Prayer


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  • Please read this. This has been sent by a young Marathi friend of mine. This was written by an old lady who recently died at the age of 92. The original is in Marathi. It was found when her daughter was sifting through her papers. The daughter is a non-believer. The translation is by her grand son, who too is a non-believer. This is a deeply moving document of a human being who, in her humble way, was trying find the meaning of existence while living her life with as much freedom as she could win.

    I am not a believer either but I agree with her that we should all have our corners of purity, especially in our minds. It is a tough call but that should not deter us from constantly seeking it, which just might make life worth living. Purity, I admit, is not easily definable, but I am sure everyone who reads this note has a personal definition of what purity is.
    Anybody who is familiar with the Communists of the Old School – the Indian Communists – will know what I am talking about.
    On another plane, this note tells us about the strength of our great country, especially of its ordinary people.

    Prayer

    What is my concept of God or his powers? Who is God? Do I believe in him? Do I have clear thoughts, ideas, emotions, or opinions about God? My idea of God is not that of God as one powerful being who can be coaxed into blessing me by my prayer, fasting, or sacrifice. Our own efforts determine what we get in life. Success or lack of it may be decided by circumstances. My mind never brought itself around to the self taking credit for successes, and blaming God, fate or destiny for failures. We are the cause and recipient, actors or witness, of what happens in our lives.

    If such are my thoughts, why do I pray regularly? I am a believer. There is an unknown, mysterious power that drives the natural world and its myriad happenings. Knowledge, whether scientific or philosophical, hasn’t yet solved this mystery. Mankind is collectively putting in great and persistent thought and efforts to unravel it. I believe in the existence of this mysterious power. It has helped me live my life. I do not believe however that this power will stand behind me and help me get what I want merely by my regular offerings of prayer.

    The idols I worship regularly are Ganesha and Saraswati – the Gods of knowledge, Annapoorna – the Goddess of food, and Balkrishna – the God of mischief and childlike innocence, one who provides a refreshing, constant flow of energy to move forward in life. All of these are symbols of things that I love in my life. The idols are a physical realization of these symbols. My offerings in daily prayers – flowers, leaves, grass, or Tulsi – remind me always of the beauty of nature.

    The corner of my house that hosts these idols is a place that respects virtue, one that provides strength in trying times. My house may be unkempt, dirty, messy, and I may become negligent or careless. Yet, there is one corner in my house that is a constant reminder of virtue, one that keeps me awake to living life as a good person, one that provides strength to deal with grief. Every house needs such a corner, irrespective of whether one actually prays or makes offerings to God. This corner reminds me to remain humble. It a constant source of energy to live. My mind, of its own accord, makes me fold my hands and bow my head in prayer. The corner that houses the idols gives my mind peace. My idea of God makes me strive to keep this corner it pure. It is personal, intimate, my own.

    I don’t find this same God in temples. I don’t feel the need to visit them. This corner of my house gives me strength live and keep living, to walk through the fog of disappointments. It shows me beauty and truth. This is the God of my mind. I have seated him that corner. God occupies a corner of my mind that keeps it awake to virtue.

    Kumud Oke
    Nasik

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