Prayer is an invocation to a person or an object of worship. Prayer seeks to establish a communication, rapport, relationship with that person or object of worship. It is a act of pleading for help, gain or just Thanksgiving. Whether a person is religious or not, whichever religion he follows or even an atheist will at some point in life have definitely prayed . It could be for help , forgiveness, for benefits or just peace of mind.
Irrespective of, to whom the prayer is made, in whatever form, alone or with others , silently in ones mind or loudly, whenever it is answered it gives happiness and peace of mind to the person praying for it. The prayer could be to your teacher asking for a leave , to the judge in court, to a diety, to a imaginary god, to idols of worship or any one. An infants cry is also a prayer, it’s asking for milk, it’s a prayer to the mother who obliges with love, just an example that prayers stand answered . What is normally thought of as a prayer is usually to God. In every religion there are prayers written by our forefathers , be it Hindu, Christian, Zoroastrian,Muslim,or Sikh, Jain or Buddhist. Even tribals have their own gods and ways of prayers .There are prescribed prayers of various modalities. Depending on which religion you are born into, right from child hood one comes to learn them and recite them. Some pray religiously others just say them without any conviction. But pray everyone does.
Having been born into a Orthodox christian family from Kerala, India, naturally I learnt my prayers too. Not well versed in my mother tongue that is Malayalam, I learnt them all in English . At the school I went too, a Swiss missionary convent, I learnt my morning prayers, before and after meal prayers and my evening prayers . All of these prayers mentioned no god or religion , they were of Thanksgiving and help to keep me safe throughout the day. I never disliked them, saying them did make me feel at peace and thankful for all I was given. Not being overtly religious I never tried to analyse any prayer deeply . But pray I did.
The prayers taught to me at home were the Lord’s prayer, Hail Mary and the Nicene creed. The Lord’s prayer I loved, it mentioned no religion, it named no gods, it was a simple prayer of Thanksgiving, prayer for help , food, and forgiveness . Yes, the prayer itself is attributed to Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Luke 11:1-4, Jesus teaches the Lord’s Prayer to his disciples when one of them asks, “Lord, teach us to pray.” … It is one of the most commonly prayed prayers by people of all Christian faiths. Everything covered in a short sweet and simple way. My difficulty incoming to terms with that there is a god or my tendency towards being more of an atheist didn’t let me say the other prayers often but the Lord’s prayer I loved and believed in. “Give us this day our daily bread”… so simple and logical , I shouldn’t go hungry. ‘ you are not asking for a years stock, only your daily need. Forgive us our sins and trespasses as we forgive them who trespass against us‘ clear and loud….”Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil”……Everything in this prayer is simple, straight, clear. That’s the reason it had always been my favourite .
The fact that I was born into a Christian family didn’t stop stop me from looking beyond my religion. I was brought up in the developed and cosmopolitan state of Maharashtra in India. I had friends from all religions , I enjoyed and took part in all their festivals too. I learnt prayers from many if these religions too. I had read the Bible , I read the Upanishad, Vedas, Mahabharat, Ramayan , the Holy Koran and other religious texts too . I somehow never really believed any other prayer too.
Then this incident happened. The prayer that I got to know about was a powerful prayer . The moment I heard it , I knew it had something in it unlike other prayers. Mahamrityunjay mantra…… A most powerful prayer. A hindu prayer written long ago. It finds mention in the vedas..Rig-Veda to yajurved . Mahamrityunjay means that person who has defeated death, who has overcome death. Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, protects us from our deepest fear – Fear of death
oṃ tryambakaṃ yajāmahe
mṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt ॥. Worship that fragrant Shiva of three eyes, the one who nourishes all living entities.
May he help us severe our bondage with samsara by making us realise that we are never separated from our immortal nature. Source: Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra, Rigved 7.59.12
This mantra has to been attributed to various persons,Rishi Markandeya,
Shukracharya, spiritual head of demons, it is said that Shiva gave this mantra to them, yet
– another says is said to have been composed by Maharishi Vashishtha. Mantras are eternal truths which were discovered by Rishis or Sages who dwelled on specific aspects of life and living. These truths will never change or cease to exist.
Now the true story which will give an idea of how powerful a prayer can be. It was some time in 2006 or 2007. I had developed a vague vibrating feeling in my epigastrium with dull pain which was not responding to any treatment. My colleague Dr Patil advised a ultrasound to rule out anything. My friend Dr Sanjay Pote accompanied me to the radiologist , Dr Sanjay Gosavi who too was a common friend and college mate. After having the ultrasound done Dr Gosavi suggested we do a CT scan. He said just to be doubly sure, nothing was wrong, of course that didn’t convince me, but I agreed a little fear crept into me. The scan took too long than normal , I was very apprehensive by now. After we were done with the scan he explained that there is some lump , growth along my stomach and further investigation would be needed . I drove back home but didn’t discuss the matter with anyone at home. Next day I went to an oncosurgeon friend of mine, Dr Shailesh Punthambekar and showed the reports to him. One look at the scan film and he said it looked to be a leiomyoma , he inquired as to who the patient was, little knowing that these were my own scan reports. He said nothing to worry , a surgery would help. When I told him it was my own reports he was taken aback. We were classmates at the medical college and good friends. Then he sat back having a relook and suggested we go for a MRI . I drove back home, involuntarily the Lord’s prayer on my lips. I still didn’t disclose the matter home.
It was during these days that he person who had rented my office had disappeared without paying my rents for over three months. I had broken open the office premises and taken custody of the office . While rummaging through his belongings in the office I came across many CDs, which I carried back with me. When in my Tata safari SUV I put one of those CD into the player, a deep husky voice was heard explaining the Mahamrityunjay mantra. What it meant, how who so ever recited or heard it could conquer death. The atheist in me was unwilling to accept that any mantra could save me, but the wonderful voice reciting the mantra , the husky voice explaining it kept me stuck to it. This continued daily , for the next week or so the only CD played in my vehicle was the Mahamrityunjay mantra. The drive from my home to the hospital I worked in, at Akurdi was hardly a kilometer, I deliberately drove slowly to work hearing the mantra two or three times and before leaving the hospital and same while travelling back home daily. There was a inner peace of mind, the fear of any possibility of death vanished from me. The Lord’s prayer I said and repeated a million times at bed time, that put me to sleep peacefully , two prayers one I was used to and another that had visited me changed my mindset about the reports and what could happen to me. No more fear, in my subconscious I knew I had conquered death.
During this period my chief officer Dr Iyer had come to see me at A kurdi hospital. I informed him of the reports, the diagnosis and my pending MRI investigation. He just said don’t worry nothing will happen, I don’t know why but I smiled yo myself and said to myself , I know nothing will happen.
A week later my friend Dr Pote and myself drove to Nobel Hospital, where Dr Sanjay Gosavi had his MRI setup. Dr Gosavi had a talk with Dr Shailesh on exactly what he wanted in the MRI, what he was suspecting and looking for. I was told it would take approximately 45 minutes. I was wheeled into the room put to the MRI machine, the aircon was at max and it was cold . Somehow I was cool, no thoughts passed my mind. The two powerful prayers that I had discovered were recited by me in my subconscious. The procedure took more time , I was more than an hour in the machine, suddenly scary thoughts again passed my mind, was it worse, why were they taking so much time, had they found out something worse, the prayer and the mantra again played in my mind, I wasn’t saying it, but I could hear and feel it being recited. Then suddenly the purring of the machine stopped, the doors opened and I was wheeled back to the changing room. I immediately changed, dressed and went to the doctors room, both Dr Pote and Dr Gosavi were looking at the plates , were a bit confused and perhaps worried . I looked at them and they at me , not a word was uttered, then suddenly Dr Gosavi spurted out, “Boss, there’s nothing to be seen, that’s why we were retaking shots, the lump,Tumor seen in the CT scan had just vanished“. Then they smiled, laughed aloud, happy for me. I just stood there a smile on my lips and the prayers again in my mind. Miracles do happen.
I came back home with all the reports, told my wife and mother of the happenings of the last week . They were wild, how could I have hidden the facts from then, they accused me of being irresponsible, I tried to explain that I did want them to be worried. It was difficult convincing them, but the reports showed it all. As for my self I slept peacefully that night, Dr Gosavi had informed Dr Shailesh of the MRI findings, none was sure why it was so, maybe they said the one seen in the scan was an artefact, maybe, but that didn’t explain my complaints, which too surprisingly vanished . Just to reconfirm had a gastroscopy done with all negative results.
Next morning I got ready to go to work , full of energy. As I started my SUV and pressed the play button, no sounds, checked the player, the CD was missing. I searched my vehicle, office and home, it was not to be found anywhere. For the next few weeks I searched in vain, I never found it. Perhaps it’s work was over , it had rested itself .
After this I tried purchasing the mantra CD , on three different occasions I did, but it never worked on my players. I accepted that perhaps it was done with me, it needed to help others too. I gave up trying to get another one ever. The experience is difficult for another person to understand, but I have gone through it. Prayer is a powerful tool I have accepted, for me The Lord’s prayer and the Mahamrityunjay mantra will always remain a comforting prayer until I live. Prayers need not be to any god, it needs to be sincere, and the confidence that it will be answered.