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


Fear or Love – Can One Sheath Have Two Swords in it?

FearUnity and love

Yesterday I posted a news item on my Facebook page about an Anti-Islamic group planning to move protests to Albury amid mosque renovation plans and shared this news on a community page that I  maintain.  I have called for support to the local Muslim community and not allow outside groups to enter and disturb the peace and harmony in our town, if and when it happens.

This post sparked a debate with one gentleman who took objection to the post and ended up posting you tube videos that show Islam extremist groups fighting local authorities and their capacities, and asking  me not to post anything like this on a community Facebook page.

I also had a private conversation with another person who expressed concerns and ended up quoting the popular saying which echoes many peoples views on Islam and terrorism and that is – “Not All Muslims are terrorists but every terrorist is a Muslim”

This made me think.  This is how it is everywhere isn’t it – from individuals to societies, to countries –  people stuck on what they see as right, not willing to give the other party a chance to explain, wanting to have their word as the last word by all means, distinct ‘us vs them’ mentality, using religion to support arguments, to create arguments, forgetting the basic humanity.

The overriding need for safety of the self drives a person to behave in a way that suits them operating from within their silo.

Is this what humans have become?  What is it in us that is so threatening to each other?

We profess words of peace, but inside we are riddled with doubts, worry,  judgment, fear, persecution – how can our smiles be genuine?

How can love blossom in hearts that are shrinking with fear and crouch in that corners of safety that is illusory?

Love is the answer no doubt and caution needs to be exercised as well when getting into public debate because not everyone comes from the basis of love.  Solution for any of theses issues from micro to macro is in individual understanding and adjustment.

At a time when we are living with all nationalities and religions together in communities, do we isolate one particular community because the larger diaspora of that community on an international scene is not just labelled but marginalized as terrorists because of a few hundred or thousands of peoples’ actions?

Which religion is exclusive of fundamentalism?  There are fundamentalist terrorists in all religions Hinduism included.  In fact, every individual is capable of being a terrorist.  As long as we are operating from fear, the capacity to terrorize in the name of self protection not only is there but is on the ever increase. When enough people with this terror in their hearts join forces, extremist groups are formed. Anti-Islam groups are equally the terrorists.

Yes, I agree when we chose to migrate from our home lands, we have to abide by the law of the host country.  I don’t see any Islamic group in Australia nor any other religious group acting against the law of the land barring a few isolated cases.  So why do we have to bring international fears into our home towns or allow others to pollute our minds?

Is Fear the driver of the 21st Century?

Did we not let fear rule us so far and look where we collectively brought the world to.  I cannot exclude my role in the large collective drama.  Every fear I harbor in the deep dark corners of my heart, no matter how hidden and deep, will contribute to the larger scene.  It first plays on me, then on my family, community and it spreads.

When our children have to sit side by side in schools with Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Sikhs etc what are we teaching them – not to help a child in need because he happens to be a Muslim, therefore a terrorist by default?

When that fear is big in our hearts, how can we genuinely demonstrate to our children to become caring individuals?  Can we preach something that we are not prepared to follow?

I am not asking that we should become activists in an effort to solve world problems.  But what is wrong in asking to become activists for ourselves, to weed our own hearts from the damaging fears and prejudices, plant seeds of love to sprout and grow in recognition that –

“Skin deep, we all flow red” and the fistful of muscle that beats in our chest cavity and throbs inside our skulls wants only one thing – LOVE.

What is the worst thing that can happen if we all converted to the Religion of LOVE, just for today, and tomorrow – one day at a time?

Start the day with Love – Send loving thoughts for yourself, your family, your community and the world.

Spend the day with Love – Smile and wave at everyone.  Extend loving help where possible. Don’t be a grouch. Smile does not cost anything

End the day with Love – Say thank you for the day’s events, send loving light into the world and pray that even more loving day will dawn tomorrow.

If we took time to make this an individual practice and also do it collectively, then fear will have no room in our hearts.  We can put aside our minds’ little worries, fears, pressures of various sorts of daily living and grow in love.

Continuously spending a few conscious moments everyday living in love and gratitude, we pave our way to create unity and harmony – recognizing the Fatherhood of God and Brotherhood of  man.

Fear and Love are the two swords that cannot fit into the one sheath. 

What is your choice – Fear or Love?

One binds and the other releases from our own self created shackles.

Let Love be the driver of your thoughts, words and deeds.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

“Know Your Power….”

English: Goddess Durga, fighting Mahishasura, ...
Goddess Durga, fighting Mahishasura, the buffalo-demon (Hindu Mythology) . In the clouds the Devas, celestial beings watching the event, are seen. The story is written in the Devi Mahatmya and Devi Bhagavata and is the background of the Durgapuja, the annual Hindu festival in autumn. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Addressing all Women –

Do you know your power? I am guessing you do deep down but stop yourself from acknowledging it.  I do….

I am in the middle of celebrating a 9 day Festival of Goddess called “Devi Navarathri” which culminates on the 10th day and the festival itself is called “Dassara”.  It is widely celebrated throughout India.  Today is the 3rd day of the nine days.  Whilst it is a festival embedded with ritualistic offerings, prayers, chants etc., the symbolism and the deep meaning behind those chants is something not to be taken lightly.

At a time when the world is at a crisis point in all areas of manifestation, at a time when women all over the world are suppressed and/or oppressed and made to suffer silently, drawing in the symbolic meanings of such rituals and rising with the practical power that it offers is crucial.

We may not all believe in one particular religion or not believe in God at all, but we all do acknowledge the power of feminine and how much that is required today.

Devi Navarathri or Durga Navarathri is a festival celebrating the sensuous as well as ferocious qualities of the Goddess.  Legend has it that the Goddess has fought the demon called “Mahish-asura” fiercely for 9 days and obtained victory.

“Mahish” means Buffalo and “Asura” means Demon.  The qualities of a buffalo are that of sloth, laziness, brutal strength coupled with the demonic qualities of the 6 inner enemies of “Lust, Anger, Pride, Attachment, Jealousy and Greed”. These are the precise qualities that are rampantly manifest in today’s society aren’t they?

The one particular prayer offered to the Goddess during these 9 days is a chant of 1008 names of the Goddess.  This chant describes the Goddess as a sensuously beautiful woman as well as ferociously courageous and unconditionally compassionate.

Can we relate to these qualities in us women?

Yes we can.  Now, we may all not be sensuously beautiful, but we do rise ferociously when our loved ones are hurt and we are naturally kind and compassionate.  The problem is we don’t acknowledge these capacities.  21st century world forces us most of the time to focus on external appearances and material comforts which causes discontent to rise again and again.  Add to that our own self-doubts, judgments, worries, guilt, anxiety and even self-hatred in some, women shrink within and do not allow themselves even to consider their own potential.

It is time that we women rose strongly recognising our inherent qualities.  I am not a feminist and I don’t hate men.  Men are equally important in this world and there is a lot to be learned from the masculine energy.  But when one energy predominantly rules, the balance is skewed as we are witnessing today.  It is time for that balance to be corrected and only by women recognising their inherent Divine Potentialities, acknowledging them and embracing them fully can that happen.

The 9 days are divided into 3 sets.  The first 3 days prayers are dedicated to Goddess Durga in order to clean all the impurities within, so the channels for pure energy to rise are clear.  It no longer serves us to put ourselves down and play it low.

The next 3 days are to acquire wealth in all 3 areas of life and the Goddess Lakshmi helps in acquiring wealth physcially, mentally and spiritually.

The Goddess Saraswathi – Goddess of Knowledge and Wisdom is invoked in the last 3 days in order to hone the knowledge and gain wisdom.

So, what changes can we make to allow the Goddess energy to manifest within ourselves?

How can we rise above our own self-doubt and self-judgment?

How can we become more courageous in standing up for who we are?  How can we stand up for other women?

How can we be compassionate and kind in our understanding and interactions with ourselves and with each other?

It is time that we women collectively stood up and say ‘YES’ to our power.  This is not about power games.  This is about us acknowledging our own Goddess qualities and living them fully.  Through that we demonstrate our power that is naturally within us hiding from sight. We need to own it and live it.

Are you ready to acknowledge that you are sensuously beautiful, unconditionally kind, loving and compassionate and ferociously courageous?

Let us tell each other that today and the next day and the next day……until it becomes a reality to all the women.

Drop a line with your stories…

Until next time,

Bowing to the Goddess within us

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari



“Are We Separate From Each Other – Truly??”

