Why We Need To Write New Prayers Urgently

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I was at the site of Three Sisters in Blue Mountains at Katoomba last week.  It was a perfect autumn day only a couple of degrees warmer than the April average. The place was brimming with weekend tourists who came to enjoy the spectacular beauty of nature and capture those moments forever, to tick off the bucket list.  People were crowding onto the vantage points that will give the perfect backdrop with their iPhone cameras stuck on selfie sticks.  Loud chatter and laughter crudely intercepting and disturbing the deep silence echoing from the surrounding mountains and the thick forest below.  The human sounds were quickly absorbed by the vastness of these magnificent structures – millions of years old – rugged, jagged, carved as they took in zillions of stories thrown at them – noisy stories of awe, wonder, marvel, preoccupation etc.

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What is the urgency we experience to vocalize our feelings?  Is it because the sheer beauty takes our breath away? or is it because we are afraid that we won’t remember if we don’t audibly gasp? Or is it because we are so competitive that we have to one up the others in our expressions?

Anyway, I was surrounded by all that when all I wanted to do was absorb the silent strength emanating from the Three Sisters that stood facing the sheer flat walls of the other mountains like they were in the witness stand in the court facing the jury.

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My husband put in $ 2.00 into the binoculars and we had a closer look at the three independent monuments standing almost holding hands to support each other so they can withstand the jury.  Why were these three peaks separated from the rest?  The $2.00 ran out within thirty seconds.

I turned around from the binoculars and started walking to another spot to get a different view.  As I was walking there, I saw in one corner of the railing was a lady in a hijab, knelt on a  newspaper, hands folded, eyes closed.  I saw that she had a newspaper pinned to the railing creating a blank wall between her and the vision beyond of the majestic mountain range.

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She was performing her afternoon duty as called by her religion.  People were walking around her, falling silent out of respect as they went past her.  Nobody gave a second glance.  The sun was shining brilliantly and the skies were crystal clear blue.  There was a slight breeze which made the day very pleasant.

I was dumbstruck.  May be I am judgmental.  Whilst I admire and respect her discipline to maintain a prayer regime to specifically connect with God at certain times regardless of circumstances as called by her Religion or any other Religious mandates for that matter, I  couldn’t stop thinking to myself – ‘Open your eyes lady, Is your God only behind those closed eyes in that blank paper?  Is God not around you staring back at you through the soft ruggedness of this wilderness, through the jagged edges of the rough yet smooth, strong big mountains?  Why is there a need to show your piety to something special than what you are surrounded by?  Drink it in with all your senses, merge with it, blend through it.  Don’t separate yourself from God surrounding you.’

Is human love towards Divine so compartmentalized and so selective that we are capable of ignoring the Divine present all around us and instead worship our chosen form of God or formless God (as per our religious affiliation) with selected verses of prayer handed down to us that begs to relieve the pain we cause to ourselves through our ignorance?

How can we show reverence to our chosen form of Divine and worship that but not worship Her creation manifest in everything we enjoy through our senses?

How can we close our eyes to that fact that we are part of this creation  that is screaming Divinity in its majesty?

Walking along the trail that led to the watching deck on one of the Three Sisters, I noticed tossed coke cans and plastic rubbish littering the base of the trees below.

Are we so filled with self-importance that we have the need to leave our presence  in disturbingly contrasting colors of red and white against the surrounded hues of various shades of green and brown?

Do we have to so loudly proclaim our separate identity?  What is this arrogance that forces us to think we are superior in front of the mightiness that is standing so humbly?

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My heart ached for those peeks that are grandly displaying that – In silence there is strength; In humility there is mightiness; In witnessing there is compassionate understanding.

When do we learn to stop isolating God with a calcified reverence as that with a distinct form, shape and thought created by our narrow minds, there to answer our specific prayers to preserve our mortality?

Do we have the capacity like the mountains to let the tears of our pain erode the tough edges of our personality recognizing the oneness in all and thus becoming softly carved beauties of compassion?

