Role of Prayers and Rituals – Part 41

In previous discussion, we debated a malformed conclusion that Absolute reality, being the substance of all-that-is, is somehow an experience to be obtained in the future.

However our pupil's objections seem to have no end and turns to another topic…

Student continues, “If we are in essence, the Limitless One… then why do we have rituals and prayers? To whom do we pray if we are the One? Even your most ardent supporters compose words of praise, extolling the virtues of God. Does it not contradict your thesis that you are the Limitless All-Pervading Being?

There is no contradiction. Instead this matter calls for correction in understanding.

So long as we think that we are separate from the Limitless One, we yearn to return to its divine presence.

Yearning turns to pleas and prayers to rejoin and be one with the One.

Even after understanding the truth of ‘I' — in reverence, praise involuntarily escapes our lips in wonderment at the grand scheme of the universe.

Just as the ocean envelops the wave — the Limitless One embraces us, the self — in an eternal dance of harmony.

Moreover in every race and culture, rituals and prayers are guides. They are point of focus, a light to steer yearning minds… foster right values, attitudes, devotion and discipline.

Prayer and spirit of prayerfulness are born of free will in reference to one's understanding of Divinity.

We pray only because we wish to voluntarily from our heart. It's never a forced act. Prayer is an expression arising out of reverence for the Total.

Even sacred hymns and rituals… they join together in a chorus that uplifts the devotee.

Rituals and prayers are the song of our physical, mental and vocal prowess.  Just as a bird, amongst thousands of it's kind, is not shy to tweet.

Furthermore, prayers and forms of worship remind us at every stage the body-mind's mortality — its limitedness and inter-connectedness with the empirical world.

In our time-space enveloped world, laws of cause and effect, ends and means, quantum physics and mechanics… penetrate every aspect… from micro sub-atomic level to macrocosm of entire creation.

All actions, gross and subtle, affect this dynamic network, like the flapping of butterfly's wings can create a storm.

Every action produces an effect… equal to, more then or less then our desires. Results could also be just the reverse.

Prayers and rituals are no different. They are deliberate actions definitely yielding results as they ripple across the web of laws and orders of the universe.

The world being a revelation of the Limitless One and it's māyā power… makes us understand the magnitude of the knowledge of the essential oneness of our self and All-Pervading Consciousness.

This very knowledge being a humbling experience — we turn with awe and reverence — reaching out in supplication to the infinite grace of the All-Pervading One… invoking it with prayer and devotion.


Fellow pupil posits a clever counter, “By invoking the One in a form, are we not limiting the Limitless One?

We are not limiting the Limitless.

Our minds cannot comprehend the vastness of creation.

We need a form to focus, to guide us.

But it is not the form we worship. We are not idol devotees.

It is the Limitless we invoke as God or Goddess… in forms and symbols… with sacred chants and rituals.

Certainly individual to each culture.

Imbued with our faith and devotion, the form becomes a source of power form which we draw.

It forms a mutual two-way transaction, sustaining devotee and his-her devotion.

It we understand clearly that forms are symbols-only… and not the Absolute real — then they will help expand our minds.

But if we take the form as real… revering our choice and rejecting others… declaring one form's supremacy over the rest… resulting in fanaticism and narrow-mindedness — then we commit the gravest of errors — unknowingly limiting the Limitless. 


In next conversation, student sustains objection, stating that Advaita can only be ascertained by a highly clear, gifted, rational and sharp mind. Which few have. Thus it's of little use to most sincere seekers, because there's easier methods like prayer and devotion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *