Question: Does God Answer Prayers? I think the answer is “no.” Could you review my thinking, below, and let me know if it’s wrong?
Brahman, certainly does not. Brahman recognizes no distinct entities, so there is no one to hear and no one to answer.
Paramātmā is absolutely neutral. You may pray to him for something, but you will only get it if you deserve it. Perhaps the praying is part of showing that you deserve something, but it is not the prayer that brings the result, it is the merit related to the prayerful attitude. Paramātmā doesn’t reward something undeserved, no matter how fervently it is prayed for. Nor does he sympathize with our non-neutral preferences.
Bhagavān does not interact with the external world. He interacts with his own world. He, too, therefore, does not hear and answer prayers. But he responds to love. So if the “prayers” are requests to establish a loving relationship with him, and not requests for tangential, temporary rewards and fixes, he will certainly respond.
Thus, it seems that the idea of a “God” answering prayers is superstitious.
Babaji: What about the Gita verse, caturvidha bhajante mam?
Question: Bhajante means “they worship”. It indicates that they execute some sort of sakāma-bhakti. I guess praying is a form of worship, though.
Then God will answer someone’s sakāma prayers, even if they don’t deserve it?
If this is the case, I would like to pray for one million dollars, to be honest. So why won’t it work?
Babaji: Who says it will not work? It may.
Question: What causes it to be only a “maybe”?
Babaji: That ask Krsna. Maybe your sincerity.
Question: Then what becomes of the rule of karma, if I can simply pray for a million dollars and get it, without having the sukrti for it?
Karma is a mechanism to improve the jīvas and help them experience happiness. If a person sincerely worships God, they are beginning to achieve the ultimate result of that mechanism, therefore it is not important to as strictly enforce the mechanism. Thus, those who sincerely do bhakti to Krishna (which can include prayer) can get results from Krishna which are not warranted by their karma. Is this right?
Babaji: Yes. In this regard you may consult the following verses:
satyaṁ diśaty arthitam arthito nṛṇāṁ
naivārthado yat punar arthitā yataḥ
svayaṁ vidhatte bhajatām anicchatām
God certainly gives desired objects to those who request them, but he does not give those objects in such a way that the devotee will ask again. Rather, He gives his own lotus feet, which satisfy all desires, to those who are engaged in His worship, even if they not even desire them. (SB 5.19.27)
yat karmabhir yat tapasā jñāna-vairāgyataś ca yat
yogena dāna-dharmeṇa śreyobhir itarair api
sarvaṁ mad-bhakti-yogena mad-bhakto labhate ‘ñjasā
svargāpavargaṁ mad-dhāma kathañcid yadi vāñchati
That which can be achieved by karma, austerities, knowledge, detachment and by yoga, charity, righteous activities and all other means of prosperity is easily achieved by My devotee through bhakti yoga. If somehow or other My devotee desires the heavenly planets, liberation, or residence in My abode, he easily achieves such benedictions. (SB 11.20.32-33)
devān bhāvayatānena te devā bhāvayantu vaḥ
parasparaṁ bhāvayantaḥ śreyaḥ param avāpsyatha
Nourish the devas through this yajña, and [by so doing] may the devas be gracious to you. Thus, through mutual benevolence, you shall attain the highest welfare. (Gītā 3.11)
sa tayā śraddhayā yuktas tasyārādhanam īhate
labhate ca tataḥ kāmān mayaiva vihitān hi tān
Endowed with that faith, the devotee worships that particular deity and obtains through that deity the desired boons which are in fact granted by Me alone. (Gītā 7.22 )
The more we fail in our relation the more we try to control, until we fail completely.
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basically one has to be coherent in feeling and thinking. if you like to have a million dollars, thinking alone will not do the job, you have to feel accordingly. if you feel, you do not deserve money or money is bad, you are not coherent. modern achievements in science really can demystify the mystic. since we are not mater, we should be able to move mater. just like Sri Visnu moves mater by looking at it, you too can move mater by looking at it.
radhe shyam babaji…
if somebody started a sakaam bhakti so how to convert it to nishkaam bhakti…sometimes i am confused that the wish i dersired for must first be fulfilled then i will do bhakti and sometimes i wish that ome what may krishna will be served …my faith shatters what sholud i do..
plz reply back..
We engage in sakama bhakti because we do not have enough trust in Krishna’s words. If we have full faith in Krishna, then we do not pray for anything material.
If we understand that everything material is temporary, including our body, then we will not pray for material things.
If one cannot give up a material desire then at least dovetail it with bhakti.
Is there some kind of interceding prayer in gauḍīya vaiṣṇavism and a precise definition and example of it? That is, can an advanced bhakta (or even a sādhu-saṅga through a certain type of communal prayer) intercede before Kṛṣṇa for a lower-status devotee to achieve his material or spiritual desires?
Here is Babaji’s reply:
Some examples of interceding prayers are such as Prahlada praying for the welfare of the asuras (Chapter 7.9) and for his father in 7.10.15-17, a prayer for all beings in 5.18.9; ; Rantideva’s prayer in 9.21.12,13, and Vasu Ghosa praying to Mahaprabhu for relieving all beings from material bondage.