Prayer





 

Prayer

Bubba Free John (Adi Da
Samraj)

Unpublished talk 10-22-78

 

DEVOTEE: Bubba you’ve written
recently that one of your reasons for approaching the
Community is to accept our requests. And I have two
requests. (Laughter.) First just being that my love for you
become stronger, becomes purified and my second request has
to do with being purified and clarified in the whole process
of requesting things from you. I had this impulse, this
sense that I could ask anything of you and it would be
given.

BUBBA: Not everything.
(Laughter.)

DEVOTEE: That’s just it… (Bubba
laughing.) There is also the sense that it is not proper to
ask for anything basically and I’ve come out of a background
that says that you can only ask for devotion of God. There
is nothing more specific you could ask without being self
possessed, and this consideration began when I read another
essay yesterday where you said that threshold personality is
where the Spiritual Master does appear in your life and you
may make prayer for request of Him, and you will see the
results of those requests in your life. So my question in a
nut shell is what is the form that we can ask things of you
and……..

BUBBA: God doesn’t simply fulfill
spiritual requests, because the changes and improvements in
every area of our existence would have to come about through
that Divine Power as well. Therefore we should submit all
aspects of our experience to God, and surrender everything
to God, and offer everything to the Spiritual Master, and
make prayerful requests to the Spiritual Master in a very
natural way relative to all aspects of ones ordinary life,
because these things will change and even now they exist in
both cases they depend on God.

This body depends on God both for
its present existence and its future changes as well as for
its enlightenment. The current of life, of bliss, actually
may be used in three ways and always functions in or has a
capacity to function in these three ways.

The first way is the way most people
use it and don’t even know what they are using in the
process. We use the current of life to create pleasure, to
fulfill desires. So when we animate the body toward its
various fulfillment’s we are using the power of God. We
fulfill the tendencies or the habit patterns that already
exist gotten from earlier life or previously life, or simply
in the scheme of human experience altogether. That
accumulated pattern is a kind of fixed machine within which
the life current may operate. But that dimension of ordinary
life is also God filled and dependent on God and should
therefore be submitted to God in order that it may change.

A second way in which the life
current may be used and tends to be used in this way less
often or by fewer people is for evolutionary purpose. So be
transcending existing desires, and transferring our
attention in the life current itself, knowing that that is
what it is, toward unawakened centers of the brain or of the
body, we may evolve, be changed into more of what man by
structure can be. Much of what is called spirituality,
spiritual practice or religious practice is really a matter
of evolutionary exercises.

In other words the things that are
done that are called God Realizing are more often than not
simply methods for exploiting the evolutionary mechanism in
man, they don’t lead to God you see, but rather may at best
lead toward the higher state of the body-mind. But that
mechanism to which we have not yet adapted, this higher or
subtler mechanism of ourselves is also God filled and
therefore should be submitted to God in any case whether we
seek the evolutionary goals specifically and with intent or
not. And any changes that occur of an evolutionary kind
depend on God. And therefore it is right that we submit
ourselves prayerfully to God for the sake of our higher
transformation so that we may fulfill the higher stages of
life.

The third way in which the life
current or the Divine Power may be used is for its own sake,
for the sake of transcendental realization, for the sake of
God Realization.

In that case we surrender, submit
ourselves into that Radiant Current directly. And even the
body/mind is transcended in that sacrifice. Those who say we
should only pray to God for a spiritual purpose are really
saying that you should only pray to God for God Realization,
ultimately all prayers to God are also for God. And
therefore the highest aspect of all prayer is the prayer of
God Realization.

On the other hand prayer is also
submission of the body-mind to God for the sake of the
purification of the body-mind, its liberation from various
kinds of dilemma and suffering, prayer is not a demand that
God do this and that, prayer is surrender to God, with the
request for the blessing of God, for the transforming fire
of God, and we can also make that prayer in specific terms,
the specific terms of that principle dimension in ourselves
that we in this moment want to turn over, want to see
transformed, want to see liberated from having to serve as
an obstacle to God Realization. Requests may be offered
through the formalities of the devotional cycle, prayers may
be uttered in meditative silence, the movement of prayer may
be exercised in the prayer of changes.

Fundamentally all of this prayer is
for that and to that, all of it is simply sacrifice of self,
transcendence of self. But even these requests for specific
changes in the conditions of the body-mind must be self
transcending gestures, they are forms of the surrendering of
that which you would have changed. Not merely holding on to
it and asking for them to be changed, but letting them go.
Turning them over to God to be changed.

