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 thAthA rarely calls out to her to teach her anything. For him, anyone who wants to learn will approach a teacher on their own will. This was one of the reasons for MAnvi to love learning from her thAthA; because in this way what she learns she will also assimilate it easily.

MAnvi took her usual place in her thAthA’s room.

MAnvi: thAthA… Can you tell me more about adhrshta phalA?

thAthA: MAnvi, as you would recall – adhrshta phalA are the unseen results of our actions. Results which we would either see later in our current lives or in another life (since we believe in rebirth). This adhrshta phalA could either be in our favour (pleasant to us) or not in our favour (unpleasant to us). When it is our favour and the results are what we desire for, we call it grace. Have you heard people saying that they gained something due to god’s grace? There are people who also call it luck; ‘good luck’ when it is a pleasant result and ‘bad luck’ when it is an unpleasant result.

MAnvi: Luck because they don’t know how this result came about isn’t it, thAthA?

MAnvi’s thAthA just smiled, knowing that there was more to come.

MAnvi: But why do people say that what they have gained is god’s grace, thAthA? The result is because of the action they did, isn’t it? If what they have gained is because of their actions, why then do they say that the result is because of god’s grace?

thAthA: What do we ask when we are going through a really unpleasant situation, MAnvi?

MAnvi (thoughtfully though with a smile): Why me? Why is god punishing me? Actually sometimes I know I ask, “What did I do to deserve this?” I hear people saying that life is unfair to them and god given only them tough times.

thAthA: So when the results are unpleasant to us, we say that god is punishing us. Why then should we not give credit to the same god, when the results are pleasant to us?

MAnvi: Put like that, it sounds so valid thAthA. I know you want to say something more. Tell, thAthA.

thAthA: MAnvi, any action you do is made of many small actions. Any of these small actions may not work the way it is meant to. Even when it is a familiar action and you know the challenges you may face, you know that you don’t have the control over certain factors. Imagine an unfamiliar situation with lots more of what you don’t know; and what is hidden is more than what you can see and know.

MAnvi’s silence was one that her thAthA did not want to break. He waited for her to start talking.

MAnvi: thAthA, I am trying to take situations that would help me to understand this better. I was to write a test in the school on lessons that I was familiar with. When I sat for my test, I went completely blank and could not remember anything. It took me a while to pull myself up, to start writing. A test in familiar lessons but I could not control my going blank.

On the other hand, the day I started to play the piano in the choir and even my first choir performance a few days later, everything was new. Though I knew to play the piano, everything else was new to me. I knew less and much were hidden variables.

But thAthA, be it a new task or a familiar one, there are hidden variables in both. But the hidden variables in an unknown setup is far more, isn’t it? Is that where prayers come in?

thAthA: MAnvi, we don’t know how situations would unfold. We are though aware that we may encounter challenges. This is why many times and many people pray before they start a task. Prayer for the task to go smoothly. Prayer to give them the strength to handle the challenges and the hidden variables that they may encounter. Prayer for them to get the results that they desire.

MAnvi: thAthA, does that mean that they are praying for the grace to unfold? There are times when we still have to face certain hardships, even though we pray?

thAthA: MAnvi, we all go through our own journeys in life. Some journeys are pleasant all the way.. some journeys are unpleasant all the way.. some journeys have their mixed share of pleasant and unpleasant aspects.

MAnvi: So we cannot say that our life has always been a tough one, because we have had our share of the ‘good times’ also, thAthA.

thAthA: MAnvi, I have consciously not answered two of your questions, because I want you to think about them – Do people pray for the grace to unfold? Even though we pray, do we still have to face hardships?

MAnvi: thAthA, I think there is more to it than just these questions. Can we talk on this after a couple of days?

thAthA sends MAnvi off, knowing well that she will be back sooner than the couple of days, with her perspectives and more questions.