Prayer – Swami Rama

These excerpt on Prayer are from different books of Swami Rama. I collected these along the way for myself to be inspired again and again, to keep fathoming this practice, which is one of the practice of this Tradition… I thought I share them with you… so you can be inspired too <3 Please buy the books themselves if you are touched by to amazon


Prayer means:
I’ve seen that prayer can solve that which cannot be solved in any other way. Prayer means closeness to the Almighty, to the absolute truth, to the source of energy, to the source of strength. When you pray whole-heartedly, your mind and heart run one-pointedly to the source. During that time you become an instrument of that power, you become a channel of that power. (*CL)
To whom to pray?
To whom to pray? God is the source of all energies, the center, the powerhouse of light, life, and love. Through prayer we can reach to that powerhouse and draw the energy for expanding the field of our mind and the horizon of our consciousness. (*ESL)
Pray to the Lord of Life in your heart to give you strength and wisdom, so that you can understand life from all perspectives. (*ESL)
You are praying to someone who is not body, breath, and mind, but who is seated beyond and behind this mortal frame, whose nucleus is within you and whose expansion is the universe. There is only one absolute Reality that exists, and the same exists within you. (*ESL)
Ego-centered prayer God-centered prayer:
Egocentric prayer, is called sakama prarthana, sakama upasana, sakama bhakti, that is desire-filled prayer, desire-filled practices and desire-filled devotion. Egocentric prayer makes you very poor and petty and you cannot go beyond that. “O Lord, give me this. O Lord, give me that.” All the time you are begging. It makes you a beggar, it never improves your life because you’re feeding your ego all the time. Sometimes it is answered and sometimes it is not, because it is just to feed your ego. (*CL)
This sort of prayer, full of wants, is used just to fulfill one’s selfish ends. Though it works, it does not lead one to nearness to the Absolute. Such prayer regularly conducted in all great religions, reduces the magnanimity of prayer to a selfish petition. It does not lead one to go beyond the mire of delusion created by the ego. (*PPBG)
The school of prayer is unique and wonderful but it should be God-centered prayer. Prayer that makes you aware of the reality within you is the right type of prayer. To become aware of the reality, go to the deeper aspects of your being, to the source from where you get energy, from where you get strength. (*CL)
The aspirant should remember that the invocation or prayer is not addressed to the Lord of the universe. The aspirant cannot conceive or grasp this in full but from the very beginning, he or she should learn to take his or her own body as a shrine and the inner dweller, atman, as the ultimate deva (bright being). But before one attains the knowledge of atman, which is identical to the Absolute and without a second, he or she has to become aware of the finer forces of life, which are called “gods”. (*WAS)
Inner prayer:
The most beneficial prayer is that which comes from within. In inner prayer, one is not actually praying to someone else; he is becoming aware of the finest part of himself. He is praying to the Lord within who is the very summum bonum of life, who is the very source of one’s life. In inner prayer, one says, “O Lord, I want strength so I can face all the problems of life. Grace me so that I have that strength.” (*CP)
Prayer and faith:
A person should feel some deep meaning when he prays, or else it is just mere speech and does not help. Prayer without faith is not helpful either, so one should learn to have faith in his prayers. Faith means that the mind does not intervene, and one’s whole being flows with one-pointedness towards the beloved one. Faith is the leader in the path of bhakti. It is said that faith can move mountains, and it does. When one prays properly, his whole being is intense. Prayer is a method of soul-searching that purifies the way of the soul. One should pray to his full capacity, and he should know that the highest of all powers is the power of love. (*CP)
I examined this for myself. Once I prayed for ten hours, but my internal state remained the same. I prayed feeling I was different for the Lord, with no results. Then I completely surrendered and said, “Lord, I am Thine and Thou art mine, I am a drop and you are the ocean. There is no place for me elsewhere but you.” Then there came some courage from within, and that cloud of separation was dispelled. Between the inner Self and the person there lies a veil. In inner prayer, one removes that veil. Prayer is always answered; there is no doubt about that. (*CP)
Prayer and emotions:
One can also let his emotions out through prayer, and it can even strengthen one’s meditation if properly used. (*CP)
It (prayer) is the way of using emotional power by awakening, evoking and transforming it. (*PPBG)
Prayer and mantra:
Mantra is very powerful and essential, a compact form of prayer. If remembered constantly, it becomes a guide. (*LHM)
Asatoma Sada Gamaya:
