A prayer, a master act, a king idea
Can link man’s strength to a transcendent Force.
– Sri Aurobindo
Call Me and I will answer, remember Me, and I will remember you.
– The Holy Koran
Prayer is the key to the divine doors. By prayer and aspiration we can bring down into our human life the help and guidance of a higher Power with an infinitely greater wisdom and force than the puny intelligence and capacities of our ignorant and struggling ego. The human aspiration and the divine response is a spiritual mystery which cannot be caught within any mental or scientific formulas. However certain inner attitudes create a favourable inner condition for the divine Grace to act. In this article Mother explains these inner conditions, which can make our prayer effective. What are described here are helpful attitudes and not fixed formulas, which can answer everyone of our prayers. In fact, such a formula is not desirable because in our ignorance we may pray for things, which are harmful to our growth. When our prayers are not answered, to say with a sincere surrender, “Thy Will be Done” is part of the right attitude to prayer.
The Key Perspectives
Childlike Trust; humility and gratitude; invoking grace; prayer and surrender; how to pray for others.
To aspire is indispensable. But some people aspire with such a conflict inside them between faith and absence of faith, trust and distrust, between the optimism which is sure of victory and a pessimism which asks itself when the catastrophe will come. Now if this is in the being, you may aspire but you don’t get anything. And you say, “I aspired but didn’t get anything.” It is because you demolish your aspiration all the time by your lack of confidence…. If you call or aspire with fear that you will not be heard and with doubts about the Divine’s answer then the adverse forces that are always on the watch, slip into your consciousness through the fear and doubts and do their mischief. So, you must call with a true and sincere faith.
Children when left to themselves and not deformed by older people have such a great trust that all will be well! For example, when they have a small accident, they never think that this is going to be something serious: they are spontaneously convinced that it will soon be over, and this helps so powerfully in putting an end to it.
Well, when one aspires for the Force, when one asks the Divine for help, if one asks with the unshakable certitude that it will come, that it is impossible that it won’t, then it is sure to come. It is this kind… yes, this is truly an inner opening, this trustfulness. And some people are constantly in this state. When there is something to be received, they are always there to receive it. There are others, when there is something to have, a force descends, they are always absent, they are always closed at that moment; while those who have this childlike trust are always there at the right time.
And it is strange, isn’t it, outwardly there is no difference. They may have exactly the same goodwill, the same aspiration, the same wish to do good, but those who have this smiling confidence within them, do not question, do not ask themselves whether they will have it or not have it, whether the Divine will answer or not – the question does not arise, it is something understood… “What I need will be given to me; if I pray I shall have an answer; if I am in a difficulty and ask for help, the help will come – and not only will it come but it will manage everything.” If the trust is there, spontaneous, candid, unquestioning, it works better than anything else, and the results are marvellous. It is with the contradictions and doubts of the mind that one spoils everything, with this kind of notion which comes when one is in difficulties: “Oh, it is impossible! I shall never manage it. And if it is going to be aggravated, if this condition I am in, which I don’t want, is going to grow still worse, if I continue to slide down farther and farther, if, if, if, if…” like that, and one builds a wall between oneself and the force one wants to receive. The psychic being has this trust, has it wonderfully, without a shadow, without an argument, without a contradicting And when it is like that, there is not a prayer which does not receive an answer, no aspiration which is not realised.
Humility and Gratefulness
This is the most important point. It is to have a certain inner humility which makes you aware of your helplessness without the Grace, that truly, without it you are incomplete and powerless. This, to begin with, is the first thing….
This is the first condition. And then, if you become aware that it is only the Grace which can do that, that the situation in which you find yourself, from there the Grace alone can pull you out, can give you the solution and the strength to come out of it, then, quite naturally an intense aspiration awakes in you, a consciousness which is translated into an opening. If you call, you will quite naturally open yourself to the Grace.
And later – you must pay great attention to this (Mother puts her finger on her lips) – the Grace will answer you, the Grace will pull you out of the trouble, the Grace will give you the solution to your problem or will help you to get out of your difficulty. But once you are free from trouble and have come out of your difficulty, don’t forget that it is the Grace which pulled you out, and don’t think it is yourself. For this, indeed, is the important point. Most people, as soon as the difficulty has gone, say, “After all, I pulled myself out of the difficulty quite well.”
There you are. And then you lock and bolt the door, you see, and you cannot receive anything any more. You need once again some acute anguish, some terrible difficulty for this kind of inner stupidity to give way, and for you to realise once more that you can do nothing. Because it is only when you grow aware that you are powerless that you begin to be just a little open and plastic. But so long as you think that what you do depends on your own skill and your own capacity, truly, not only do you close one door, but, you know, you close lots of doors one upon another, and bolt them. You shut yourself up in a fortress and nothing can enter there. That is the great drawback: one forgets very quickly. Quite naturally one is satisfied with one’s own capacity….
Ah, it is very difficult to be sincere…. That is why the blows multiply and sometimes become terrible, because that’s the only thing which breaks your stupidity. This is the justification of calamities. Only when you are in an acutely painful situation and indeed before something that affects you deeply, then that makes the stupidity melt away a little. But as you say, even when there is something that melts, there is still a little something which remains inside. And that is why it lasts so long…
How many blows are needed in life for one to know to the very depths that one is nothing, that one can do nothing, that one does not exist, that one is nothing, that there is no entity without the divine Consciousness and the Grace. From the moment one knows it, it is over; all the difficulties have gone. When one knows it integrally and there is nothing which resists… but till that moment…. And it takes very long.
