Daily Archives: June 7, 2007

** The Grand Departure

Hindu view of the grand departure

Death and Dying

“Lead me from darkness to light, from death to immortality.” This famed Vedic prayer proclaims the human urge to survive, to conquer death and to know the joys of illuminated consciousness. People often pilgrimage to an isolated place in expectation of a vision, be it a jungle of fauna and foliage or cement and glass. Every person is on a vision quest. But for all souls, at the time of the great departure, mahaprasthana, a vision comes as a tunnel of light at the end of which are beings of divine nature. Many having had the near-death experience have sworn their testimony of such transforming encounters. An American woman who “died” during childbirth, but was brought back to life by quick medical action, recounted: “It was an incredible energy–a light you wouldn’t believe. I almost floated in it. It was feeding my consciousness feelings of unconditional love, complete safety and complete, total perfection.
And then, and then, a piece of knowledge came in–it was that I was immortal, indestructible. I cannot be hurt, cannot be lost, and that the world is perfect.” Hundreds of people report similar experiences, affirming what Hinduism has always taught–that death is a blissful, light-filled transition from one state to another, as simple and natural as changing clothes, far from the morbid, even hellish alternatives some dread.
A Vedic funeral hymn intones: “Where eternal luster glows, the realm in which the light divine is set, place me, Purifier, in that deathless, imperishable world. Make me immortal in that realm where movement is accordant to wish, in the third region, the third heaven of heavens, where the worlds are resplendent” (Rig Veda, Aitareya Aranyaka 6-11).
Most often, before our own death, we encounter its reality in the passing of friends or family. Our thoughts during the rites, termed antyesti samskara in Sanskrit, turn to God. We witness the end of another’s life and ask, “What am I going to do with the remaining years of my own life?”
All that is said during these times reminds us that life on earth is temporary. All our possessions, power, ego and learning will end. Seeing this truth we turn the mind toward God, toward life’s ultimate goal, moksha, liberation, and toward the path of dharma that will take us there. We do this not in trepidation, but in assurance, faith and gratitude for the opportunity to progress spiritually in this physical incarnation.
Death is defined differently according to what people believe themselves to be. If they are only the body and brain (as with humanists or atheists), then death is the end of sensory experience, of self. If we live once, death ends our only sojourn on Earth and is naturally dreaded. If we are born again and again, it loses its dread in light of the soul’s pilgrimage to eternity. No matter how ill, how infirm our condition, there is a serene and consoling center of our being to which we can adjourn, the Source within.
It is more us than our body, more us than our mind and emotion. It will not die. It does not hurt or fear. As physical debility and death draw near, we seek this center, whether we call it Paramatma, God, Self or Divine Consciousness. In the Krishna Yajur Veda, Katha Upanishad, Yama, Lord of Death, explains: “Death is a mere illusion which appears to those who cannot grasp Absolute Reality. The soul is immortal, self-existent, self-luminous and never dies.”
It is the soul’s subtle body, linga sharira, that stores the “thought-energy” experiential impressions of life, called samskaras. When the body dies, this nonphysical sheath continues as a constellation of subtle elements–dispositions, memories, desires, etc. It is within this subtle body that the soul, if needed, reincarnates, as described in the Shukla Yajur Veda, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad ( 4.4.5-6): “A man acts according to the desires to which he clings.
After death he goes to the next world bearing in his mind the subtle impressions of his deeds; and after reaping there the harvest of his deeds, he returns again to this world of action. Thus, he who has desires continues subject to rebirth.” Death, according to Hinduism, is not the contradiction of life. Death and birth are two sides of life’s cosmic cycle. The culmination of that cycle is liberation. As the venerable Satguru Yogaswami of Sri Lanka taught: “By getting rid of desire, man can put an end to birth altogether.”
Resolving the Karmas:
Many who have had a near-death experience speak of having come back to complete unfinished obligations to children, parents or friends. It is a great blessing to know of one’s impending transition. A Hindu approaching death works diligently to finish all his “business” of this lifetime, the alloted portion of his total karma carried into this birth to face and resolve. If death comes while loose ends remain (misunderstandings unresolved, misdeeds unatoned for or obligations unfulfilled), another lifetime may be required to expire that karma.
Thus, an aging or ailing Hindu will be seen going around to friends and enemies, giving love, help and blessings, working to resolve conflicts and differences, offering apologies and fulfilling all known obligations. Ideally, he executes his own will, distributing his properties and duties to heirs, charities and endowments, not leaving such tasks to others.
That done, he turns to God, reads scriptures, attends temple and amplifies meditation and devotion. He may pilgrimage to sacred spots or retire to a secluded place to practice japa and yoga sadhanas. The family takes care not to disturb these efforts, nor his retirement from social obligation or interaction, realizing he has entered life’s final stage, that of the renunciate, or sannyasin.

