What’s the purpose of praying in temples?

A reader from India asked a question which deserves to be highlighted as a separate blog post.  The question was: “Many times people on their way to temples meet with accidents and die.  What is the point of praying to Deities if they cannot protect their own devotees ?  We also hear of stories where people claim that their beloved Deity saved them.  How do we know if it was the Deity who intervened.  Why does the Diety intervene in one case and not in another?”

These questions are emblematic of the modern rational mind which is ruled by science and deprived of any contact with Nature.  The rational mind disbelieves the effect of prayer; the devotional mind believes all prayers are answered.  Where lies the truth?

Sri Aurobindo gave a lucid explanation of the efficacy of prayer in the chapter on “The Godward Emotions” in the Synthesis of Yoga.  He wrote:

The efficacy of prayer is often doubted and prayer itself supposed to be a thing irrational and necessarily superfluous and ineffective. It is true that the universal will executes always its aim and cannot be deflected by egoistic propitiation and entreaty, it is true of the Transcendent who expresses himself in the universal order that, being omniscient, his larger knowledge must foresee the thing to be done and it does not need direction or stimulation by human thought and that the individual’s desires are not and cannot be in any world-order the true determining factor. But neither is that order or the execution of the universal will altogether effected by mechanical Law, but by powers and forces of which for human life at least, human will, aspiration and faith are not among the least important. Prayer is only a particular form given to that will, aspiration and faith. Its forms are very often crude and not only childlike, which is in itself no defect, but childish; but still it has a real power and significance. Its power and sense is to put the will, aspiration and faith of man into touch with the divine Will as that of a conscious Being with whom we can enter into conscious and living relations. For our will and aspiration can act either by our own strength and endeavour, which can no doubt be made a thing great and effective whether for lower or higher purposes, -and there are plenty of disciplines which put it forward as the one force to be used, — or it can act in dependence upon and with subordination to the divine or the universal Will. And this latter way, again, may either look upon that Will as responsive indeed to our aspiration, but almost mechanically, by a sort of law of energy, or at any rate quite impersonally, or else it may look upon it as responding consciously to the divine aspiration and faith of the human soul and consciously bringing to it the help, the guidance, the protection and fruition demanded, yogaksemam vahamyaham.

Prayer helps to prepare this relation for us at first on the lower plane even while it is there consistent with much that is mere egoism and self-delusion; but afterwards we can draw towards the spiritual truth which is behind it. It is not then the giving of the thing asked for that matters, but the relation itself, the contact of man’s life with God, the conscious interchange. In spiritual matters and in the seeking of spiritual gains, this conscious relation is a great power; it is a much greater power than our own entirely self-reliant struggle and effort and it brings a fuller spiritual growth and experience. Necessarily, in the end prayer either ceases in the greater thing for which it prepared us, — in fact the form we call prayer is not itself essential so long as the faith, the will, the aspiration are there, — or remains only for the joy of the relation. Also its objects, the artha or interest it seeks to realise, become higher and higher until we reach the highest motiveless devotion, which is that of divine love pure and simple without any other demand or longing.

(from http://surasa.net/aurobindo/synthesis/part-3.html#ch03)

Woman praying at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India. Photo by Malosky. Flickr Creative Commons. Click image for source

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34 thoughts on “What’s the purpose of praying in temples?

  1. Ananya

    Prayer and Response
    “As for prayer, no hard and fast rule can be laid down. Some prayers are answered, all are not. The eldest daughter of my maternal uncle, Sri Krishna Kumar Mitra ( the editor of Sanjivani – not by any means a romantic, occult, supraphysical or even an imaginative person) was abandoned by the doctors after using every resource, all medicines were stopped as useless. The father said, ‘There is only God now, let us pray.’ He did and from that moment, the girl began to recover. The typhoid fever and all the symptoms fled, death also. I know of any number of cases like that. Well? You may ask why then should all the prayers be not answered? But why should they? It is not a machinery: put a prayer in the slot and get for your asking. Besides, considering all the contradictory things mankind is praying for at the same moment, God would be in a rather awkward hole if he had to grant all of them; it wouldn’t do.“
    – Sri Aurobindo
    Source – Reminiscences and Anecdotes of Sri Aurobindo compiled by M.P.Pandit

  2. mike

    Yes, l’ve seen prayers answered in my own case and for other people on many occasions – especially through the intervention of Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.
    l believe our Psychic Being [as a result of prayer] will go to SA and M and they will respond immediately.

