Following is an excerpt from the lecture on How to pray to Lord – by Vraj Bihari Das.
When Chitraketu Maharaj saw the Supreme Lord, he forgot everything and did not know what to do. He started crying profusely. He started stammering and not able to utter even letters. This is because he was so much into Krishna Consciousness that his mind neglects everything on seeing Krishna. Prabhupada says that we are also getting Darshan like Chitraketu Maharaj when we see the deities. We should think that there is God before us in the form of deity and offer sincere prayers and love for Supreme Lord. Even if we cannot offer sincere prayers, we should come to the temple and try our best to please Krishna. This trying will please Krishna like how a broken word of children pleases their parents. Whatever actions we are doing, it should be done for pleasing Krishna. Modern society indulges in education, research and many other activities other than developing love for God. Prabhupada says that any action that is not focusing on Krishna is only a waste of time.
Prabhupada asks the modern people “if your education and all other activities can not remove suffering from the world, then what is the use of it?” He further says that the goal of our life should be developing relationship with Krishna and offer love to Krishna. Material education and its outputs like nuclear waste and electronic waste are creating more problems than any other.
Chitraketu Maharaj then controlled his mind and senses and started praising Krishna through his prayers. In his prayers, he told that first we should come in front of deity and then try to offer sincere prayers. Second we should control our mind and senses by intelligence and determination. If we cannot control our mind for even one moment, then Maya, the illusionary energy, will affect us. This world is full of negativity and the important step in devotional service is to control our mind. We cannot be an advanced devotee only by coming to temple for long time. We have to work hard and be conscientious like the people do for material things.
Chitraketu Maharaj in his prayer reveals the benefits of controlling the mind and senses. He says that unconquerable lord can be conquered by the devotees who controlled their mind. Similarly, the Lord will also conquer his devotees. Devotees who give up all their selfish desires and serves Krishna alone can only conquer Krishna. Just like how we are conquered by the people who selflessly help us, in the material world. Prabhupada says that controlling mind and senses means continuing to do devotional service despite all difficulties and problems. Generally we consider Maya personally and scriptures as some others’ business. But we should consider scriptures personally and Maya as some others’ business.
Chitraketu Maharaj also prays that “Cosmic creation, maintenance and annihilations are nothing but your opulence. Lord Brahma and other creators are small part of you and their partial power of creation cannot make them Iswara. If they think them as separate lords, then that is false pride.” Prabhupada says that we are insignificant part and parcel of Krishna but we are proud of us. Our intelligence for creating something and ingredients for creation are given only by Krishna. We have to check ourselves often and never think that we are better than others.
Vishwanath Chakravarthi Thakur analyses “How devotees are getting trapped”. He says that devotees go through five stages. First is Utsahamai when we are hyper enthusiastic in devotional service. Next is Ghanatarala when we like to chant one day and not on another day. Third stage is Vyudavikalpa when we are in confusion always. Next stage is Vishaya sankgraha when we are struggling with sense gratification.
Next stage is Niyamakshama when we struggle with devotional things. After crossing all the five stages, we will reach the sixth stage Taranga Rangini which literally means “Waves”. In this stage, we will be continuously bombarded by the waves of pride due to our devotional service. As we progress further, we will be more cautious. It is easy to be humble when we are new and did not have success but we should be humble after getting old and had success.
Radhanath Swami Maharaj says that if we have two emotions in heart, then we will know that we have pride. First is “If you have a competitive tendency, then you have pride”. When you feel insecure and want to be like others, then you have pride. Second is “If you have expectations, then you have pride”. These expectations will also bring misery.
Chitraketu Maharaj also prays “My dear lord, you exist everywhere from minute particle and gigantic universe. You exist in past, present and future without limitation.” Srimad Bhagavatam explains that all prayers have four elements. First is Praise. Devotees should praise the lord first. Next is Thanking. Devotees should thank for all the things they got. Third is Ask for forgiving. Devotees should remember their mistakes and ask for forgiveness. Fourth and final is asking for benediction. By glorifying Krishna, we will get purified and see Krishna’s hand in our life.
This is very beautifully explained in this Audio to a great length, please download and listen to it.