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What is a Prayer ?

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from another forum...

At times I wonder as to what prayer is ? Does it actually reach to God or it just disappears in the air. What is the significance. Isnt it at a kind of immotional extravagance or does it have some concrete rational behind it. How all of the sudden we tend to pray when we are in trouble. Where does this feeling come from. Why do we pray, for material prosperity/betterment or for spiritual well being/aatamak sukh.

What does Gurubani say about it? What do you guys think?

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  • 2 weeks later...

What is the significance

This is a very interesting post (from another forum) regarding prayer:

Let me consider first the idea of a reality behind creation. Now it is stated that it needs no ones "recognition" and "praise". Also, note, that it is said in the "semitic" mode of propitiation of this reality i.e. that the reality seeks recognition. Now this is to be recognised as a "semitic" understanding of this "reality" which is both absolute but paradoxically at the same time seems to exhibit human desires, fallibilites and traits such as it's "recognition". As opposed to the Eastern mode (of which Sikhism is), where the "recognition" of this "reality" is a goal to be sought, a state of mind of realisation of the truth behind the universe. The arrow of "recognition" is the other way around...the recognition does not affect the "reality", it is unnecessary by the "reality", but affects you, the recogniser. And what of the "praise". Again, the "semitic" understanding is at play, where "praise" is taken as propitiation of an all-powerful "reality" and to avoid it's wrath (again, the paradoxical human nature), whereas, in the Eastern paradigm, the "praise" is understood as an admission of a much larger "reality" outside the "reality" of the ego constructed little self, and "praise" is the method of reducing the ego in order to allow the recognition of this larger "reality" within the mind. Again, the arrow of the action is opposite, the "semitic" mode is for self-preservation, the Eastern mode for self-liberation.

Now as for the "recogniton" of this "reality", I would disagree that it does not need to be pursued. The highest levels of Science search for this "reality". Physics attempts to answer questions about this "reality". But science defines a method of falsifiabilty of it's result, an empirical method, whereby results can be accepted or refuted, in "reality". So, one can claim with some confidence that the answers reached a "real" and correct.

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