Tell me more about prayer and devotion, Baba?
Sai Baba- When most people sit in front of God, they go with a long list of demands, wishes and desires. Even as you pray, you are running through other chores in your head. This stream of thoughts generated by your desires, experiences, needs and wants is all of the mind. But worship, in its truest sense, has nothing to do with the mind. The mantras or chants or prayers are about vibrations, their energy, and that impact on your body.
Prayers are not about memory or creating change, in the sense that it will literally bring you peace or money. The vibrations of the prayers/mantras/chants create an effect in your life only when your focus moves from your mind to your heart and God.
Feel God inside you as you pray. Look for God as you explore the sound and vibrations of the words . Allow your energies to flow not with your head, but with your heart. Rituals were not created for routine, but to create an energy field. The focus on making it a routine was to maintain your energy field. So, never let prayer be a routine act. If it is done as a routine, then the intent of that prayer is not pure… it is not for God.
Prayer must be an act of celebration, love and surrender. It is not a transaction. But off-late Bhakti or devotion has become a business. How much can you offer God? Will any bribe really tempt a God? You think he listens to you for your 11 coconuts or a diamond chain? All God cares about is your movement towards Oneness. So the focus of prayer should be a conscious movement, a conscious choice to spend time with God .
But there is this fear of harm, if I don’t do rituals. It has been bred inside from childhood. Light the lamp, say shlokas or you are doing something wrong.
Sai Baba- And who is going to harm you? God? Does God ever really harm? Or is it your mind and vivid imagination that is truly harming you. Is it the social conditioning and fear harming you? What God has created, can’t harm and God of course won’t harm. But what you create, your mind and its fears create, can destroy very brutally.
The power of the ego-mind is such that it can create the most ludicrous reasons to take you away from God. So though you might feel you are praying to appease God, move towards God, or celebrate God, in reality you are running away from your mind and its fears. You treat God as a lifeguard. But the truth is you really don’t even trust God will jump in and save you. And so as you drown, instead of saying help, you say “I will offer 10 coconuts, Please save me.”
So, what should we do?
Sai Baba- Fill every act with God, my presence, my thought. Desire only God. Consciously choose God. Move towards God. Stop making me one of your habits. I cannot be optional. I am your only option.
You are talking about faith and surrender, right?
Sai Baba- Nothing is possible in life, if you don’t surrender to it. For fire to start, light to arrive, that piece of wood called match, has to burn itself. So you have to be willing to burn your ego every time you have chosen to encourage it.