Praying is very personal, very personal. I know of people who pray for good children, pray for money, pray for health, pray for world peace as well.
Everyone’s reason to pray is very very individualistic. And I know some people who say they are atheists and yet pray. Because prayer is powerful. It is a direct dialing system to a superior being, you may or may not believe to exist. But prayer connects your heart to your mind and cleanses your soul. Prayer has the power to make you believe in the impossible and yet convince you that if you believe strongly, pray hard, it will happen.
When I was a kid, I always prayed for good marks. You know the usual, bhagwan, please please please let me get an easy Maths paper, I promise I will keep the utensils in the shelf for the next 10 days without cribbing to Amma. Does this qualify as a prayer or a bribe? I don’t know, but to a class 3 student, it meant asking for something which would make her life easier, and at times it worked, at times it didn’t. And such is the human mind, that if the prayer worked, I would believe that’s because I prayed really hard, and if it didn’t work, it was because I didn’t pray with sincerity.
When I got older, in college, I would still pray for easy papers and nice examiners. Having spent a lot of time being a nerd, I think examinations evoked a deep sense of spirituality in me 🙂
My Amma, is a strong believer in the power of prayer. And my Appa, who didn’t visit temples, till he got married to Amma, believes that her prayers have a lot of power in them. The only catch here is ‘it works only when Amma prays for others’ No seriously! and Amma always prays for others.
I remember she had kept a 16 week Santoshi Mata vrath for our neighbour uncle to get a job he wanted out of India, and believe it or not, on the 16th Friday, uncle came over to say that he had got the job. That’s when I think I started believing in the power of prayer. And then once, she had prayed for the good health of a relative and it worked wonders as well.
As we grew older, we realised that Amma is not a very ritualistic person. But she is deeply religious. Every morning, after she brushes her teeth and puts the milk to boil, she lights the lamp and the agarbathi in our house. Without having a bath. There have been a lot of people who had told her that its very wrong to touch God’s things without a bath, including her own mother, but Amma doesn’t really bother. The smell of the agarbathi coupled with freshly brewed coffee decoction happens to be one of my favorite childhood smell memories 🙂
Now, Amma just prays for everyone in the world. She prays everyone should be happy wherever they are and get whatever they want. Does her prayer work? I don’t think so, but does she believe her prayer works? Yes she does 🙂
When I was pregnant with R, I used to go to a temple near my bus stop on the way to office, every day. It was a Ganpati temple. And there, I used to pray, God if I have a girl child, her hair should be like my husband’s. Go on laugh. I was really praying for that. And R does have RD’s hair texture. People laugh at me, when I tell them, this is what I prayed for. But I did. and I believe in the power of prayer 🙂
Now, I just pray for the good health of everyone I know. I pray for people stuck in natural disasters and I pray for blog friends who write about their sad experiences. I do! I pray for the world to be a better place and I pray for everyone to be content with what they have.
When I read about the Lakshmi Pooja Pack, I was wondering if I could use it during Diwali. I wouldn’t be at home, but perhaps I can buy it to use it on the road. You know, listen to the audio CD for the chants for the Goddess, and then follow the instructions step by step as given in the booklet.Of course, this seems more like RD’s version of praying, but it seems interesting to try it out. Hmmm interesting idea 🙂
Written for Womens Web – Cycle Pure Agarbathies Your Reason to Pray contest.