“Although prayers are a part of Deity worship, they may be considered separately like the other items, such as hearing and chanting, and therefore separate statements are given herewith. The Lord has unlimited transcendental qualities and opulences, and one who feels influenced by the Lord's qualities in various activities offers prayers to the Lord. In this way he becomes successful.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 7.5.23-24 Purport)Download this episode (right click and save)
Let’s say that you really care about someone. The exact kind of relationship and person don’t really matter. It could be a father, mother, brother, sister, spouse, child, or even a friend. The idea is that you feel really strongly about them on the inside. You appreciate them so much. You’ve realized that they are better towards you than you could ever be towards them.
How do you let them know your appreciation? The simplest way is with words. Approach them, have them sit down, and then talk. This method may be a little awkward. It is not something typically done. It may embarrass the other person. What if you don’t know the right words to say? What if you get nervous? What if they laugh at you in response?
Another option is to write down your sentiments. This allows you to take your time, to prepare everything properly. You can edit the message so that it conveys the exact tone that you’re looking for. You can then deliver the message in a physical letter or through email. The other person can then read it whenever they are free.
What if you’re not skilled at composition? You don’t think that it’s possible for you to express everything in words. Are there other ways to communicate? Certainly there are. Sometimes it takes a simple gesture. A child really wants their father to attend a play they will be performing in at school. The father is very busy with work. He travels constantly, and he hasn’t shown up for many important events in the past.
As the play starts, the child is on the stage in the opening scene. Though focused on their lines and delivery, out of the corner of their eye they notice that someone has entered the auditorium. This person is a late arrival and they are looking for an open seat. Why, it’s the father. He made it after all. The father has not uttered a word and yet the child feels so much appreciation. They know that the father must have gone out of his way to attend. Basic attendance communicated the sentiment.
This analysis has relevance to spiritual life. The Supreme Lord has so many different features that He is impossible to fully comprehend. Some of those features are contradictory. For instance, He has no hands but He can hold the entire universe upon His shoulders effortlessly. He has no ears but He hears everything, including the tree falling in an empty forest. He has no eyes but He is the all-pervading witness. He has no legs but He is faster than the wind.
He accomplishes omnipresence through His expansion known as the Supersoul. An expansion in this case means that the resultant object is identical to God. Though it may not be visible in the same way that the Personality Himself is, the Supersoul lacks nothing in potency. This is mercy offered to the countless living entities, who all have the same Supersoul residing within them. Though He appears to be divided, the Supersoul is one. This is one way to understand unity in diversity.
bhāvam avyayam īkṣate
taj jñānaṁ viddhi sāttvikam
“That knowledge by which one undivided spiritual nature is seen in all existences, undivided in the divided, is knowledge in the mode of goodness.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.20)
Since the Supersoul rests within me, seated next to the individual soul in the heart, I don’t have far to travel to approach God. If I make advancement in the spiritual science, I come to appreciate everything that He does. Bhakti-yoga is connecting with the Divine in a mood of love and devotion. One aspect to love is sharing sentiments. How do I love God if I’m not sure how to properly address Him? What if I can’t write a wonderful prayer? What if I can’t properly convey my thoughts?
As mentioned above, a simple gesture can convey a powerful message to someone else. In the same way, through doing something as basic as reciting a mantra, the Supreme Lord can know just how you feel about Him. There are many mantras to chant, as God has so many names. These names reference His many attributes and activities.
One of the best mantras to chant, which is especially effective in this age full of distractions and stress-inducing responsibilities, is the maha-mantra. Simply chant, “Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare,” to let the all-attractive one know how you feel. Chant with full attention, faith, love and attachment. Show your emotion through numerical strength, by chanting this mantra over and over again, day after day. From the mantra even the illiterate person can communicate with Krishna, who hears everything and most certainly appreciates the sacrifices made to honor Him.
Even when unsure what to say,
Sentiment still making its way.
Even when to write not knowing,
Heartfelt communication still flowing.
By holy names’ mantra done,
Addressing Supersoul existing one.
Through prayer obeisances paid,
Krishna appreciating sacrifices made.