[Advaita-l] karma revisited -2

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sat Sep 20 07:42:51 CDT 2008

Shree Narayan Iyer


You have asked very pertinent questions. I will try to answer to the best I can.

About the prayer and its efficacy - here is a recent interesting story I read in Yahoo or so. 

Few devotees got together and built a beautiful temple as a place of prayer and worship.

One fellow, who does not pray, built a liquor shop right in front of the temple, angering all the devotees of the temple.  The devotees prayed to the Lord to get rid of the liquor shop and this fellow just smiled at their prayers.  It so happened that some lightning stoke the liquor shop and it get burned down.  This liquor owner sued the temple devotees that it is because of their prayer his shop got destroyed.  The devotees of the temple were happy that the shop got destroyed, but said they have nothing to do with the destruction of the shop. It is not their prayers that did the destruction.

Judge finds the case is very peculiar.  Here is the man who does not belief in God, but beliefs that prayer by the devotees to the god can do the job. And here are the devotes who believe in God but do not believe that that prayer cannot do the job. 

Leaving aside the story let us ask what the prayer does.

There are some tangle effects and some intangible effects and results.

1. Prayer helps the devotees’ minds that are agitated, because of the situation or the anticipated results, to calm down. That will open up their minds to see the possibilities that would otherwise be difficult to see for agitated minds. A calm and quiet mind alone is capable of inquiry. Hence the solutions can get revealed to the contemplative mind. Hence surrenderance is the most efficient way of purification of the mind.

2. Prayer itself is a subtle action. Since the results of the action is determined by the totality or Iswara, and the results depends on so many factors that are beyond our control (in Chaos theory they teach a butterfly effect - saying the fluttering of butterfly in remote village in china can affect the weather in NY - since system is non-linear). Hence prayer forms a subtle action that can affect the system in subtle way.  Most important is prayer will help to consolidate the like minds to get united; and united mind in action is difficult to recon with. That is the power of prayer.  It is not a gross but subtle action that can have its results. We do not know all the factors that enter into the equation in framing the results of an action. Lord does not do any favor to any body but proper prayer I myself is changing the factors that determine the equation – hence the statement – ye bhajantitu maam bhktyaa mayi te teshu caapyaham – those who
 worship me they are in me or in tune with me and I am in tune with them. 

3. In discussing the karma and upaasana - in the first portion of Mundaka says that ritualistic action that includes upaasana also discussed in Vedas are satyam in the sense they do give the results promised provided you do the action as prescribed. 

This much I know. I am not a ritualist. But I find myself praying first thing in the morning and last thing in the night and in between any time that I have nothing else to do just to remind myself the beauty and majesty of His glory in all the manifestations that I see in front. I cannot but bow down in my mind with humility seeing the majestic display of his glory. That is my prayer - I weak moments I do pray in my mind reminding myself the prayer of serenity. So prayer does help. Surrenderance with understanding is emphasized in all scriptures. 

Hope this answers your questions.

Hari Om!

--- On Sat, 9/20/08, narayan iyer <z1e1b1r1a at yahoo.com> wrote:

> From: narayan iyer <z1e1b1r1a at yahoo.com>
> Subject: [Advaita-l] karma revisited -2
> To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
> Date: Saturday, September 20, 2008, 3:37 AM
> Resoected Sri Sadananaji,
> Thanks for your prompt response to earlier message.
> I was learning through your excellent article "On
> Karma yoga: 6 - Choiceless Choice Advaita-l archives 2nd
> Jan. 06)- the analogy of throwing a big stone the up and
> waiting for the results - you wrote:
> 1."However, once I perform an action – say throw the
> stone up, I cannot
> determine its result.  I cannot control its trajectory.  I
> can pray the
> Lord to freeze the stone hanging in the air so that it
> would not fall on
> my baldhead.  That prayer is also a course of action that I
> can choose
> to make. It may or may not give the desired result.  The
> trajectory of
> the stone, however, is determined by the gravitational
> force, Newton’s
> laws of action and frictional forces, etc.  I cannot mend
> or amend those
> laws to suit the results that I want, since I am not the
> author of
> those laws.  They are part of the creation and Lord is the
> author of
> these laws that dictate the result of my action."
> In this situation, why do I pray??  Is there a one
> billionth of one per cent chance that stone will freeze?  Is
> there a law of Power of Belief, (in prayer/Almighty)created
> by Lord? Can it override law of gravitation if the Lord so
> wills?  This question arises out of the statement "it
> (prayer as a course of action) may or may not give the
> desired result"
> 2. "I am impartial to everybody, I have no liking for
> any one nor hatred for any one.  Whether one prays or not,
> whether one is a devotee or even non-believer, Krishna is
> impartial.  Just as gravitational forces act impartially
> whether I believe in it or not whether I pray it four times
> a day or not"....(cut/paste) "Hence Krishna says:
> “ye bhajantitu maa
> bhaktyaa mayi te teshu chaapyaham – whoever worships me
> with devotion
> they are with me and I am also with them – Those who
> understand the laws
> of nature and operate correctly they are in union with Me
> and I also
> bless them appropriately”. 
> When the results are uniform for bhaktas and non-believers,
> what is meant by blessings to the Bhaktas here? And of what
> use are the blessings?
> Kindly clarify when you can.
> with thanks and regards,
> narayan
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