Prayer must accompany duty

In a memorable spiritual discourse delivered abroad in the residence of a devotee, Sadguru Murali Krishna said that the main purpose of chanting the various sahasranamams lies in ensuring successful completion of our duties.

These texts are compilations of one thousand and eight names of the Supreme Intelligence dedicated to various deities, the most famous of which include the Vishnu Sahasranamam dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Shiva Sahasranamam dedicated to Lord Shiva and the Lalitha Sahasranamam dedicated to the Divine Mother. “We must perform,” Swamiji affirmed, “our duties diligently, cheerfully and sincerely. What happened in the past was already planned; it is the same with what is happening in the present and it is equally true of what will occur in the future.”

“Water is called by different names in different countries and in multiple contexts. The same is true of prayers offered in different religions. Hindus do a namaskaram (join hands in prayer), Muslims do niskaram (offer prayers) and Christians do kumbhasaram (pray for Grace and seek forgiveness).  The objective in each case is one and the same: seek the Grace of God in the performance of our daily actions.”

God is happy when he sees his children united in prayer. When this happens, “his grace,” said Swamiji “falls on us unasked. We should control our anger. We read in the sacred puranas that when Lord Shiva was in his tandava bhava (angry mood), Paravathi Devi did not react to him in the same aggressive way. Instead, she performed tapas (penance) by being silent and prayed to Lord Shiva to calm down. We should also practice the same qualities in our own daily life. Be it a husband or wife, one has to bow down to the needs of the other to ensure that harmony prevails at all times.”

“We are born naked and we also die naked. A short span obtains in the interregnum (meaning our life) during which we must be consciously or unconsciously devoted to serving others. It is only on deeper introspection that we realize that we are actually serving our parents, children, friends, siblings or society."

Bhagawan Sathya Sai Baba offers us a similar explanation of the 1008 names of God. The ancient sages adored the eight petalled hridaya chakra located in the heart to experience supreme bliss contained in the sahasra chakra which has a thousand petals. Each petal carries sixteen phases (kalas). This is why this chakra is said to represent 16,000 cowherd maidens (gopikas), while the eight petals of the hridaya chakra are said to represent love (prema), truth (sathyam), forbearance (sahanam), sacrifice (tyaga), compassion (daya), beauty (sundaram), bliss (ananda) and peace (shanthi). The key to fostering these qualities is sacrifice. 

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