Making the Transition Consciously:
Knowing that a conscious death is the ideal, the Hindu avoids excessive drugs or mind-numbing medical measures. He cultivates detachment as death approaches, knowing that loss is not suffered when something is given up voluntarily, only when it is taken from us by force. He is grateful for life, but not angry with or fearful of death. Dying is not unlike falling asleep.
We have all experienced death many times in past lives. The astral body separates from the physical body, just as in sleep. The difference is that the silver cord connecting the two breaks at the moment of transition, signaling the point of no return.
Scriptures speak of leaving the body through one chakra or another, departing in a level of consciousness of a particular chakra, which then determines where in the inner worlds a person will find himself after death. Those who depart full of hatred and resentment go to the world of those who also died in lower consciousness.
Those with love in their heart enter a world where abide others with similar attainment. Therefore, during transition a person must strive to be in the highest possible state of consciousness, concentrating on the top of the head and holding to lofty thoughts as he succumbs.
A woman in California narrated: “Shortly before my husband died, he held my hands and asked me to recite the Lalitha Sahasranama and to say the mantra we were initiated into. He repeated after me in a loud voice when suddenly his face began to shine with a luster, and he became overjoyed and beaming. He started almost shouting in joy that he was seeing the temple and the Deities–Siva, Ganesha and Muruga–smiling at him. In this glowing way he passed away shortly thereafter while I recited the mantra in his ear.”
Those who die suddenly, through accident or murder, have no time to prepare. Traditionally, full death rites are not performed after such deaths, because rebirth is expected almost immediately. For the same reason, rites are not accorded children who die young, before adolescence. In India, bodies of accidental-death victims and children are buried in a common grave or put in a river. Since neither is possible in Westernized countries, cremation is accepted.

Funeral and Memorial Rites:
Hindus traditionally cremate their dead, for swifter, more complete release of the soul. Burial, which preserves the bond, is generally forbidden. Death’s anniversary is called Liberation Day. For saints, it is celebrated rather than the day of birth. To some extent, the funeral rites serve to notify the departed soul that he has, in fact, died. It is possible for a disoriented soul, not understanding that he is on the other side, to linger close to the physical plane.
He can still see this material world, and even observe his own funeral. Some of the ritual chants address the deceased, urging him to relinquish attachments and continue the journey. The rites are also for the living, allowing the family to say a respectable and dignified “farewell,” to express grief, loss and the mosaic of emotions they naturally encounter.
The deepest significance of the funeral rites lies in their yoking the inner and outer worlds, Bhuloka and Devaloka, and their recognition that a family consists not just of its living generations, but its ancestors as well. Often a group of souls will sequentially incarnate into the same extended family, so that, for example, a grandson may be the returned soul of the father. In this way collective karma and dharma are worked through.
Those in the inner worlds help relatives living in the outer world. When their turn comes in the outer world, they strive to attain spiritual progress that is only possible in physical incarnation. Ceremonial uniting of the deceased with his forefathers and yearly honoring of ancestors keep open the inner communication which makes the family prosperous and preserves its longevity.
The Vedas proclaim, “When a person comes to weakness, be it through old age or disease, he frees himself from these limbs just as a mango, a fig or a berry releases itself from its stalk” (Sukla Yajur Veda, Brihadharanyaka Upanishad: 4.3.36).

Rites of Transition Hindu death rituals in all traditions follow a fairly uniform pattern drawn from the Vedas, with variations according to sect, region, caste and family tradition. Most rites are fulfilled by the family, all of whom participate, including the children, who need not be shielded from the death. Certain rites are traditionally performed by a priest but may also be performed by the family if no priest is available. Here is a simple outline of rites that can be performed by Hindus in any locality. Variations are noted and suggestions made for Hindus in Western countries.

1. As Death Approaches
Traditionally, a Hindu dies at home. Nowadays the dying are increasingly kept in hospitals, even when recovery is clearly not possible. Knowing the merits of dying at home among loved ones, Hindus bring the ill home. When death is imminent, kindred are notified. The person is placed in his room or in the entryway of the house, with the head facing east. A lamp is lit near his head and he is urged to concentrate on his mantra. Kindred keep vigil until the great departure, singing hymns, praying and reading scripture. If he cannot come home, this happens at the hospital, regardless of institutional objections.
2. The Moment of Death
If the dying person is unconscious at departure, a family member chants the mantra softly in the right ear. If none is known, “Aum Namo Narayana” or “Aum Nama Sivaya” is intoned. (This is also done for sudden-death victims, such as on a battlefield or in a car accident.) Holy ash or sandal paste is applied to the forehead, Vedic verses are chanted, and a few drops of milk, Ganga or other holy water are trickled into the mouth.
After death, the body is laid in the home’s entryway, with the head facing south, on a cot or the ground–reflecting a return to the lap of Mother Earth. The lamp is kept lit near the head and incense burned. A cloth is tied under the chin and over the top of the head. The thumbs are tied together, as are the big toes. In a hospital, the family has the death certificate signed immediately and transports the body home.
Under no circumstances should the body be embalmed or organs removed for use by others. Religious pictures are turned to the wall, and in some traditions mirrors are covered. Relatives are beckoned to bid farewell and sing sacred songs at the side of the body.
3. The Homa Fire Ritual
If available, a special funeral priest is called. In a shelter built by the family, a fire ritual (homa) is performed to bless nine brass kumbhas (water pots) and one clay pot. Lacking the shelter, an appropriate fire is made in the home. The “chief mourner” leads the rites. He is the eldest son in the case of the father’s death and the youngest son in the case of the mother’s. In some traditions, the eldest son serves for both, or the wife, son-in-law or nearest male relative.
4. Preparing the Body
The chief mourner now performs arati, passing an oil lamp over the remains, then offering flowers. The male (or female, depending on the gender of the deceased) relatives carry the body to the back porch, remove the clothes and drape it with a white cloth. (If there is no porch, the body can be sponge bathed and prepared where it is.) Each applies sesame oil to the head, and the body is bathed with water from the nine kumbhas, dressed, placed in a coffin (or on a palanquin) and carried to the homa shelter.
The young children, holding small lighted sticks, encircle the body, singing hymns. The women then walk around the body and offer puffed rice into the mouth to nourish the deceased for the journey ahead. A widow will place her tali (wedding pendant) around her husband’s neck, signifying her enduring tie to him. The coffin is then closed.
If unable to bring the body home, the family arranges to clean and dress it at the mortuary rather than leave these duties to strangers. The ritual homa fire can be made at home or kindled at the crematorium.
5. Cremation
Only men go to the cremation site, led by the chief mourner. Two pots are carried: the clay kumbha and another containing burning embers from the homa. The body is carried three times counterclockwise around the pyre, then placed upon it. All circumambulating, and some arati, in the rites is counterclockwise. If a coffin is used, the cover is now removed. The men offer puffed rice as the women did earlier, cover the body with wood and offer incense and ghee. With the clay pot on his left shoulder, the chief mourner circles the pyre while holding a fire brand behind his back. At each turn around the pyre, a relative knocks a hole in the pot with a knife, letting water out, signifying life’s leaving its vessel. At the end of three turns, the chief mourner drops the pot. Then, without turning to face the body, he lights the pyre and leaves the cremation grounds. The others follow.
At a gas-fueled crematorium, sacred wood and ghee are placed inside the coffin with the body. Where permitted, the body is carried around the chamber, and a small fire is lit in the coffin before it is consigned to the flames. The cremation switch then is engaged by the chief mourner.
6. Return Home; Ritual Impurity
Returning home, all bathe and share in cleaning the house. A lamp and water pot are set where the body lay in state. The water is changed daily, and pictures remain turned to the wall. The shrine room is closed, with white cloth draping all icons.
During these days of ritual impurity, family and close relatives do not visit others’ homes, though neighbors and relatives bring daily meals to relieve the burdens during mourning. Neither do they attend festivals and temples, visit swamis, nor take part in marriage arrangements. Some observe this period up to one year. For the death of friends, teachers or students, observances are optional.
While mourning is never suppressed or denied, scriptures admonish against excessive lamentation and encourage joyous release. The departed soul is acutely conscious of emotional forces directed at him. Prolonged grieving can hold him in earthly consciousness, inhibiting full transition to the heaven worlds. In Hindu Bali, it is shameful to cry for the dead.
7. Bone-Gathering Ceremony
About 12 hours after cremation, family men return to collect the remains. Water is sprinkled on the ash; the remains are collected on a large tray. At crematoriums the family can arrange to personally gather the remains: ashes and small pieces of white bone called “flowers.” In crematoriums these are ground to dust, and arrangements must be made to preserve them.
Ashes are carried or sent to India for deposition in the Ganges or placed them in an auspicious river or the ocean, along with garlands and flowers.
8. First Memorial
On the 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th day, relatives gather for a meal of the deceased’s favorite foods. A portion is offered before his photo and later ceremonially left at an abandoned place, along with some lit camphor. Customs for this period are varied. Some offer pinda (rice balls) daily for nine days. Others combine all these offerings with the following sapindikarana rituals for a few days or one day of ceremonies.
9. 31st-Day Memorial
On the 31st day, a memorial service is held. In some traditions it is a repetition of the funeral rites. At home, all thoroughly clean the house. A priest purifies the home, and performs the sapindikarana, making one large pinda (representing the deceased) and three small, representing the father, grandfather and greatgrandfather. The large ball is cut in three pieces and joined with the small pindas to ritually unite the soul with the ancestors in the next world. The pindas are fed to the crows, to a cow or thrown in a river for the fish. Some perform this rite on the 11th day after cremation. Others perform it twice: on the 31st day or (11th, 15th, etc.) and after one year. Once the first sapindikarana is completed, the ritual impurity ends. Monthly repetition is also common for one year.
10. One-Year Memorial
At the yearly anniversary of the death (according to the moon calendar), a priest conducts the shraddha rites in the home, offering pinda to the ancestors. This ceremony is done yearly as long as the sons of the deceased are alive (or for a specified period).
It is now common in India to observe shraddha for ancestors just prior to the yearly Navaratri festival. This time is also appropriate for cases where the day of death is unknown.
Hindu funeral rites can be simple or exceedingly complex. These ten steps, devotedly completed according to the customs, means, and ability of the family, will properly conclude one earthly sojourn of any Hindu soul.
Recommended Resources: Caring for Your own Dead, Lisa Carlson, Upper Access Publishers, PO Box 457, Hinesburg, Vermont 05461. Dialogue with Death, Eknath Easwaran, Nilgiri Press, Box 477, Petaluma, California 94953. Funeral and Other Sacraments After Death, Jnana Prabodhini, 510 Sadashiv Petha, Pune 411 030, India. Grihya Sutras, Sacred Books of the East Series, Motilal Banarsidass, Bungalow Road, Jawaharnagar, New Delhi 7, India. Hindu Samskaras, Dr. Raj Bali Pandy, Motilal Banarsidass. Life After Life, Raymond A. Moody, Bantam Books, 1540 Broadway, New York, New York 10036. Meditation and the Art of Dying, Pandit Usharbudh Arya, Himalayan Institute, Honesdale, Pennsylvania 18431. The Transition Called Death, Charles Hampton, Theosophical Publishing House, 306 West Geneva Rd, Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Dilemmas of Life and Death, S. Cromwell Crowley, SUNY Press, Albany, New York 12246.

