Very few people know how to pray – they do not pray; they do business. They would start off saying, “Oh, Lord, if my son passes his examination, I will donate a hundred dollars to the FISU.”
If my son passes the examination. If. Then I will donate the hundred dollars to the FISU. That is doing business with God. That is the kind of prayer that is commonly done. Why not give that first? And have the faith that, “Lord I have done my duty, right, and do whatever You think is right if my son deserves to pass or not.”
We are forever requesting, not only requesting but demanding. But nothing wrong with that. Request and demand. But one factor must always be taken into consideration: do I deserve what I demand? It is very good to demand the moon. But do I deserve that?
If a person goes through self-analysis, which is a very good thing, it is a very good thing to evaluate where one stands. If the demand is based upon real need which circumstances have brought about, and we know that my actions and thoughts in life has been such that that need must be fulfilled, it will be fulfilled because we ourselves have created conditions that will automatically fulfil the need. In prayer, we do not make demands. We do not do business.
The best way to pray is by a certain kind of affirmations. These affirmations are not necessarily repetitioning of specific formulas. When you sit down in your meditation, and just as your meditation is about to end, you picture in your mind’s eye, the position in which we want to be. If you want a new motor car, then when the mind is quiet after your meditation, picture yourself driving that new motor car. Picture yourself possessing that motor car. That does not mean that as soon as you come out of that meditation that Buick is going to stand outside.
MAN IS MASTER OF HIS DESTINY
We have said before that man is master of his destiny, by repeatedly putting yourself in that position of seeing yourself possessing that motor car, driving it, going on the seventeen miles drive and all. Having this repeated affirmation, you are imprinting your desire very strongly in your mind by the repetition of the picture you are creating. Because the mind is very powerful, your mind is so attuned to what you want that the force of your mind will attract certain circumstances to you and around you. We do not believe in lotteries. It will attract to you certain kind of work and specific kind of circumstances where you will be the proud possessor of that Buick. That is prayer.
So, who answers your prayer? You are answering the prayer by conditioning your mind to a particular set of circumstances.
Divinity is a neutral energy. When we say, God gives, theologically there is some truth in it. But because Divinity is a neutral energy, it depends upon you how to use this neutral energy, and this neutral energy has to be filtered through your mind.
Orientate yourself to the thoughts of poverty, poverty, poverty all the time, and you will become poor. Orientate your thoughts to riches all the time, and you can become rich materially or spiritually, that is your choice.
We have seen the pitfalls of putting too great an emphasis on materiality, and we have seen the advantages of putting a greater emphasis on spirituality. One could be a very temporary happiness. I still have to meet a rich man who is happy. But I can show you, spiritual men that are totally happy even though they do not possess more than two shirts – while one is being washed, he wears the other one.
THE HAPPIEST MAN ON EARTH
There is a lovely story about Emperor Akbar that lived in India about four hundred years ago. He wanted to find the happiest man on Earth, so he sent out all his generals and advisors, and everyone went everywhere with a questionnaire. They went to rich people and asked the question, “Are you happy, are you really happy?” and everyone had some problem. At last, all these soldiers and market researchers, they would call them today, went out questioning people, and they could not find anyone that was happy. Then his prime minister thought, “Look, they have all tried. Let me go out now and see what I can find.”
He went out and travelled and travelled and questioned and questioned, and he found no one that was happy. Then, as he was coming backcrossing the river, he saw a man sitting on a little boulder in the middle of the river, and just being in joy and singing away and splashing the water. He went up to him and he said, “Are you happy?” This man said, “Yes, I am happy.” Of course, the Prime Minister was no fool, so he questioned the man from various angles, and he discovered that this man was happy. Yet this man that was so happy did not possess a shirt on his back.
WE ANSWER OUR PRAYERS OURSELVES
When it comes to prayers, there is no one that answers our prayers but ourselves. When we try to condition our mind to specific circumstances or material possessions, let us also be sure that within the material acquisition, let there be a spiritual element too.
The way we described it, what we are doing in prayer is we are using this divine energy, which we are filtering through our minds and using our minds to make the maximum use of this energy in whichever way we want, the choice is ours. That is why man has been given a free will.
We are praying to the Divine in us. In other words, we are using the Divine as a focal point of our attention, and the purpose of using a focal point of our attention is so that all the scattered energies of the mind could be brought to one-pointedness. That is what the practice of Tratak does for us. It teaches us how to take scattered energies and bring it to one focal point. And when we have achieved a certain measure of how to get the scattered energies together to a focal point, then we can use it in whichever way we want to. Then our thoughts become more powerful, our prayers become more powerful, and everything we do becomes more powerful.
‘It is my personal experience that I need to think of something, and it happens. This is personal proof of the teachings I teach. I never teach anything without having experienced it first. You will find that whatever I say I have practiced first. All my teachings comes from deep experience which I have experienced and lived.
… Gururaj Ananda Yogi: Satsang US 1977 – 10