  3. mike

    Also, a mature or developed Psychic Being knows when to act [when it’s a genuine prayer that is] unlike our petty, demanding ego.

  4. gopal

    the overmental zone , SA has spoken of this….., i have this belief, they are guiding, it is also said all the gods and deities collaborate with maa on specifics….. in Life……

  5. Pete

    Prayer and Bahkti are a bit of a mystery to me as we are trying to realize that “tat tvam asi”. We are that to which we pray and offer devotion. Are there prayers composed by Sri Aurobindo. I found many by The Mother.

    1. Sandeep Post author

      One of Sri Aurobindo’s first mystic experiences was in a temple of Goddess Kali. He wrote a poem describing the experience.

      The Stone Goddess

      In a town of gods, housed in a little shrine,
      From sculptured limbs the Godhead looked at me, —
      A living Presence deathless and divine,
      A Form that harboured all infinity.

      The great World-Mother and her mighty will
      Inhabited the earth’s abysmal sleep,
      Voiceless, omnipotent, inscrutable,
      Mute in the desert and the sky and deep.

      Now veiled with mind she dwells and speaks no word,
      Voiceless, inscrutable, omniscient,
      Hiding until our soul has seen, has heard
      The secret of her strange embodiment,

      One in the worshipper and the immobile shape,
      A beauty and mystery flesh or stone can drape.

    2. Arpan

      Bhakti starts from where we are. It’s the most uncomplicated approach in the intellectual sense and it’s best to keep it that way, as that’s how most great bhaktas have been. It does not care what our True Being is like etc. Right now we are identified with our ego-sense(not even true psychic individuality) and not “That”. From the perspective of the Ego, That is high and venerable and personal forms of That help in channelizing that Devotion/aspiration.

      Infact, yours was a common point of contention between hard core shankaraiite vedantins like Totapuri and bhaktas(though Shankar himself wrote Saundarya Lahiri, Bhaja Govindam and Kanakdhara stotra). Even Ranakrishna was told by Bhairavi Brahmani that Adwait could injure your bhakti. Swami Vivekanand also used to criticize bhakti in his early years with Ramakrishna, but in later USA he said: man considers himself God and then buckles down with a stomach ache!. It is very difficult to live in Aham Brahmasmi right from onset.
      Ramakrishna used to synthesize this beautifully in his bhakta fashion: If a man comes into a king’scourt amd says I am the King, everybody will laugh. However if the King takes the man and seats him besides Himself, everybody would accord him the respect befitting a king.

      That’s one way how SA’s Vedant differs from other interpretations of Vedant: it recognizes all aspects of our existence: Unity, Multiplicity, Transcendence.

  6. Pete

    Thank you, Arpan. I recall the qualified nondualism of Ramanuja. The reality of diversity is acknowledged even the unity. Both/and. Are you familiar with Bede Griffiths? Catholic monk who went to India and became a Sanyasin. It is through him that I came to Aurobindo. Also emphasizing not “either/or” but “both/and”. Still, it seems a little schizoid.

    1. Arpan

      No I am not aware.
      It seems schizoid because most of us have a very rigid idea of “personality”.
      I myself had difficulty digesting certaib viewpoints regarding Emanations of higher beings etc.(which SA also talks about).
      One bias lurking beneath layers of our thinking that makes the idea we are discussing seem schizoid is that we consider submission, individuality, defeat lower than lordship, universality, victory.
      That’s a limited idea of Greatness/God. God for the purpose of his play can manifest himself in multiple forms. He can enjoy defeat, individuality, limitation and servitude as much as universality, limitlessness and Lordship. History showd us how some people can be utterly devoid of lustre despite of great position and wealth and how certain individuals can manifest greatness in defeat and poverty( Sri Aurobindo lived in poverty fromm one point of view, so did Christ who even got crucified). God is Infinity. In mathematics an Infinite series can contain infinite number of infinities simply because it is Infinite. Think of yourself as an Infinity arising out of That/God-infinity.
      Isha Upanishad says:

      ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात्पुर्णमुदच्यते
      पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
      ‘You are the fullness. There is fullness, here is fullness. From the fullness, the fullness is born. Remove the fullness from the fullness and the fullness alone remains.’

      See ? You(infinite) comes out of That(infinite) but that does not reduce the infinity of That.