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** HOW PRAYER WORKS

Spiritual Science Research Foundation 
A  PRAYER: Abstract

In this article we provide an overview on how prayer works. There are two types of prayers – for worldly benefit and for spiritual growth. Accordingly the prayers are answered by a different aspect of God. Spiritual research has shown that even negative energies can answer prayers, to our detriment! One’s spiritual level is the single most important factor in ensuring that one’s prayers are answered. Praying for world peace, while a noble thought, is most likely not to be answered due to lack of spiritual level of the people praying. Paradoxically the people who can really effect change through a single prayer are Saints but They see the futility of praying as they are totally in alignment with God’s will and don’t see it separate from Theirs. Lastly the posture of prayer also contributes in the prayer being answered.

Table of contents

1. Introduction to the mechanism of prayer

2. How are prayers answered? What is the mechanism?

2.1 Who answers our prayers?

2.2 How are prayers answered?

3. When do our prayers work?

4. What decides the effectiveness of one’s prayer?

4.1 The spiritual level of a person and prayer

5. What is the best posture for prayer?

5.1 Explanation Stage 1 of prayer posture (mudraa)

5.2 Explanation Stage 2 of prayer posture (mudraa)

5.2.1 Correct posture of the head while praying

5.3 When praying with spiritual emotion

5.4 Does it mean that every time we pray we should take this position?

5.5 Comparative effectiveness of prayer positions

6. Key summary points on the mechanism of prayer

1. Introduction to the mechanism of prayer

When faced with difficult or insurmountable situations in day-to-day life like loss of a valuable, incurable illness, major financial problem, etc. people pray to God or to an aspect of Him, also known as a deity. These are prayers with material or worldly expectations.

Seekers of God whose main focus in life is spiritual growth also pray regularly to God, not only in difficult situations but even in day-to-day situations. The prayers however are not about worldly expectations but about their spiritual growth and are said as a part of their spiritual practice.

This article explains the mechanism of how both varieties of prayers are answered.

To understand this article better please read:

It is important to note that when there is any problem or difficulty in life, the root cause can be physical, mental or spiritual in nature. Research carried out by SSRF shows that up to 80% of problems in life have their root cause in the spiritual realm. Destiny and departed ancestors are two very important factors among the spiritual causes of problems in life.

2. How are prayers answered? What is the mechanism?

2.1 Who answers our prayers?

  • The following diagram shows who answers our prayers depending on the type of prayer. Generally the prayer differs as per the spiritual level of the person. For example a person who is at a 30% spiritual level will more often than not pray for worldly things. A person at the 50% spiritual level will more often than not pray for his spiritual progress. Accordingly the prayers are answered by various subtle energies in the Universe. What is interesting is that even negative energies answer prayers either where harm is requested and or to entrap a person under their influence by initially granting their wishes. For example, as shown in the diagram below, a person who prays for the death of another person will be helped by a negative subtle entity from the 4th Region of Hell. Prayers for worldly benefit are generally responded to by lower deities or lower positive energies. Prayers for spiritual growth are responded to by higher level deities and higher positive energies. .

How answers what type of prayers?

  • When we make a prayer with expectation such as asking for a job or overcoming an illness, to God or a specific deity, our prayers as stated earlier are answered by lower level deities or lower positive energies. Let’s take the example of a person who has prayed intensely for a job. If it is in the person’s destiny to be without a job for 5 years, then the lower positive energy or the lower level deity can answer the prayer by pushing out this five year jobless period to somewhere later in the person’s life. Thus the person still has to go through a phase of being jobless. (This is because regardless of anything one has to undergo one’s destiny; it can only be overcome by one’s spiritual practice.)
  • Sometimes higher level deities also help the worldly situation of a seeker if it is causing an obstacle in his spiritual growth.

2.2 How are prayers answered?

  • When a person prays, he remembers God intensely and has an intimate dialogue with Him about issues very close to his heart. By the law of reflex action, God also feels closer to him.
  • Prayers have the ability to activate the deity principles (aspects of God) in the Universe. The subtlest frequencies are generated when one pays gratitude along with the prayer. These frequencies have the ability to not only activate but also touch the deity; hence the deity principle is activated faster. This activation of deity principle (aspect of God) results in fulfilment of prayers. The deities bring about the fulfilment of prayers by the power of resolve. Refer to the article on who is a deity?

    Example of prayers followed by gratitude:

    • Lord please let me get this job, I really need it. Lord, my gratitude for giving me the thought to pray.
    • Lord may I do all activities in this entire day as my spiritual practice. Lord, I express gratitude at your Holy Feet for having given me the thought and for having got this prayer done through me.
  • Prayers attract subtle divine frequencies towards the person and as a result the raja-tama covering around the person is destroyed. Thus the environment surrounding the person becomes comparatively more saattvik. As the subtle basic sattva component in the surrounding environment is increased, the thoughts of the person are reduced and they also become saattvik. This is because the mind is influenced by the external environment.
  • SheathsPrayer increases the particles of the subtle basic sattva component in the vital body sheath. When we pay gratitude the particles of the subtle basic sattva component in the mental body sheath increase. Thus prayer complemented with gratitude results in spiritual purification of the vital body and mental body sheaths.For further information about the vital and mental body, refer to – “What are we comprised of?”Because of spiritual purification of the vital body sheath and mental body sheath, the impressions in both the sheaths begin to be destroyed. As the impressions are reduced thoughts about oneself are minimised and attraction towards worldly things (Maayaa) decreases and this leads to increase in desire for God and a yearning to merge with Him. Also as both sheaths are purified negative energies cannot enter the body.Refer to the article on – How chanting helps to purify the impressions in our mind.
  • When we pray we accept our inability to solve a problem ourselves and hence in seeing ourselves as lesser, our ego is reduced. With a reduction in ego there is a temporary rise in spiritual level. This causes a temporary increase in subtle basic sattva component. Further when we pay gratitude it generates humility in us which has an even greater positive effect on our spiritual level. Hence our communion with God increases. This rise in the subtle basic sattva component itself increases our capacity to overcome or bear the problem.