Invoking the Grace
… if one has… trust in the divine Grace, if one has the faith that there is something in the world like the divine Grace, and that this something can answer a prayer, an aspiration, an invocation, then, after making one’s mental formation, if one offers it to the Grace and puts one’s trust in it, asks it to intervene and has the faith that it will intervene, then indeed one has a chance of success.
Try, and you will surely see the result.
Q. But, Mother, when one prays sincerely for the intervention of the Grace, doesn’t one expect a particular result?
Excuse me, that depends on the tenor of the prayer. If one simply invokes the Grace or the Divine, and puts oneself in His hands, one does not expect a particular result. To expect a particular result one must formulate one’s prayer, must ask for something. If you have only a great aspiration for the divine Grace and evoke it, implore it, without asking it for anything precise, it is the Grace which will choose what it will do for you, not you.
Q. That is better, isn’t it??
Ah! that’s quite another question.
Why, it is higher in its quality, perhaps. But still, if one wants something precise, it is better to formulate it. If one has a special reason for invoking the Grace, it is better to formulate it precisely and clearly.
Prayer and Surrender
If one is in a state of complete surrender and gives oneself entirely, if one simply offers oneself to the Grace and lets it do what it likes, that is very good. But after that one must not question what it does! One must not say to it, “Oh! I did that with the idea of having this”, for if one really has the idea of obtaining something, it is better to formulate it in all sincerity, simply, just as one sees it. Afterwards, it is for the Grace to choose if it will do it or not; but in any case, one will have formulated clearly what one wanted. And there is no harm in that.
Where it becomes bad is when the request is not granted and one revolts. Then naturally it becomes bad. It is at that moment one must understand that the desire one has, or the aspiration, may not have been very enlightened and that perhaps one has asked for something which was not exactly what was good for one. Then at that moment one must be wise and say simply, “Well, let Thy Will be done.” But so long as one has an inner perception and an inner preference, there is no harm in formulating it. It is a very natural movement.
For example, if one has been foolish or has made a mistake and one truly, sincerely wishes never to do it again, well, I don’t see any harm in asking for it. And in fact, if one asks for it with sincerity, a true inner sincerity, there is a great chance that it will be granted.
You must not think that the Divine likes to contradict you. He is not at all keen on doing it! He can see better than you what is really good for you; but it is only when it is absolutely indispensable that He opposes your aspiration. Otherwise He is always ready to give what you ask.
How to Pray for Others
Note that this power of formation has a great advantage, if one knows how to use it. You can make good formations and if you make them properly, they will act in the same way as the others. You can do a lot of good to people just by sitting quietly in your room, perhaps even more good than by undergoing a lot of trouble externally. If you know how to think correctly, with force and intelligence and kindness, if you love someone and wish him well very sincerely, deeply, with all your heart, that does him much good, much more certainly than you think. I have said this often; for example, to those who are here, who learn that someone in their family is very ill and feel that childish impulse of wanting to rush immediately to the spot to attend to the sick person. I tell you, unless it is an exceptional case and there is nobody to attend on the sick person (and at times even in such a case), if you know how to keep the right attitude and concentrate with affection and good will upon the sick person, if you know how to pray for him and make helpful formations, you will do him much more good than if you go to nurse him, feed him, help him wash himself, indeed all that everybody can do. Anybody can nurse a person. But not everybody can make good formations and send out forces that act for healing.
I have already told you several times that if one thinks clearly and powerfully, one makes a mental formation, and that every mental formation is an entity independent of its fashioner, having its own life and tending to realise itself in the mental world – I don’t mean that you see your formation with your physical eyes, but it exists in the mental world, it has its own particular independent existence.
If you have made a formation with a definite aim, its whole life will tend to the realisation of this aim. Therefore, if you want to help someone at a distance, you have only to formulate very clearly, very precisely and strongly the kind of help you want to give and the result you wish to obtain. That will have its effect. I cannot say that it will be all-powerful, for the mental world is full of innumerable formations of this kind and naturally they clash and contradict one another; hence the strongest and the most persistent will have the best of it.
Now, what is it that gives strength and persistence to mental formations? – It is emotion and will. If you know how to add to your mental formation an emotion, affection, tenderness, love, and an intensity of will, a dynamism, it will have a much greater chance of success. That is the first method. It is within the scope of all those who know how to think, and even more of those who know how to love. But as I said, the power is limited and there is great competition in that world.
Therefore, even if one has no knowledge at all but has trust in the divine Grace, if one has the faith that there is something in the world like the divine Grace, and that this something can answer a prayer, an aspiration, an invocation, then, after making one’s mental formation, if one offers it to the Grace and puts one’s trust in it, asks it to intervene and has the faith that it will intervene, then indeed one has a chance of success.
Try, and you will surely see the result.
Here is an amusing but profound Chinese story. Two comrade gods in heaven are in conversation. One of them was angry. The other god asked “Why are you in such a bad mood today?” The god said with a frown in his face “One of my devotees is behaving foolishly, so I cursed him”. His friend asked, “What curse did you give?” The god replied:
“Let all your prayers be answered.”