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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pray and be happy

Dharminder Singh Ubha, Hindustan Times

People generally pray to God for a variety of reasons. Some pray to Him out of fear, believing that they will be punished if they do not pray regularly or on certain occasions. Some others remember God only when they are in  some  difficulty and need help which humans cannot or do not give them.  There  are others who pray out of a sense of duty thinking that they should  do  it, not necessarily because they want to do it. Then there are those who are deeply devout and remember God out of love and reverence.

It  is pertinent to ask whether it is prayer to God or faith in God which  is  more  important  and  more  powerful. The obvious answer will be 'faith' because prayer without faith would be just a meaningless ritual.

The Bible says,"Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find;  knock,  and it shall be opened to you." Lord Tennyson, in his famous poem  ‘Idylls of the King’, writes: “More things are wrought by prayer than these world dreams of”. Indian  sages, saints and scriptures express infinite faith in the power of prayer,  call  it  a panacea for all our ills and exhort the people to pray regularly  to  God  or various gods and goddesses. The prayer in the Indian context  refers  to  a  plethora  of  religious rites, rituals and forms of worship.

The  liberal  and  humanistic  approach to religion changes its focus from  the  world  of myth and mystery to the world of man. People with this type  of  mindset  believe  that service of mankind is the best worship and that ritualistic prayer has no place in the world of today. Of course, they too believe in the power of prayer.

But  it  is  the  silent  prayer of the soul which they perform. For this,  they don't need to go anywhere, need no aids and perform no rituals. Despite being wordless and formless, it strengthens one's confidence, leads to spiritual growth and paves the way for a successful, happy and contented life.

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