3. When do our prayers work?

In our life, 65% of events happen as per destiny. Destined events are those events that we have no control over. Please refer to the article on destiny and wilful action.

Destined events good and bad are bound to happen in our lives. Bad destined events may be an illness or a bad marriage. The average person mainly prays to God when bad events happen in his life. He prays to God to relieve him of the bad event. However we find that our prayers are not always answered. Refer to the article – Destiny as a spiritual root cause of difficulties in life

So what is the law? When does prayer override a bad destined event; so that with the prayer the event itself does not happen or at least we are insulated from it?

The rule of thumb is

  • If the prayer is stronger than the intensity of the destined event then the prayer will be answered
  • If the intensity of the destiny is stronger than the prayer, then the prayer will be answered partially or not at all.

4. What decides the effectiveness of one’s prayer?

The following factors add to the effectiveness of the prayer

  • Spiritual level of the person praying – the higher the spiritual level the more effective is one’s prayer
  • Quality of prayer – whether the prayer is mechanical or heartfelt or with spiritual emotion (bhaava) of the seeker
  • For what is he praying (i.e. whether for himself or others) – When we pray for others the spiritual strength required is much more. The more the number of people in society intended to be affected by the event, the greater is the spiritual strength required to effect the desired result. Only Saints of a higher order can effect change in society.
  • Ego – Lower ego contributes to the effectiveness of prayer
  • What prayer posture (mudraa) is a person using? This becomes a major factor for the majority of people as the above factors are lesser in most people.

4.1 The spiritual level of a person and prayer

The spiritual level of a person praying is one of the main criteria in deciding the effectiveness of the prayer.

  • For seekers above the 60% spiritual level, prayer is not required. They act from the spiritual emotion/feeling that ‘Let everything happen as per God’s will.’ They actually experience that everything in their live is happening and is provided for by God’s grace. Their mind is constantly in a state of gratitude to God. Once this state is achieved prayer is not needed.
  • Prayers of people who are below the 30% spiritual level lack potency and at best they provide them with only psychological benefit. This is because the covering of ego is too great for their prayers to reach the deity principle.
  • Thus we can see that prayer works most effectively for people between the spiritual level of 30-60%.

Refer to article on ‘Breakdown of world’s population by spiritual level’.

From time to time we hear a call by some people to gather and pray for world peace or for a noble cause such as reduction in global warming. From the perspective of actual results, this is at best a psychological effort. This is so because major world events have a strong spiritual basis and can only be overcome by spiritual efforts of highly evolved beings such as Saints of a higher order. Even if millions of people (of average spiritual level) get together and make the same prayer for a major world happening, it is akin to many ants trying to lift a boulder.

Note: Some people may think that if Saints can effect global change, then why don’t they orchestrate world peace or a reduction in global warming? The paradox is that while Saints have the spiritual strength to influence world events, they have the spiritual emotion that God only knows best. Also as they are in the ‘observer state’ (saakshibhaav), they by their very nature do not interfere in God’s plan and are in complete accordance with His plan. They have the complete awareness that as per God’s plan everything happens according to individual and collective destiny. (Destined events are those events in our life which happen due to our past actions, either in this very birth or in our previous births.)

5. What is the best posture for prayer?

Through spiritual research, SSRF has identified and recommends the following mudraa or posture that is most conducive to gain the maximum divine energy through prayer.

The following subtle diagrams show the two stages in this mudraa (posture) and what actually happens at a spiritual level when one prays

5.1 Explanation Stage 1 of prayer posture (mudraa)

Stage 1 of prayer posture

The first stage in this mudraa is raising one’s hands in prayer with the thumbs gently touching the mid-brow region or the Aadnyaa chakra (the spiritual energy centre at the mid-brow region). It is best to begin praying after we are in this position.