That is the essential gesture we
make with every aspect of ourselves each day, that is the
essential form of surrender to the Spiritual Master then. It
is surrender, it is sacrifice, it is expectant of all kinds
of changes, but it doesn’t specify any in particular each
time it’s done. But occasionally it may be appropriate. It’s
a way of acknowledging the need to surrender an aspect of
ourselves or surrender ourselves totally while at the same
time considering an aspect of ourselves with the request for
a particular kind of change.

If this prayer is made fully,
psychically, heartfelt, bodily, truly, even intuitively with
a sense of the rightness of it, then it is likely that these
changes will take place.

Specific requests made to the person
of the Spiritual Master are at times appropriate. It’s not
merely you see, as someone suggested a kind of psychological
operation in yourself that would then make these changes
happen. If you surrender yourself hard enough you see, if
you think positively enough about the change you see then it
will happen. Well, yes that mechanism is at work in your
case to produce changes , ordinary changes in the
pleasurable play of ordinary descended life, even
evolutionary changes.

But the Spiritual Master and the
Living God is a Person, a Presence, something that
transcends the mechanism of your own body mind. By entering
into Communion with the Spiritual Master, by entering into
Communion with the Living God, your own mechanism you see of
positive thinking ceases to be the only thing at work for
your sake.

If you study the traditions of
spiritual life you see countless examples of someone making
a request to a Spiritual Master or some extraordinary
personality or to God that is tangibly felt by that
individual and these , and the response comes back suddenly,
dramatically, changes occur, whereas previously all efforts
of positive thinking and self change failed.

In The Bhagavad Gita Krishna tells
Arjuna that he not only responds to His devotees, those who
know who He is and submit to Him directly, totally, but that
everyone who prays, performs sacrifices, performs an
activity for the sake of some gain or other. Is in fact
making use of His Power. And therefore all of those changes,
all of the answers to those prayers are in fact the results
of His universal energy meditated by the kind of approach
the individual made by the level of his understanding, by
the cult of his approach and so forth.

So the Divine is all pervading,
transcendental, absolute and present and all things must be
submitted in God, ultimately it is God that must be desired.
God that must be realized Because the Realization of God
liberates us from the limitations of the body-mind
altogether, and it becomes a matter of humor then, but in
the process of maturing in this way of God Realization we
must submit ourselves piece by piece and all of the
practices are in fact forms of prayer.

In other words forms of self giving,
self yielding, acceptance of the mastery of God rather than
self mastery. All kinds of self mastery or responsibility
for oneself must be expressions of ones dependence on God,
ones acceptance of the Mastery of God. And the drama of the
dependence of the individual on God is displayed in the
relationship between devotees and the Spiritual Master.

So it is appropriate for devotees to
make requests in the form of surrender, in the form of the
acknowledgment of their dependence on the Power of God for
the changes that are desirable and right. So if you come to
any moment in your life where you are sensitive that some
change would serve, would be right, is in some sense even
inevitable but cannot be brought about by your cranky self
involvement you see, or that you feel would be best served
by bringing to my attention directly, then you should come
forward at a time like this or you can write to me, have it
communicated tome through someone.

So it is right to live as a devotee
in all the terms in which you live. And once you become a
devotee truly you see, when you become dependent on the
Mastery of God, it is then that you begin to see a direct
connection between prayer and changes. Whereas previous to
the time when changes begin to occur you are full of prayer
and no changes. Changes are granted to devotees where the
devotee has had to transcend himself to make the prayer. And
changes are made to serve the God Realization of the
devotee.

In any moment those changes may
involve adding to the ordinary pleasure of the life of that
person, these changes may involve some evolutionary change,
some higher adaptation, but the purpose of the
transformations or changes granted to devotees by God
through the agency of the Spiritual Master is to lead that
person to the point of God Realization. So the road to such
realization very often begins with prayers of this kind,
prayers for changes, prayers for evolutionary
transformation.

In fact you already have a way to
turn to me in this way in the Prayer of Changes. It’s in the
devotional cycle. You should make use of this form of
contact, this form of surrender. It relates to particular
changes you see. The practices beyond the devotional cycle,
meditative practices and so forth are themselves, as I’ve
said forms of prayer for evolutionary change.

Now there is a way to make such
requests, and the Prayer of Changes is essentially a
description of that, a formality through which it may be
done. The request generally is made through a formality. In
other words through a kind of, a form of approach for which
you must prepare yourself, within which you must submit
yourself bodily, psychically, mentally, emotionally.