      In beginning of Srimad Bhagvat, Lord says: Eko Aham Bahusyam.
      I who is One, shall become Many.

      Alternatively, you can think of individuals as waves of One ocean. They may appear small or big, but in their essence, each has the entire ocean at it’s back.

      Btw, Sri Aurobindo calls Surrender as the main power of Integral Yoga.

      ” O soldier and hero of God, where for thee is sorrow or shame or suffering ? For thy life is a glory, thy deeds a consecration, victory thy apotheosis, defeat thy triumph.”
      – Sri Aurobindo


      The comment in this link synthesizes this duality for me in SA’s words.

      Last but no the least, it’s easier to “feel” these truths when the divisive intellect is silent.

      1. Mark

        Arpan stated: “Last but no the least, it’s easier to “feel” these truths when the divisive intellect is silent.”

        “There are people in whom the psychic movement, the emotional impulse is stronger than intellectual understanding. They feel an irresistible attraction for the Divine without knowing, without having the slightest idea of what it is, of what it can be, what it represents – nothing, no intellectual notion – but a kind of impulse, attraction, a need, an inevitable need.
        And these people who have that, if, I may say as a result of the Grace, they have a mind which does not trouble them, does not question, does not discuss, go very fast.
        And then, what is quite miraculous according to ordinary ideas is that as soon as they reach that degree of consecration which identifies them through their psychic being with the Divine Presence, suddenly they become endowed with capacities of expression absolutely unknown to their nature.. . .
        There are others who understand first, who are very intellectual, have studied, can play with words and ideas, who will give you brilliant lectures on all the philosophies, all the religions, all human conceptions and who, perhaps, will take years to advance one step. Because all that goes on in the head.
        Many things go on in the head. . . .the head is like a public square. Anything at all can enter there, come, cross over, go out, and create a lot of disorder. And people who are in the habit of playing with ideas are the ones most hampered from going farther. It is a game that’s pretty, attractive; it gives you the impression that you are not altogether ordinary, at the level of ordinary life, but it cuts the wings.
        It’s not the head which has wings: it’s the heart.” – The Mother [CWMCE, 7:399-401]

        *It must be hard/er for intellectuals to silence the mind imo, since that is their center of operation. For emotive/somatic persons there is less intellectual capacity but still there are thoughts and activity in the mind, of course, which need silencing. I find most web sites (IY) filled with the intellectual type which is at best frustrating since there is less common ground for interaction; I/We tend to speak from experience rather than intellectual discourse/s.

      2. Arpan

        @ Mark: I think IY is ultimately about going beyond these limitations. Every type of yoga in SoY is at the end treated for integrality of realizations of all other paths.

        I consider myself to be in that spiritually superficial intellectual camp as I have a very crystallized intellectual ego. This has hampered me a lot. Unceasing doubt and tamas used to be my main incapacities, though both have undergone dramatic reduction. If I use emotions to channelize my energy into any work, my drive peters out quite soon, and my intellect complicates any tech I take up. I have thus largely settled with zen style Do Nothing. Mind gets no hold to complicate this method-of-no-method.

        However recently I have observed that as I settle deeply into myself, it is the heart area i settle into. The “head”, which is the area i am usually identified with, seems “above” me. In this state natural pure calm emotions arise. This has taught me the “mechanics” of good prayers eg.. I used to complicate prayer with arguments like: If i can just ask god for anything, then I can just ask absurd things. It foes against all rule-structures of world around me. Now I see that true prayer and “innocent” desire that can effectively be prayed for come in this state when I am settled at the heart.
        Head has taught me many things which contribute here. Eg in Vipassana it is said: if a distraction is too pesky, make that the object of your observation. Thus, eg if i am not feeling any divine emotion or faith or the will to fulfill what my good sense dictates etc., I can lay bare my current state of laziness/doubt/sadness etc in front of Divine, and it disappears easily.

        It is an entire unlearning of complex mental habits that had become 2nd nature to me and come back to the “orginal” spontaneous simplicity. I still fear, feel lazy, tired etc, the mental overlays that held me back 5 steps before undertaking a task: fear of fear, fear of tiredness etc have largely gone.
        So are disappearing intellectual constructs like: 1. Courage means fearless in face of death. No, if I learn how to be undaunted by challenging competition, undaunted at the prospect of working 16 hours today, I would already be courageous enough to lead a great life.
        2. Real compassion means, loving your enemies. No, if I can accept all ideosyncracies of my immediate family members and friends and occassional rudeness of strangers with joyful understanding, I would already be uncommonly compassionate and equanimous. Intellect would be foolish enough to diss at a person crying at a funeral, remembering immortal(and unrealized) words of Sri Krishns in Gita, but heart would feel the limitations of that person and despite all knowledge, comfort him.

        Intellect often keeps us riveted to ultimate-accimplishments, as it can easily reach them in flights of fancy. It is our unruly vital which renains firmly rooted in reality and gives us no energy to follow our intellect. Settling at the heart often gives us a better perspective of what we need right now.

      3. Mark

        Thanks for the response Arpan. I appreciate your openness. It is very helpful to see behind the surface of people (I think). BTW, I had always admired intellectuals and wondered why I was different.
        Many years ago I started in the heart center from a different discipline. And many years later I was directed to SA & M’s teachings – I just started reading and reading and reading and I am still reading SA & M’s works (I am almost constantly rereading Sandeep’s blogs)…. But I have not a researchers mind. I can read, but I cannot engage in places like this blog intelligently. I mentioned the other day how I appreciated a former member of this site (Mike), although he was intellectual I was able to interact with him on an experiential level. My intellect, or mind is a different matter almost entirely and going above the mind into the higher levels was a daunting task.
        Regarding prayer, I learned silent/intuitive methods along the way and then the Mother taught me her methods. One prayer in particular that she taught I have memorized:

        “Do what is necessary for me and lead me to the truth of my being. Give me what Thou in Thy supreme Wisdom seest as the thing I need.” Q & A 1956 Vol 8 – Allowing the Divine to lead one – 123

        I found that it takes a long time to get past asking for things. For the longest time I feared this prayer because I had no idea what the Divine might do to me. It is much easier now. SA & M state that a full surrender takes a long time.
        Again Thank you Arpan, I did read your post thoroughly.

      4. Arpan

        “I found that it takes a long time to get past asking for things. For the longest time I feared this prayer because I had no idea what the Divine might do to me.”
        I was taught by my parents at a young age to only ask for: bhakti, shakti(soul force) and shanti(peace) and sadbuddhi(sattwik intellect).(I am not sure of your nationality and which languages you know).
        I have always been a very contented person AND I had a surprisingly strong ego block in asking even my own parents for anything in rare instances when I did want to ask.
        This ego block was thoroughly nurtured by the prayer my parents taught and accounts of Swami Vivekanand where even in dire financial family needs he only asked for: Bhakti, Shakti and Jnana.

        But over years I have realized that the best way to grow is to learn to listen to the “natural” rythms at your heart chakra and not stifle them with intellectual ideas. It makes you more integrated, confident and intuitive. It also has a cathartic effect which helps you in transcending your subconscious fears and desires that your mind has suppressed. That’s the best bet to reach : Thy will be done.
        And I totally relate to your fear of “what the Divine might to me”.

        “I was able to interact with him on an experiential level.”
        Can you tell me a bit about your practice etc. Snippets of your conversation with Mike have intrigued me and I don’t know any IY practitioner apart from on this blog. If you wouldn’t like to post this online, you can contact me privately.

      5. Sandeep Post author

        If you wouldn’t like to post this online, you can contact me privately.

        I can facilitate the exchange of email addresses if Mark agrees.

      6. Mark

        Thanks Sandeep and Arpan. Discussing my practice would be difficult. I have tried before. Difficult because it is feeling-based and not easy to articulate. Best I can do is point to writings that appear to parallel those sensations. For instance, the way you are able to articulate your process, that I am unable to do. If you look in the comment section here


        you can peruse one such spontaneous conversation between me and Mike (dated 2013). I have not reread it recently so I don’t remember the content.

  7. Pete

    When the intellect is silent these issues disappear. My guess it is our intellectual interpretation that presents them. But for me at this point the silent intellect seems impersonal and void although extremely restful and peaceful. It is then that a brief prayer or mantra helps settle. I don’t get much beyond that but I have been more conscious of the dreamlike images arising.

    So I have been reading about the different levels or cosmological zones. How does one “rise” to the higher rather than sink into to lower? I would guess it is then that prayer, attention, focus on “Satchitananda” is important even as it may seem externalized from the conscious ego.

