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What is Prayer? Should Sikhs Pray?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Harry Haller, Apr 14, 2012.

  1. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Gurfatehji

    The dictionary definition of prayer is

    a. A reverent petition made to God, a god, or another object of worship.
    b. The act of making a reverent petition to God, a god, or another object of worship.
    2. An act of communion with God, a god, or another object of worship, such as in devotion, confession, praise, or thanksgiving: One evening a week, the family would join together in prayer.
    3. A specially worded form used to address God, a god, or another object of worship.
    4. prayers A religious observance in which praying predominates: morning prayers.
    5.
    a. A fervent request: Her prayer for rain was granted at last.
    b. The thing requested: His safe arrival was their only prayer.
    6. The slightest chance or hope: In a storm the mountain climbers won't have a prayer.
    7. Law
    a. The request of a complainant, as stated in a complaint or in equity, that the court grant the aid or relief solicited.
    b. The section of the complaint or bill that contains this request.

    I find none of these definitions in line with what I believe our relationship with Creator and Creation should be. It is tempting to believe that God is sitting in his big white chair looking down on us, listening to our prayers, and then waving his magic prayer wand, and granting them, but I find this incompatible with Sikhism. The order of the world, the consonance that we all seek to be in line with, covers the laws of nature, the laws of the world, I do not believe these laws are bent by Creator through prayer, although most other religions seem to do so.

    My father was rushed to hospital last week, with blood poisoning, at one point he was informed that the following 12 hours could bring the situation either way, most people have a 50% chance of survival from blood poisoning, so, it was a critical situation. I am here in the UK, dad is in India, thankfully my mother is an incredibly strong intelligent woman, and she ensured my father had the best care in hospital, and he is now at home recuperating. However, when things were looking a bit freaky, my mother asked me to pray for my dad. I could not, I could not even try, or begin to know how to try, instead, I accepted that what would happen, would happen, and consoled myself that my dad, unlike me, had behaved in consonance all his life, he had done everything in his life, to best of his ability, as a good Sikh, he is honest, truthful, easy going, both my parents are, I reckoned that this gave him the best chance of getting over this, a good clean lifestyle, and a clear peaceful head meant that his body was stronger and less stressed than some, all I could do was support as best I could from so many miles away, and offer pragmatic and realistic help.

    I read and remembered bani to help me when I felt a bit worried, I thought of Guruji watching his beloved Sikhs being tortured, I realised that me being worried was not going to help anyone or anything, so I stopped worrying and left the situation in the hands of Hukam, of the order of the world, but I did not pray.

    I think praying in situations like this makes a mockery of your faith, do I really think Creator is going to say, 'oh well, Harrys praying, I may as well intervene here', that is no basis for faith, it is superstition, ritual, magic, miracles. If as Sikhs we are to have complete acceptance in the order of Creator, why would we pray?
     
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  3. Scarlet Pimpernel

    Scarlet Pimpernel
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    Musketeer for the one that prays ,the prayer is within the order,for the one who does not pray ,no prayer is in the order.
     
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    #2 Scarlet Pimpernel, Apr 14, 2012
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  4. jasbirkaleka

    jasbirkaleka India
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    Exactly my views Harry ji, but I could"nt have been so erudite as you.:redturban:
     
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  5. eropa234

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    Praying is waste of time there is no one at the other end listening to it. Even if there were I would say they know better than you and does not require your " recommendations "

    I find Gurbani very interesting. The only way to benefit from it is to study it, draw wisdom and truth from it and test it in the lab of daily life. Being a good Sikh is only being a good student nothing more.

    Its silly to pray to guru to give some one space in his charn when they are dead one must find that space while they are alive. " Jo karn hout so na kio, pario lobh kay phand, Nanak samio Ram gayo, aab kion rovat aandh.
     
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  6. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    SGGS44.jpg

    Harry ji , I shall begin with Prayer or as we call it.. Ardas.
    Ardas is to establish a connection with God. It soothes the nerves and calms the troubled mind. Yes, God does not have any magic wand. He is Nirlep as well. It is HIS game and Granth sahib explains the rules of game. There is no one in this world except HIM. We act as per His will.

    One can classify Ardas into two Broad categories.i.e.for personal achievements/gains/immediate gains related to worldly affairs. This sort of ardas may not carry weight except for the benefits stated above i.e to bring calm and serenity.

    Second type of ardas is Panthic i.e prescribed by the Tenth master. Even in that Ardas there is no begging for worldly achievements/affairs.


    A sikh does not pray for worldly achievements as these are gifted. Sikh prays for His grace so that we can develop discriminating intellect/Bibek Budhi and achieve equi- poise when 25 pair of opposites, including pain and pleasure., heat and cold....etc. just appear two sides of coin and does not disturb us. This type of prayer is widely recommended. One may refer to Bani and it would be observed that at places one is asked to do Ardas for Naam Daan and His grace.

