A user’s guide to living – part 3
DAAJI continues his series on daily living and human transformation. In this article, he introduces the second universal principle of the user’s guide – the science of filling the heart with love through prayer, the connecting link that unites everything in this universe. In part 2, he introduced the 5 key elements of self-development, and the 10 universal principles that provide a road map to a fulfilling life.
Within these five elements are ten universal principles:
Around the time Babuji was writing the Ten Maxims, World War II was raging in full swing, taking in its wake tens of millions of precious lives. In addition to young soldiers on both sides of the conflicts, millions of innocent lives were taken as result of ethnic hatred and religious bigotry. Meanwhile, in India, the country was being torn apart by raging religious fanaticism. Pained by this mindless and monstrous atrocity of person killing person in the name of God and religion, Babuji declared:
“God is not to be found within the fold of a particular religion or sect. He is not confined within certain forms nor is he to be traced out from within the scriptures. We have to seek for Him in the innermost core of our Heart.”
Though his cry of anguish fell on deaf ears at that time, it has become one of the defining phrases of a universal movement that wholeheartedly embraces all religions and faiths without distinction. Babuji envisioned that the movement that started as a mere trickle would sweep the world and lay the foundation of a world based on spirituality defined by love and unity. At that time nobody could even visualize that many spiritual organizations and movements would come together, yet we have already witnessed this starting. It is only the beginning – this silent revolution is slowly and surely transforming human consciousness.
In Babuji’s experience, God is the ever abiding eternal presence in the heart of every being. Endowed with the faculties of self-reflection and awareness, we humans have the capacity to realize this presence within ourselves, and that simply happens by refining the mind by removing all the complexities and impurities that we have acquired. It also happens as a result of purifying the heart of all desires and passions that weigh it down. To enable this, he created the Heartfulness practices of Meditation, Cleaning and Prayer. The second principle explains the vital importance of prayer, how it is to be done, to whom we should address our prayer, and finally what is the outcome and the end state of prayer.
He summarized this second principle as:
“Begin your meditation with a prayer for spiritual elevation.
Offer your prayer in such a way that the heart is filled with love.”
In most religious traditions, prayer is offered to appease a deity, to ask for something, or to get protection from evil. God is seen as someone outside, sitting in some imaginary heaven. The spiritual understanding is quite different: The Absolute, the Source of everything, is inside us. In fact, it is at the center of everything, including every atom. Before creation, there was only the Source. When we emerged from the Source and took the present form, we started to identify ourselves with the material world, but that central point is deeply rooted within us.
In this context, prayer is a conscious attempt to establish a connection with the Source, a relationship with the Source, and to allow that relationship to blossom into a deep communion. This relationship then enables the flow of grace from the Source to the heart of a human being. It is devotion that creates the vacuum or pull that attracts the flow of grace from the Source. It is love that creates the relationship or bond. This bond is then strengthened by the closeness that is established by constantly establishing this link, which we know as constant remembrance.
In the Heartfulness tradition, our true journey is all about returning back to the Source, back to our original Home. This begins with the recognition, and gradually grows into a deep realization, that the Source is within us and we can become one with it. Prayer is an intentional act of communication or connection. The various steps in the process of establishing a permanent connection with the Source are: making the connection, creating the pull to invite Grace, and making the connection permanent.
Prayer is a conscious attempt
to establish a connection with the Source,
a relationship with the Source,
and to allow that relationship
to blossom into a deep communion.
Making the connection and establishing the relationship
A good analogy for understanding the science of prayer is telegraphy. This idea of connecting over long distances was the most advanced technology in Babuji’s time. In today’s world, connecting to the Internet using Wi-Fi could be a better analogy. Initially, you have to identify yourself, establish credentials, use a password etc. as you log in to establish connection. Once you have established the initial connection, it becomes automatic. So this first step is making your presence known and attracting the attention of the Absolute within. In other words, its is all about setting the intent.
Also, in telegraphy, electric current flows from positive to negative. Without that differential, no message would be transmitted, which brings us to the next step.
How can prayer fill the heart with love?