    1. Arpan

      Your guess is right.
      Yes, that is how Silence feels like initially. It did so for me for a long time. Now it easily deepens into bliss, sometimes accompanied by perception of light or lightening etc. It also “widens” the consciousness. I can also think much faster and unerringly at a sub-thought level i.e. before thoughtlets take verbal/visu form. Though all this happens in crests and troughs.
      You can search for Silence in Letters on Yoga.

      Also, “Yoga of Divine Love” in Synthesis of Yoga addresses your queries. Especially chapter 6: The Divine Personality and chapter 7: Ananda Brahm under it.

      Re Ramanuj: Yes, his was infact one formulation of Vedant that SA admired. However he was not deeply concerned with perfection of outer nature, nor did he consider individual souls to be capable of infinite expression of Divine power, some powers like powerbof Creation are barred to them, according to him(Brahmarshi Vishwamitra did create a new Universe. An instance which SA notes as an early impulse to Integral perfection ).

      Whether one rises higher or not depebds simply on the turn of consciousness. That’s the gist of all yoga. No need to complicate it by thinking of externalizing ego etc. If prayer helps you rouse your inner consciousness towards higher things, it’s good. What matters us not what you externally do or not do, but the impact it has on your inner consciousness.

  8. Pete

    And sometimes just reading Aurobindo before meditating is best. I am nearly done with “Life Divine”. I read Synthesis several years ago. There is so much! Also working on Savitri. Also I have been reading guys like Richard Rohr and Elkhart Tolle who speak of nondualism in different ways. Thank for sharing your insights.

  9. Pete

    So when we meditate and come to that inner stillness it seems to me two things can happen. Either we tap into the subconscient and start to see some dreamlike images and possibly nod off or we perhaps begin to tap into the subtle physical, vital or over mind. Or perhaps Vital, subtle physical and subconscient interpenetrate and we experience all three for a time.

    But if we don’t fall asleep and nothing also seems to be going on it seems to me that we are stretching our perception and awareness perhaps toggling between any of these.

    I am just trying to figure out what I do when I meditate.
    Of course I would like to avoid demons even though they look so cute on the graphic representation in cosmology 🙂

    1. Sandeep Post author

      Pete : I am just trying to figure out what I do when I meditate.

      The phenomenon you are describing is explained here..

      In order to go beyond mental stillness, the psychic being in the heart needs to come forward. That happens when you develop some conscious Aspiration. Its like a prayer in the heart telling the Divine to accept you. Once that happens, things become sweeter. The subtle body starts expanding, one may experience a Descent of Peace, brief moments of unbidden joy in the heart, and some of the things described here https://auromere.wordpress.com/2012/07/19/the-elusive-touch-of-the-psychic-being/

      This also ties in with the question Arpan asked a few days ago over here

      1. Arpan

        Monday, March 8, 1926

        “Always the following two movements: either, having quietened the mind, to remain attentive to the influence from above; or, to separate myself from the calmed mental being and try to realise my existence above the mind, as in the swift experience glimpsed by me once.

        If you succeed in shutting out all thought, in reaching absolute passiveness, three things in fact can happen. Either a profound calm descends and takes hold of one; or the consciousness separates from the outer world and attains another level; or, lastly, the invasion of outside impressions becomes all-powerful. And if the first two are not realised, the third in that case supervenes. Hence the importance of making all quiet whilst remaining attentive to the higher influence, open towards the heights, so to say.”
        -SA to Pavitra

        Adding to the above what Ramana Maharshi said in your article about self-dynamizing meditation:
        “even though this temporary lulling of mind should last a thousand years…”
        “the moment one experiences this, one must revive consciousness and enquire within as to who it is who experiences this stillness.”

        And what SA says in your comment:


        “To a certain extent this is true; and we must note farther that when the mental Purusha takes up the attitude of mere witness and observer, a tendency to silence, solitude, physical calm and bodily inaction grows upon the being. So long as this is not associated with inertia, incapacity or unwillingness to act, in a word, with the growth of the tamasic quality, all this is to the good. The power to do nothing, …”

        I think adding these 3 things up, it seems what’s meant by “stilling the mind without a self dynamizing meditation” means: giving in to dullness/tamas as a result of stillness. Aspiration is a help against that, though it need not be a prayer, it can just be a an act of conciousness to remain alert, free of Tamas, like how Ramana Maharshi suggested. I sometimes tend to get distracte if I bring in a conceptin of Divinity/prayer in a Witness meditation(unless such aspiration emerges naturally). I engage prayerfully with the Divine at separate times.
        When I experience stillness in witness meditation, I just keep alert of what all’s happening in mind/vital. If Tamas arises, I “witness” it like any other hindrance to meditation(restlessness, aversion etc).