    Your question is only obliquely answered as I cannot answer it directly. But I shall not call any prayer as pointless. To ordinary human being these types of situations bring them closer to God. [Dukh Daru sukh Rog Bhaya....]

    I shall close it with a line that I remember...

    Sabh tudhe passo Mangde....Nit kar Ardas.....

    I wish early recovery of Dear Uncle..
     

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    #5 Taranjeet singh, Apr 14, 2012
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  7. passingby

    passingby
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    Really? This is certainly not Gurbani's position. It might be yours personally but not Gurbani. Can you prove from Gurbani that to ask help from God is wrong?

    Gurbani describes Akaal Purakh as the Father, the Mother, the Relative, the Brother, the Protector. If I were to REALLY, EMOTIONALLY ACTUALLY start feeling this way, would I not ask for help from Akaal Purakh when I need it?? If my mind is disturbed through some great fear, lets say some enemy attacking me, would it be wrong for me to pray for strength??

    I am surprised that such a simple thing should be brought to question. There are so many Sakhis in which devotees have prayed for help. How can one say that prayer is a useless thing?

    Did not Draupadi ask for help when she was being disrobed?? Did she not cry for help? Was that not a prayer? Was it some kind of meditation?? NO IT WAS A DEEPEST, MOST URGENT CRY FOR HELP. IT WAS A PRAYER FOR GOD SAKE!

    Man!

    If prayer is a waste of time the please explain what this Gurshabad means?
    Prayer may mean different things to different people but most commonly prayer is a humbly asking for help. It is not a 'recommendation'

    So what does Gurbani teach and what can we learn from it? The thoughts? or the morality? Will the thoughts, the concepts, the rational conclusion bring about divinity in the nature of the mind? Will deducing or deciphering meaning of Gurbani bring all the peace and all the spirituality in our minds? Will it make us Brahmgyanis or something of the sort?

    I wonder why people can miss the point like this. Gurbani is verbal manifestation of the divinity of the Sikh Gurus. It serves many purposes but the most basic purpose it serves is (according to my small understanding):

    -teach about Onkaar which is the First Principle of all existence. Attainment or realisation or connecting with this Onkaar through NAAM.

    - Reiterate the importance of NAAM again and again and again and again and again......

    -Remind, encourage, inspire for practice of NAAM jaap.

    Thats it! Thats the main thing! If NAAM is not practiced, we can all become philosophers for sure but we cannot become Bhagats or Sikhs or anything near divine beings.
    I hear this often, 'Gurbani teaches us this and gurbani teaches us that'. People miss the basic point by 100 miles! The basic point is NAAM, people!! NAAM!!

    My apologies for this blurting out like this, but I got agitated. I know its contradictory, talking about NAAM and yet be agitated. But I had to say it out aloud like this. Forgive me, please.
     
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  8. gurmit kaur mit

    gurmit kaur mit Reserved
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    waheguru ji ka khalsa waheguru ji ki faeh ji... bahut sohne vichar ne ji... akal purakh ji hor charhdikla bakhshan...
     
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  9. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    How can prayer be a waste of time ?
    Is there even any point in having faith or religion if you feel there is no one at the other end ??
    quote by Harryji
    I think praying in situations like this makes a mockery of your faith

    Well, I think believing prayer is a waste of time- is an actual mockery of faith.

    I totally understand the rage felt by Passingby ji above. Come on guys, what are we saying here ???

    Quite simply- PRAYER is Talking To God.
    If someone asks me to pray for them or something else, I see no wrong in this at all.
    They are asking me to talk to God.
    There is nothing ritualistic about it, prayer and religion go together.

    Prayer can be divided into 2 categories,
    1st-No.1 , A Prayer with an expected worldly outcome, and
    2nd- No.2 A Prayer with no specific worldly outcome.

    For eg. You could pray asking for a certain job, after an interview. The prayer could be along the lines of 'please Lord, I need this job, so please make it possible, because I can then do this..this...this...and that....-This is A Prayer with specific expected outcomes.
    OR you could do No.2 a Prayer with regards to the job without any specific demanding outcomes such as ' Please Lord bless me and give me grace so that I may pursue the best possible option, let your WILL be the deciding factor wether I get the job or not, but whatever happens, may that be the best thing for me in the long run, I ask for your blessings'

    BOTH No.1 and No.2 can be used to pray.
    No.1, where one asks for that job to happen is because they believe it would be the best thing. If it doesn't happen, then they are not or shouldn't stop praying.
    In my opinion it is these No.1 's that have not had the expected specific outcome in instances that are the ones to say praying is a waste of time,-what's the point ?? Whatever happens will happen anyway.
    Whereas No.2 prayers are the ones that regardless of outcome are always pleased with the outcome.-
    Well, I wouldn't put it as always pleased- as there would be a greater tendency wishing for the job to happen.-BUT, they are more accepting, as they will accept the job Not happening- they would be thankful that the intended decision was still for the best.-They know with time, they will realise why they didn't get the job.
    Was it even worth them wasting their time ?? -One will ask, -Ofcourse it was.-
    Its Talking to God.
    It's about how spiritual one is. The more spiritual one is the more likely they pray via No.2
    The less spiritual, the less they pray altogether.

