August 03, 2002

A reader asked, "Why is it difficult to pray from deep within our hearts all the time? Also, poojaa (daily prayer) becomes routine - how can it be done from deep within the heart every time?" Part of Dinkar Uncle's response follows.

In regards to the first question, it is human nature that we normally remember God when we are in trouble. In that situation however, our focus is not on God, but something besides God. In the Gita [7/16], there are four types of devotees explained by Krishna Bhagwan: aarth [one who is distressed], jignaasu [one who is inquisitive], arthaarthi [one who desires material gain], and gnyaani [one who has knowledge]. [Swaminarayan Bhagwan refers to the gnyaani devotee in Vachanamrut Gadhada First 56, Loya 7, Panchala 3, and Ahmedabad 2.]

Gunatitanand Swami has explained the same four devotees in Swami Ni Vato 5/185 as: paamar [one who prays to God for some material gain], vishayee [one who forgoes this world's sensual happiness for the higher sensual happiness of the heavens], mumukshu [an aspirant that prays to God for his own liberation], and mukta [a liberated devotee that letting go of maayaa only wants God's moorti].

The first three devotees explained in the Gita are considered to be not as good as the gnyaani. The first three devotees usually pray to God when they have problems, but when the problems are solved, they forget God for worldly things. But the fourth type, the gnyaani, discriminates from worldly things and is interested only in God. [Vachanamrut Gadhada First 56: Swaminarayan Bhagwan asks, "Supposing that all four have an equal level of faith in God's form, how is the [devotee] with gnyaana superior?" Swaminarayan Bhagwan explains, "The devotee possessing gnyaana behaves as brahmasvaroopa and thoroughly realizes the greatness of God. As a result, no desire remains in his mind except that of God's form. On the other hand, despite having faith in God, the other three types of devotees do not fully realize the greatness of God. Thus, desires other than those for God still remain. That is why they do not come to par with the devotee possessing gnyaana."

If we love God sincerely, and if we love His saints and devotees sincerely, then our poojaa will come from deep within our heart rather than the routine. When we perform poojaa we should not try to finish it quickly because it is unimportant. If we think this way, the poojaa will not come from deep within the heart. When doing poojaa, we should have the feeling that God has arrived in our temple, home, and heart. Can you imagine if the president or prime minister of our country visits our home? How much preparations would we make? How much excitement would we have? We should have many, many more times the excitement when we think God is coming to our home, and we will do His poojaa and welcome Him. If we do it this way, then it will have special value and results.

For example, during the time of Rama Bhagwan, Shabari always had great zeal that Rama Bhagwan was going to come to her home. She would keep the roadways clean and keep fresh fruit ready for him to eat. Thus, everyday was a great day for her. And Rama Bhagwan, instead of going to [the home of] other rishis and pundits, went to Shabari's home. Shabari's deep faith made Rama Bhagwan visit her. If we have such faith, God will also come to our home.

During Krishna Bhagwan's time, he was invited by Duryodhan and Dushashan. Krishna Bhagwan went for a peace mission, but Duryodhan did not agree with it, and so Krishna Bhagwan went to Viduraji's home. Viduraji's wife was so excited that when Krishna Bhagwan said he was hungry, she brought bananas, peeled off the skin, and offered the skin instead of the fruit to Krishna Bhagwan. Krishna Bhagwan ate the banana peel, and then Viduraji mentioned to his wife that she is going crazy. She then asked for forgiveness but Krishna Bhagwan said that her love was so great, even the banana peel tasted delicious. When she gave the actual banana, Krishna Bhagwan again said that the previous banana skin tasted better. This is deep affection from the bottom of the heart. If we develop that kind of habit, then we too will perform poojaa with great feelings.



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