Prayers – Cardinal and Non-cardinal

Posted By: Tapas Dev Tag: Scriptures Last Update: 14/02/2019

Om bhur bhuvah svah, om tat saviturvareńyam
Bhargo devasya dhimohi dhiyo yo nah pracodayat.

I told you that there must not be any prayers, at least no non-cardinal type of prayers. What are cardinal prayers? The prayers that solely control human movements or concern the pabula that helps human advancement or microcosmic advancement towards its desideratum may be termed cardinal prayers. All other prayers are non-cardinal. Microcosmic advancement requires some urge and it gets its food from the Macrocosmic Cause. So people’s request or prayers should be on that issue only. For example, “Oh Parama Puruśa, guide my intellect unto the path of bliss.” In our Savitr Rk, which is commonly known as Gáyatrii Mantra, the prayers are for the development of the intellect or rather for the proper movement of the intellect. In the Savitr Rk, it has been said: “Oh, Lord of the seven strata of expression, guide our intellect unto the path of bliss”. There is no other prayer. Bhuh, bhuvah, svah, maha, janah, tapah, satya – asya saptalokasya saviturdevasya. Savituh means pitu. Pituh devasya vareńya bhargo varenyaḿ pujaniiyaḿ bhargo jyotih dhimahi vayaḿ dhyánaḿ kurmah, keńakáráńena yayaḿ dhyánaḿ kúrmah? Kenakárańena vayaḿ vareńyaḿ bhargo dhyanaḿ kúrmah, dhiyo ya nah pracodayát. Vo nah dhiyo asmákaḿ dhiyoasmákaḿ buddhi medhá ádiiyádi prácodayát. Samvidhánaḿ karotu satpathi paricálanaḿ karotu. Anena kárańena vayaḿ dhyánaḿ kurmah.

We meditate on the divine effulgence of the Supreme Father who created the seven strata of manifestation – bhuh, bhuvah, svah, mahah, janah, tapah, satyah.

By meditating on this divine effulgence we get the inspiration to move along the path of blessedness. That is why we meditate and that is why we are to meditate. We must meditate. This prayer is of the cardinal type, hence it is a necessity. We should do it, we must do it. Prayers like, “Oh God, give us food, give us drink” are all non-cardinal; hence they are useless and should always be discouraged. I told you that your requirements are better known to Him. You do not know what you actual requirements are. He knows. In several portions of the Yajurveda also, prayers are like this “guide our intellect unto the path of blessedness.”

Ya eko’varńo bahudháshaktiyogát varńánanekán nihitártho dadháti,
Vi caeti cánte vishvamádao sadevah sa no buddhyá shubhayá saḿyunaktu.

That one Supreme Entity is colourless. Why is He colourless? Because colours are all His creations. He created colours. So He cannot have any colour and that is why in the shástra it is said that Parama Puruśa is of white complexion. What is white? White is no colour. The combination of all colours is white. Paramá Prakrti is merely a tool. Her dexterity depends upon the whims of Parama Puruśa. So she is black – Kálikáshakti. Why black? Black is no colour. Want of colour is black.

“Eko varńo bahudhá shaktiyogát”.

Although He is colourless, He is beyond the periphery of all colours, “Bahudhá shaktiyogát”, with the help of His many attributional faculties.

“Varńánanekán nihitártho dadháti.”

He created this world of so many colours and each and every entity, each and every animated entity of this world is attracted first by colour and then by attributions.

Why did He create this universe of so many colours? What was the necessity? The jiṋániis, that is, the people of intellect, say that there may have been such and such necessity, but they are not sure what the actual necessity was. They don’t know why He created the universe. The karmiis say that karma is the guiding faculty. They say that Parama Puruśa created this universe out of His whims because He also has to do some kind of Karma. But, you know, those intellectuals and karmiis are less intelligent than the bhaktas, (devotees). Devotees are “A” grade intellectuals, karmiis are “B” grade and jiṋániis are “C” grade as in football games, where there are teams from A, B and C groups. Similarly, here the “A” grade are devotees. The “B” grade are karmiis and the “C” grade are jiṋániis. Jiṋániis waste their valuable time in idle altercations, in meaningless altercations. Karmiis say that He had to do some work and that is why He created this Universe. But the bhaktas say, “No, no, no, your explanations are not satisfactory. We know why He created this universe.” Here in this shloka it is said -

Ya eko varńa bahudhá shakti yogát varńánanekán nihitártho dadháti.

That is, the proper reply is known only to Him, the motive is known only to Him and to nobody else. The jiṋániis and the karmiis cannot come in close proximity to Parama Puruśa, there remains a gap. In the case of jiṋániis, the gap is bigger than that of karmiis. In the case of bhaktas they may be literate or illiterate they may be poor or rich, but their remains no gap. They only know, “I am, my father is; there is no third entity between me and my Father.” That’s why they can come in close contact with Him. Such devotees, such bhaktas say, “Oh jiṋániis! Your reply is not satisfactory. Oh karmiis, your reply is also not satisfactory. The actual reply is known to Him alone. As none of you ever come in close contact with Him, how can you know the inner secret? Unless and until you are in love with Him and you are in close contact with Him, you cannot know Him. His inner motive is known only to those who come in close contact with Him.” The devotee says, “I know the reply, it is this.”

Sa vá eśa tadá draśt́a na pashyáddrśt́amekarát,
Me ne santamivatmánaḿ suptashaktiraśuptadrk.

My Lord was alone in this universe before the creation – there was nothing. You can imagine the condition of a person who is alone in a big city or a house. He or she becomes almost mad, semi-insane. My Lord was alone in this vast universe. There was nothing, no second entity. He had the power to see but there was no entity to be seen. He had the power to speak, but there was no second entity to listen. He had all the potentialities of expression. He also possessed all the potentialities of manifestation, but He could not manifest Himself. He could not do anything because of the absence of a second entity, I can say, “My boy, why have you committed this sin? I will punish you.” He could not say that because there was no boy, there was nobody to come in personal contact with Him. Just imagine what His condition was. To save Himself from this monotony of loneliness He created so many entities from His own body. All are His limited expressions, all are finite islands in the ocean of the Infinite. All are within Him. The jiṋániis and karmiis will say, “Oh, it is His liila. He is playing with us, but we are half-dead because of the influence of His liila. There are so many troubles, so many adversities and so many afflictions and you call all that His Liila”. “Yes”, say the bhaktas, “He is playing with different parts of His own body. He is not giving any trouble to any second entity. We are all His and we are playing our roles in this vast drama of His”. The bhaktas further say, “Oh jiṋániis, oh karmiis, you need not waste your time in idle altercations and idle gossip. The potentialities of your intellect are extremely limited. What can a small brain in a small cranium do? Therefore the best thing to do is to request Him for proper guidance.”

Sa no buddhyá shubhayá saḿyunaktu.

So that He may guide our intellect, and keep our intellect connected with shubha and never with ashubha. This much should be our prayer and nothing more than that. We require nothing from Him because whatever is to be done, whatever should be done, will be done by Him. He knows His duty. He is to do His duty and let us do our duties properly. This much only we should do.

A.V. Part-05, 22 November 1978, Bombay