In Nature, wherever there is a flow it is from a higher level to a lower level, or the transference is set by positive and negative polarity. Always a differential is required, as when two things are at the same level, there is no flow. If we can create a state of vacuum in the heart when we connect in prayer, the flow of Grace is imminent. Love fills our being if we create that state of supplicancy within ourselves, which means to place ourselves at the lowest level we can be. We let our heart become so receptive, so yielding. This tilt happens with devotion, the attitude or state of acceptance that the giver is the Lord and we are humble receivers. Devotion creates that vacuum in the heart which can be filled by Grace gushing in.
Imagine for a moment that, instead of love, your heart is burdened with desires and ego. What can enter such a heart? Any compromise by creating more than one channel during the prayer simply dilutes our efforts. The entire heart is to be engaged in prayer; partial attention does not work. Wholesomeness of the attention of the heart, filled with love, creates holy feelings within. Our heartfelt attitude at such moments ensures our success in tapping into the heart of the Absolute.
A great poet once said, “O thou thirsty for the divine intoxication! Empty thy heart for the purpose, for the head of the bottle of wine bows down only over an empty cup.” This is probably what Lord Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth,” in his Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount. It is an attitude of extreme humility that creates the tilt which enables Grace from the divine to flow into the heart.
Creating a permanent flow of love
Any relationship blossoms through frequent interaction. It is no different in our relationship with the Source, which is nourished by love. Love creates the bond. The relationship matures and deepens with the support of other aspects of the Heartfulness practices, for example:
We pray before we meditate in the morning, and this in itself is a synergistic combination. Prayer naturally directs the attention inward to the center of our being, automatically creating a state of inner withdrawal or Pratyahara. It facilitates Dharana, as our thought is already directed toward the Source within. In fact, we have already gone beyond thinking to a state of communion with God, so Dhyana or meditation is a natural progression, and prayer has paved the way for Samadhi before we even start meditation.
Meditation then deepens that prayerful state, and the Transmission creates the next inner condition, expanding consciousness and aligning the mental faculties of thinking (manas), intellect (buddhi) and ego (ahankar) with the prayerful state of the heart.
Cleaning purifies the field of consciousness by creating simplicity and purity, so that it is progressively easier to connect through Prayer. There are fewer and fewer obstacles and blockages. Like a pond where you can see right to the bottom, there is no turbulence preventing the connection.
As we are able progressively to retain more of the state created by Prayer and Meditation throughout the day, it leads to a permanently prayerful and meditative state. This is easily achieved by simple Heartfulness practices.
We also pray at bedtime, so that we sleep in that state of prayerful connection with the Source. The result is deeply restful sleep, which is rejuvenating and also of spiritual benefit. In other words, we make use of the time we sleep for our inner growth as well as the body’s need to rejuvenate.
You were anyway going to sleep with a certain state of mind or mood, so why not with a prayerful heart? Try it and see the effect it has.
Practice with the right attitude and intention eventually creates a permanent state of prayer, which is predicated upon a permanent state of humility, yielding and complete tenderness of the heart. It becomes a state of constant osmosis with the divine Source. Such a person is a Master or Guide, so when we associate with such a Master we immediately feel the Transmission from the Source. We benefit so much by being with him, as he can facilitate this process of connection with the Absolute by removing the obstacles and directing the Transmission into our hearts.
To whom can we pray?
The ideal is that we pray to the highest, the Source present within each one of us. Prayer leads to self-mastery, and yet to attain that state we also need to yield before something higher, and for that reason the Master has an important role to play to facilitate the connection and guide us toward the Source. So there is no one answer to this question. It must resonate with your heart, so that you feel the Divinity within.
In either case, the idea of prayer that Babuji has proposed is radically different from the prayer of traditional religion. It is a deep craving that we create within, a craving to be one with the Source from which we emanated, and which is still the very foundation of our being. It is a deep cry from the bottom of our heart that signals the Source to move towards us. We don’t ask for anything specific when we pray. It is a relationship that is based on deep trust, an inner knowing that we are already That.
How to pray?
In the 1940s, a particular prayer was revealed to Babuji from above, and it goes like this:
Thou art the real Goal of human life.
We are yet but slaves of wishes
putting bar to our advancement.
Thou art the only God and Power
to bring us up to that stage.
