Value of Prayer

ken knight hilken_98 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jun 6 02:00:31 CDT 2002

--- "Ravisankar S. Mayavaram"
<miinalochanii at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

> In the case smArta-sampradAya, learning starts more
> from practice. For
> instance, doing trikAla sandhya vandanam is more
> important, even if one
> does not initially understand all details.  That is
> what makes the
> difference between a living and dead tradition.  A
> smArta, knows,
> understand, and preserves his tradition through
> practice.

Namaste Ravi,
I am sorry to be so slow replying but I am hosting a
monk from the Bede Griffith's ashram. He is in Europe
giving a series of lectures and he needs to be taken
Thank you so much for picking up on the limited nature
of my initial comment. It is a comment I have
frequently made that was/is correct in its context but
such observations soon become stone idols...or dead
beautiful ladies..... when carelessly repeated.
The correct context is in a group setting where people
claim to represent a tradition.
Shankara advises us to refer to sruti given the
authority of experience.
In relation to 'learning starting from practice' I
know of a shining example of this and I mean 'shining'
for this lady is indeed a light in the world.  She and
her husband stay with us and he is a monster.  For him
her purpose is that of an attendant upon his every
need. He never carries any luggage, gives her no
attention, does not allow her to talk in a
conversation and interrupts if he comes into the room
when she is talking. Every word he addresses to her is
arrogant and disdainful.  And yet to this lady he
indeed is 'her lord'. Such is her love for that which
she sees in him that she shines in his presence. It
would be utterly wrong to point out his faults to her
because in her light we only see our own ignorance in
getting caught up with the superficial. So does she
need to study scripture when her daily practice is the
living Vedas?  I leave that as a question.

Coming back to the point on the study of scripture for
those of us who have been attracted to the traditional
teachings of Adishankara then I feel thatn personally
I do need to take heed of the following.  I am taking
this quote from Swami Brahmananda's translation and
commenbtary on the Sadhana Panchaka:
'It is said that some of his (Shankara's) close
disciples were sitting around him just before his
MahasamAdhi......One of them asked," In the days to
come, when men become weak in their understanding and
capacity to grasp the import of the scriptures,
aspirants of mediocre intellect treading the spiritual
path  would find it extremely difficult and almost
impossible to read and digest all these works (here
referring to Shankara's bhashyas). Kindly therefore
condescend to give to the world for the help of such
spiritual seekers, in a nutshell, what they should do
to attain the summum bonum of life."

Shankara's reply begins:
vedonityam adhiyatam    Let the scriptures be studied
Given this basis then Shankara details how the daily
life will evolve.

Although we are translating veda here as written
scriptures I would also agree that the vedas are not
the 'dead lady' entombed in books but the living Word
and it possibly is that which informs the lady of whom
I wrote earlier.

I am also aware that I have drifted away from the
theme of prayer but hope to come back to it later.

Om sri ram jai jai ram

Ken Knight

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