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Prayer Trials and Tribulations

Swami Sivananda, like Mahatma Gandhi, gave great importance to prayer. He made evening satsanga a regular feature of the Ashram activities, and he used to attend it most regularly. He had the conviction that God listens to the sincere prayer coming from the heart, and he used to pray to the Lord and sing bhajans (devotional songs) with exceptionally rare bhava (feeling). Bhajan and kirtan are also a form of prayer and Swamiji excelled in them too. He used to slip into divine ecstasy while doing kirtan (singing the Lord's names), and often was dancing with the kirtan. He made Sankirtan (group kirtan) popular. Very fittingly, he was known as Sankirtan Samrat - king of group singing. His views on prayer are as inspiring as his bhajans:

Prayer is an effort of man to commune with the Lord. When you pray, you are in tune with the Infinity. You link yourself with Hiranyagarbha - the inexhaustible cosmic storehouse of power - and thus draw power, energy, light and strength. Prayer is a mighty spiritual force.

Prayer is depending on God for help in distress. Prayer is expecting God to decide what is best for you when you are in a dilemma.

Prayer represents a mystic state when the individual consciousness is absorbed in God.

Prayer is uplifting the soul to God. It is an act of love and adoration to Him.

There is nothing so purifying as prayer. Prayer lightens the heart and fills the mind with peace, strength and purity. Prayer works wonders.

Prayer elevates, inspires, redeems. It fills the mind with purity. It brings man nearer to God. It keeps him in tune with God, and makes him feel the Divine Consciousness and his essential, immortal and blissful nature. Through prayer Divine grace and Divine Light descend.

Prayer is a spiritual food for the soul.

Prayer is a master key to open the realm of Elysian Bliss.

Prayer should come from the innermost recess of the heart. Then alone it will be heard at once.

God listens to, and answers all your prayers. God ever responds to the appeal of His sincere devotees. Prayer that comes from a sincere, pure heart is at once heard by the Lord.

There are no problems that cannot be dissolved by prayer, no sufferings that cannot be allayed by prayer, no difficulties that cannot be surmounted by prayer, and no evil that cannot be overcome by prayer. Prayer is the miracle by which God's power flows into human veins.

Prayer should be lifelong, and your life should be one long prayer.

Through prayer empty your heart and God shall fill it with Consciousness-Delite, and you shall be all full.

Attune your heart with the Lord by doing fervent and sincere prayer daily. Prayer must become habitual. If you pray regularly, your life will be gradually changed and moulded.

Prayer expands the heart. Prayer purifies the heart. It fills the heart with immense power and strength.

Prayer fills the mind with purity. It will keep your mind in tune with the Lord. It will instil in your heart joy, peace and bliss.

Prayer generates spiritual currents, and produces tranquillity of the mind. There is nothing so purifying as prayer.

Essentially, prayer should be selfless as far as possible. We should first pray for the good of others, for the welfare and peace of the world and for our own spiritual evolution; we should pray for eradication of our evil qualities, for wisdom and knowledge, for goodness and saintliness. Asato maa sad-gamaya; Tamaso maa jyotir-gamaya; mrityormaa amritam gamaya. Lead me from unreal to the Real; from darkness to the Light; from mortality to Immortality. This is the best prayer - the prayer for the Light, for the Truth, for Immortality.

Prayer cleanses the dross and steadies the mind. It washes off the impurities of the heart with the pure waters of spiritual emotions, corrects the defects and shortcomings, and prepares the mind for the reception of Self-knowledge.

Pray to God fervently: "O Lord! Make my will strong to resist all temptations, to control my indriyas (senses) and my lower nature. Enthrone Thyself in my heart. Make me fit to dwell in Thee for ever."

Prayer grinds the flint of egoism, breaks the walls of pride, and consumes the fire of selfishness.

By prayer you dwell in the Lord who is all happiness and the sweetest of sweets. It opens the eye of intuition. Wherever you turn this 'eye', you see nothing but God - the transcendent Divinity.

Pray fervently for the descent of the Divine Light.

God wants your heart when you pray. Lay bare your heart. Melt the mind in the agni (fire) of divine love. Crave for His mercy.

Do not pray for the attainment of some selfish ends or mundane gains. It should be done without expectation of fruit. Pray for His mercy. Pray for light, purity and guidance.

Repetition of stotras or hymns will elevate your mind, inspire you.

Common mass-prayer is very inspiring. A huge spiritual current is generated during mass-prayer. In times of danger and calamity, mass prayer works wonders.

Prayer for the departed souls bestows peace on them.

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