Lead me from the unreal to the real. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from mortality to immortality. Asatoma sada gamaya, tamasoma jyotir gamaya, mrtyorma amritam gamaya. Three desires are expressed in the prayer. Lead me from untruth to the truth. Untruth, means this apparent reality which seems to be real but is not. It’s not absolute, not real. Lead me from this to the ultimate truth. Lead me from darkness to light. Dispel all the ignorance that is created by our karma, our mind, our action, our speech. Lead me from mortality to immortality. So far we are aware of the mortal aspect of life. A human being dies and then you do not know anything about what happens after that. He is born, he grows, becomes a youth, grows old and then he dies. There is another aspect of life and that is called immortality. Lead me from mortality to immortality, my Lord. So there are three prayers. (*CL)
Own Language:
Pray in your own language to the Lord of Life, who is seated in the inner chamber of your being. He knows you better than anyone else. He guides you, protects you, and helps you. (*ESL)
Prayer is not conducted in Sanskrit or Arabic or English or Latin or any other language. Prayer should be conducted in your own language. Which is your language? It’s the same language in which a newborn baby speaks to her mother. It’s the language of love. You see how a newborn baby communicates with the mother. Speak in any language, the child will have nothing to do with it. But when the mother says na, na, na, na, na, chu, chu, chu, chu, chu, she communicates well with the child. Which is that language? The language of love. When our mind, our thoughts, our emotions, our whole being is integrated, when our mind and emotions go together, when we become one-pointed and with that feeling we pray, that prayer never goes in vain! (*CL)
Twice a day:
It is essential twice a day, morning and evening, to pray. Prayer is a petition for extra energy for our success. (*ESL)
Steps of prayer:
There are many steps of prayer, and the first is to say a few mantras and then to mentally remember those mantras; then wait for the answer to be received. Every prayer is answered. (*ESL)
You should learn to meditate with the feeling that the body is a shrine and the inner dweller, the Lord of Life, is God. Mind is a sadhaka and learns to surrender its manners, moods, and weapons by saying, “I have no capacity. My abilities are limited. Help me Lord, give me power, so that I can solve all the problems boldly and without getting flattened like a ball of clay, or crumbled as a house of cards is crumbled by the touch of a finger.” (*ESL)
In this way the mind forms a habit of depending on the Lord of Life, instead of leaning on the ‘mere I.’ The ‘mere I’ is the ego, and the ‘real I’ is God within. This inward process is meditation cum prayer. All other prayers are futile, enveloped by wants and desires, fully colored by selfishness, and are just for the sake of pleasing the ego. (*ESL)
Never pray for anything selfish. Pray to the Lord so that your mind receives energy and the Lord motivates you to do what is right for you and for others. That which cannot be accomplished through any other means can be accomplished through prayer. There is a beautiful verse in the Bible, “Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” It is not written how many times one has to knock! (*ESL)
Prayer and repentance:
Prayer and repentance are the greatest purifiers that purify the way of life and lead us to Self-realization. Prayer without repentance does not help much. (*ESL)
You should always learn to forgive yourself. Prayer and repentance purify the way of the soul. Self-realization leads you to your goal. Sit down and if you think that you have done something bad, which you shouldn’t have done, don’t repeat it and you are free. (*CL)
Prayashchitta means repentance, means a determination not to repeat your mistakes. (*CL)
Prayer and karma:
Just as karma is a law, prayer is also a law. Prayer can help you by strengthening your determination, so that you do not perform those karmas which create barriers for you. (*CL)
Prayer and selfless service:
Prayer cannot liberate you, prayer can inspire you, but in practical life, selfless service alone is the real prayer that gives you freedom from the bondage that you constantly create for yourself. It also gives freedom to others, for you become an example. Performing your duties consciously and renouncing the fruits of your actions for the sake of selfless service is the greatest of all worships. (*IT)
In God-centered prayer one does not leave all the human responsibilities to God with the expectation that God will take care of those responsibilities, but one prays to God to give him strength so that he can understand and fulfill his duties and serve others selflessly. (*PPBG)
Meditation, contemplation and prayer combined:
Some modern teachers today think that by teaching the scriptures they will help students to attain Absolute Truth. This is not true: without the systematic methods of meditation, contemplation, and prayer combined, one cannot dig deep to uncover the immortal jewel of atman, which sleeps in the city of life. (*WAS)
Upanishadic prayers and contemplation of the mahavakyas, the great saying deepen the inner awareness of the aspirant. Therefore, prayer and contemplation are auxiliary to meditation. (*WAS)
*CL = Conscious Living
ESL = The Essence of Spiritual Life
PPGB = Perennial Psychology of the Bhagavad Gita
WAS = Wisdom of the Ancient Sages
CP = Choosing a Path
LHM = Living with the Himalayan Masters
IT = Inspired Thoughts of Swami Rama