How do we constantly remember that God has created ‘us’, ‘them’ and ‘it’ as well.  Is there an inch of space on this planet where God is  NOT present?

How do we get there?

When we live with complete awareness that God is ‘in me, below me, above me, behind me, next to me, and around me’ wouldn’t we be living with reverence witnessing the pain and pleasure carrying principles with equanimity and discernment, separating the actor from the actions, recognizing the Divine in the actor whilst playing the role allocated in the drama to act on the actions?

To live in that complete awareness, we need a new prayer.

What would that new prayer be?

It would be asking ourselves with total honesty and purity for a felt understanding and knowing that we are part of the mighty mountains and the deep oceans, that we are the same elements that make the nature around us and all the sentient beings in it.

We need to repeatedly ask of ourselves to recognize and accept with an urgency that the ‘Sacred’ is in us as much as is in everything and everyone else.

This acceptance and understanding and the continuous reminder as a result of the new prayer will help us to live as  compassionate witnesses of the Sacred – grandly playing the dichotomies of life.  Our reverence will then be alive all the time under all circumstances – not reserved to select time and space bound ideas of Divinity and its worship.

Let us write that prayer and live it with a sense of urgency because in there lies the power of transformation.

Here is an example of such prayer I came across even as I was finishing writing this piece – Synchronicity – you bet.  Here it is by Nadia Colburn from the On Being blog

“At the Shopping Mall

Dear God, teach me how to



Teach me that you live not

only in the open field,

the birds singing at first dawn,

but also in the concrete

parking lot

of the Everett Mall, in the

neon lights of Old Navy,

in the wires crossing the open


above me,

Teach me in sadness and anger

in frustration and fear.

The cars speed down the


Their tires spin, spin.

There is so much

work to do.  So much activity.

Dark oil flows over the land

as over a great Greek feast.

Teach me

how to praise your whole body.”

Yes, we need to learn how to pray not just to praise the whole body of God, but to recognize God in the whole of creation including in us and in every being in it.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari


Who Is The Master Mind Behind Your Life?

Sai Baba
Sai Baba (Photo credit: Raios de Luz – Gláucia Góes)

Did you ever think of that? Who influences you in your decisions? What is the moral fabric on which you write your story?

I would like to share mine here.  This story is my spiritual journey so far in a nutshell and I am attempting to pay homage to a larger than life phenomenon who has directly affected my life and transformed me.  I know that my words would fail to convey my feelings and yet I have to try, because through that trying I reinforce what I feel and give shape to it.

It has been two years that a Loving Divinity in the form of Sathya Sai Baba walked on this earth physically for 85 years.  His clarion call to “Love all, Serve All; Help Ever, Hurt Never” reverberated from a tiny hamlet of Puttaparthi in South India – a dot that was not on the world map until recently, a village so remote once upon a time, that access to it was through many means of transportation including a walk through the sands of Chitravathi River.

That call to Love that started 73 years ago when He was a mere lad of 14 now has spread through just about every country in the world, touching millions of people directly and indirectly.

I heard that call 3 times before I took serious note of it, once in 1969, once in 1983 and finally in 1993.

November 1969 – A Friday evening, a quiet street in Red Hills, Hyderabad, India.  An evening of regular devotional singing at a retired Judge’s house; a nine year old girl led the bhajan “Hara Shiva Shankara” to a room full of packed young, old, middle aged men and women ecstatic in their collective expression of ritualistic worship paying tribute to their Gods.

A middle aged woman approached the 9yr old and asked if she attends Bal Vikas classes.  The girl never heard of that name before and she was told that is a weekly class for young children to learn new devotional songs and stories about God.

Coming from an Orthodox Hindu Brahmin family where worship of Lord Shiva is as normal and spontaneous as breathing, the girl eagerly nodded agreement which meant a 5km walk each way every Sunday afternoon come rain, hail or shine for the next 4 years.

