‘Mess’ is a strangely attractive word because we mortals are rather fond of getting into it. Road rage is a mess. Clutter of unfinished jobs is a mess. Lawlessness is a mess. Then there is the mess that a lack of discipline creates. Waywardness could be messy. And because most of us are perpetually into one or more such messes at any given moment, we keep searching for solutions.
The easiest solution that some brilliant mind suggested was to pray to God… and this must have been accepted by people without a fuss. It is an entirely different matter that even praying to different Gods can create a mess of its own. But praying is for sure a panacea for all sorts of messes. Most of the prayers mumbled tend to be requests to lead people out of some mess or the other.
‘Fine,’ I say, ‘it is perfectly valid to ask God to clear the mess for you. But have you ever sat down and considered changing the tone of your prayers? I mean, look at the newspapers. They keep talking about crimes, rapes, and scams and don’t we all feel happy when we read that scarce news about something good that has happened? It is these bits of happy news that pleases us and probably inspires us to go and do something better with the years left in our lives.’
It makes perfect sense to forget mentioning any sort of mess to God. He already knows about them all and is probably strategizing to get them cleared up. So why not mention in our prayers all the good that He has done… God will surely smile at such prayers and, who knows, get his ‘strategic solutions for the world’ file moving faster through the celestial red-tape, if there is any.
Specky, my wife, was reading all this and asked, ‘Seems like an interesting premise. So what will you include in your prayer?’
‘Seven things,’ I said without pausing, and told her that I would illustrate my reasons for prayer and explain them later. Well, ‘later’ is now… and here is what I told her:
Reason to pray – 1
Able to see all the colours of life
Yes, I have fallen in love with a rainbow
And the colours that life will show
I thank my God, the Lord above
For showing me His love!
This is reason enough for me to pray. I can see colours and gently float in the mesmerising warm currents they produce. However, I would add in my prayer that all those who cannot see this wonder may be allowed to perceive them through the descriptions that their friends give, the explanations that books have, and perceptive sensibilities. I would not feel guilty about having been endowed with my ability to see things and thanking God for this gift is what will be a part of my prayer. Prayers aren’t necessarily only about woes and sorrows and all things missed. They must be about things that we have. Things that we love and appreciate. Being able to see colours is one of these things.
Reason to pray – 2
Able to hear what the universe says
Tring! Tring! It was my phone ringing. I picked it up and said, ‘Hello?’
No one answered.
‘Hello!’ I said, a bit louder this time.
I strained hard and was able to discern a faint voice at the other end, so I said, ‘I am not able to hear you. Please speak louder.’
At this moment the phone got disconnected. I waited for some time but the phone did not ring again. I do not know who that caller was and what this person wanted. I was not able to hear this person who had called and this kept me restless for the rest of the day.
Now imagine all those who are not able to hear anything all their lives.
Yes, the second reason to pray is to thank God for giving me the ability to hear… to hear the music of the universe, the pitter-patter of falling rain, the loving whine of a puppy in love, the impatient guttural noise that pigeons make when they are searching for a mate, and all the millions of sound bytes that are all around us all the time.
Yes, I would also want to pray to make the deaf perceive sound through their developed sense of touch and see the world with an imagination that has decibels embedded. I mean, sounds are so soothing and so wonderfully catalytic for creative impulses… yes, being able to hear deserves a prayer!
Reason to pray – 3
Able to read and understand the truth as it is
Statistics about literacy and education can hurt any sane person. This world is full of people who are not in a position to read and grasp the metaphysical truths that philosophers have been collating for centuries. What I read in one book is not what a mind has thought of and concluded in one lifetime… all those little nuggets of fascinating facts are a result of thousands of years of delving and diving to get the truth out and every writer is nothing but an idea alchemist I believe.
It is this idea alchemy that I adore most… and I am in a position to even think about it because I am fortunate enough to be born in a family and have a destiny that led me to become literate. Yes, I am just lucky to be a part of that miniscule percentage of people who are able to read and understand the truth as it is. This is what I want to include in my prayer and thank God for nudging me over that thin line that divides the reading and the non-reading population.
And yes, I will want to include all those who are not able to lift a book to read and ask God to give them the strength to get up and begin their journey into literacy!
It is this journey that is the most crucial for humans as it takes you to the shores where almost everything is yet to be discovered. When you’re literate, the probability is greater of your sifting faster through what matters and what doesn’t.
Reason to pray – 4
Able to share my joy with others
I know, I know you will think, ‘This guy wants to thank God for being able to share his joys! Why isn’t he talking about the sorrows and the sighs that are drowning millions of us?’
Stepping out to do something to lessen the sorrow of others is what I do when I share my joys uninhibitedly and without wanting anything in return. Good fortune is not something that is my personal property… and so whatever moments of good fortune I have, I want to share. It is for giving me the wisdom to share my joys that I want to include in my prayer to the Almighty.
I really and sincerely wish that each of us had the ability to share joys without putting constraints on them… or without riders attached! I’d obviously want to include that this liberating feeling be given to even those who have a lot of good fortune but are generally holding themselves from sharing any of that joy.
Reason to pray – 5
Able to think and to dream and imagine
I read and I know
I understand and I do
I dream and I create!
To be able to think and dream and imagine are facilities that take anyone way beyond what you are if you are able to read and understand. To be able to think of ways that may benefit humanity… to be able to dream of actions that will bring prosperity here…to be able to imagine ideas and then write about them – these are all factors that any man must be thankful of.
Haven’t you ever seen people who have the resources but lack a vision? The ability to think ahead of the times is surely something that I’d want to thank God for and obviously include this in my prayer.
Reason to pray – 6
Able to talk and communicate with others
If being deaf keeps you away from hearing what the universe has to say, not being able to talk and communicate is certainly devastating.
I thank God that I am able to make use of my literacy and education and combine them with my ability to think and imagine and then create a form of communication that helps me help others! Holding a sane conversation with people and ideas is reason enough to pray with humility.
I’d obviously want to include everyone else in my prayer and want us all to become really good with our communication. This is one facility that will help us overcome the dangers of disharmony in the world.
Reason to pray – 7
Able to make friends and fall in love
‘I want more friends!’
‘I am so lonely…’
‘I feel so unloved and desolate!’
The above sentences aren’t just wild and whirling words given here for effect. They are facts that torment a lot of people and the social media today has ensured that we hear of such complaints quite often.
I am not one of this lot and so this is one major reason for me to be thankful to God and I will certainly want to include it in my prayer. Friendlessness is almost a synonym for unhappiness and I’d want to include in my prayer that this world be made more joyous. I’d implore God to make people pull down walls that they sometimes erect all around themselves to simply remain in isolation.
More thoughts on Prayer and Pooja
A prayer, to me, is going inwards because it is there that one finds the path to go to the outer boundaries of the universe that we know of… and be one with the Him who has created it all! This is simple and yet complex. It is simple because all it requires you is to detach yourself from whatever surrounds you. It is complex because humans are restless by nature.
I guess what we need is the right environment to be able to pray with the sort of focus it wants. It is this environment that the Sampoorna Pooja pack is confident of helping you build. It has all the right things needed for a pooja, and the pack ‘contains everything that you would need to perform the Lakshmi Pooja. Do the pooja yourself, with your family. This pack contains all basic materials required for the pooja as mentioned in the Skanda Purana. The booklet (script in 6 languages) and audio CD have the procedure, necessary shlokas and Shree Vinayak Ashtottarashata Naamaavali for performing the pooja. This pack comes with instructional booklet & CD; with options to recite the shlokas along with the CD if you wish. The traditional way made easy for today’s generation. Recitation of shlokas and steps for performing Lakshmi Pooja along with all that is needed.’ Obviously, if such a pack will help one pray with more focus, it is what is going to be a part of any pooja anywhere.
What matters, however, is you pray with conviction. Do it… it helps. Prayers do help you transform your life from ‘being messy’ to being a little less messy to start with… and any sort of beginning is a good beginning!
This post is written as a part of a blogging contest titled: ‘Everyone has a reason to pray’. The sponsors of the contest are PurePrayer.in (of Cycle Pure Agarbathies) (Their Facebook page)
14 October 2013
Note: All illustrations in the post are self-drawn.