Which ‘god’ to pray ?

The problem in the spiritual life is this. We have to reach something that is totally a new dimension to this, ‘what we know’. That is why - different religions and mystics will say differently though they are telling about the same reality. These are all trying to bring down the reality into the grasp of the mind and for different people with different maturity levels they say differently and all these sayings and understandings however logical or intellectual they might appear all these are ‘just trash’ because, there is no relation between what we understand of that ‘unknown’ and the ‘unknown’ is. Our concept of ‘reality’ is just ‘our imagination’ and not the ‘reality’.

That is why the Hindu scripture say the reality as – avaak maanasa gocharam - that is beyond the grasp of the words and mind. So, Hinduism didn’t encourage discussions and knowledge gathering on the ‘ultimate’ as whatever you understand or know about the 'ultimate' is all just ‘rubbish’. So, in ancient India the sages didn’t even prescribe the philosophical scriptures [Vedant- the Upanishads] to the common masses.

Hinduism says – just do some kind of spiritual practice to uplift your-self and discussion won’t do. These spiritual practices too – will depend on the individual concerned. A single method will not fit all the individuals because each one is at his own level of maturity. Consequently, Hinduism has given many spiritual practices and ‘gods’ too in order to suit the spiritual needs of different individuals.

This is like – if people want to go from ‘Bangalore to Hyderabad’ different people take different methods. Some of these could be through – airplanes, trains, buses, cars, on foot, horse and in hundred different ways and routs. They will choose based on different things, financial and others too.

Out of the many methods Hinduism had prescribed – individuals will choose [depending on their samskaras] their own method of spiritual practice and the ‘heart oriented’ people will naturally choose the ‘Bhakti Yoga’ but, to the others [for ex; Jnana Yogi] ‘it’  [bhakti] might seem unsuitable and ‘stupid’. Again the Hinduism has given choices to the devotee. The ‘sadak’ [devotee] in the ‘bhakti marg’, the bhakti way might choose his ‘own god’
amongst many gods. No ‘god’ will suit a ‘Jnana Yogi’ - and he will make a joke out of it because his concept of the ‘ultimate’ and his way are totally different than a devotee. If a person is both a ‘Jnana Yogi’ and a ‘bhakti yogi’ [as in the case of Swami Vivekananda ] as well then of course he could accept the god.

Everything is logical in the Universe [even Albers Einstein had this view and he didn’t support ‘Quantum mechanics’ throughout his life that allows illogicality through the Heisanberg’s uncertainty principle] and has a reason behind it. Naturally, a devotee can’t choose a ‘god’ in random and again this will depend on their – samskaras. Different people will choose a different ‘god’ that is related to his/her ‘samskaras’, the inner psychology. That is why – Hinduism permits adoration of everything. There are people adoring - trees, snakes, stones and nothing is an exception for adoration.

For example - a small terrorist would adore ‘Bin Laden’ and ‘service oriented people’ could adore ‘mother Theresa’ and the terrorist might not adore ‘Theresa’ and ‘servicer’ will not adore ‘Laden’ instead they will hate. It naturally implies that your ‘god’ is your personal matter and it depends on your samskaras as already mentioned. If anything gives you maturity or pushes you on the spiritual path then you could choose it as your ‘god’.

But, in prayer two things are important. The first one is the - intensity of devotion of the devotee and the second one is the - spiritual power of the object of adoration. [The ‘object of adoration’ refers to both – your ‘god’ and your ‘guru’ as well]

If both – the devotee and the object adored - are powerful then – the devotee can climb the ladder easily and quickly. That is why the Hinduism stresses on the importance of a ‘guru’ as he can lead you easily with his own spiritual power. In the presence of strong magnet even a small iron piece can easily turn into a strong magnet and in the presence of a weak magnet the iron piece will only become a weak magnet but not strong. That is why the Hinduism says – the greatness of a disciple depends on his ‘guru’.

So, instead of praying in the house, praying in powerful temples is more rewarding. Even in the ‘gods’ too, there are strong and weak gods as well. The belief and understanding of the devotee too will count in ‘bhakti’.

If your ‘guru’ or 'god' - is weak then your progress too will be slow but, it is far better than not having a ‘guru’ or 'god' - generally speaking.

In the starting or low stages, the conman man – simply can’t accept something as his ‘guru’. He needs some ‘proof’ [even Vivekananda wanted it and he tested Ramakrishna before accepting him as his ‘guru’] from his ‘guru’ might in the in the form of some help or insight from the ‘guru’ and if that ‘satisfies’ then he could accept him as his ‘guru’ else he will not. This ‘matrix’ of ‘satisfying the disciple’ depends on both the ‘spiritual caliber’ of the ‘master’ and the ‘disciple’ as well. 

When you want to judge something – we have to see in so many angles or the entire universe is responsible for the happening of anything how minute it might appear, speaking the fact.

If I pray a tree – and I have the belief then the ‘tree god’ will surely come to my help. Please note that the ‘tree’ might not help me but, the ‘god unseen’ present in the tree [Hinduism says ‘god’ is present everywhere – sarvam Vishnu mayam jagat] will surely come to my rescue. Here, it depends on the ‘intensity of adoration’ of the devotee and the tree has no ‘potential spiritual power’ per see.

Now, coming to the question of the reader of this blog – Muralidharan – one could take ‘Mother Theresa’ as a ‘god’ and adore her with no objection at all and the Hindu Scriptures will not object. According to the dictum of Hinduism that says - ‘the devotee will get the traits of his god’ the particular devotee of ‘Theresa’ will get the qualities of ‘Theresa’ and will probably will do ‘service oriented’ things. If you continually pray before the ‘idol’ of the ‘mother Theresa’ then – the ‘god the ultimate’ present in the ‘idol of Theresa’ you adore – will respond to you, although you don’t have that [the ‘ultimate’] in mind during your prayers. It all will depend on ‘Your belief’, the ‘belief of the devotee’ - in the spiritual life and his perception of his god. In other words the spiritual life is all – personal and the ‘results’ too are very personal in nature. Evariki vaare yamunaathere. The bond is between the devotee and his/her ‘god’ and no one else is concerned here. It is such a private matter. If you have devotion and you persist – surely you will be benefited by adoring the ‘idol’ of ‘Theresa’ with no doubt at all.

The Hinduism – will not deny anything at all. We can pray anything in Hinduism and the ‘dead people’ - are in fact treated like ‘gods’ – the ‘Pithru devathas’. So, from this point too there is nothing wrong in praying ‘Theresa’ as ‘god’.

Problem is only with adoring a living person, a ‘guru’ as 'god'. If they are not good they might manipulate you or cheat you or utilize you for their personal benefits or they might disappoint you after some time, then you will feel like breaking the ‘bond’. So, caution is required only in adoring a ‘live guru’ as 'god'. So, keen examination is required before accepting a ‘living guru’ as Vivekananda did in the case of his guru. A dead person will not cheat - so no caution and doubt are required.

Bhakti - devotion is a very private matter in fact, between the ‘devotee’ and his ‘god’. If the devotee is ‘happy’ with his ‘god’ its fine and no one else has to poke into the matter.

Note - For a discussion on - 'types of Gods' - read the article entitled Does ‘Sai Baba’ - a ‘god’ ?

{ This post is in response to the question from this blog reader - Muralidharan, Bangalore, India. Thank you Mr. Murali for your question}

Do you like this article…?

Please write your comments on this and share this article on your social networks.

Thank you..!

No comments: