Editorial by Pratiksha Apurv published in Speaking Tree, Times of India, September 20, 2015.
True prayer is about thanking God for all that has come to you, Pratiksha Apurv tells us through her painting.
Prayer – In gratitude, Oil & Acrylic on Canvas, 2015, 48″ x 42″
Since childhood, we have been told to ‘tell God what you need’. But, this suggestion is incomplete. It is only half the prayer. We rarely use the other half , ‘thank God for all he has done’. And, this is the reason the prayer continues to remain on the surface, due to the baggage of desires embedded within it. There is no spirit of surrender to God. Surrender only comes when you drop that baggage and pray: ‘I was not worthy but you have given me so much and filled my life with the richness of love. I was not worthy of this life, but see you have provided me with such a beautiful surrounding.’ Drop the desire and let gratitude to God arise in you.
Drop The Desire
This simple but yet so beautiful a phenomenon is best described in the Quran, 7:43, “Alhamdu lillahil lathi hadana lihatha wama kunna linahtadiya laola an hadanallah — Praise be to Allah who has guided us to this. Never could we have found guidance, had it not been for the guidance of Allah.” He is the creator of the world and when we are in prayer, it is not to ask for anything but to humbly give thanks to Allah for what he has done for us, for humankind. The prayer is a simple expression of our gratitude for all that he has showered upon us. And, when this gratitude descends in our heart, the prayer becomes meditation. This thankfulness is also beautifully described in a prayer from Sunnah — records of the teaching and the sayings of Prophet Muhammad, which says: ‘Oh Allah, whatever blessings I or any of your creation rose up with, is only from you. So all grace and thanks are due to you.’
Osho says real prayer has nothing to suggest to God except a deep gratitude of thankfulness. The prayer simply accepts whatsoever God is pouring. It is all about receiving that gift. There is a story about Rengetsu, a Zen follower. Rengetsu was on a pilgrimage during the winter season. One evening after the sunset, she came to a village seeking a place to stay for the night. But the villagers slammed their doors as they were against Zen. Not just that, they did not allow her to stay in the village and threw her out. In the cold winter night, Rengetsu had no option but to make a cherry tree in the fields her shelter. But since it was cold, she couldn’t have a deep sleep. Around midnight, she opened her eyes looking at the sky of winter, she saw fully opened cherry blossoms laughing with the moon. She was mesmerised looking at the scene and suddenly got up and looked in the direction of the village from where she was thrown out just few hours ago. Rengetsu thanked the villagers for their kindness in refusing her lodging, which ultimately provided her the opportunity to witness this blessing where cherry blossoms and the misty moon were dancing together. She felt grateful and, in that moment, her gratitude became real prayer. This prayer cannot be in return for something or seeking anything, but in a true sense is the state of thankfulness for whatever God has given to you.
Express Your Gratitude
The five daily prayers in the Quran are about the expression of this gratitude. You are not asking for anything, neither thanking after your wishes are fulfilled. You are simply living in tremendous gratitude every moment of your life. This gratitude arises when you have discovered the hidden treasure of life, its beauty. That very moment you feel blissful. But your gratitude is not towards any particular being. It simply arises in you and you feel grateful just for being alive, just for being able to love this world and enjoy its beauty with compassion. This gratefulness is not towards anybody in particular, but towards the whole. The Quran, 39:66, says: “Balillaha fa’bod wakum minash-shakireen — Worship Allah, and be of those who give thanks.” You are not seeking any property, assets or richness. You are just being thankful for whatever you have. You are not worried about your possession and security in life. In the Bhagwad Gita, chapter 9, Krishna tells Arjuna: “Ananyascintayanto ma ye janah paryupaste, tesham nityabhiyuktanam, yogksemam vahamyaham — Those who always worship me with devotion, I give what they do not have in life, and I protect what they have in life.”
Feel His Presence
Every religion talks about the ultimate journey to the state of gratefulness. Psalm, 131:1 (Hebrew Bible) says: “Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Our spiritual scriptures maintain that gratitude is natural and it is not something that can be practised and taught. If you have learnt to be grateful, that will be just a conditioning. Osho says gratitude arises whenever you start feeling God’s presence around you. Then your whole energy becomes gratitude, then your whole being becomes a thanksgiving, it becomes a prayer — because nothing is missing and the world is perfect.Everything is as it should be.
Osho tells Rengetsu’s story in this excerpt
Accept All that Life Brings with Gratitude
More paintings by Pratiksha in our Art Gallery
Pratiksha: Expressing the Inexpressible
More articles by Pratiksha on Osho News