Gramya: I would like to ask about prayer, because I was taught as a child to pray and the prayer was of thanksgiving.
Now I don’t know who I’m praying to any more. Am I praying to Bhagwan? I’ve heard you say that God is just a name for one’s innermost core. Am I praying then to myself? Anyway I’m still praying but I don’t know where it’s going to.
Prayer need not be addressed, it need not have any address. In fact the addressed prayer is not very deep. It should just be a song of the heart, unaddressed, to the whole of existence: to the trees, to the mountains, to the stars, to all that is. And that is the meaning of the word ‘God’. God does not mean a person. If we make God a person we are simply imagining God as being in our own image. That is very anthropomorphic.
Then we think that he has a nose like us, eyes like us and hands and…. A little better, a little bigger, more beautiful, stronger, but the difference is of quantity not of quality. So we are just magnifying ourselves; through a magnifying glass we are looking at our own self and creating God. So God is our imagination in that way.
But the real meaning of God is the totality, all that is, all that has been, all that will be. The totality of the whole time and space…. And prayer is nothing but gratitude to the whole. Because we belong to the whole. We come from it, we live in it, we live as it, and one day we dissolve back into it and disappear into it. It is our home, it is our source and our goal. So in prayer we are simply remembering our source, remembering our goal. In prayer we are reminding ourselves that we are not separate. One tends to forget that. In the mundane life one has to use the word ‘I, I…’ again and again. It is a must: without it it would be very difficult to live. You have to relate to people and of course you have to relate as an individual, as an ego, as a self. You have to struggle and fight and protect and naturally all these things make you a separate entity.
Prayer is just relaxing again into non-separation with existence, for a moment forgetting that one is, for a moment dissolving, for a moment melting… for a moment remembering the real. The real thing is that we are one with the whole.
Gramya: So it is a meditation?
Prayer is meditation… with love. That’s the difference. Meditation is purely scientific, mathematical. Prayer has a little poetry in it. It is the same but the formulation is poetic. Meditation is also the same but the formulation is mathematical. The difference is of formulation; the reality is one.
It is just as when a scientist looks at a rose and a poet looks at the same rose. Their descriptions will be different; the rose is the same. They both looked at the rose at the same time, they may have been standing holding each others’ hand. But the scientist looks through science; his description is going to be completely different.
Meditation is God seen through the scientific vision the mathematical vision. Prayer is poetry. It is the same reality but seen with loving eyes, seen with a loving heart. Prayer is richer than meditation because it has something more than meditation.
So prayer can move you. Meditation can only make you silent. It will give utter silence but it cannot give you ecstasy. Prayer can give you ecstasy because prayer can give you great passion. It can move you, it can make your energy dance, sing. So if prayer is possible then don’t settle for meditation; go into prayer. If prayer is not possible then I say go into meditation.
Gramya: Thank you! You’ve been very helpful to me.
Good, Gramya… good!
Osho, The Open Secret, Ch 3