Offering Prayers

2nd Mar 2007
Kalacakra Krsna das

Dear Vaishnavas,
Hare Krishna. Please accept my humble obeisances. All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva.

In one of his recent lectures in Rajkot, Maharaj was making a very important point. He said, "Many times we do not know how to pray to Krishna. We may have lot of things to ask Krishna, but we should approach the Lord with the proper mood. This we can learn from Srimad Bhagavatam where so many devotees offer their prayers to the Lord. So, we should not only concentrate on the prayers in the Bhagavatam but also the verses before the prayers and the Lord's response after that. The verses before the prayers teaches us the proper mood with which we should approach the Lord."

One of the most wonderful prayers in Bhagavatam was offered by Sri Bhishmadev who is celebrated as one of the twelve mahajanas. His prayers were very significant because he offered them when he was in uttermost pain, lying down in the bed of arrows and waiting to leave the body. His mood is described in SB 1.9.31,

viśuddhayā dhāraṇayā hatāśubhas
tad-īkṣayaivāśu gatā-yudha-śramaḥ
nivṛtta-sarvendriya-vṛtti-vibhramas
tuṣṭāva janyaṁ visṛjañ janārdanam

By pure meditation, looking at Lord Sri Krsna, he at once was freed from all material inauspiciousness and was relieved of all bodily pains caused by the arrow wounds. Thus all the external activities of his senses at once stopped, and he prayed transcendentally to the controller of all living beings while quitting his material body.

We shall try to understand few of the important words in this verse.

1. viśuddhayā dhāraṇayā - By purified meditation. We should meditate purely on Krsna devoid of all distractions, either of the pains of our mind and body or of the various allurements offered by the material energy in the form of wealth, family, friends etc. Only then can we invoke sincere prayers in our heart.

2. hata-aśubhaḥ - One who has minimized the inauspicious qualities of material existence. During our entire life, we gather so much inauspiciousness and contamination in the form of sinful thoughts and activities. We also associate with so many sinful entities every day. But we should get rid of all this from our minds when we pray to Krsna. This will increase our intensity of prayer.

3. tad-īkṣaya evā - By looking at Lord Sri Krsna. Looking at Krsna is very important for our prayer. We may look at Him in the form of His murti or we may see Him through the mantras. Both have the same effect. But seeing Him is important because many times we may recite the prayers but our mind will be somewhere else. Or, we may be standing in front of the deity, but instead of meditating on the beautiful form of Lord Krsna, we will be thinking of everything else happening in the world. This distractive mind has no way to approach the Lord in the form of prayers. When Bhishmadev looked at Lord Krsna, he was at once freed from all the material inauspiciousness and was relieved of all bodily pains caused by the arrow wounds. We can imagine how much satisfying it will be for us if we do the same.

4. nivṛtta-sarvendriya-vṛtti-vibhrama - All the senses which were widely engaged in so many mundane activities are being stopped. This is another important factor. It is through our senses that our mind satisfies all its desires. So, when the senses are engaged in all mundane activities, the mind thinks only about the inferior things. On the other hand, when the senses are completely withdrawn from mundane sense enjoyment (yadā saṁharate cāyaṁ
kūrmo ’ṅgānīva sarvaśaḥ
), they can be engaged in superior sense enjoyment by seeing the form of Krsna, hearing His names and pastimes, singing His names and pastimes etc.

By following these steps, we can definitely make more sensible prayers to the Lord and invoke His mercy. I sincerely pray that let me absorb these qualities in my prayers first before advising others.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Kalacakra Krsna das.

Moderator's Note: A couple of days back we completed 5 years of service in Granthraj. This is not a significant milestone by any standard, but we just wanted to thank all the sincere members of this forum and our most beloved spiritual master H H Mahavishnu Goswami Maharaj for constantly encouraging us to carry on this service every day. It has been a challenge in many ways but the challenge was purely relishable. Please continue to pray for us so that we can minimize all our inauspiciousness, and serve you all through purified meditation of writing and moderating Granthraj mails.