        Am I getting it right Sandeep ?

      2. Sandeep Post author

        Arpan: Aspiration is a help against that, though it need not be a prayer, it can just be a an act of conciousness to remain alert, free of Tamas,.

        Don’t get distracted by my usage of the word “prayer”. What matters is that you are awakening the psychic being within the heart. Remaining alert can also achieve the same goal. As the alertness becomes stronger, the entity that becomes alert will eventually be the psychic being.

  10. Pete

    This isn’t a great service you provide for those of us with no guide. So much to read (and read a few times). A small chunk I need to work on: “The practicer must therefore be ever on the alert and enquire within as to who has this experience, who realises its pleasantness.”

    Thank you

  11. Pete

    I mentioned before that my some of my conservative Christian friends try to convince me that yoga is demonic simply because it is associated with Hinduism. So frustrating! Maybe because here in the U.S. there are so many supernaturally themed tv shows and movies and they are all terrible. But how does anyone regardless of religion avoid contact with these beings of such negative energy?

    1. Sandeep Post author

      But how does anyone regardless of religion avoid contact with these beings of such negative energy?

      Simple. Just let go of your conservative Christian friends and make new friends 😉

      On a serious note… It is not possible to avoid contact with the occult beings. As you expand in consciousness (i.e. Chakras open), you have to inevitably enter into vital worlds where you come in contact with them. You will face attacks as long there are holes in your consciousness (i.e. sexual weakness, sentimentalism, etc). Once the gaps are closed, you become whole and full of Light and they are unable to attack you personally. But at this point, you reach the stage that Sri Aurobindo and the Mother had reached, where they were not fighting individual battles but clearing the path for their disciples or for the larger humanity.

      If you have a Guru like them, sure, the path is much easier and you may not face too many occult attacks.

      Even those who do not practice Yoga get attacked. They have nightmares in dreams, suffer mental disorders, and the like. See the comments to this blog post, where people have reported physical marks after injuries which were sustained in dreams. https://auromere.wordpress.com/2011/03/21/physical-marks-appearing-after-injuries-sustained-in-dreams/

      Your Christian friends have embraced a belief system which associates Hinduism with Paganism and demon worship. Maybe they will one day have an unbidden moment of choiceless awareness which will stop their thought process, shake the foundation of their mental certitude and force them to re-examine their beliefs. Such memorable incidents have occurred in quite a few people’s lives.

      1. Pete

        “Simple. Just let go of your conservative Christian friends and make new friends 😉”

        Well they do seem to have a lot of fear of anything that does not fit into their tidy little belief system. And some seem pretty obsessed with their doctrines and worship styles. But I live in “The Bible Belt” only a handful of other kooks like me around here.

        Thanks for responding.

        “1. Don’t speak unless spoken to.
        2. Don’t answer unless the intent behind the question appears to be that of genuine seeking.
        3. Play with fools at their own level.”

        I’d rather not play with fools at all. I have done so and the internet is full of them.

      2. Sandeep Post author

        Pete : Well they do seem to have a lot of fear of anything that does not fit into their tidy little belief system.

        The conservatives (in any religion) exhibit this behaviour pattern
        1) Worship of some ideal man
        2) Fear and Awe of an imaginary human-like God
        3) Belief in living by a simplistic moral system of laws
        4) Desire to impose this moral order on wider society
        5) Desire to return to a idealized past which was pure and was the anti-thesis of present life.

        The mind and vital need to disentangle from each other, and both need to be widened (i.e. mind can think critically, vital become more accepting) before they can understand the purpose of meditation.

      3. Mark

        Pete stated: “Well they do seem to have a lot of fear of anything that does not fit into their tidy little belief system.” Hope you don’t mind my input here. I was raised Luthern and later became staunch Christian. I can relate to your statement, I was there. But I very gradually transitioned out of that lifestyle to where I am now with SA & M’s teaching. I was guided (I believe), not by choice. It took a long time and was a difficult passage.

    2. Arpan

      Sri Anirvan advocated a set of 3 ancient rules for a yogi in his book “Letters from a Baul” :
      1. Don’t speak unless spoken to.
      2. Don’t answer unless the intent behind the question appears to be that of genuine seeking.
      3. Play with fools at their own level.


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