We should pray to God not to seek a list of favours but to connect with the Divine and change ourselves, says SADHVI BHAGAWATI SARASWATI

Prayer plays a very deep and important role in our life, but the role is not to change our external circumstances. It’s not, “Oh dear God, please make me 6 feet tall, or make me 20 years old again, give me a singing voice that sounds like Mataji’s.” It’s not that.

God could do anything, God is infinite, but for our own spiritual growth, the highest level is not about going to God like He were Santa Claus or someone with a magic wand, and it’s just all about giving us what we wanted if we were good enough for it.

Ultimately, what the prayers to God should be ― and this is what changes our circumstances amazingly ― are, “Oh dear God, help me recognise who I am, the Truth of who I am. Help me see the beauty and wholeness and perfection in who I am, help me unfold and blossom into the greatest perfection that I can be. And mostly, dear God, let me just be a tool in your hands.” That’s the highest prayer, just to connect with God.

So, when God answers our prayers, what we get is not a castle, a mansion, a Mercedes, a perfect figure, but we get meditation. And what is meditation? Meditation is that deep experience of the peace, the love, the wholeness, and the consciousness which we really are.

Prayer is very important when we utilise it to just go to God. It connects us to God, it’s the way of talking to God. But for so many of us, our lives have become just ways of getting what we want, so whether it’s we’re hungry and we go to the nearest drive-thru, we want something and we just go online and order it, anything. Everything has become this immediate gratification.

One of the examples that we talk about frequently is the example of a vending machine. For so many of us, we’ve learned to see the world and the Universe as a vending machine. So, we want something, and what we’re told is if you “just” do this prayer, say this mantra, get this degree, look like this ― whatever our metaphoric dollar bill is ― you put that into the machine, you push the button, and you should get out whatever you want.

If you don’t, it’s that you’ve got the wrong mantra or a certificate in the wrong thing or the wrong Guru or you’re praying to the wrong God. Our whole model has become about getting what we want. It’s all about just fulfilling our desires, or,  getting our lists.

We go to God with a list. But instead of that, if we recognise that connection with the Divine is actually not the means but the end, that that is the goal, that when we are connected with the Divine everything else is automatically there, then suddenly there is no list, then suddenly it’s not about, “Oh God, now that we’re connected could you please get my kid into the college he’s trying to go to, could you please get my landlord to stop harassing me for my rent, could you please take off the 10 pounds I gained over the holidays?” Suddenly, none of those things matter because we’re connected to the Source.

So, we pray, yes. It changes our circumstances, yes. But that’s not because we’ve prayed for the outer circumstances to change, but that through our connection with God, our own mind has changed.

Then, since our mind has changed, our reality has changed. We are creating our realities. So, it’s neither about just a sense of “accept it” and never trying to change it, nor is it about asking God to change it.

It’s about asking God to give us that level of connection, that level of awareness, that level of experience of who we are, through which our vision changes, through which who we are changes. As we change, so do our circumstances.

(Featured image Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati)

Courtesy: https://www.sadhviji.org/

Sadhvi  Bhagawati Saraswati, a Ph.D in Psychology, raised in an American family in Hollywood, California, was the Managing Editor for the monumental project of the 11-volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism. Her TEDx talk on her journey from “Hollywood to the HolyWoods” was watched by over 287,000 people and the documentary on her life was viewed online by nearly a quarter of a million people. Officially initiated into the order of Sanyas in the year 2000, she has been living at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh for 24 years, engaged in spiritual practice and service.

More Stories by Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati