The power of the prayer to Krishna is known to all the devotees both new or old. The power lies in the process of praying itself. And when that prayer to Krishna comes from the heart of His pure devotees then it has added potency.
We have access to many wonderful prayers to Krishna. There are excellent prayers spoken by great devotees in Srimad Bhagavatam like Gajendra, lord Siva, lord Brahma, Prahlada Maharaj, Dhruva Maharaj, and many others. There are prayers to Krishna in the form of bhajans by our Acharyas. We also have prayers coming from the heart of senior Vaisnavas. They are all potent. If we recite them daily with a sincere and open heart then not only these prayers help us in setting the right mood to approach the lotus feet of Krishna but they also have the potency to gradually change our consciousness. Senior Vaisnavas advise us that prayer to Krishna should be part of our daily sadhana.
In the next four blogs, I will share four special prayers to Krishna written by HG Srimati Mataji for aspiring and struggling devotees like us. They are unique in their approach and can help us raise our consciousness so we can get access to the lotus feet of Krishna- in a very natural and personal manner. When I read them for the first time they immediately struck a chord. I am sharing them with you hoping that they will touch your heart as they touched mine.
‘Good morning Thakuraji‘ is the first in that series of prayer to Krishna. We can daily read it to our Thakuraji when we receive His first darshan in the morning.
I will be happy to hear about your experience of reading them aloud to Krishna.
As aspiring devotes we should know that it is spiritual ‘best practice’ to make prayers an important part of our daily sadhna.
Of course, we are aware (but are we conscious of it?) that prayer, vandanam, is part of nine limbs of bhakti and even following a single limb perfectly can help us reach our final goal. We should also know that each pranam manatra which we speak is a prayer to Krishna, Deity, Acharaya & Guru. Being aware of the importance of power of prayers, Srila Prabhupada very much ingrained them into daily program of our society. In fact reading and meditating on our daily temple prayer’s translation alone is a most purifying and uplifting experience.
Yet many a times we fall into laziness, lack of faith, ignorance- I am too junior for Krishna to hear me, I am not surrendered enough,….. a long list of excuses. But actually it is to overcome these very impediments we need to pray more. Personal prayers also help us establish a very solid relation with Krishna, our favorite Deity , Srila Prabhupada, Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita…. What matters most , at our baby stage, is our sincerity and an open heart.
Yet many, if not most, of the times, as conditioned Kali-yugians, whenever we are faced with some challenge, we invariably fall for the below two standard options
I will sort it out.
I will figure it out.
In reality we can neither sort it out (karma) nor figure it out (jnana). And even when we come into devotional life, due to past conditioning, our standard reaction is for most of the situations is still to opt for these two solutions. We swing like a pendulum between these two options. Unfortunately they have a very limited, if at all any, role to play in our daily struggle whether, so called, material or spiritual. The real solution lies in taking shelter of lotus feet of Krishna and our prayers form a very important part of this very process of taking shelter.
Lamentation is useless!
Both the mother and the son were lamenting Dhruva Mahäräja’s having been insulted by his stepmother and his father’s not having taken any step on this issue. But mere lamentation is useless—one should find out the means to mitigate one’s lamentation. Thus both mother and son decided to take shelter of the lotus feet of the Lord because that is the only solution to all material problems.
We are in a helpless condition..accept it..pray for help…and get released!
This is struggle for existence… Everyone is struggling. But what you will struggle in the ocean? You may be a very big swimmer, but how long you shall swim? You will be tired. The only means is to take you out of the ocean. Even one inch above the ocean is your safety. It doesn’t matter how many inches you are taken from the ocean. Similarly, the prayer is, “My dear Lord Kåñëa, I am your eternal servant. Somehow or other, I am now fallen in this ocean. Please pick me up and fix me again as the dust of Your lotus feet.” This is the prayer. So we should know in what dangerous position we are. Then there is necessity of prayer. And prayer to whom? To the Supreme Person to save us. Therefore there are so many prayers in the çästra. Prayers means addressing the Lord to save us from this. The real saving is to pick us up from this ocean of nescience, ignorance. Then everything is all right.
(Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Durban, 7th Oct, 1975)
Krishna is known as Uttamshloka!
Another name of the Supreme Personality of Godhead is Uttamaçloka, which means that He is offered prayers with selected verses. Bhakti means çravaëaà kértanaà viñëoù [SB 7.5.23], chanting and hearing about Lord Viñëu. Impersonalists cannot be purified, for they do not offer personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Even though they sometimes offer prayers, the prayers are not directed toward the Supreme Person. Impersonalists sometimes show their incomplete knowledge by addressing the Lord as being nameless. They always offer prayers indirectly, saying, “You are this, You are that,” but they do not know to whom they are praying. A devotee, however, always offers personal prayers. A devotee says, govindam ädi-puruñaà tam ahaà bhajämi : “I offer my respectful obeisances unto Govinda, unto Kåñëa.” That is the way to offer prayers. If one continues to offer such personal prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is eligible to become a pure devotee and return home, back to Godhead.
Krishna accepts our prayers
No amount of chosen words are sufficient to enumerate the Lord’s glory, yet He is satisfied by such prayers, just as a father is satisfied even by the broken linguistic attempts of a growing child.
(TQK, chapter 26)
Difficult made easy for kali-yugians!
Lord Siva says:
Although rendering devotional service to the Supreme Personality of Godhead and worshiping Him are very difficult, if one vibrates or simply reads this stotra [prayer] composed and sung by me, he will very easily be able to invoke the mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
To become a devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, Vāsudeva, is very, very difficult. The word especially used in this connection is durārādhyam. The worship of the demigods is not very difficult, but becoming a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva, Kṛṣṇa, is not so easy. However, if one adheres to the principles and follows in the footsteps of the higher authorities, as advised by Lord Śiva, one can easily become a devotee of Lord Vāsudeva.
Sing prayers written by previous acharayas and Mahajans
Just like we offer prayers from Brahma-saàhitä. We cannot offer prayer from any other persons, written by any other nonsense. No, that is not possible. Viriïca-gétäù. There is power. If you recite the prayers composed by mahäjana, it has got spiritual power.
( Srila Prabhupada Lecture, Mayapur, 25th Feb 1976)
What should be my mood while praying?
Prahläda said, “I am not proud of being able to offer prayers to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. I simply take shelter of the mercy of the Lord, for without devotion one cannot appease Him. One cannot please the Supreme Personality of Godhead simply by dint of high parentage or great opulence, learning, austerity, penance or mystic power. Indeed, these are never pleasing to the Supreme Lord, for nothing can please Him but pure devotional service. Even if a nondevotee is a brähmaëa qualified with the twelve brahminical symptoms, he cannot be very dear to the Lord, whereas if a person born in a family of dog-eaters is a devotee, the Lord can accept his prayers. The Lord does not need anyone’s prayers, but if a devotee offers his prayers to the Lord, the devotee benefits greatly. Ignorant persons born in low families, therefore, can sincerely offer heartfelt prayers to the Lord, and the Lord will accept them. As soon as one offers his prayers to the Lord, he is immediately situated on the Brahman platform.
(SB 7.9 summary)
Then the final result..
According to great learned scholars, the whole Bhagavad-gétä contains many authorized prayers, especially in the Eleventh Chapter, where Arjuna prays to the universal form of the Lord. Similarly, in the Gautaméya-tantra all the verses are called prayers. Again, in Çrémad-Bhägavatam there are hundreds of prayers to the Lord. So a devotee should select some of these prayers for his recitation. In Skanda Puräëa the glories of these prayers are stated as follows: ‘Devotees whose tongues are decorated always with prayers to Lord Kåñëa are always given respect even by the great saintly persons and sages, and such devotees are actually worshipable by the demigods.’….
In the Nåsiàha Puräëa it is stated, ‘Any person who comes before the Deity of Lord Kåñëa and begins to chant different prayers is immediately relieved from all the reactions of sinful activities and becomes eligible, without any doubt, to enter into the Vaikuëöhaloka.‘
(NoD, chapter 9)
Prayers of Vritasura
O my Lord, O Supreme Personality of Godhead, will I again be able to be a servant of Your eternal servants who find shelter only at Your lotus feet? O Lord of my life, may I again become their servant so that my mind may always think of Your transcendental attributes, my words always glorify those attributes, and my body always engage in the loving service of Your Lordship?
O my Lord, source of all opportunities, I do not desire to enjoy in Dhruvaloka, the heavenly planets or the planet where Lord Brahmā resides, nor do I want to be the supreme ruler of all the earthly planets or the lower planetary systems. I do not desire to be master of the powers of mystic yoga, nor do I want liberation if I have to give up Your lotus feet.
O lotus-eyed Lord, as baby birds that have not yet developed their wings always look for their mother to return and feed them, as small calves tied with ropes await anxiously the time of milking, when they will be allowed to drink the milk of their mothers, or as a morose wife whose husband is away from home always longs for him to return and satisfy her in all respects, I always yearn for the opportunity to render direct service unto You.
