Prayers and Rituals

Every religion has rituals associated with it, esp, Hinduism. They have been followed and performed by religious people for hunderds of years. They are considered as ways to show God our love and prayers. Many of the rituals have been continuously modified among generations. I was brought up in a very religious family. But now being a science person too, I have observed that these rituals are more of some RULES than being simple prayers. I mean people get tensed and scared if they don’t follow them, thinking that God will get angry and will not listen to their prayers and will punish them. I am not strictly against rituals, I respect them, but honestly, I don’t follow them on daily basis (I have my own rituals ;) ). What people have forgotten is that our “deeds” are our prayers to God and not those rituals. People visit temples, mosques, gurudwaras,… do bhajan-kirtans, etc, but are not even conscious of how they behave with other people. Prayers should be spontaneuos.

Here is one article which so beautifully describes what I need and want to say:

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A Spontaneous Love
(Talk: Osho)

Iam against rituals, but that does not mean that a religious person cannot go into a ritual. But when a religious person goes into a ritual, it is not a ritual at all. His heart is in it; then his words have wings. I am against the ritual when there is no heart in it.

Here’s a story about Moses. He was passing through a forest. He saw a man praying. But the man who was praying was saying such absurd things that he could not go further. He had to stop the man. What he was saying was profane, sacrilegious. He was saying: “God, you must be feeling sometimes very alone – i can come and be always with you like a shadow. I will give you a good bath. I am a shepherd. And i will take all the lice from your hair and your body…”     Lice? Moses could not believe his ears: “What is he talking about?”     Moses stopped him and said, “Listen! What kind of prayer is this? What are you doing? To whom are you talking? Lice in God’s hair? He needs a bath? And you are saying ‘I will rub your body and make it absolutely clean’? Stop this nonsense. This is not prayer. God will be offended by you.”     Looking at Moses, the man fell at his feet. He said, “I am sorry. I am an illiterate, ignorant man. I don’t know how to pray. Please, you teach me!”     So Moses taught him the right way to pray, and he was very happy because he had put a man on the right track. Happy, puffed up in his ego, Moses went away.     And when he was alone in the forest, a thundering voice came from the sky and said, “Moses, I have sent you into the world to bring people to me, to bridge people with me, but not to take my lovers away from me. And that’s exactly what you have done. That man is one of the most intimate to me. Go back! Apologise. Take your prayer back! You have destroyed the whole beauty of his dialogue. His love is true. Whatsoever he was saying, he was saying from his heart. It was not a ritual. Now what you have given to him is just a ritual. He will repeat it but it will be only on the lips; it will not be out of his being.”

Don’t learn empty gestures. Let your gestures be alive, spontaneous. Otherwise, deep down you know that this is a ritual, deep down you know that this is just a formality you are performing. And if that is your feeling inside, what is the point of going into it?

I am against rituals because they have killed the spirit of religion in the world. But I am not saying don’t pray, but let the prayer arise. Let it be of your own. Don’t repeat it parrot-like. I am not against rules, but the rules should arise out of your understanding. They should not be imposed from the outside. I am not against discipline, but discipline should not be slavery. All true discipline is selfdiscipline. Only disciplined people become free, but their discipline is obedience to their own inner voice. Let your own awareness decide your lifestyle, life-pattern. Don’t allow anybody else to decide it. If you do, your life will remain superficial, it will be hypocrisy.
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Rituals are man-made, while God is in FAITH, LOVE, GOODNESS, and HOPE.

Keep loving! :)

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15 thoughts on “Prayers and Rituals

  1. Nandini…. very well-written… really true facts…
    oh, and btw, i soo looooove the new look of ur blog… itz awesome..!! love the rainbow coloured thingie.. :)…

    tc… keep writing…

    God bless ya..!

  2. Religions are in bad shape only due to these rituals.

    Ppl with scientific bent of mind see no reason to believe in these rituals. Those on the spiritual path don’t want to perform rituals for they perceive ritual as a step farther from the real feelings or prayers.

    Hinduism in particular has tons of these rituals and many of them got modified over time. These rituals are known as ‘karma-kaand’ and they were mostly handled by Bhramin class. A number of people do perform these rituals and some of them do it really well. Even highest meditations are carried out with some rituals. They are not necessary but they are one of the ways.

    Just like ‘karma-kaand’ or rituals, Hinduaism also has the concept of ‘upaasana’ which is purely a spiritual approach. Even books and scriptures that describe these rituals mention a spiritual approach as well.

    With time the class of knowledgeable ppl was lost and so was the true meaning of rituals. Rituals were like formal activities with no juice and people performing were called bramhins by birth.. and nothign of this makes sense ;)

    Rituals are mechanical way of achieving the desired ends and spiritual practices are electrical way of achieving the desired ends :) (rest everything, i believe, is in our heads)

  3. Yes, highest form of meditation do involve rituals, but they are really of a high-level. One needs to grow gradually. Meditation in a simple form is a necessary step if one aspires to reach to the higher goals. Basic form of meditation is being conscious of your daily behavior and activities, being grateful for what you have got, and doing good and learning at every step of our life. :) Well I’m still learning and struggling with the basic meditation, hopefully, to become a better person by each passing day.
    :)

    Keep loving!

  4. the religious ways of life has been followed by people for centuries. these rituals have a scientific meaning to it. to attain god is to attain a great way of living. no rituals are performed for fulfillment of life. people have forgotten the very reason for ritualistic existence.

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