Prayerfulness is a state of consciousness

Consciousness Discourses

You often say that prayer is a state of consciousness. And you also say that prayer is a state of gratefulness. Then how is it that prayer is not non-dualistic?

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No, I never say that prayer is a state of mind, I say that prayerfulness is a state of mind. My word is not prayer, it is prayerfulness. And there is a great difference between prayer and prayerfulness.

Someone offers a prayer in the morning; it is a kind of ritual. Another person is prayerful even where he just rises from his seat and walks in the garden. He is prayerful, in a state of prayerfulness even as he ties the laces of his shoes. And when he takes off his shoes and puts them in their place, he does so as if he is handling an idol of God. This man is prayerful. When he stops by a flower on the road-side, he stands there as if he has come across God himself. This man is prayerful; he is not praying. He never prays, yet he is in prayer, in a state of prayer. I don’t call prayer a state of consciousness; prayerfulness is that state. A prayerful heart is altogether different; such a heart is in meditation. To be prayerful and to be meditative are the same.

Only he who goes to prayer is not prayerful. How can a prayerful person pray? He lives in prayer; he is prayer itself, and he does not do anything except prayer. And one who prays does many other things at the same time. He runs a shop, he competes with others, he is jealous, he is angry, he hates, and he does things – one of which is prayer. Prayer is a small item in the long list of his activities.

Prayerful is he who is prayerful even when he is selling tea in a tea shop. Kabir is prayerful. He is a weaver by trade, and he has attained to the highest in life; he has found God. Yet he continues to weave and sell clothes. Someone asks him why he does so even after attaining to lofty sagehood. In answer Kabir tells him, “It is my prayer.”

Kabir says, “It is meditation when I walk, it is meditation when I eat, and it is meditation when I weave the cloth.” He says, “O monk, the enlightenment that is natural, is of the highest. Whatever I do is meditation, prayer and worship.

When Kabir goes to the market with a bundle of cloth to sell, he goes there dancing. He addresses his customer as Rama, his God, and tells him that he has woven this piece of cloth especially for him, that he has interlaced it with prayers. For him both the seller and buyer are God; it is God who sells and it is again God who buys.

This is what I call a state of prayerfulness, a state of consciousness. And this is what I call prayer.

No one ever sees Kabir praying. He never goes to a temple or a mosque, as others do to say their prayers. He says in one of his beautiful poems, “O priest, is your God deaf that you shout your prayer to him? I don’t even say my prayer and he hears it; I don’t even utter a word and he understands it. So why do you make so much noise about it?” Here Kabir is kidding those who have turned prayer and worship into a ritual. And he can well joke at their expense because he is really prayerful; otherwise, he cannot poke fun at them.

So I stand for prayerfulness, and not for prayer.

Osho, Krishna: The Man and His Philosophy, Ch 8, Q 7 (translated from Hindi)

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