Worship Without Words
by Srijaya Char
(Bangalore, Karnataka, India)
People pray for various reasons; but when they have troubles in their lives they pray more fervently. For me, prayers have always been something that impress the subconscious mind in a positive way and provide the inspiration to surmount obstacles. My prayers do not require any idols, flowers, or temples. They are always silent—a confidential pact between me and the supreme power who controls the universe. My prayers have always been answered too! I keep thinking of them and feel glad that ‘something that I have done must have helped my prayers to have been answered.’
I remember the times when, as a young girl, I would observe my grandfather in the prayer room. What struck me most was his silence. Very quietly, he would go about cleaning the prayer room all by himself and all the necessary articles. He would himself take the trouble of cleaning the oily lamps, dust and wipe all the ashes of the incense sticks and dried flowers of the previous day. In the stillness, his silence would resonate like a thousand temple bells! Grandfather would sit in the prayer room for nearly an hour in absolute silence. When he came out, I would find his face radiant and bright…. The room would be spick and span. So clean, so sacred! He would take the trouble of cleaning even the floor himself. May be he would be saying some ‘slokas’ but not at all aloud. It would be within himself. Silence prevailed and I would watch him with astonishment!
He had never asked any of us to go and pray nor would he ask us to recite any ‘slokas’, or light the lamp. I would observe him with wonder! I have seen many elders prodding their children to recite ‘slokas’ and take the holy water etc…. but not he.. His philosophy was rituals were individualistic and voluntary. Forced commands will only cheapen the very idea of personal prayer. I admired him for this and I am trying to be like him. There are quite a few who do not like my attitude; but that matters very little to me. What matters to me is my own personal philosophy and spirituality. Exhibition puts me off.
I have always felt that to commune with the Godhead within us we don’t have to attempt any kind of model prayers or rituals. All we need is the purity and integrity of thought while we pray in silence. This small act alone goes a long way in understanding ourselves and thus makes us better individuals. I do not know how many will agree with me; but I would like to be myself ***