Monday, February 16, 2009

Purpose of Prayer

What is the purpose of prayer? This is a very important question. The answer will provide a whole lot of meanings to all your experience. When people say they do not have the habit of praying they do not understand the fundamental meaning of what praying is. All of us pray. Some of us may not pray to a specified deity or in a specified format but we send out a wish or supplication when we are pushed to a corner in life situation or when we have an ailment that is nagging us and we wish that it goes away.

Classically, prayer is, in essence, an act of communication. One communicates one’s desires to, presumably, some source that has power over his or her life or power to help. Prayer is also an act of communion with the source for expression of gratitude (a heaving of sigh, a silent ‘thank you’ in the depth of our heart) and reverence (a surrendering, a genuflection or prostration before an overpowering agency, all of which could be a mental state and not necessarily a physical act).

Continuing to define the word prayer, by associated meanings of the word “communicate”, means to connect, to join, or in effect to become one. In prayer, there is always a desire, though unconsciously, to be aligned with the source to which we pray. To be deemed worthy of facing up to a superior force and finally in all humility to surrender oneself.
This is the feeling many prophets and mystics felt when experiencing the divine presence.
This was the experience of Peter, James and John on Mt. Tabor, when they beheld the divine radiance of Jesus. This was the experience of Arjuna, when he asked Lord Krishna to reveal his universal form. This was the experience of the Prophet when he was embraced three times by Gabriel before communicating the wisdom of the Qur’an.
The Prophet was so terrified that he fled from the cave of Mt. Hira (Qur'an 81: 19-29)

All this are non verbal communion and the power lies therein.

Mantra is intended to provide the needed focus and to be a vehicle in a spiritual journey but unfortunately the words of the mantra dominate our act of praying rather than being an agency or a catalyst of communication.

Every thought that goes out from us is a communication or a prayer. Thoughts cannot be perceived in isolation. When we think, we think of something or somebody. There is a source to which we connect. what else could be greater than connecting to the very source of all that exists through all these intermediary steps. This is the ultimate prayer wherein we see and feel the connection to the very fundamental source and that should be the purpose of prayer.

This is revealed in the Gita "I am the goal, the sustainer, the master, the witness, the abode, the refuge, and the most dear friend. I am the creation and the annihilation, the basis of everything, the resting place and the eternal seed." ..........BG 9:18

Love to you all


  1. The topic for the week " Prayer" is simply superb. Especially, the girl with an innocent look with folded hands give a soothing feeling.

    In one of the spiritual lecture, it was explained as follows. " In the space of love - you and I are one".

    One hand represents I & the other hand you. When they join together, it is the transformation of love and is known as Namasthe.

    The explanation given for the word Mantra gives a real pleasure especially the text " the words of the mantra dominate our act of praying ...."

    Yes, Manatras are nothing but divine vibrations which can be grossly translated as magical words or incantation.

    A good start for the week with a noble reading


  2. KVK,
    Thank you for your insightful comment.