The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein
(The duck-rabbit, made famous by Wittgenstein – Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I get jealous when I come across people who live or seem to live life with full of enthusiasm and excitement.  I am sure there are people who feel similarly of  me and the way I live my life.

We live a life of comparisons most of the time.  Why do we feel this way? Why do we always think that somebody else has it all together?  The proverbial ‘Grass is greener on the other side’ – we tend to live that at one time or another, some more than others.

And yet the highest spiritual truth is as Thich Nhat Hanh says – “We are here to awaken from the illusion of our separateness”.  Illusion is called “Maya” in Sanskrit and that is what we all are immersed in and are journeying to get out of, some more advanced on the path and others at the very beginning of the trail, nevertheless, all on the same path.

The root cause for the feelings of desire, anger, greed, attachment, envy and jealousy – the 6 inner enemies,  is the feeling of separateness that rises through comparisons of ‘better than’, ‘more than’, ‘happier than’, etc. etc.,

If I recognise the ‘Oneness’ then the enthusiasm in one or the beauty in the other should not be the causes for disturbances in me.  I should be able to recognise those qualities in others as an extension of mine.

But it is not easy to do that -why?  Why do I forget the ‘Oneness’ and repeatedly strengthen the ‘illusion of separateness’?

When I operate from the realm of the 5 senses that constantly reiterate and reinforce good and bad, beauty and ugly, when those senses remind me of my physical boundaries, that is when I get rooted in the separateness as boundaries become solid.

Is it possible to blur the boundaries so the spectrum of colors are seen in the distinct edges?  Is it possible to train the vision to see the Oneness?

If I soften my eyes and perhaps even squint a little as if I am trying to see a hidden picutre in an optical illusion, an image within the image, then the edges soften and get blurry and before I know I can hold both pictures in my vision – the visible and the hidden, both clear at the same time.

Softening the vision is one way of seeing past the solid edges and recognising the inner core.      That can only happen when I soften the vision on myself and not hold my edges solidly – meaning when I blur my vision towards myself so the hidden and the outer coexist without judgment, when I love myself for who I am, when I soften towards myself, only then can I fully and completely soften towards the others and those soft edges in me and the other happily come together in a dance of celebration and I am awake from my illusion of separateness.

Just softening the vision will not be enough to do the trick completely.  Vision should be softened accompanied by a word or a phrase that triggers images of Love.  That can be any word or phrase – from “beauty” to “love” to “compassion” to “kind” or even specific names and images of Holy Beings who walked this earth or are walking now – like “Jesus”, “Buddha”, “Allah”, “Rama” etc.,  This is a concept recommended as a spiritual practice in all faiths.  Hinduism calls it “Nama Smarana”, Islam calls it “Zikr” and Christianity recommends the practice of Rosary.  The reasoning behind this spiritual practice is that the  word and/or image evokes the same qualities within us.

When we take time to soften the vision and evoke an image through the word whilst interacting with each others, it will be impossible to treat the others with contempt, or unkindness.  Judgments drop like autumn leaves.  The image evoked through the word will be powerful enough to help us ignore the hard outer edges and concentrate on the soft glimmering inner image that tantalizes us initally but fully becomes visible through practice – like the ‘optical illusion’ once the hidden is visible, we cannot seem to see the original image.

For me the practice of saying “Swami” (the name of a Form that is beloved to me) every time I come across somebody works.  Even the minor random judgments that pass through the mind stop as the mind questions me ‘would I be thinking that if it was really Swami in front of me’ and the judgment stops as mind surrenders to the rising silence filled with love.

It works beautifully, but I have to remember to do it.

Yes, we forget to do the practice.  But the only way to continue is to pick up where we left off every time we remember, without judgment, guilt or blame.  Those feelings are the liquid nitrogen that freeze the solid edges of separateness and it takes a lot of warm waters of love to thaw.  AS soon as the cold vapors of negativity are sensed and felt, we need to remember to blow the warm breeze of positive soothing words and images. Only that kindness has the capacity to thaw the solidity of separateness.

Awakening from the illusion of separateness comes with practice and unless we are willing to do that we will continue to live in the world of ‘me & you’, ‘us & them’, separate and suffering.

So, what would work for you if you were to decide to awaken from the illusion of separateness?

Leave your comments as I am interested to know.

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari