July 21, 2009

Realistic prayer

"Might the fishes devour him, this dog of a Siddhartha, this madman, this corrupted and rotting body, this sluggish & misused soul! Might the fishes and crocodiles devour him, might the demons tear hm to little pieces"
- Herman Hesse in his book 'Siddhata'

photo by nickwheeleroz

2000 years ago, when a lot of offerings went futile, the people had got disappointed from gods and goddesses of ancient local religion, despair was reigning all over India. The spiritual thirst had been such widespread, that the people attached their hope with the ascetics and yogis, who used to go deep inside the deep forests of the terrains beside Ganges to perform practices and yoga, in order to search a dhamma (dharma) for the people, which could resolve their distress. Siddhartha Buddha went into the forests and underwent different practices and experiences. When he came back, he had with him something which what they say the healing madicine of that time: a dharma, or you say an approach, an ideology! He tought a more psychological and practical approach to the humanity, that said: instead of hiding yourself behind the superstitions, come out and face. Accept the reality of life. And when you have accepted the every minute and big difficulty as the reality of life and indispensable part of it, then by practice of pious virtues and compassion towards all, you can break come out from the repetitious tormenting cycles and eventually meet the eternal peace.

Zen Master Kyong Ho, in Thousand Peaks writes: Don't hope for life without problems. An easy life results in a judgmental and lazy end. So an ancient once said, "Accept the anxieties and difficulties of this life". moreover he says: Don't expect your practice to be clear of obstacles. Without hindrances the mind that seeks enlightenment may be burnt out. So an ancient once said, "Attain deliverance in disturbances".

Bible also have a say: Hope is produced by endurance through suffering (Rom. 5:2-5) and is at the same time the inspiration behind endurance and perseverance to the end (1 Thess 1:3, Hebrews 6:11; 10:22-23)

The Islamic Sufi culture spread many pearls of wisdom over times. One day i stumbled upon Javed Chaudhry's column in some urdu newspaper. The Pakistani columnist pointed out a stereotype that most of the people ask in their prayers that all the difficulties of their lives should be lifted. But the human beings who had a strong belief in Allah and they became successful, used a different and reasonable approach. Instead their prayers use be in this style: "oh, Allah! give me the enough strength to face the incumbent difficulties. and make me capable to resolve them!". These people became the conqueror of the world, and it were them who spread the word of peace and justice everywhere. This is not just matter of style, this had been keeping many important things in it.

Two styles of asking prayer were described in that column of the Pakistani journalist. I don't say that the first style is defective or false, in which the man asks the God to eliminate all difficulties. But important thing is that the second style shouldn't be ignored. As this style has a special blend of 'hope', inspiration, passion and 'commitment with the struggle'. I wonder, if the prayers asked in such manner perhaps have got much power to in the heavens, for the beauty of humanity, true sentiments and sincerity have been mixed with the request. Lets see what God says in the final testament Quran,

Nay, seek (Allah's) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit,- (Quran, 002.045)

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