When we bow our head in this prayer position, it awakens the spiritual emotion of surrender in us. This in turn activates the appropriate subtle frequencies of deities from the Universe. These divine frequencies come in through our finger tips which act as receptors. These divine frequencies are then channelised into our body through the thumb to the Aadnyaa chakra (the spiritual energy centre at the mid-brow region). The result is an increase in the positive spiritual energy in us which makes us feel lighter or gives relief from symptoms of physical or mental distress.

5.2 Explanation Stage 2 of prayer posture (mudraa)

Stage 2 of prayer posture

After one finishes his prayer, he should assume the second mudraa (posture) as shown in the diagram above. This means that instead of bringing his hands in prayer down immediately, they are to be placed in the mid-chest region in such a way that the wrists touch the chest. This facilitates the process of more completely imbibing the Divine Consciousness of the deity principle. So initially the Divine Consciousness of the deity principle that had entered the finger tips now also gets transmitted to the region of chest, the seat of the Anaahat chakra. Just like the Aadnyaa chakra, the Anaahat chakra also absorbs sattva frequencies. By touching the wrists to the chest, the Anaahat chakra is activated and it helps in absorbing more sattva frequencies. When activated, the Anaahat chakra awakens a seeker’s spiritual emotion and devotion.

In this stage of the prayer mudraa, one should be introspective and contemplate upon the experience of being in God’s presence.

5.2.1 Correct posture of the head while praying

Correct posture when praying

Final prayer position

Points to note:

  • Body should be bowed and not erect
  • Fingers should be parallel to the forehead. Fingers should not be stiff but relaxed.
  • Fingers should be touching each other – not spread apart
  • Thumb should be lightly touching the area of the Aadnyaa chakra
  • Hands need to be gently pressed together – slight space between the palms. In case of seekers above 50% spiritual level, no space is required between the palms.

5.3 When praying with spiritual emotion

The following subtle diagram shows what happens when a person at 50% spiritual level prays with spiritual emotion. The main thing to note is that the people in the vicinity also derive the benefit of the Divine Consciousness accessed by that person. (Refer to the part of the diagram which shows 5% of frequencies of Divine Consciousness (Chaitanya) transmitted outside the body.) This is why quite often it has been observed that when people pray with spiritual emotion, the spiritual emotion in others in the vicinity too gets activated.

Prayer with spiritual emotion

5.4 Does it mean that every time we pray we should take this position?

If one is at a higher spiritual level (above 50%) divine subtle (intangible) frequencies begin to be received directly through the Brahmarandhra itself. The Brahmarandhra is a subtle opening above the Sahasraar Chakra (as per the spiritual science of Kundalini yoga) that has access to the Universal Mind and Intellect. This subtle opening is closed in people of a lower spiritual level. The primary factor that helps the opening of the Brahmarandhra is a lower level of ego. When in this phase of our spiritual growth the need for the prayer mudraa as explained above becomes less and less.

However if a person between the spiritual level of 50% – 80% complements his prayer with the recommended mudraa, then he gets the benefit of additional Divine Consciousness. This additional benefit is 30% more in the case of a person at the 50% spiritual level and it proportionately become less and less as the spiritual level increases.

Since most people are not of a high spiritual level they are unable to receive divine frequencies through the Brahmarandhra. Most people (level 30-60%) are however able to receive subtle frequencies through their finger tips (though to a much lesser extent) as our finger tips are very sensitive to receiving or sending out subtle energy. For this section of people it is best that they do utilise the prayer mudraa suggested above to make a prayer. All other factors remaining equal, by praying using the recommended mudraa a person will add 20% to the effectiveness of their prayer as opposed to not using this mudraa.

5.5 Comparative effectiveness of prayer positions

We are exposed to various hand actions when praying. When conducting spiritual research into the various hand postures (mudraas) related to prayer, the following were our findings in terms of efficacy.

Efficacy of varioius prayer positions

Footnotes:

  1. 100% is getting full spiritual benefit which results in God realisation
  2. Level of the manifest deity principle, i.e. higher, medium or lower level deity
  3. Percentage of deity principle accessed
  4. This shows the possibility of negative energy interfering with the prayer to reduce a seeker’s faith. The negative energies interfere with the prayer so that the prayer is not answered thereby undermining the person’s faith.

Do try a subtle experiment by yourself wherein you say the same prayer using each of the above mudraas separately.

In some cases people hold hands and pray. This is also a spiritually incorrect practice as if the person beside one is affected by negative energy it is more likely that the black energy be transferred to you.

Refer to the article on ‘How much of the world’s population is affected by negative energies?’

6. Key summary points on the mechanism of prayer

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