A request and a disclaimer: Before you begin to read this blog, request you to read the earlier published blogs under the main title ‘MAnvi, her thAthA and their discussions’. Reading the earlier blogs in this series may help in an easier understanding to what is discussed in this blog. Teachings of pUjya SwAmi Dayananda Sarawati in his books titled ‘Purpose of Prayer’ and ‘Prayer Guide’ are my main source of references in this blog series. The language and explanations used by pUjya swAmiji in both the books are profound; and I pray that I do justice by aligning my understanding to his explanation, as I parallelly try to relate it to day to day living.. Any error in the way I have blogged upon, on the topic of ‘Prayer’ is due to an error in my understanding alone.

MAnvi’s curiosity got the better of her and she tiptoed to her thAthA’s room, to see if he was busy or free. She could run all over the house but the moment she was near her thAthA’s room, her legs involuntarily would slow down and she would tiptoe.. But thAthA being her thAthA.. she heard her name being called, she was as always, wonder struck, “How does he know?”

MAnvi (after being comfortably seated and with her small notebook opened) : thAthA, so my getting a call to play piano in the choir is adhrshta phalA or drshta phalA?

thAthA: It could be looked at as adrshta phalA or drshta phalA. It could have been something that was waiting to happen, when you were at the right time and the right pace. It happened and that’s it. If you were to do an analysis and spend time trying to understand if this is adrshta phalA or drshta phalA, will you be able to enjoy this moment when what you have worked for and desired,comes to reality?

MAnvi: thAthA, could you explain more on this? I am able to understand what you are saying and yet feel that I am missing something.

thAthA: MAnvi, every moment in our lives, we act. We are constantly in one action after another. There is a result for every action. We can see this result immediately or later on, which is drshta phalA and adhrshta phalA respectively. Whichever way it is, you would initially spend time thinking what you did that got you the result, isn’t it?

MAnvi: That’s correct. That is natural isn’t it, thAthA?

thAthA: It certainly is natural but when you let that thinking control you and spend time thinking and thinking and thinking, then you know what would happen. If the initial thinking reveals that it is drshta phalA and you know the cause for the result, you know what to do. If your initial thinking reveals no specific cause for that result, then you walk past it and move on.

MAnvi: That is not easy to do, thAthA – to walk past it and move on, especially when we don’t know why we got a result that was quite unexpected.

thAthA: This is where acceptance plays an important role, MAnvi and where prayer helps.

MAnvi: How thAthA?

thAthA: When you start any task, you always start with a prayer on your lips, for the task to be completed the way you wanted it to – a prayer that could be a song or a verse to IswarA or a prayer in the form of words. The prayer may make you more confident, the prayer may calm you down; this in turn may make you think of options in case something fails. And when your mind is working on other options, doesn’t this mean that you are accepting that something may not go as per plan?

MAnvi: Doesn’t that make a prayer seem as though it has a psychological effect?

thAthA: It perhaps does, but it is effective to give you that confidence, to calm you down and that has its own effect in you thinking of other options. Which means you cannot do away with the effect of prayer, can you?

MAnvi (more as though thinking aloud): No, I cannot. But thAthA, there are times when I don’t pray for anything. I just stay silent because in that moment no thought strikes me. It is not that I don’t want to pray for something but just that I am blank. After a while I do wonder why I did not pray for anything.

thAthA (after being silent for a few seconds knowing that MAnvi needed this silence): MAnvi, is there a difference between you praying willingly and you praying because someone asked you to pray?

MAnvi: thAthA, there are times when I think I am told to pray and it is not my choice. So I stand there with a posture that shows that I am praying but my mind is not in the prayer at all. But when I pray because I want to, then it becomes different.

thAthA: What happens when you are asked to play the piano and you are not in the mood to play, MAnvi?

MAnvi (puzzled at the direction of the question though sure that her thAthA is just ready to drive home a profound point): I play but not with all my interest.

thAthA: And…

MAnvi: It does not sound right to others at times; and mostly to me, I think it fell flat and there was no music there.

thAthA: Now extend this to prayer. When you show as though you are praying, because others tell you to pray, remember you could be praying without your complete will. In which case, the result you may get from it may also be less, isn’t it? You effort, motivation, readiness, knowledge needs to be there on par with the will to pray. Any one of them missing will have an impact on the effectiveness of the result you desire for, right?

MAnvi could feel a thundering silence in her. She looked at her thAthA and told him ever so softly, “Can I leave now?”

Unperturbed thAthA nodded his head, aware that it was time for her to be with herself.

Just as MAnvi stepped out of the room, she looked at her thAthA and said, “If my will to pray is less, the results will also be less; in that case, it is not fair to say that prayer is not effective. Then I am blaming the wrong aspect, isn’t it thAthA?”