Growing up in a Hindu family, prayers and rituals have always been an integral part of my religious practices. But because I never understood the meanings of Sanskrit mantras or these rituals, a part of me felt disconnected from God whenever I tried chanting.
And that made me feel ashamed, thinking that there’s something wrong with me for not praying seriously enough. Eventually, watching the Indian TV show, Devon ke Dev Mahedev reinforced the idea that God doesn’t need to be flattered. That our connection with God isn’t just through repeating sacred verses or any of that.
Truth be told, prayers aren’t for God. God doesn’t need any of that flattery or pleasing. Really, it’s for US.
Let me start by clarifying the misconception, that “God comes to us when we pray”. God is omnipresent. Well if you’re rolling your eyes at the use of the term God (because you are thinking of one specific energy), then let me rephrase.
The Universe is omnipresent.
Thus, in prayer, WE go to God.
What does that mean?
As we establish a connection with the ‘beyond’, we work to eliminate the heavy densities of fear and doubt. So, we start moving up the ladder, to start operating in a lighter state of knowing.
This often occurs in our worst times, when we remember, or atleast hope to be assured, that life can’t be this bad. That there must be grace somewhere. And when we reach out to it, we take our leap of faith.
So, the Universe is always subtly present but in true, deep-felt prayer, the subtlety becomes a roaring presence.
And thus, the grace we seek is no longer subtle either. Our life speeds up.
Have I experienced this personally? YES. In today’s list, there’s a personal story associated with it, to help you see the power of prayer.
Of course, there would be no point chanting a prayer if you didn’t know what it meant. Because, any act of devotion is only as meaningful as YOU, the person praying can intend it to be. So, I’ve shared the meanings for each, that you can invoke in your heart.
More than religious, I now see these as deeply personal and spiritual prayers.
#1 – Om Chanting
MEANING : OM, or AUM, is the sound of vibration that reverberates throughout each particle of the universe, of existence. When you become one with this prayer, you become one with existence itself.
Here’s some beautiful OM chanting music.
MY STORY : I started chanting Om when I first began meditation and my mindset was very pessimistic, and depressive. So, I talk about more about my meditation stories in this dedicated post, and as you will find, this simply word with its vibrations was just the beginner’s luck I was aching for!
#2 – Heartfulness Prayer
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.
MEANING : The first part of this prayer affirms our goal – enlightenment. The second part refers to our present state, acknowledging that we are the creators of our own problems and that our wishes and attachments are obstacles to our progress. The third statement points to the source of our liberation, recognizing that it is God alone who can help us rise to the higher state of existence.
(meaning extracted from : http://www.sahajmarg.org/sm/practice/prayer-meditation)
Here is a guided meditation from the Heartfulness program that you can pray along with.
MY STORY : At a time where I was meditating daily but still quite restless and moody, the Heartfulness Way came to me like serendipity and changed my life. The prayers and intentions that were shared were so secular and open to interpretation that they brought me immense peace and clarity. Till date, I find the Heartfulness Prayer to be deeply healing for the Ego-Mind.
#3 – Lotus Sutra
Namyo Ho Renge Kyo
MEANING : I am devoted to the mystical law of Cause and Effect. In other words, repeating this prayer is a reminder to ourselves to be Conscious of our actions, and to let the Universe help us rapidly clear it. The faster you pray on this mantra, it is believed that life moves faster too!
Incase you find it tricky to pronounce, here’s a powerful online version you can sing to.
MY STORY : I chanted this prayer for one hour, and three days later, met my to-be in-laws and one week later, my now-husband! Before this, we had been actively searching for the ‘right guy’ since several months to no avail. It was this prayer that assured me, that sometimes our life is just a few chants away from completing a life-old promise and experiencing a true transformation.
Did life speed up? Oh boy, it did! I got married within the next 6 months and it was time for me to move to a completely different continent, with a new career path and family. I’ve seen this magic of this Buddhist prayer in not just marriage, but in propelling many areas of life. And not just for me, but for many others that religiously practice it.
#4 – Forgiveness, Grace & Protection Prayer
I often heard my grandfather say this prayer in Hindi, which translates to,
If I have created bad Karma, please forgive me.
Please grace me.
Please protect me.
MEANING : The beauty is in its simplicity. When you seek humble forgiveness, when you acknowledge the karmic debts, you walk towards liberation. We alone cannot understand our Karma, because we are not that Conscious or evolved, but the all-knowing within each of us can help us act in a way to release them and free us.
MY STORY : This prayer humbles me, every time. Having been reflecting on it since I was a kid, it always reminds me that I’m only a part of the grand scheme of things, and only here to play my part. There are moments when I’m filled with hopelessness or resentment, and this prayer clears my head and the hurt.
Did you know, there are actually four paths to enlightenment, as explained by Eastern philosophy? Praying is one of those paths. And through prayer, you develop that connection with the Universe through stillness; a key component to Self Actualization.
Keep doing, keep being, keep praying. 🙂
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