O my Lord, my master, I am wandering throughout this material world as a result of my fruitive activities. Therefore I simply seek friendship in the association of Your pious and enlightened devotees. My attachment to my body, wife, children and home is continuing by the spell of Your external energy, but I wish to be attached to them no longer. Let my mind, my consciousness and everything I have be attached only to You.
It is simply amazing what incredible result our simple prayers can produce. We need nothing but a sincere cry from our heart. Let me share a recent experience.
I was fortunate to get the association of a very senior devotee sometime back. After meeting this devotee a couple of times my heart longed to get some opportunity to serve this amazing devotee. There didn’t seem to be any chance for me as the needs of this particular devotee are very few and on top of that this devotee is being served very well by a set of senior devotees. Still, I would pray regularly for some chance of service.
Few days back, after some gap, I again got an opportunity to meet this devotee. Before leaving home I prayed with all my heart in front of my altar, begging Lord to grant me some opportunity to serve this amazing devotee. I have Jagannath and Gopal deities at home and I literally rubbed my nose on the ground praying to Them. The chances, as I mentioned, were bleak if not nil, still the desire in my heart to serve this devotee remained very strong, in fact it only grew stronger with the passage of time.
So I met this devotee and after our meeting was over, this devotee asked a senior devotee and myself to stay back for 5 minutes. As everyone left and the words came out of the mouth this devotee my jaw dropped! I was getting a service!! And that too a service which I could not even dream about! This devotee was observing my face and asked me why I suddenly have this strange look on my face. I shared how I have been praying to get some service and today I prayed with a little more heart and here I am receiving one! It was nothing short of a miracle for me. I was over the moon, I thought I had suddenly developed two wings!
The point I wish to emphasize here is that our prayers to Lord have huge potency. The power is not in us but it is in the prayer itself. So many times we hear devotees say ‘Prabhuji please pray for me’, the point is how much we are praying for our own self? We should not think that other devotee’s prayers have more power ( they have their own place) so let me request others where as Krishna will not hear my own prayers. This is not the case.
It doesn’t matter whether we are a neophyte or a senior devotee, initiated or not initiated, what matters is the sincerity of our prayer. Looking at my own self I would even dare add that even a contaminated heart is no disqualification, rather by the mercy of Gaura Nitai, this very disqualification has become our qualification to seek mercy from the Supreme Lord.
I will share another experience. During the recent Kartik, at one of the home programs I would stress the need to pray almost in every single class. Then after Kartik I requested all the devotees to share their experience of Kartik. One devotee, who attends all the classes diligently, shared how his chanting actually went down during this period, I was very surprised. Then I asked the Prabhuji did he pray before or even during the Kartik to help him chant better or help him overcome whatever challenge he was facing due to which he could not get time to chant, the reply … No.
This is our condition, rather this is my own condition, and not some just some ordinary condition but an unfortunate condition.
durdaivam idrisham ihajani nanuragaha
Lord, and His devotees, have given us so many ways to approach and seek help yet I am so unfortunate that I do not have time to pray and seek their intervention. Actually my condition is very fortunate because having come into Krishna consciousness there are so many means and methods but I am myself making my condition unfortunate by ignoring most of them.
As I looked back I could suddenly see so many means by which Krishna, and His devotees, are willing to help me but I am so unfortunate that I am completely blind to them. In my case, many a times, I am even uttering these prayers or verses but with no understanding or heart in it, this is my ‘durdaivam’.
I am copying some examples, which come to my mind right now, and the benedictions associated with them in Q&A format, along with the reference, from which everyone take benefit.
1. Do I have a desire to attain eternal residence in Vrindavan?
Daily recite Sri Vrinda-devi Ashtakam to Tulasi Maharani
Whoever hears or recites these eight prayers in glorification of Sri Vrinda Devi, becoming just like a bumble bee that is always anxious to taste the sweet nectarine lotus feet of the Divine Couple (the Lords of Vrindavan) – such a person verily attains eternal residence in Vrindavan. Having finally achieved the supreme goal of life, one thus remains situated in the ecstatic loving service of the Divine Couple Sri Sri Radha- Madhava. — Vrindashtakam verse 9
2. Do I have a desire to realise what is Love of God?
Read chapter 23 of CC Madhya lila regularly.
Whoever hears these instructions given to Sanātana Gosvāmī by the Lord comes very soon to realize love of God, Kṛṣṇa. — verse 126 CC Madhya 23
3. Am I facing obstacles on the path of bhakti?
Take shelter of the six goswamis (and by sincerely reading Sri Shad Gosvamy Ashtaka daily).
ei chay gosai kori carana vandan
jaha hoite bighna-nas abhista-puran
(I offer my obeisances to the feet of these six Gosvamis. By offering them obeisances all obstacles to devotion are destroyed and spiritual desires are fulfilled)
4. Do I have a sincere desire to understand the confidential truth of Sri Caitnaya Mahaprabhu?
Read chapter 8 of CC madhya lila regularly.
The author requests every reader to hear these talks with faith and without argument. By studying them in this way, one will be able to understand the confidential truth of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu.
— verse 308 CC Madhya lila chapter 8
5. Do I even have a remote desire to one day serve Sri Radha Krishna directly?
Here is one clue:
These eleven excellent instructions to the mind grant all spiritual benedictions. A person who stays with the devotees, follows Shrila Rupa Gosvami, and with a sweet voice loudly sings these eleven verses will attain the matchless jewel of direct service to Shri Shri Radha-Krishna in the forest of Gokula. — verse 12 Sri Manah Shiksha
I am sure that there are hundreds of others benedictions given by our acharayas which may be relevant to us at different stages of our spiritual journey. What is really needed for us is to sincerely seek them, understand their essence by carefully studying them (by always taking shelter of a senior devotee) and finally serve these prayers by reciting them sincerely from our heart.
As an aspiring devotee it will be very beneficial for us if we inculcate a prayerful mood. It will produce miraculous results.
I will grateful if devotees can share their own experience of results of their own prayers to Krishna or having taken shelter of a particular prayer. I will be very happy to share it on this blog or keep it private, whatever way you may desire. Please mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
I had the good fortune to visit Sri Vrindavan Dhama the last Saturday. It was an impromptu visit, more to attend enlightening classes of Srimati Mataji than my attraction for Dhama.
As I paid obeisances to deities at home, I prayed to Srila Prabhupada in particular to please bless me with constant association of devotees on this trip. Let me share some beautiful realisations I had.
I shared in my previous blogs that I am hearing Brahma Samhita seminar by HH Tamal Krishna Goswami Maharaj. I can say this about the potency of the scripture and the pure devotees that just by hearing it I had such nice understandings and realisations. Few days back I heard the below famous verse from Brahma Samhita in the same seminar.
cintāmaṇi-prakara-sadmasu kalpa-vṛkṣa-lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-sambhrama-sevyamānaṁ govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi (BS 5.29)
I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desire, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of purpose trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.
The purport says The purpose tree yields only the fruits of piety, wealth, fulfillment of desire and liberation; but the purpose trees in the abode of Kṛṣṇa bestow innumerable fruits in the shape of checkered divine love.
As HH Tamal Krishna Goswami maharaj expanded this verse one thing that somehow penetrated my steel framed heart was glorification of each tree in Dhama and how each tree is a wish fulfilling tree. I realised that I have never wished from any tree in Dhama. I resolved that next time whenever I will go to Dhama I will surely seek wish from a tree there.
I left for Vrindavan with Radheshyam Prabhuji and his family,a very senior and well respected devotee from Gurgaon. Actually another greed to go with Prabhuji is that in his presence my chanting is much much better. I practically chanted the whole way and we reached Vrindavan around 12.30pm. I rushed to grab darshan and then read the BG verse 6.35 and 6.36 which was the topic for our class. I sat at the reception of MVT and read those wonderful verses and their purport. The class was from 3-5 pm, the class was remarkable by the virtue of topic and the teacher. After the class I came back to the temple and attended the Kirtan and Gaur Arti. It was first time that I heard kirtan by HH B.A. Janaradhan Maharaj and maharaj sang beautifully. I met maharaj next day and share d how much I relished it.
I checked into a ashram near the temple, took early dinner prasadam, had a bath, read a little and was fast asleep by 10pm.
I woke up in time next day and managed to pull myself out of the bed and get ready in time to reach before the start of morning arti at Srila Prabhupada’s samadhi.
It is always a very purifying and humbling experience to sing Samsara davanala lidha loka… at Prabhupada samadhi early in the morning.
After the Arti it was time for Mangal Arti in the main Altar. Devotees were singing mahamantra and as clock came nearer to 4.30 am, the pitch of singing increased and almost at a crescendo darshan opened. What beautiful darshan!
I can say this full conviction that I have never ever seen anyone looking so handsome in a bright red dhoti and turban as both Krishna Balram did. Their skin was lustrous, smile was deep and beauty simply unparalleled. I am very sorry that I could not capture the picture well as I was standing quite back and later forgot as I was bust drinking Their sheer beauty. I also checked with temple and other devotees, somehow they didn’t click any pictures at mangal arti on this Sunday. I really wish I could somehow share Their beauty with you. (All other high resolution pictures are from temple’s website for that day)
After a soul satisfying, and all senses satisfying, mangal arti, I went to Srila Prabhupada quarters to do japa. This is my favourite place to do japa as being in the presence of Srila Prabhupada and so many senior vaishnavas some part rubs off on my chanting as well.
I started of well but after the 4th or 5th round of chanting I started getting tired and then more embarrassment followed as I started yawning…. regularly. I told myself because I had a hectic day yesterday and got up early today so it is better that I go back to my room and catch up with sleep, say for 30 minutes, then I will be fresh for the rest of the day. Still some part of me wanted to chant, knowing very well that my rounds will get delayed and their quality won’t be as good. My yawns increased further… I really felt sad. I felt guilty that Prabhupada is throwing me out of his room as I was yawning so regularly and he didn’t want others to get disturbed. I forced myself to sit but could not and feared that I may even fall asleep sitting like this. I got up with a heavy heart, paid my dandavat to Srila Prabhupada and said sorry for my behaviour. As I stepped out of Prabhupada’s quarter, I was hit by a chilled wind. It was if I was in hills. It had drizzled lightly, the sky was overcast and a lovely cool breeze was blowing. In less than a minute I was fresh as a daisy! I thanked Prabhupada, I was thinking Prabhupada was kicking me out whereas he was pushing me to go outside, get some fresh air and chant properly. I again thanked Prabhupada and chanted for next one hour in the corridor, pacing up and down. I was absolutely fresh when shringar darshan opened at 7.15am.
I was very fortunate to meet HH Janananda Maharaj while he was entering the main compound. Maharaj confirmed that he will be coming to Gurgaon this week, Hari Bol !
I attended the Guru Puja and then it was time for the Srimad Bhagavatam class. As I was about to sit I was very surprised to see Murari prabhu, along with his wife, from Jaipur. They had come a day before for Govardhan Parikarma, more association! I will write about the class in a separate blog as it was another revelation.
I was back in temple at 12.45 to say my good bye to most beautiful and reciprocative deities!
I bought some prasad for home and while exiting somehow remembered my resolve to seek some wish from a tree in Vrindavan. I was walking down the corridor, from Prabhupada Samdhi towards the guest house side exit gate, and I saw the familiar tree standing in front. I stopped and thought why not ask for a wish from a tree inside the temple compound, why go outside ? As I walked then another thought came to my mind. why don’t I go and seek the wish from the Tamal tree inside the temple compound as it is always taking darshan of the deities. I countered that this tree seems more merciful as he is serving devotees by standing outside. Mind made up, I walked towards this tree, paid my obeisances mentally (it was raining) and then I touched my forehead with it’s stem and begged for my wishes. While doing it I realised that Srimatai Mataji had instructed me just few minutes back that we should live in present and see what can I do now rather make plans for the future, following the same thought process I sought a personal favour, a near impossible wish, still I prayed for it as I had no other option in hand and it was something immediate help me in my spiritual life. I felt good just touching the tree.
It had started raining hard as I ran from temple to ashram, forgetting about my wishes almost instantly. I shared a cab with Amitabh Prabhuji on my return journey so I was fortunate to receive association of senior devotees throughout this trip.
Today morning as I was getting ready to leave for the office. I received a message, to my utter surprise what I had wished yesterday came true, delayed by a week but very much true! It is quite personal else I had would shared it. I simply could not believe my ears. I was so very happy and in my high spirits I even forgot to say thank you to deities but paid mental obeisances to my wish fulfilling tree while driving to work. I can say this much with confidence that as of early morning today the chances of my wish becoming true were as remote as a snowfall in Delhi and too in the month of June!!
As I look back and I can only appreciate the mercy of dhama. I also realise that I had been reading and hearing for last so many years that all trees in Dhama are wish fulfilling trees but not even a thought ever crossed my mind to seek something from them. Why ? What else then my lack of faith in scriptures and words of acharayas.
I realised during this trip that my spiritual bullock cart is aided by two wonderful, but unseen, wings. One of them is prayer and the second one is my faith in the words of acharayas and scriptures. On this trip I experienced the power of both.
I realised that whenever we try to build a relationship with Srila Prabhupada, based solely on our sincerity, then howsoever unqualified we may be, Prabhupada inspires us, guides us, in every possible way which is conducive for our devotional progress.
I love Srila Prabhupada.
All glories to Sri Vrindavan Dhama.
All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.
All glories to Srila Prabhupada.