In India everyone learns how to do
Puja it is called. Puja is basically a formula for self
offering, presenting gifts and so forth and making requests,
of an ordinary kind for ordinary pleasure and change, and a
more extraordinary kind for evolutionary transformation and
of a transcendental kind for God Realization. It is not so
much the outer ceremony of Puja that is significant, it is
simply, it simply must be part of it, it’s not the point, it
is not the essence. The essence of the approach in Puja is
psychophysical surrender, yielding of the being. And you all
must find your ritual worship, your form of Puja, your form
of right approach.

You must know in your own case in
any moment how to make prayerful requests, what is the form
it should take in this moment. Should it simply be a matter
of submission in the devotional cycle and in your moment to
moment remembrance, should it be done through the specific
process of the Prayer of Changes, should you write me a
letter, should you discuss it in a men’s group or one of the
other groups in the Church, should you come forward at some
time when I’m here?

In any case, it must be a form of
Puja, right worshipful, prayerful self surrendering
approach, in a natural manner without self consciousness. Of
course it’s not a matter of every time you see me laying
down about 30 requests (Laughter.), always being childishly
in need you see, it’s a matter of understanding,
acknowledging when you are truly in need, in the most basic
and express it through right devotional activity and right
approach to the Divine, right approach to the Spiritual
Master.

You all must yet learn this approach
you see. In general you all live with me and one another,
you approach me in the worldly manner more or less, with
self consciousness you see. To become human we must accept
Mastery of ourselves.

The Spiritual Master is the Master
of the devotee in the truly spiritual sense. That involves a
special kind of relationship that takes into account all of
the higher physics of our existence. You all are used to a
downtown religious approach to God. You all probably
belonged to or had some contact with some church or
synagogue or organized religious group or other. You see
what is called worship in such places is a pretty dry
affair. Either that or it’s just the opposite, it’s some
sort of hysterical self possession, some sort of mad
enthusiasm, which is just a way of stimulating yourself
rather than surrendering yourself. So you all must hear me
and see me and evolve this right approach to me so that you
can make use of my company rather than forever just come
here to be convinced again, made to feel a little better in
that moment you see.

The spiritual process is a life and
death matter. That’s how important it is. The devotee has
come into alignment with the life and death nature of
conscious existence in every moment. He is not simply a
consoled middle class person you see who has got all kinds
of things that make him feel good and he is basically
aligned with all of those and doesn’t come in touch with his
vulnerability too often. The devotee has become fully
conscious of his fear, his mortality, his ignorance. The
floor is taken out from under him, and his spiritual process
then you see becomes most profound. And he grows for a time
you see the floor being relatively unstable but heaven being
full of possibility and greatness.

The God Realized devotee is one for
whom not only the floor has been taken out from under him
but heaven has been taken away from above him. But you must
begin you see, and the way you begin is by noticing the
fault in this earth, the fault in this body, this body-mind
to which you are attached, which you are trying to stimulate
and make feel good and make survive you see. Then you see
that it has nothing to stand on, and is not worthy of your
worship, you see, there’s nothing that will guarantee
continued existence to you, then the life and death affair
of the spiritual way can begin.

So there’s real urgency, heat in the
approach of the devotee, it’s prayerful, worshipful and
graceful. Not hysterical, although sometimes people get a
little hysterical, but that’s not what characterizes the
devotee you see. So in this awareness of the life and death
nature of every moment, every breath, you may come to times
when you realize there is an essential change that must take
place because there is an area that is primary obstruction,
or that represents circumstances that are results of past
events, past tendencies you see, bearing fruit in this
moment and you would prefer that the slate be wiped clean so
there are moments in your life in which you must make
prayerful requests, specific form. Ultimately for the sake
of God Realization, but the requests are relative to
ordinary things. And if you become full in this Communion,
the body-mind itself becomes a prayer, and you become
constantly aware of the graceful activity of God in each
moment. You become much more intelligent about this whole
matter of requests. Because you are in a position of
prayerful inspection of the work of God, and there are many
circumstances that are difficult that you would not want to
have go away, which serve you profoundly.

And by submitting to God within that
structure you see all of the karmas or tendencies producing
that event ultimately become obsolete, but you will have
submitted to the fire, and simply because you make a request
does not mean that it is answered in the form of a change
that specifically fulfills your design. You must be
watchful, mindful, attentive and continually submissive,
observing this area which you are submitting prayerfully and
seeing that opportunities, the changes, the circumstances
that are occurring relative to that creative area of your
life, accepting more and more/responsibility for that area
as well. And then there are other times when a request is
made and the change is given.

So how it will all come about you
must see in the midst of your devotional practice, how you
must approach what is true Puja for the devotee in this case
is something you must understand and adapt to. Once you
learn the life of the devotee simply is prayerful submission
you see, then there is no question about whether you should
surrender or make a request in any moment. You will observe
that areas in your life in which you desire a change are
basically areas in which you must become more responsible.

