Stages in the Development of Prayer

After some time the devotee begins to feel more happiness and peace in his inner spiritual progress than in his bodily comforts. The following prayer occurs in the Varhad Arnayak Upanishad: Lead us from untruth to truth, from darkness to light, And from death to immortality. As the gaze of the devotee is turned away from outer things, he begins to feel that all worldly pleasures are unreal. He experiences the everlasting and eternal Being, and worldly pleasures appear to be transitory and perishable. He, therefore, thinks it of no value to ask for worldly comforts.

What should I ask for? All is transitory.

Kabir, Dhanasri 692

All the world is busy eating, drinking and making merry, but a devotee has no liking for or interest in these activities. He attends only to the essential needs of the body, and spends the rest of the time in communion with the Lord. He prays, "O Lord! Take me out of the ocean of this world. You are my only refuge." Many lives have been spent in eating, drinking and making merry.

Take me out of the ocean of the world. Oh Lord, Nanak relies on You.

Gauri M, 261

In accordance with the teachings of the Gurus, the devotee looks after the body only so that the Lord may dwell in his heart and his tongue may repeat His Name.

May the holy feet of the Lord dwell in my heart, and may my tongue repeat the Name of the Lord; oh Nanak. Remember the Lord who preserves the body.

Bihagara War M5, 554

He is conscious of his ignorance on this path, and knowing his weaknesses he extends his hands in prayer for help.

Oh Lord, take me across; I am ignorant, and do not know the way. Help me, oh Lord!

Nam Dev, Guru, 873

As the disciple's inner sight changes, so does his prayer. In the beginning, he is conscious of the body and of bodily needs. He thinks it necessary to pray for them. But as his inner eyes are opened, he begins to feel the spiritual needs, and his prayers change. He knows that he has to control the senses and still the mind in order to reach the spiritual regions and the original home of the soul. This is not an easy task. The impressions of many births are in the mind and his inclinations are based on them. He cannot give up his old ways. He sometimes turns to spiritual seeking, while at other times he is drawn the other way by the needs of the self and the body. He sometimes succeeds, while at other times he succumbs. His heart is not in the world or its wealth, but the mind cannot yet remain fixed in the Lord all the time. He feels that he is full of sins, while at the same time people are calling him good.

Oh Farid! My clothes are black and my dress is black. I am full of sins, but people call me a Dervesh.

Farid, Salok, 1381

The devotee gets tired of this unavoidable conflict and wishes to give it up. He gives it up for some time, but the love of the Lord does not let him wander. The waves of hope spring up in him, and he again turns to Him.

He who falls while walking is not to be blamed; oh Kabir! He who does not move has all the way to go.

Kabir Sahib

Unless all the ten senses are controlled and the mind is turned inward, there is no light in the soul.

He who controls the ten senses, in his soul there is light.

Gauri M, 236

The diseases of the mind are very dangerous, but they appear very sweet to the devotee. One cannot give them up even though he may be tired of them. A lustful person cannot easily give up lust, even though he knows its bad results. For overcoming these diseases, he needs the help and strength of some powerful personage such as the Master.

Control the mind by the strength of the Master.

Sar Bachan

To gain victory over the mind, the help of the Master is very necessary. By the strength of the Master, the mind that is entangled in attachment and Maya awakens.

Awaken your sleeping mind by remembering the Master.

Suhi M4, 758

Maulana Rumi also says that the mind cannot be controlled without the help of the Master.