Whether it be spiritual or material, I think it is in our nature to ask the Supreme Lord for something whilst praying. For some it is the only reason for praying.
As depicted in the scriptures and mytho shows, people used to do severe tapas simply to get a vardaan.
The asuras did severe penance to get boons of immortality e.g Hiranyakashipu, Ravana etc. Some did austerity to get children (Devaki and Vasudev in their previous birth). There are aslo a few exceptions who did penance without any expectations i.e just to glorify the Lord like the Four Kumaras, where Shri Hari himself granted them boons of his own free will...
The question which then arises is what vardaan to ask for? Shri Hari offered Mata Devaki salvation ("moksha") which is the ultimate goal of life. But Mata refused saying she only wanted the 'atoot' mother-son relationship with him. She cared for nothing else other that having that nurturing bond with him.
Questions for discussion:
Do you agree that it is our nature to ask for favors from God? Is it the only reason we pray? I know in this age of Kaliyug it is impossible to do such severe penance but if somehow or the other we are so blessed to have darshan of God, what should we ask for? More personally what would you ask for?
@ Lola - wonderful explanation!
I loved the way you put it...yes I was watching epi 33 of Shri Krishna when this question arose in my mind. I was fascinated by the way Devaki Mata told the Supreme Lord to "remove his four-armed avatar and appear as a little child in front of her." She just truly wanted to love him and nurture and spoil him like any other mother!
We were talking about Sita Maa's prayers to Ganpati Bappa, Shiv Shankar, and Gauri Maa during her swayamvar, in which she says that "all my service to you was for this day, please make me Shri Ram's". Coming from Sita Mata, this seemingly greedy prayer was a matter of some doubts and confusion...
Awesome reference! On the surface her words do seem greedy but I think her emotions behind them are not. The words that stand out the most for me in this scene are"...Te Bhagwan Sakal Ur Vaasi, Karahu Mohe Raghuvar Ke Dasi.."
She asked not to be his queen or anything like that but only to be his dasi... his servant!
I agree that the feeling with which we do devotional service is what matters the most. If it is done with pure love then we attain heaven on earth, our lives become sanctified. But if we do devotional service with selfishness behind it, then we may achieve what we set out to, but would that make us content? It becomes a cycle of I want to get this so I do that, or I want to get that so I do this which goes on and on...and so the true meaning of being devoted gets lost!
Pure devotional service gives us peace of mind, strength to face all odds of life and faith that the Lord is always there.
I think a good example of this is the way Ravana, Kumbhkarna and Vibhishana did penance. Ravana wanted to become immortal and Kumbhkarna wanted to rule heaven whereas Vibhishana wanted only to follow the path of righteousness. They all did penance in the same way, at the same time...but only Vibhishana truly got what he wanted.
@ Aishu- yes yaar! If one gets sakshaat darshan of the Lord then what else would be left to ask for? As for myself, I think I'd be too overcome with emotion to utter a single word! Prabhu would just have to know what's in my heart and grant me that boon only!
Edited by Vedo - 2011-01-08T07:24:38Z
I was reading my Bhagavad Gita and I found the following verses pertaining nicely to the the discussion topic so thought I'd share 'em.
yo yo yam yam tanum bhaktah
tasya tasyacalam shraddham
tam eva vidadhamy aham
"I am in everyone's heart as the Supersoul. As soon as one desires to worship some demigod, I make his faith steady so that he can devote himself to that particular deity."
sa taya shraddhaya yuktas
labhate ca tatah kaman
mayaiva vihitan hi tan
"Endowed with such a faith, he endeavors to worship a particular demigod and obtains his desires. But in actuality these benefits are bestowed by Me alone."
antavat tu phalam tesam
tad bhavaty alpa-medhasam
devan deva-yajo yanti
mad-bhakta yanti mam api
"Men of small intelligence worship the demigods, and their fruits are limited and temporary. Those who worship the demigods go to the planets of the demigods, but My devotees ultimately reach My supreme planet."
Bhagavad Gita 7.21 to 7.23
Topic started by Vishakha_Sakhi
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