The title of this article may sound blasphemous to some. Yes, I am advocating that we pray less and act more. (Note the title was not “Don’t pray … act!). Since prayer offers hope, we cannot entirely do away with prayer. As human beings we are fragile and we are in dire need of ‘hope’ to pull us through our sea of troubles we seem to have in our lives.
Ideally, a self-actualized person, may be able to entirely do away with the act of prayer and simply act. Such individuals can determine the course of future actions, entirely by their own will. But most of us are mortal and we do need to pray.
However there is no need to pray to an external divinity. In fact, the Gita’s central message is ‘Tat tvam asi’ or Thou art that. You are all that you seek for in this life. Given this statement from Gita, we really don’t need to seek solace in an external divine entity.
I am not entirely against prayer. If prayer offers hope, then by all means pray, take part in hymns, bhajans and chant away. Where one needs to draw the line, is not to be so entirely consumed by prayer that all action is abandoned. It does not make sense to imagine that a divine external force, is listening to your message and will intervene on your behalf to solve your problems.
There is a real need to be practical and to get on with life. This may sound slightly harsh to the more religious minded. However we often see many people praying and entreating God to solve all their problems in life, while they spend time in wishful thinking when not praying fervently.
Too often people are so consumed in their thoughtless devotion that they wish that their problems will miraculously melt away. Remember, no God will come before you to grant you boons for your devotion. Neither will miracles happen that will magically spirit away your problems in life.
According to the Gita, Bhakti Yoga or (Path of devotion) is the highest form of devotion even above that of Karma Yoga (Path of Action) or Gnana Yoga (Path of knowledge). However I don’t see how devotion alone, will help if not accompanied with action.
When devotion or love of God translates to love of human beings in general, bhakti or devotion makes sense. If love in the benevolence of a higher being, results in compassion for all human beings then go ahead and devote away!
If has been famously said that “The best way to predict the future is to create it!” So take steps to achieve the future you desire with or without prayer. In the final analysis, strong north bound values coupled with decisive action are what makes a great human being.