This prayer has four parts:
The first part makes it clear whom we are addressing – the supreme Master. This has a very deep meaning, which is important to understand. In all spiritual traditions, the Source is said to be pure nothingness. It is complete in itself. It is the beginning and the end all in one. It is beyond creation, beyond consciousness, and beyond the creator. It cannot be touched by anything. How can it hear our prayer and respond? Therefore, there has to be something that is in osmosis with the Source, and that is the Master – whether you experience it as the inner Master at the core of your Being or the living Master, the Guide. It is the Master who responds to our prayer when it is a deep cry from the core of our Being. It is the Master who is the connecting link. This concept is difficult to understand and accept at the beginning of the practice, but becomes clear through experience as we progress.
The second part clearly states the Goal of our existence: The Master is the purpose of human life. This implies that we are not isolated individuals who are praying for our own individual evolution or personal salvation. We are praying for the highest state available to all human beings. We are praying for all human beings to become one with that stage. It is an all-inclusive prayer.
The third part is a statement of our current collective human situation. Our wishes and desires drag us down and put obstacles on our path. They impede our progress. It is a humble and honest acceptance of our situation. It is an enlightened perspective – we are not blind or in denial of our situation. It helps us to yield, to be supplicant. Our wishes and desires take our attention and focus away from our purpose, to become one with the Absolute, our highest state of being.
The final line of the prayer is a humble acknowledgement that the Master is the divine power who can help us reach that Goal. We cannot reach there only by the effort of our lower self, because our ego fails us. We depend on this higher Self to create the differential with our lower self. This also implies that we address our prayer only to the supreme Absolute to take us to the final destination.
The ideal time for this prayer is both before the morning meditation and at bedtime. The way to practice it is to say it silently a couple of times, and then try to get lost in the words – to go beyond the words to the feeling, the vibrations, behind the words. Let them resonate in your heart. We don’t chant or use it as a mantra. The meaning of the prayer reveals itself over time, and is much more than the simple summary given above. That is just a starting point for basic understanding, and you are welcome to ignore that and discover the meaning for yourself through experience. You only need to accept what delights your heart.
Recently I witnessed half a dozen heads of reputed spiritual organizations in their special attires reciting slokas in Sanskrit, praying for unity and universal peace at the end of a meeting. But I had observed them arguing and trying to be more accurate in their articulation of the ancient scriptures. It made me wonder at their sattvik nature. Even while reciting those wonderful slokas, one can witness the arrogance of knowledge and position! How can grace descend in fully-packed hearts?
Where do we begin?
Our relationship with our highest Self is an integral and vital part of human life, and hence the Heartfulness practices. Through simple prayer, offered with a heart filled with reverence, we connect with the Source of our existence and invite the attention of the Supreme. It takes practice, however, to reach that prayerful heartful state where prayer becomes automatic. Having said that, I want to draw your attention to the following quote from Babuji that brilliantly summarizes the philosophy and practice of prayer:
“When the world emerged into the present form, the central point was already rooted deep in all the beings. This being a part of the Supreme, it turns our attention towards the Source. In prayer we try to reach up to that point. This is however possible only when we create a similar state within. This requires practice. It can be attained by resigning ourselves to the Divine Will, which is absolutely simple and tranquil. Apparently it seems to be very difficult, though in fact it is not so. It is not difficult for those who aspire for it. When a person creates in themselves a strong craving for the Absolute, they are indeed in a state of prayer and it is for everyone to strive for it. Whenever a person enters into that state even for a moment, their prayer is granted but it requires continued practice to accomplish it.”
If you read this with an open heart and a contemplative mind, and reflect upon it deeply, its essence will permeate into your consciousness and become one with your Being. Then, each time you practice the prayer it will reveal itself in magnificent ways. Remember, prayer is not a static link, it is a dynamic link, a lively link with the Source.
A final note of caution
When facing worldly troubles, prayer is to be offered as a last resort. For example, if your sister is suffering due to a certain lack, would you compensate that lack right away, or would you pray and just be happy by saying that you have done your part? If you fall overboard at sea, would you only pray for help or would you also start swimming? So, prayer as a means of asking for worldly help is to be offered when we have exhausted all means available to us to solve the problem.
Article by KAMLESH PATEL (DAAJI)
March 23, 2020
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