Why do you not find value in prayer?
Why do you not find value in prayer? Do you find value in prayer? Would you kindly… would you. I don’t know why you accuse me of not having any value in prayer. Why do we pray? You know that there are a whole group of community, or monks who are perpetually praying. One group finishes praying, another group takes it up. And we also pray when we are in difficulties. When there is a great crisis in our life, we want to pray, or say, “Somebody help me please!” You know that joke of a man hanging onto a cliff? He says, “Please, God, save me” and God says, “Have faith and jump!” (laughter) And the man who is hanging on to the cliff, he says, “Isn’t there somebody above that still?” (laughter) Sorry.
Why do we pray at all? This has been going on, praying, in the Christian world, in the Islamic world, and in a different way the Buddhist and Hindu world, praying. To whom are you praying? To an outside agency? Outside agency being God, or the Lord? The Lord according to different countries and cultures and traditions. The Almighty of different concepts? To whom are we praying? And why do we pray? Does prayer answer our difficulties? In some cases when you are praying, not merely using certain words, chanting and so on, but praying silently without word, you understand what I am saying? – perhaps you might have an answer because your whole brain has become quiet. And in that quietness, in that stillness of the brain without the movement of thought, you find an answer. And then you say “But I must pray more and more.” Which is, you have achieved, you have gathered some experience and that experience has brought certain result and you like those results and so you keep this going! Then it becomes a habit and you have lost everything.
Why do we pray at all? We are not condemning or saying it’s all right, but we are questioning the whole thing, with certain skepticism, with certain quality of brain that says give me the reason, not just emotional reactions. And, one is in great difficulties. There is great crisis, pain, sorrow – insoluble. And at that moment we look to somebody to help. And the somebody is not my husband, wife, children, and my neighbor, or somebody across the street, because I know them too well, they are also in the same position as myself. And so I turn to some outside agency. Outside agency means not something that is organized by thought: God, Christ and in India it is another deity and so on. I pray on my knees because I can’t solve this problem at all. I cannot resolve my sorrow, my pain, my loneliness, and so I gradually begin to depend on something externally.
Either it is the doctor, psychiatrist or God. They are all the same, the moment I want to be helped. One may call saintly prayer, the other, he says, ‘Well, that’s mundane’ – you pay ten pounds and you get, you know what happens. I don’t have to go into all that. So they are both the same, all the same. So why do I do this? Because I want to be helped. I am not able to solve the problem. Or I think I am not able to solve the problem. It is very painful, devastating, it disturbs my whole life and I want someone to calm my being, to help me to overcome this. And this has been done for forty, fifty and more thousands years. It was the thunder, lightning before, then it was the worship of trees, then it’s now the worship of symbols and images. Not much difference.
So, I have to ask: Why do I want help? Is it not possible – it may sound rather cruel, but it is not, the person who is always asking for help becomes weaker and weaker and weaker, duller. Then he becomes – he then becomes utterly dependent on something. Either on drugs, or on people, or on ideals, ultimately his concept of God. Whether it is a drug or God it is still along the same lines because you want to be helped.
Now we are asking ourselves: Is it possible for me to solve my own problems, without a single aid from another? Which requires a great deal of stamina, energy, to go and say, “Now this problem of envy, what is envy, it is always comparison, and a little more than comparison.” The craving, the want. And can that end without time? Then I don’t have to pray. Then the person who is like that is, is totally free from all contamination of thought. So it requires the understanding of fear to be able to stand completely on your feet. And that is now being, slowly being denied. Drugs, cocaine, heroin and all that is spreading in the world. We are bored with life and we want substitutions for life. And so, prayer is your own desire to achieve something which will be most gratifying. An easy way to live without any understanding. It is much more complicated than merely the statements of the speaker. You see we are all so petty, small-minded. And if we could step out of that – not tomorrow, now – then life is something that is endless, immense.