As life took over, the central figure of Bal Vikas classes faded into background and the girl grew up to get married and lead the dutiful life of a good daughter-in-law and wife – in that order.  Religious worship was still a strong driver in the girl’s life, but this time in the in-law’s house the worshiped deity is not Lord Shiva but the Living Lord Sathya Sai Baba.  The girl was only a respectful observer from a distance with no close personal attachment or ties to this Lord.  She heard the exciting stories narrated by her mother-in-law with half an ear.

February 1984 – 6 months pregnant with her first child, the girl, one day saw Sai Baba in her dream.  He came, stood in front of her and said “Anandam, Anandam, Nityanandam, Brahmanandam; Omkaram Para Brahma Swaroopam” – loosely translated it was about Supreme Bliss and ‘Om’ the ultimate embodiment of Divinity.

The girl woke up startled at the dream so vivid and real, turned to her mother-in-law for guidance but was brushed off with a comment that it wasn’t easy to dream about Sai Baba.  Confused at the comment, perplexed at the seeming reality of the dream and not having any answers or further guidance, the girl moved on with life but never forgot the dream or what was said in the dream.

That was the second clarion call beckoning to follow the ‘Living Love’ walking this earth on its mission to show and tell what Love is all about.

Fast forward to May 1993 – life brought the girl to Australia for a better future but unbeknown to her, the real force behind migration was the ‘Living Love’ trying to connect with her brought her here to reveal itself.

A little ad in the local paper caught the girl’s attention which read “Sathya Sai Baba bhajans on every Friday, call……. for info”. “Wow! I can take my mother-in-law for the bhajans, I like to sing as well and she will enjoy her weekly sessions that she misses so much” – were the thoughts running through the girl’s head as she drove her mother-in-law on a cold, dark, wet evening on a Friday in May.

There were a whole heap of books on Sai Baba.  The girl who likes to read picked up “Man of Miracles” and “Holy man and the Psychiatrist”.  The miracles of that Holy Psychiatrist have hit home hard and memories of the dream came flooding back as the girl realised the previous two callings from LOVE to love and patience with which that LOVE waited and repeated its call.

The girl was ready to receive it fully, openly and humbly, grateful to have found it, knowing that she will never fully understand or fathom its power but craving to be enveloped and anchored in its simplicity of living and loving the LOVE that is physically present in its form.

That LOVE showed a way to a Peaceful, Truthful living with Righteous Conduct that ultimately leads to Non-Violence in Thought, Word and Deed.

How can the girl ever pay homage to the LOVE that is pervading and patiently persuasive in its eagerness to show the way?

How can the girl pay homage to the LOVE that demonstrated tirelessly, without taking a break, for over 7 decades, what love is all about, ?

Is it possible even to think that she can understand or fathom the depths of that LOVE that shines purely in its simplicity and is brighter than a thousand suns?

Is it humanly possible to peer into the depths of those loving eyes that see everyone in their naked vulnerability and yet love them to their core?

Can she hide from a pervading force that is embedded in every cell and atom of everything that seem to operate from that Force?

No, it is not humanly possible for me to understand that.  So, I will not attempt to understand or analyse.  I will just allow myself to be enveloped in the arms of that Gentle LOVE with total acceptance and through that touch I will come to know that LOVE enveloping me is already in me and is not separate from me.  It is in me, around me, in front and back, above and below, always in all ways.

When I understand this, I have understood the LOVE that walked this earth even though no longer physically present in  a form, is very much present in all the deep recesses of every living atom that is being guided and driven by it.

I pay homage to that LOVE which physically embodied as Sathya Sai Baba and walked on this earth to show and tell what loving is all about, what life is and to wake up and recognise that I am that LOVE, You are that LOVE, we all are that LOVE which manifests in a variety of colors, forms, shapes, sizes, smells and tastes, so we all can enjoy its varied flavors.

I pay homage to Sathya Sai Baba who made it possible for us to recognise that, not only recognise but to live with LOVE as an anchor that moors us solid in the flowing waters of life so we can become a resting place for the restless passers by.

The ultimate homage I can pay to Him is to become that resting place as He is to me.  I can only do that if I become Love in Action like He showed through His life.

I can only do that if I make My Life HIS MESSAGE which is LOVE.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari