Monday, June 4, 2018
According to Ghazali, the Muslim, prayer has three stages: verbal, mental and when merging with the Lord's will. At the first stage the devotee sings the glory of God, chants his praises and pours out the anguish of his heart in melodious hymns. Secondly, when the mind becomes calm, when the outgoing senses have been restrained by sustained practices, when the mind cannot be easily affected by evil influences, prayer becomes mental. There, no physical effort is needed. At the third stage, when the mind gets concentrated in the divine, when it loses its outward attraction and becomes serene, devoid of desires or cravings, then prayer becomes automatic, natural and habitual.
This is the highest stage - the Lord's will has become his own will. For God, who is invoked by his prayer, merges in his mind and in his will. There is no self-consciousness for him - he abides in the Lord - his mind entirely saturated with God. He perceives nothing external nor anything internal. He even forgets that he is praying to the Lord, or that he is absorbed in the Lord's will. There is a vague sense of duality but he has only one experience and that is his oneness with the Lord.
Prayer is full of emotions: deep, serene emotions filled with sincerity. But when there is too much emotion and not so much natural sincerity, then prayer becomes rather jejunical and therefore ineffective. Then we do not receive a direct response from God.
Prayer has its consequences. The nature of its response mainly depending on the inner nature of the person who prays - his temperament, his object in view, his requirements, his faith and his sincerity. These are the sine qua non of prayer.
DO YOU WANT GOD?
Do you really want God? Do you really thirst for his vision (darshana)? Have you got real spiritual hunger? You may deliver thrilling lectures on bhakti (devotion), you may write volumes on bhakti - and yet you may not possess a grain of true devotion. He who thirsts for the darshana of God will develop bhakti. If there is a sincere demand for God, then the supply must come. By regular sadhana (practice) may you attain peace, bliss, knowledge, perfection and God-realisation.