So you must not simply pray, you
must submit yourself to the Teaching and to the Teacher hour
by hour in order to see what is a matter of right
responsibility so that you can change your act and pray for
that capacity. So you see how prayer has many forms in this
way of life that is submission is every moment. So find out
in your case what are those moments in which it is
approp;riate to request something specifically. And then
find a way to do that that is appropriate. So that it is
simply another form of surrender as in every other moment.
And truly pray then when you make that request, in other
words give it up to the Mastery of God. Don’t sort of
intellectually request something and look and see that it
doesn’t change and then become an atheist. (Laughter.) Most
atheists I suppose are just people who tried praying one
time and didn’t get an answer. (Laughter.) They are sort of
petulant and childish you see, disappointed that there is no
parent deity. Disappointed in their childish, or childhood
religion and not responsible enough to take on the religious
obligations of a man or a woman.

So because the whole matter has so
many possibilities, there are so many ways to pray, you see,
so many different kinds of moments of prayer, it gets a
little confusing to the mind, in this moment to decide
whether to ask me what it was that you had in mind.
(Laughter.) Therefore prayer must come out of the midst of
your real practice. So fulfill all of the obligations of
practice, all of which are forms of prayer in the midst of
that prayerful intuition that is native to that way of life
you will find those moments when it is appropriate to make
requests, and you will know how to do it.

 

DEVOTEE: Thank you Bubba.

 

BUBBA: Sure. The best way to do it
is to simply turn yourself over you see, and once you have
entered into literal Communion with the Spiritual Master,
have even bodily come into intimate association with that
current and power, then simply surrender into that hour by
hour through all of the means that have been given to you
and you will naturally see all kinds of changes occurring
because that wordless power is the matrix of changes and
appearances, is the only genius of transformation. And any
request of a specific kind we may make in any moment can
have their roots in all kinds of motivations you see no
genius at all, just some confused and suffering personality.

So there are moments in which you
have the profound sense of the rightness of some request,
this may be true; but in general you must simply come into
Communion with that Living Reality beyond a doubt. And in
that Communion, that intercourse, that surrendering of the
body mind, into that Living Power and Consciousness you
become aware that life is Mastered by a genius. And all the
changes of your life begin to conspire toward your
fulfillment of the stages of life.

So when you become most essentially
surrendered into that current, you may find yourself making
very few requests of a specific kind you see, because you
will have natural faith, inherent certainty that the
transformations that are being set in motion by Grace are
all the ones that are appropriate. Prayerful life ceases to
be so much one of looking for things to ask to be changed,
becomes more a matter of observing the changes adapting
within a life that is now being transformed by the literal
Power of God.

It is a better position to be in,
because only in that position of intimacy with God can we
rightly understand the difficult situations of life. Left to
our own design and willfulness there s all kinds of things
we would want to disappear immediately you see. Whereas if
we were surrendered into that bliss already happy in that,
then we could tolerate this play.

It’s not merely a matter of putting
up with it, it’s a matter of being able to be combined with
it in the spirit of devotion, because once you have entered
into literal Communion with the Divine Person, the God Power
does enter into your life directly. That moment of entering
into such Communion is perhaps yet to begin, yet to occur
for some of you. Others of you have some direct sense of
what I’m talking about. God is a literal Power and Presence
and Consciousness.

And spiritual life, the life of a
devotee is not merely a matter of convincing yourself and
duminying yourself up from day to day you see like an
ordinary believer. The devotee is one who lives in intimate
Communion with the literal and living God.

Those who hear the Teaching, see the
Spiritual Master and enter into right relationship with the
Spiritual Master are soon given this baptism. Any phenomena
that may be associated with that baptism will vary from
person to person and in general it is profoundly subtle.
There may be some signs of outward changes in your life or
kriyas and other physical events you see. Fundamentally it
is tacit, direct, simple, subtle sense of the nameless
Divine. And it is felt bodily and the psyche is most
intimate with that consciousness.

It is an undeniable baptism of
Communion, Divine Communion, and once you are established in
that Communion then this body-mind becomes the instrument of
the Transforming Power of God. You must playfully,
prayerfully, devotedly live with me, having been baptized
you see, so that you may go through this process of
transformation by stages.

So if you hear this Teaching and
return to this baptism you see, then you simply surrender
yourself and live the conditions of this practice from the
Heart, and at some moment you will be looking to the side
perhaps, not really self conscious you see. And you will
suddenly become aware of this Presence, and you will feel
how intimate it is with the body, how intimate it is with
your Consciousness, and then your life must become surrender
through that Communion.


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