Prayer:
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 03:39:00 PM »
PRAYER - CONTINUES.....

For the most part of all these activities are sporadic. How can we remain in continuous prayer or contemplation, like the steady
flow of oil that Sri Bhagavan described in Upadesa Undiyar?

Prayer as we generally know it, is a supplication. But it also can be an affirmation. It all depends on our attitude. Prayer if one considers
it carefully is an act of attention or giving. We give our attention to that which is 'higher' than us. We offer up our minds and hearts,
until we reach the stage of pure meditation when we are one with the object of our quest. We are however in a state of duality
which implies effort, and until we establish within ourselves a strong sense of direction, our efforts, will be nullified by lack of
consistency. The name or image of Arunachala-Ramana effectively assists our concentration both outwardly as well as inwardly through
the mysterious  workings of Grace.

Ananda Mayi Ma has said, 'Whenever you possibly can, sustain the flow of a sacred Name. To repeat His Name is to be in His Presence. Just as a human friend opens his heart to you and tells you all about himself, when you come to him, so, if you associate with the Supreme Friend, He will reveal His true Being to you. Do you refrain from bathing when faced with waves of sea? Surely, you plunge right into the midst of them and take your bath. Similarly, in the very thick of tempest and difficulties of worldly life, endeavor to maintain the remembrance of Him by the repetition of His Name. (See www.anandamayi.org.).

We begin with sporadic acts of prayer until the strength grows to the point where the act of prayer is sufficient reward in itself. We
do not yearn for more but rather revel in the silent sense of completeness where one needs for nothing.

We have seen in the brief descriptions above that  prayer can assume a different function according to one's temperament and maturity.
There is in general a series of steps through which the individual passes in the ascent to union with the Beloved.

continued....

Arunachala Siva.       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Prayer:
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2013, 12:45:23 PM »
PRAYER:

continues......

Prayer can be compared to the act of archery. There are many similar analogies using the bow and arrow.  In our version
we can say that the archery of prayer happens when we place our best foot forward -- a declaration of firm purpose. And
we assume a comfortable stance. We raise the bow which is our mental ability, and draw the string, our skill, to bend
energy or desire to one purpose. We aim the straight arrow, our concentration, to hit the target. (cf: Mundaka Upanishad,
2.ii. 4-5)

Like Bhagavan we clearly hear the call. It may not be the name of Arunachala. It may not be a single startling moment but
we do hear the urgency of the heart to respond to something greater than ourselves. This can be caused by emotional
suffering and mental bewilderment when we realize that our minds cannot grasp the immensity of life's challenge. It can
also be the result of sharp physical distress due to illness or some other causes and we conclude that there must be a better
way to live. There is suddenly a clearing in the debris mind -- the clutter of useless thoughts and negative dark emotions. For
a moment a higher purpose is revealed and a possible alternative to our predicament.  We are touched by a ray of light.
There is a leap of faith and without realizing it, we have taken the first step. There are endless variations on this theme and
none of us is an exception.

The second step is a realization that our efforts are inadequate and a higher power is necessary to transcend our limitations,
though for the present we are blind to the intelligent effort required. Without this realization, we would turn in endless circles
of tired thoughts and blind emotion that have no purpose and no end. Like a tedious machine, our mind churns out thoughts
that have neither relevance nor depth. We live on the surface and die a slow death of boredom for there is no meaning, no
connectedness, although there is usually a razor sharp recognition that there must be another way.

contd.,.       

Arunachala Siva,             

Subramanian.R

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Re: Prayer:
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2013, 12:31:21 PM »
continues....

With this second step comes the instinct to pray. It may be patchy, it may not be completely sincere, it may even be outright
begging, but it is a beginning. Initially, we pray for fulfillment of the needs of the hour and forget to pray for that which frees us
from need. Sri Ramana instructs us to seek the source of the 'I' and we should not be distracted by short-lived satisfactions
but move on with either the pulsating holy name alive in or minds or the splendid image of Arunachala-Ramana ever in our sights.

There is wisdom in the maxim that even if we but imitate a skillful process, one day, with diligence and through grace, there will
inevitably arise the ability to achieve the skill itself. We should never give up.

We should be careful that once we tread a particular path, we should remain loyal to it otherwise there is disorder and unnecessary
bewilderment because there are crucial moments when we need to focus all our energy and intention on one goal to the exclusion
of all else.  Like a ship we cannot afford a leak of inconsistency on this adventure. We are building, through prayer, a seamless vessel
to carry us safely across the ocean of samsara.

For those of who follow Arunachala- Ramana, the radiating power is so subtle that quite often devotees wonder if they are making
any progress at all. Naturally it is easier to feel the presence of the Divine Power when standing by the Samadhi or under the benign
gaze of Arunachala, but the majority do not have that luxury as they must work for a living elsewhere. We should remember that once
irradiated by that divine presence it is not only unforgettable but also unstoppable. Once we get the taste it starts to work invisibly
to purify our minds and hearts. We begin to question previously accepted assumptions and conventional wisdom. This process is not
usually obvious as there are rarely any dramatic moments. It is incremental and for the most part unobserved by others, and paradoxically even by oneself until some defining moment opens the eyes.  A poor swimmer is one who thrashes about in order to stay
afloat, while a good swimmer moves smoothly on the water and uses the natural currents to take him. The more we become attuned to
Arunachala-Ramana the more our personality fades in importance and the more the good ship of our journey glides effortlessly
through the waters, unnoticed.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.