    So, is it wrong to ask ???- No, never.
    But, I don't like the idea sometimes of reciting a whole list of items before the lord, I would rather pray for strength in battling your 5 vices and praying that God provides me with what I need.- This is just me, it doesn't mean this is how it should be done.

    But, everyone has different needs at different times in their life. So, I don't have any problem with anyone asking to pass their exams, get the scholarship or job ...etc...etc...
    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. IF THAT'S HOW YOU PRAY AND TALK TO GOD, THEN FINE..... WHY SHOULD WE JUDGE AND SAY IT'S WRONG OR A WASTE OF TIME!!!!

    Even though you can pray via No1 or No.2 method. - I can't say that one is better than the other. Although, No.2 is less likely to make you feel you've wasted your time than No.1
    I feel everyone that prays, prays with both methods at different times in their lives and will carry on doing so.

    Praying helps us devolop spirituality, no doubt and spirituality helps strengthen the prayer.- This is why most of us are more than happy when a Gianni does the ardaas mentioning our prayer or outcome. Because, we regard the gianni as more spiritual, regardless of wether he actually is or not.

    So, the answer to Harryji's question 'if sikhs should pray ?' is simply -YES- as it helps condition ones spiritually and vice versa, saying No- isn't going to help at all, afterall, there is nothing to lose or any negative effects of praying, no harm can ever be done by it. But you can do more harm to yourself in terms of spirituality by denying the need to pray.

    Waheguru
    Lucky Singh
     
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  10. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Contemplation, which is thinking hard about the word of God, and figuring out how to implement it, is time well spent. To ask God for anything is a waste of time, and in my view is dangerous
    I find so much wrong with this statement, firstly why is anyone asking you? why would they not be able to do it themselves? Do you have a private line to God that they do not have? this is how babas start, by encouraging others they have a magic hotline

    I cannot see the point of either, you assume that God is going to change the course of life, or give you special powers, how is this not a belief in magic, in superstition, whilst your wasting time praying for a short cut, you could be spending that time ensuring you have given your best and by giving your best as laid out in bani, being truthful, honest, showing no fear, not arguing

    Now we enter very dangerous ground, and this exactly my point for not praying in such a manner, instead of looking at yourself, and figuring out what you did not do to get a job, or working out what you could have done to make it happen, you accept it as the will of God. When my father was in hospital, I did not pray, I looked up every reference to blood poisoning I could find, and researched all treatments and symptoms, my mother and brother did the same, between us, we knew exactly what the situation was, and what was being done, are you suggesting I should pray and leave it all to God? That is not the God I recognise, God gives me the brains to seek the knowledge for myself, it is provided in the SGGS, it is the only reference I have and need, it is not a book of chants and spells to be recited and for intricate ceremonies with nice smells and fires, it is wisdom to be learned and to be used.

    Sorry, I say it is wrong, lets stop learning altogether and just chant and meditate and ask God for help?

    And what happens when a wish is granted, when as prayer is heard? it is human nature then to put everything on the prayer and nothing on the learning, the wisdom, is this right?

    Learning helps us develop spirituality, I do not believe any God wishes us to be beholdent to it, if anything surely God wishes us to learn and become wise, how is prayer going to make us wise? it is only going to confuse us and sideline our thinking.

    Sorry I remain unconvinced, there are many negative aspects to prayer, a belief in ritual, superstition and magic for one as against a belief in simple universal truth and order.

    It is the difference between fate and Hukam.
     
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  11. passingby

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    In Gurbani there are numerous references to mythological stories from Puranas. One of these is the story of an Elephant who was arrogant and thought himself to be quite powerful. One day while taking a bath in a river a crocodile bit his leg and would not let go. At this time, on seeing death right in the face, the inner consciousness of the elephant suddenly awakened and he cried out for help! At that very time Hari/Akaal-Purakh showered his Grace on the elephant and he was freed from the grip of the crocodile.

    Look at the reference to this story:
    There are numerous references in Gurbani to this same story.
    My small understanding is that when there is some great trouble in one's life the mind is moved from its deepest recesses. This is in-fact a very favourable time turning to Akaal-Purakh for help. This is the time when ego is truly humbled and one truly 'falls on the feet of Lord'. In such a situation when one prays with deep humility and sense of helplessness Akaal-Purakh showers help and grace. Of course this is not a matter of right of the individual soul. So it cannot be said that if somebody prays he should receive exactly what he is asking for. Thats for Akaal-Purakh to decide.

    In my personal life I have been in trouble a number of times. In a few of those times I felt that everything was over, especially because I was truly at fault and would have deserved the negative results. I felt very ashamed for my weak and unwise actions. The situation humbled me and I would pray from inside all the time. Whenever my mind stirred up I would start asking for help. Sometimes I would cry in my room, cursing myself for everything. There was a huge stress on my brain, like I was carrying a ton of weight. But in the end Guruji showered his mercy on me and the people in authority started favouring me even though I did not expect them to. All due to Guruji's grace.

    No brothers, prayer is not useless. In fact when one has done everything within one's power and yet the danger does not end then it is the usually the only thing one can do.

    Brothers, don't you remember the story when Maharaja Ranjit Singh along with his army had to cross the river Attock but it was in full spate and there was no way to cross it? At that time Ranjit Singh humbled down from inside and he humbly performed an Ardaas and the river soon came down to a comfortable level.

    If a person's mind is already strong enough to stay calm and accept what is happening as the Hukam of Akaal Purakh then such a person does not need to pray for help. He just continues to meditate on NAAM. Example of such persons are Bhai Mani Singh, Bhai Taru Singh Shahid. They had cultivated a very high spiritual consciousness, such that pain and fear could not disturb the mind.
    But for a person who has not trained his mind to forget everything and concentrate on NAAM, praying for help is not only natural but is recommended as well, because it humbles one from inside and connects one with Akaal Purakh.
     
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  12. Scarlet Pimpernel

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    #11 Scarlet Pimpernel, Apr 15, 2012
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  13. passingby

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    I again put forward the following shabad of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It truly depicts that we have to ask Akaal Purakh for everything because He is the Source of all existence. Before saying that praying and asking from Akaal-Purakh is useless this Shabad needs to be interpreted:

    Of course the things prayed for can be interpreted to have a symbolic meaning rather than just material things but they are still things being asked for. There is 'asking'.

    Please also do not think that I am advocating asking for material things. No, not at all. To accept things as Hukam is the higher state of mind. But religious/spiritual path is not just for the already higher mind persons. Its also for the lay people who are struggling with fear and attachment.

    Gurbani says the best 'asking' is asking for NAAM. That is the highest form of asking. But this does not mean one cannot ask for other things.

    There are 4 purusharthas or aims of life, termed as ਚਾਰਿ ਪਦਾਰਥ in Gurbani:
    1. Dharma
    2. Artha
    3. Kama
    4. Moksha

    All 4 of these can be 'asked' for:
    Now, another request my brother. Please read the following lines slowly and try to connect with the feeling expressed. Before deciding that praying is wrong please ponder over the meaning and the feeling expressed here:
    Sikhi is the marga of Bhakti. The Bhagwan is everything for the Bhakta. The Bhakta tries to dive deep into his love for Bhagwan. Thats is his main target. But a Bhakta is also human. Therefore whenever he is in pain he cries out to hi Bhagwan for help. And Bhagwan always comes forward to help the Bhakta. This is the ideal of Bhakti. We may or may not reach this state.
    Do you see how this shabad starts by referring to material things and suffering but then progresses to higher spiritual targets?
    This is Bhakti. A sincere Bhakta starts with material things and concerns but gradually leaves all the material concerns behind and merges into his Bhagwan.

    Respect and love.
     
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  14. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    Respected Passingby veer ji,

    Very many thanks for your posts. I am deeply moved by the efforts you have put in and for making this thread meaningful.

    Regards!
     
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  15. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Passingbyji

    I am moved by your post, it is hard not to be, but the above shabad states that is the rememberence of God that is important. To me that is remembering the word of God, the Shabad Guru. I will confess that I too in my past have prayed hard, very hard, and, yes, I have too have never been let down. I also have cried my eyes out and been on my knees with hands folded together, although we are talking 17 years ago.I stopped...., I stopped because it was all too easy, I was in a cycle of doing bad deeds, living a bad life, but praying whenever it all got bad, and every time, I carried on my sordid life, until one day when everything went wrong, instead of prayer, and wishing to break the cycle, I decided to meet my maker, but my efforts were hampered, and what followed was 15 years of humility, acceptence, and atheism.I tried to put right all I had done wrong, and it has left me in no doubt that prayer, distance healing, people with spiritual powers all exist, and all can have an effect, but they are nothing more than diversions and light shows.They distract from the purpose of life, to learn, to gain knowledge, and also, to realise and suffer consequences of our actions.

    And that is why I do not pray, Hukam is there for a reason, even if after doing my best, who am I to question it, but I would rather spend precious time and energy doing my best than reaching for the batphone.

    Our Gurus 'prayed' in bad times, but I would say it was more of a rememberence and acceptence than a request for change
     
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  16. passingby

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    You are of course right Harry ji. There is a tendency to revert back to lower living after the crisis has passed. It happens with me, it happened with you, it happens with every one. I agree completely.
    And yes to completely and utterly accept Hukam is what Gurbani preaches to us to reach and aspire. That is unquestionably correct. When one surrenders to Hukam one's mind becomes firm and it is then that fear truly vanishes away.

    I remember a story of a zen monk who was resting in his room when his disciple rushed to him saying, 'Master, master a fire has broken out in the building!'.
    Master- 'How far is it?'.
    Disciple-'Just a block away!'
    Master- 'Okay come to me when it comes near'
    And the Master went back to rest, completely undisturbed!

    A while later the disciple comes rushing again:
    'Master! the fire has come closer!'
    Master- 'How far is it now?'
    Disciple- 'Just half a block away!'
    Master- 'Okay come to me when comes nearer'
    And he went back to his rest yet again!

    A while later the disciple comes rushing again:
    'Master! the fire has come even closer!'
    Master- 'How far is it now?'
    Disciple- 'Just two houses away!'
    Master- 'Okay come to me when it comes nearer'
    And he went back to his rest yet again! Completely undisturbed!

    Still again a while later the disciple comes rushing:
    'Master! the fire is very close!'
    Master- 'How far is it now?'
    Disciple- 'Just the next house!'
    Master- 'Okay bring me my sandals, lets move leave this place.'
    And the Master leaves the house to safety very calmly and undisturbed.
    Such is the mental poise of the someone who accepts Hukam.

    We all have read and heard about such people. But personally I have no hope of attaining any stability or respectable inner strength if I do not fully indulge in a psychologically transforming practice, which in case of Sikh path is NAAM japa. How else can I expect such a strength for myself just from volition?

    Just yesterday I was reading recorded conversations of Mirra, the Mother of Aurobindo Ashram. She says:
    This passage was very inspiring, so I thought I'll share.
     
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  17. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>Well, I think believing prayer is a waste of time- is an actual mockery of faith.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H- Contemplation, which is thinking hard about the word of God, and figuring out how to implement it, is time well spent. To ask God for anything is a waste of time, and in my view is dangerous
    L- How can asking God be a waste, Asking is not telling. Bowing down, kneeling and asking is an act of respect and humility. How can this be dangerous
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>Quite simply- PRAYER is Talking To God.
    If someone asks me to pray for them or something else, I see no wrong in this at all.
    They are asking me to talk to God.
    There is nothing ritualistic about it, prayer and religion go together.

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H- I find so much wrong with this statement, firstly why is anyone asking you? why would they not be able to do it themselves? Do you have a private line to God that they do not have? this is how babas start, by encouraging others they have a magic hotline

    L- this was a reference to your comment when requested to pray. You thought of it as unnecessary and pointless. If someone asks me to pray for someones health or well being, I find that they are asking me to do a spiritual act of goodness- what's wrong with that ?? It's not about private lines, the more that commit to prayer the better.
    Your comment that-why should I be asked ? do I have a private line to god ?- Is like someone asking why do you follow sikhism ?- because you get express tickets to salvation ??

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>For eg. You could pray asking for a certain job, after an interview. The prayer could be along the lines of 'please Lord, I need this job, so please make it possible, because I can then do this..this...this...and that....-This is A Prayer with specific expected outcomes.
    OR you could do No.2 a Prayer with regards to the job without any specific demanding outcomes such as ' Please Lord bless me and give me grace so that I may pursue the best possible option, let your WILL be the deciding factor wether I get the job or not, but whatever happens, may that be the best thing for me in the long run, I ask for your blessings'

    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H- I cannot see the point of either, you assume that God is going to change the course of life, or give you special powers, how is this not a belief in magic, in superstition, whilst your wasting time praying for a short cut, you could be spending that time ensuring you have given your best and by giving your best as laid out in bani, being truthful, honest, showing no fear, not arguing

    L- I do NOT assume that my course of life will change with a sudden prayer, no one that prays does this. It's an act that is used along with ALL our abilities.
    Giving your best as laid out in bani is all the qualities that we need plus prayer if it helps. Bani mentions acts of prayer throughout.
    Everything we do in life from learning, doing and giving our best is not all we do. We still have hope, no matter what we hope for. What better way of formatting your hope in a prayer ??

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>BOTH No.1 and No.2 can be used to pray.
    No.1, where one asks for that job to happen is because they believe it would be the best thing. If it doesn't happen, then they are not or shouldn't stop praying.
    In my opinion it is these No.1 's that have not had the expected specific outcome in instances that are the ones to say praying is a waste of time,-what's the point ?? Whatever happens will happen anyway.
    Whereas No.2 prayers are the ones that regardless of outcome are always pleased with the outcome.-
    Well, I wouldn't put it as always pleased- as there would be a greater tendency wishing for the job to happen.-BUT, they are more accepting, as they will accept the job Not happening- they would be thankful that the intended decision was still for the best.-They know with time, they will realise why they didn't get the job.
    Was it even worth them wasting their time ?? -One will ask, -Ofcourse it was.-
    Its Talking to God.
    It's about how spiritual one is. The more spiritual one is the more likely they pray via No.2
    The less spiritual, the less they pray altogether
    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H- Now we enter very dangerous ground, and this exactly my point for not praying in such a manner, instead of looking at yourself, and figuring out what you did not do to get a job, or working out what you could have done to make it happen, you accept it as the will of God. When my father was in hospital, I did not pray, I looked up every reference to blood poisoning I could find, and researched all treatments and symptoms, my mother and brother did the same, between us, we knew exactly what the situation was, and what was being done, are you suggesting I should pray and leave it all to God? That is not the God I recognise, God gives me the brains to seek the knowledge for myself, it is provided in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, it is the only reference I have and need, it is not a book of chants and spells to be recited and for intricate ceremonies with nice smells and fires, it is wisdom to be learned and to be used.

    L- The above is you saying, you were either going to pray or do some research. But, why not do both ? No one is sayiing for you to just sit and pray, but you can still pray for hope and do your research. No one is telling you that a prayer is your magic formula. Prayer is what you and only you make it.

    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>But, everyone has different needs at different times in their life. So, I don't have any problem with anyone asking to pass their exams, get the scholarship or job ...etc...etc...
    THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT. IF THAT'S HOW YOU PRAY AND TALK TO GOD, THEN FINE..... WHY SHOULD WE JUDGE AND SAY IT'S WRONG OR A WASTE OF TIME!!!!


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H-Sorry, I say it is wrong, lets stop learning altogether and just chant and meditate and ask God for help?

    And what happens when a wish is granted, when as prayer is heard? it is human nature then to put everything on the prayer and nothing on the learning, the wisdom, is this right?
    L-Again, no one is saying you don't learn or use wisdom. Prayer is somethong you do from within, along with all activities done from outside. NO-one is sayong only act from within or the outside.
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>Praying helps us devolop spirituality, no doubt and spirituality helps strengthen the prayer.- This is why most of us are more than happy when a Gianni does the ardaas mentioning our prayer or outcome. Because, we regard the gianni as more spiritual, regardless of wether he actually is or not.


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H-Learning helps us develop spirituality, I do not believe any God wishes us to be beholdent to it, if anything surely God wishes us to learn and become wise, how is prayer going to make us wise? it is only going to confuse us and sideline our thinking.

    L- learning is a huge element of life from birth to the last breath.Why are you saying that only learning helps develop spirituality ? Any spirituality you have, is it all attained from learning and learning solely ??
    <TABLE border=0 cellSpacing=0 cellPadding=1><TBODY><TR><TD style="BORDER-BOTTOM: 1px inset; BORDER-LEFT: 1px inset; BORDER-TOP: 1px inset; BORDER-RIGHT: 1px inset" class=alt2>So, the answer to Harryji's question 'if sikhs should pray ?' is simply -YES- as it helps condition ones spiritually and vice versa, saying No- isn't going to help at all, afterall, there is nothing to lose or any negative effects of praying, no harm can ever be done by it. But you can do more harm to yourself in terms of spirituality by denying the need to pray.


    </TD></TR></TBODY></TABLE>
    H-Sorry I remain unconvinced, there are many negative aspects to prayer, a belief in ritual, superstition and magic for one as against a belief in simple universal truth and order.

    It is the difference between fate and Hukam.<!-- google_ad_section_end -->

    L- What negative aspects ? You mean false hopes ? That is not the same thing.
    Like I said, if you assume prayer is a magic formula, then you have the wrong idea.-Talking to God, does not guarantee a magic answer.
    Tell me of someone who has caused themselves harm with prayer ?

    You seem to be mixed up with hope, prayer and magic miracles. You need to distinguish between the three and understand that prayer is talking to God, based on hopes you have.
    At the end of the day it's personal, wether you do it or not. We have no right to judge and say that one is wasting their time or to be critical for that matter.
    You may feel there is no need to pray know. But we shouldn't deny it as one day your hopes can all mount up and you will be praying without even realising.

    If talking and prayer helps someone to get closer to god and become more spiritual, then I cannot live in denial wether I pray or not.
    For the record, I'm being positive with regards to prayer in this post but I, myself, hardly ever pray in the sense of giving a list of requests.
    Infact, I only ever ask the lord for strength and wisdom and thank him for all I have already which includes being alive and able bodied, especially after my experiences.

    I sense that maybe you have had some No1 hopes without the prayer part. These may have let you down which is why I sense some anger and resentment towards the act of prayer.

    Waheguru
    Lucky Singh
     
    #16 Luckysingh, Apr 16, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2012
  18. gurmit kaur mit

    gurmit kaur mit Reserved
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    I agree with harry....Tera bhana meetha lage... if you want to do Ardas then ask only for---Har Nam pdarath Nanak mange...or Mangna mangan neeka harjas gur te mangna...the woldly affairs are desided already by Waheguru ji Himself.hona ohi hai jo waheguru ji ne nishchit karke rakhya hai.. jo sade kite karma anusar hi lekhe ch aana hai.Jo waheguru ji karde ne thik hi karde ne...per ik gal hor hai sanu panthak ardas ton vi tutna nhi chahida.Jo Nitnem ton baad savere te shami rehras ton baad ardas sikh rehat maryada vich likhi hai us maryadaton alag hona vi galat hai...Ardas sirf apne karaj di poorti vaste apne swarth vaste hi karni wrong hai. ki pta jini kise chiz di tuhanu lod hai uston jada kise ho prani di vi hove te waheguru tuhade bjaye uhnu dena chahan tan asi apni jidd mari jayiye waheguru ji eh chiz main de nhi tan mera vishvas tere ton uth jayega.. eo jihi ardas totally wrong hai...baki sarbat de bhale di ardas karni jaroori vi hai te panthak ekta vi kayam rakhdi hai.
     
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  19. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    passingby ji thanks for your post. I have some observations and thoughts for discourse.

    I was reading though the quoted Bani in your post as below,

    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-...is-prayer-should-sikhs-pray-2.html#post163561

    I saw the following as focus in these sabads,

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    • ਮਾਨੁ ਤਿਆਗਿ ਹਰਿ ਚਰਨੀ ਲਾਗਉ ...
      • A message in humility and recognizing of the creator and so following respectfully

    • ਗੁਰ ਸਬਦੀ ਸਚੁ ਜਾਣੁ ....
      • The recognition of the truth as creator's virtues

    • ਚਿਤਿ ਆਵੈ ਓਸੁ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ...
      • Remembering the supreme creator in the heart

    • ਰੰਗੁ ਨ ਲਗੀ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮ ....
      • Forsaking of the creator in presence and self realization

    • ਚਿਤਿ ਨ ਆਇਓ ਪਾਰਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ...
      • Forgetting the creator in the heart
    What these tell us is the remembering and non-remembering aspects of the creator in Sikhism. So this is part of being forever aware while warning against lapsing..

    Now how does Ardas or Sikh prayer fits into this?

    For me it is pretty simple and straightforward.
    1. Participating in a Group Prayer/Ardas


    • A collective recognition of the creator at any given point in time with our fellow humans
    • Possible support to other in doubt, or seeking support or any other positive purpose
    2. Personal Ardas/Prayer

    This I find particularly a very personal, intimate and truthful opportunity to remind selves, to have a check point, a marker to observe

    Some thoughts that come to mind from my recollections over time that I have silently stated inside of me,


    • Let me not do bad to others
    • Wellness for all
    • May I be guided on a righteous path
    • May I have the strength to do good for others
    • etc.
    In the above contexts, I find the Ardas or Prayer to be extremely worthwhile and actually quite a "bang for the buck" in terms of its effect and possible value.

    Just some thoughts.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  20. passingby

    passingby
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    It might be helpful to make a distinction between an inferior and a superior types of prayer.

    The inferior prayer is of a kind that comes out of a desire at a superficial working of the mind. It does not have a root at a deep level of the asker's heart. It does not come from deep and therefore does not rise high either. It does not elevate one's consciousness, it does not become a potent energy in the divine sphere. It is born out of a movement of the mind which is located at the surface. Its stirred up out of baser movements of the mind. And it is not heartfelt.
    An inferior prayer can also be completely 'un-felt', that is devoid of any true feeling at all. I believe such prayers the most common ones. I often say a few words while bowing in front of SGGS, most of these are ceremoniously said and do not come from heart. Therefore these are never answered either.

    The other kind, the superior kind of prayer is rooted deep within the heart. In fact heart is the only place where a true prayer can be located. Such a prayer cannot be rooted (by its nature) in volition and reasoning. Its source is heart and its form is emotion. It stirs up one's being. And its quality is of effecting a surrender in one's attitude. It is always humbling. In fact I would say the a prayer's superiority is directly proportional to the humility it comes out with.
    It can also be noted that not everything which comes from heart can be taken to be pure and higher and worthy. Humility and sincerity are marks of purer and higher things. Along with these there is another characteristic of the superior prayer. It is borne out of a state of mind which is concentrated and silent. The common chattering of the mind, the dialogue which goes on inside our heads is conspicuous with its absence. This is replaced with a current of urgency, and a pointed movement of the mind towards higher divine source.
     
  21. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    Luckyji

    some comments


    In my view it is dangerous because you are putting responsibility on God, and taking it away from yourself, this is not what Sikhism is about, it is about using bani to give life your best shot.

    I am still not sure why anyone would wish another to pray for them, I find this third party prayer system quite depressing, if you cannot see how that puts you on the same platform a a drug dealer, then I am not quite sure how I can explain it any further. Also I do not follow Sikhism to find salvation, I follow Sikhism as it gives me a framework with which to live my life and get the best chance of a happy life, salvation if bestowed on me is in the hands of Creator, it is not something I have any interest in.


    Please quote these acts of prayer so that I may either offer my own understanding, or concede your argument in full.

    You contradict yourself here brother, on the one hand you are saying prayer is not a magic formula, on the other, prayer is what you make it. Well, in my view, many people DO make it a magic formula, along the lines of do this for me, and I will do so many paths, so many good deeds etc.

    Any spirituality I may have is all attained from learning, and is in spite of anything that I may have learned through prayer.


    With pleasure...

    My father has a friend, all his life had been religious, he had prayed, kept his hair, followed all the rituals and ceremonies that one does, he also had a heart condition, which required him to take tablets, he decided that prayer was a better course of action than the drugs, when they admitted him to hospital, he had not taken any drugs for 18 months, he died shortly after.

    Now Luckyji, you may be an intelligent enlightened individual who sees prayer as communication with God, but there are many many people who are deeply superstitious, and who would convince themselves that life is all down to how happy or unhappy they have made God. Guru Nanakji tried to free these miserable souls from this game, only for Sikhism to end up at the same juncture thanks to those that would say ' just do your best and God will do the rest'.

    The arrows you are aiming at me seem to be striking you straight back and you cannot even see it. You are saying I am mixing hope, prayer and magic, yet then tell me I need to distinguish between the three and understand that prayer is talking to god about hopes, to what end? to the end of getting them granted surely, not through effort, but through magic, who exactly is mixing what up here brother, you or me?

    Hopes? hopes for what? I have no hopes, I have goals, but frankly, I could not care less if those goals are not reached, I find the thought of praying for my fathers life extremely distasteful, I find the thought of paying some Gyani to mention him in Ardass extremely distasteful, who am I to even consider bothering Creator with my puny requests, when Creator has already done everything that can be done by giving as all a lifestyle choice. All I can do is thank Creator NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS for giving us all the chance to live as was intended, and get as close to perfection as we can, without paying lip service to an idol. For that is what we create in our head when we pray, an idol, we are not better than our Hindu friends who would give milk to a stone statue, except we do it in our heads.

    Well it is good to know you hardly ever pray whilst giving a list of requests, I on the other hand, never pray whilst presenting a list.


    I
    Who do you do this for Luckyji, for 'him' of for yourself?

    Nope, if you had read my post above you would have noted that everytime I have prayed, my prayers have been answered, and for the most obscure and disgusting things I would add.. No, my current stance is down to Alfie, my dog. Alfie is now unable to actually get up, so I have to carry him out to the garden for toilet, and my wife spoon feeds him food. He is 12, a good Sikh dog, an ex guide dog, he has spent years in sewa, we are going to make a decision to put him down soon if he cannot get any better, as it is unfair to keep him going, but every time we decide this, he seems to perk up, and will drag me out for a long walk. Hundreds of pounds of tests have shown nothing, the Vet puts it down to old age. However, a month ago, he perked up hugely, he was a different dog, and then I got a mail from an SPNer who had read about his condition and outlined what was wrong with him, and offered prayers for him. My wife loves that dog, possibly more than she loves me!, so now she is asking me to contact this SPNer, and ask him to pray again, now if my wife being fairly atheist in her outlook, can be won over by this, then I consider anyone could. Its like a drug, its addictive, and it closes your eyes to what is happening in the real world, around you, I am against any sort of 'asking prayer' because it diverts attention, focus, it makes you a puppet, it makes you reliant on those whose prayers work, it wastes time, it encourages belief in the supernatural and in ritual

    As a final note, I would like to say that I think about God constantly, not in a prayer format, but in trying to follow Hukam, in trying to be a better person, I do not pray for this, I read bani and try and see the wisdom in certain actions, see where I am going wrong,

    I love Creation, I love Creator, the bond between the three of us is strong and gets stronger each day, I ask only for the strength and grace to follow Hukam, and even that is never said or thought in words, Creator knows my heart, can see inside it, knows exactly what I am, why would I assume otherwise and share a few snippets when Creator knows everything ?
     

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