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Prayer Is Useless, and Has a Downside

prasad1

Well-known member
I am a firm believer in Brahman, Advaita philosophy.
I am a member of Chinmaya Mission and past chairman of the Hindu Temple.
I used to debate with Mr. Sangom, (who I respected for his knowledge) when he used to claim that he was a nastika.

This post is not anti-Hinduism alone, as this charade is practiced across all religions.



While the main purpose of prayer may be to help others, it never demonstrably does that. Prayers benefit only those believers who say or hear them. Prayer gives them comfort. It lets them think they have some control over a situation that may be out of their hands. It’s the last resort of people who have run out of ideas, and the first resort of people who never bothered to think about how they could actually fix the problem at hand.This is not harmless. There’s a very real downside to praying. It lulls believers into a false sense of accomplishment. We cannot solve our problems – much less the world’s – through prayer. We often see people with good intentions praying for victims in the wake of a tragedy, but prayer is useless without action, and those actions make the prayers irrelevant. To paraphrase the great Robert Green Ingersoll, hands that help are far better than lips that pray.
I have no problem with “prayer” as an act of meditation. In fact, many atheists can tell you the benefit of silent self-reflection. The delusion occurs when you think someone else is hearing your thoughts and acting on them.

When it comes down to it, prayer is illogical, even in religious terms. If God has a plan, why try to thwart it? If God can be swayed by prayers, what kind of God would allow the horrors we see in the world? And if two devout believers pray for different things, how does God choose the winner? (I'm sure the San Antonio Spurs would love to know the answer to that.)

Prayer is nothing but a powerful placebo. We’d all be better off accepting that.

 
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prasad1

Well-known member
We went to attend An Amritvani party.
The host of this party is withering away with Cancer, he has had multiple surgeries and other therapies.
We are doing a group Bhajan for his recovery (it is a hopeless condition), why cling to this false hope?
Who are you trying to fool?
I see this happening across all religions.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
Spin a globe and jab your finger at random. If you’re pointing to land, you’re pointing to a place where people are praying. Across Western and Eastern religious traditions, and even in some varieties of atheism, prayer is a core spiritual discipline.

Why is so much collective time spent in this activity?

Answers are complex, and like prayer itself they change across people’s lifespans and contexts. Most people who pray say it helps them feel “connected” to their own spirituality and beyond themselves. That sense of being not so isolated can be very comforting.

Another rationale is more metaphysical. People often remark that praying is “how they live” rather than “something they do.” For them, prayer is, in part, paying attention to choices and striving to translate preferred beliefs into actions.

Is prayer effective, for believers or atheists? Multiple sacred teachings indicate that prayer’s benefits are often beyond the physical realm; that claim is, by definition, not subject to scientific evaluation. Regarding physical benefits, the data are ambiguous. Very ill, very devout people pray hard every day. Some sick people live (including those who never pray). All of us eventually die (including those who pray).

The bottom line is that prayer is a paradoxical spiritual practice that does not guarantee predictably discernible efficacy at every turn. It’s not a cosmic vending machine. So why do people pray? Because they have faith that it is the right thing for them to do.

 

prasad1

Well-known member
In the meditation tradition, this silence is God. But labels and cultural baggage stand in the way. Even without God, silence may be the basis of the mind, the womb from which intelligence and creativity emerge. To discover whether this is true, you have to undertake your own exploration. Pick up the user’s manual – the vast corpus of Eastern spiritual literature and poetry – and find out where it leads.

The next frontier is spiritual, drawing us into the mystery and excitement of higher consciousness, which is where the game really lies. Prayer is directed to an external God. Meditation is directed to the higher self. In the end, this distinction may not matter. As the spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti reputedly said, “I used to pray to God, until I realized that I was praying to myself.”

 

renuka

Well-known member
Prayer in the real sense is a placebo.
I fully agree but a placebo has a psychological effect for mental well being.

Let me give you an example...
I was having some difficulty getting up to do the dawn prayers ..so I read a saying by a saint who said . .recite a particular verse 3x before bed time and ask the Higher beings to wake you up.

Ok..next day I woke up !
Right away jumped out of bed..did my prayers.
Then a thought came to me...will this work again?
Day 2..yes it worked!

Day 3..it worked.
Now daily i have no troubles waking up.

Explanation:

Why it worked?
Cos I had faith that it would work.
If one has faith this would program the subconscious mind to carry out a task..in a way its like a brain washing our own self.
But the outcome is it worked.

Now..becos of faith..my mind programmed itself to wake up and pray..and how come its still working daily?
Cos my body has already formed a circadian rhythm.

This is how prayer works..it helps us rewire ourselves.

Coming for praying for others who are terminally ill.

Yes..you are right..one cant change what is due..surely most terminally ill can die.

But how does prayer for others help them?
Simple..its thought waves.
Thought waves do travel.
Energy created for this person might not cure him but as Geeta says " Nehabhikrama naso' sti..pratyavayo na vidhyate..svalpa apyasya dharmasya trayate mahato bhayat"

Meaning.." there is no loss or adverse results..even a little effort saves one from great danger"

Its clear here that anything and everything has an effect
We might not be able to save a dying person but the little action we did for him could give him the peace of mind for an easier death.

Saving a person isnt just about saving the body..its also about saving the mind.

Also praying for others helps us to feel more compassion towards suffering of others and who knows when we face illnesses others too would step forward to help us.

Its meant to be a circle of life.
Believing in Brahman doesnt mean rejecting everything sans a deeper understanding for each action in the world.

All religions do echo the same thing that " Prayer is not for God but its for ourselves"

Take prayer as nourishment for the mind...it could help.
 

renuka

Well-known member
BTW Prasad Ji..when are you going to let go of your firm belief in Brahman/Advaita philosophy?

Isn't having a firm belief in Brahman/Advaita too the same as someone who has a firm belief in prayers or an external God or a Eshwar/Allah?

Why hold on to anything.

It wont seem fair for you to hold on to a personal belief but have issues with another's belief system.

Its back to square one again.."Its my way or the highway"

How different is it from an Abrahamic who says "Only I go to heaven and you go to hell?"

Reply me please.
 

renuka

Well-known member
In the meditation tradition, this silence is God. But labels and cultural baggage stand in the way. Even without God, silence may be the basis of the mind, the womb from which intelligence and creativity emerge. To discover whether this is true, you have to undertake your own exploration. Pick up the user’s manual – the vast corpus of Eastern spiritual literature and poetry – and find out where it leads.

The next frontier is spiritual, drawing us into the mystery and excitement of higher consciousness, which is where the game really lies. Prayer is directed to an external God. Meditation is directed to the higher self. In the end, this distinction may not matter. As the spiritual teacher J. Krishnamurti reputedly said, “I used to pray to God, until I realized that I was praying to myself.”

Prayer is not directed to an external God and Meditation is not directed to the higher self either.
Prayer is connectivity and Meditation too is connectivity

If you follow Advaita philosophy you should be knowing that there is nothing besides Brahman.
So where is the question of inside or outside?
Even if one considers God as external and meditation as internal the fact is the there are no directions anymore..no locations too..everything is verily Brahman.

Its like a World Wide Web and all of us are logging into it either during prayer or meditation.
It is therefore about establishing a connectivity.
 

tbs

Well-known member
hi

prayer/faith is very invidualistic...not for everybody....somebody prayer for sri satya sai baba.....somebody

prayer for shrdi sai baba.....some body prayer for nothing.....its just for mental satisafaction/comfort

zone for individual.....like somebody like adavaita....somebody like visistadavita....somebody like

dvaita....these are mental/psychological comfort zones...
 

prasad1

Well-known member
I will not dispute TBSji or Renukaji. There might be 0.000001% of people pray or meditate in private and/or for inner peace. 99.999999% pray to escape their existing anguish, may it be money, power, health, child or some worldly material thing.

Do you think that people who do a laud Bhajan, Arati, or prayer are doing it for inner peace?
Do you think the people who do their forehead with a religious symbol, or wear dress denoting their religious fervor do it for inner peace? Who are you kidding?
The day of exams going to religious places is not for inner peace, it is to buy favor or direct help from god.
It may not be wrong (it might be my ignorance), but I think it is fruitless.
I do not think God is partial to praise and going to reward the Bhakt and Punish un-Bhakt. If this god is impartial and interferes with Karma, and let it play its role, then he/she (god) is not worthy of prayer.
 
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tbs

Well-known member
I will not dispute TBSji or Renukaji. There might be 0.000001% of people pray or meditate in private and/or for inner peace. 99.999999% pray to escape their existing anguish, may it be money, power, health, child or some worldly material thing.

Do you think that people who do a laud Bhajan, Arati, or prayer are doing it for inner peace?
Do you think the people who do their forehead with a religious symbol, or wear dress denoting their religious fervor do it for inner peace? Who are you kidding?
The day of exams going to religious places is not for inner peace, it is to buy favor or direct help from god.
It may not be wrong (it might be my ignorance), but I think it is fruitless.
I do not think God is partial to praise and going to reward the Bhakt and Punish un-Bhakt. If this god is impartial and interferes with Karma, and let it play its role, then he/she (god) is not worthy of prayer.
hi

just visit any ISCKON temple in the world....any part of the globe.....you can see loud bhajans and

prayer for ONLY LORD KRISHNA...this is the beauty of hinduism prayer...they sing louder and dance...

they never pray their aarati slower....prayer has different dimensions...in any religion....there is no religion

without prayer in the world...
 

renuka

Well-known member
I will not dispute TBSji or Renukaji. There might be 0.000001% of people pray or meditate in private and/or for inner peace. 99.999999% pray to escape their existing anguish, may it be money, power, health, child or some worldly material thing.

Do you think that people who do a laud Bhajan, Arati, or prayer are doing it for inner peace?
Do you think the people who do their forehead with a religious symbol, or wear dress denoting their religious fervor do it for inner peace? Who are you kidding?
The day of exams going to religious places is not for inner peace, it is to buy favor or direct help from god.
It may not be wrong (it might be my ignorance), but I think it is fruitless.
I do not think God is partial to praise and going to reward the Bhakt and Punish un-Bhakt. If this god is impartial and interferes with Karma, and let it play its role, then he/she (god) is not worthy of prayer.
God is not partial.
Its the human seeking Him that expects Him to be so.

Some might go for a transaction mode of prayer ..all the Yagnas we read about in Puranas which Kings used to do to reach Higher Heavens where they could be Indra are indeed transactions.

Lord Krishna does mention in the Geeta that only those of lesser intellect are attached to the flowery words of the Vedas which promise Higher Heavens.

At the same time Lord Krishna talks about 3 modes of prayer..tamas...rajas..sattva.

Rajas being the most transactional for personal gain.
Tamas being totally in mode of ignorance and Sattva in mode of detachment.

So there is a pattern of worship.
If a person has some disease he would seek a doctor ..so what is so wrong if he seeks God for peace?
Either tru ritualistic prayers..aarti..poojas..bhajans..etc?

Fruitless isnt accurate..cos all actions produce fruits . Even Sattva ones...but what we sow is what we reap.

May be a Bhakta might initially be very transactional seeking personal gain etc..later when his desires are met...he could take a deeper spiritual turn of the non transactional kind.

Each of us are in our own path.
The beliefs and ways of others should not trouble the true seeker cos a true seeker would understand that once upon a time he could have been transactional with God too.

One who has truly awakened does not mediate for inner peace as he has reached equilibrium.

Just a question Prasad Ji...
How do you connect with Brahman?
Do you still do pooja or japam or sandhyavandanam or go to temple or meditate or anything..or you just "Kun
Fayakun"( Be and it becomes)


*but whatever said and done if one prays in a transactional manner its fine as long they dont call it Bhakti.
I have seen many who call their transactions Bhakti.
So at least one needs to be honest and realize true Bhakti is submission and accepting the outcome..a stage 99.99% of us havent reached( me included)
 
hi

just visit any ISCKON temple in the world....any part of the globe.....you can see loud bhajans and

prayer for ONLY LORD KRISHNA...this is the beauty of hinduism prayer...they sing louder and dance...

they never pray their aarati slower....prayer has different dimensions...in any religion....there is no religion

without prayer in the world...
Praying is a form of mental satisfaction. Whoever prays does so for his satisfaction and not to please others or satisfy anyone. It is his wish. Prayer does not necessarily mean going to a temple or dancing or singing. One can pray at home too. If you do not believe in God that is also your belief. Some play games, or go for a walk or some others may go for a concert to get mental peace. Same is with prayer. Prayers are for setting aside some of our time from the mundane activities and concentrate on one object as in meditation. A child talks to his mother when hurt or unhappy, adults talk to whom ? To an unseen person who is none other than God. He gets satisfaction from this. To deride that prayer is not useful is ones own understanding and cannot be generalised. If once a person gets some satisfaction from prayers his faith or belief increases.
 

prasad1

Well-known member
hi

just visit any ISCKON temple in the world....any part of the globe.....you can see loud bhajans and

prayer for ONLY LORD KRISHNA...this is the beauty of hinduism prayer...they sing louder and dance...

they never pray their aarati slower....prayer has different dimensions...in any religion....there is no religion

without prayer in the world...

I asserted that in my OP.
But does it make it right?
 

prasad1

Well-known member
hi

prayer/faith is very invidualistic...not for everybody....somebody prayer for sri satya sai baba.....somebody

prayer for shrdi sai baba.....some body prayer for nothing.....its just for mental satisafaction/comfort

zone for individual.....like somebody like adavaita....somebody like visistadavita....somebody like

dvaita....these are mental/psychological comfort zones...

What have they achieved?
 

tbs

Well-known member
hi

how prayer works.......visit lord shiva temple on PRADHOSHAM DAY in tamil nadu....you will get answer..

last 5 yrs back....not much rush on pradhosham.....now go to any shiva temple....sometimes i have to wait

for more than 5 hours in line.....
 

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