Pray for Each Other

Pray for Each Other

Sudarshana devi dasi

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,

Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

Once a voyaging ship was wrecked during a storm at sea and only two of the men on it were able to swim to a small, desert like island. The two survivors, not knowing what else to do, agreed that they had no other recourse but to pray to God. However, to find out whose prayer was more powerful, they agreed to divide the territory between them and stay on opposite sides of the island. The first thing they prayed for was food. The next morning, the first man saw a fruit-bearing tree on his side of the land, and he was able to eat its fruit. The other man's parcel of land remained barren. After a week, the first man was lonely and he decided to pray for a wife. The next day, another ship was wrecked, and the only survivor was a woman who swam to his side of the land. On the other side of the island, there was nothing. 

Soon the first man prayed for a house, clothes, more food. The next day, like magic, all of these were given to him. However, the second man still had nothing. Finally, the first man prayed for a ship, so that he and his wife could leave the island. In the morning, he found a ship docked at his side of the island. The first man boarded the ship with his wife and decided to leave the second man on the island. He considered the other man unworthy to receive God’s blessings, since none of his prayers had been answered. As the ship was about to leave, the first man heard the voice of God speaking from the sky, "Why are you leaving your companion on the island?" He replied,"My blessings are mine alone, since I was the one who prayed for them. His prayers were all unanswered and so he does not deserve anything."

The Lord rebuked him,"You are mistaken! He had only one prayer, which I answered. If not for that, you would not have received any of my blessings."

The first man asked the Lord, "Tell me, What did he pray for that I should owe him anything?"

The Lord replied, "He prayed that all your prayers be answered."

Like the first man in this story, we also many times think that whatever good things we get in life are only a result of our endeavors and prayers to the Lord. For all we know, our blessings are not the fruits of our prayers alone, but those of others praying for us. Spiritual master, parents and well-wishers pray for our well-being all the time. But we are so hardhearted like the man in the story, that we fail to recognize their mercy, thank or express our gratitude to them. We forget their causeless mercy and foolishly imagine that we are the architect of our well-being.

Once when our beloved spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj, was in Nasik, someone talked to him over phone to share their problems. Maharaj gave them courage and said that he would pray for them. As soon as he kept the phone down, he looked at our god-brother HG Raghavendu Rama Prabhu (from Rajkot) who was sitting near him and said, "Now let us chant for 10 minutes." Once they finished chanting, Maharaj said, "Whenever we say to someone, that we will pray for them, we should actually pray for them." This is a very important lesson, because many times we simply do lip-service by saying that we will pray for others, but we don't practice it. Instead of being duplicitous, we should genuinely pray for each others' welfare. Even during his final days in Bhaktivedanta hospital, Maharaj prayed for everyone's well-being. In Srimad Bhagavatam verse 5.18.9 Sri Prahlad Maharaj along with the residents of Jambudvipa, offers this following wonderful prayer to Lord Narasimhadeva.

svasty astu vishvasya khalah prasidataam
dhyaayantu bhutaani shivam mitho dhiyaa
manas ca bhadram bhajataad adhoksaje
aaveshyataam no matir apy ahaituki

"May there be good fortune throughout the universe, and may all envious persons be pacified. May all living entities become calm by practicing bhakti-yoga, for by accepting devotional service they will think of each other’s welfare. Therefore let us all engage in the service of the supreme transcendence, Lord Sri Krishna, and always remain absorbed in thought of Him."

So let us practice bhakti and pray for each others' welfare, always remember and be grateful to the great souls who are praying for our well-being.

Hare Krishna.
Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Sudarshana devi dasi.