RE: Theos-World Questions and Answers
Apr 06, 2002 03:21 AM
Saturday, April 06, 2002
Re "Prayer" and "Worship"
Let us look into what Theosophy has to say on this subject of
If we consider the meaning and use of the word "prayer" we find
that this implies a use of the desire faculty, the mind, and the
will -- so as to bring it into effect. The Inner Man employs
these unconsciously all the time that he is alive and awake. In
fact one might say that every moment of our lives we are
"creators." The progress of our life and its direction is
constantly regulated by our choices and decisions. The direction
of any one of these is called the "motive."
Our "motives" can be of two kinds:
1. Selfish -- for our personal benefit. [This can result in
harm and disturbance that will affect others to their detriment,
as ell have a repercussion (Karma) on ourselves.] Or,
2. Unselfish. [A desire to live and act so that we will
harmonize with the patterns of life as revealed by the Karma of
our living and the nature of the circumstances that we are in at
any given moment of time. Added to this our goodwill to all
other beings in this vast cooperative we call Nature and which is
guided intelligently by the laws of Brotherhood.]
>From this point of view all "prayers," are hopes and decisions
for actions and the effects of adopting these create the kind of
Karma which will follow us into the future.
We are the "creators" of our own future. We have free choice.
But we limit our freedom very often by assumptions we have made
our guides. Not all of these have been verified for accuracy and
basic TRUTH -- as facts or Laws of Nature ( assuming that
universal Nature is consistently lawful and purposeful).
One may say this is highly philosophical, even though this is
reviewed in a flash each time that we make a desire. In fact we
can call any desire, and any consequent thought and action, a
"manifested prayer." The results that follow depend on the power
and determination of our applied "WILL." [ We have to assume
that the "I" in us the REAL BASIC SELF, is an entity that is
consubstantial ans well as contemporary with the Universe as a
whole. If this is accepted the idea that we and the Universe
share the same potentials becomes reasonable. If we assume that
our Individual existence is only the temporary physical base that
our present body and brain affords, then inevitably our views
will be limited by this concept -- it is far less in potential
that one which assumes our Immortality as a "RAY" of the
Universal ONE spirit -- ATMAN. ]
This fact can be ascertained as follows: If one desires
something, one visualizes it as being achieved. A goal is set.
Then follows the assembly of that information needed to create a
plan of procedure. Then the plan is made and brought into
actuality by application of certain disciplines of mind and of
bodily actions. If one desires to observe this in terms of time,
then we will see that our memory of the past is brought into
selected focus now in the present, so that our "future" may be
created. Past, present and future are thus merged by us, for the
moment in the decision-making process. We do this all the time,
usually automatically and unconsciously
The devoted student of Theosophy before doing this will stop and,
considering the first most important object of living, ask : "Why
is this desire to be accomplished? Who will benefit? Is
there any possibility of hurting others?
He does this because he is sure that Karma operates everywhere,
and that anything which he may do will affect the environment,
himself and ultimately others in Nature. "How," he asks himself,
"can I perform this action HARMLESSLY ? Is it LAWFUL to do? Will
I incur future ill effects. In other words, Is it NECESSARY ?"
In Theosophical literature there is to be found a good deal of
key information about "prayer."
As outlined above, the question of our 'motive' is sketched.
Next, the consideration of the average person's attitude towards
"prayer" is reviewed. Here are some key ideas, and as usual,
starting with some fundamental concepts on devotion and worship :
"...divine man dwelt in his animal--though externally
human--form...When moved by the law of Evolution, the Lords of
Wisdom infused into him the spark of consciousness, the first
feeling it awoke to life and activity was a sense of solidarity,
of one-ness with his spiritual creators ...DEVOTION arose out of
that feeling, and became the first and foremost motor in his
nature; for it is the only one which is natural to our heart,
which is innate in us, and which we find alike in human babe and
the young of the animal.
This feeling of irrepressible, instinctive aspiration in
primitive man is beautiful, and one may say intuitionally,
described by Carlyle.
"The great antique heart," he exclaims, "how like a child's in
its simplicity, like a man's in its extreme solemnity and depth !
heaven lies over him wheresoever he goes or stands on the earth;
making all the earth a mystic temple to him, the earth's business
all a kind of worship...Wonder, miracle encompasses the man; he
lives in an element of miracle...A great law of duty, high as
these two infinitudes (heaven and hell), dwarfing all else,
annihilating all else--it was a reality, and it is one; the
garment only of it is dead; the essence of it lives through all
times and all eternity."
SECRET DOCTRINE I 210-11.
"1. The Secret Doctrine teaches no Atheism...
2. It admits a Logos or a collective "Creator" of the Universe;
a 'Demi-urgos'--in the sense implied when one speaks of an
"Architect" as the "Creator" of an edifice, whereas that
Architect has never touched one stone of it, but while furnishing
the plan, left all the manual labour to the masons; in our case
the plan was furnished by the Ideation of the Universe, and the
constructive labour was left to the Hosts of intelligent Powers
and Forces. But that Demiurgos is no 'personal' deity--an
imperfect extra-cosmic god--but only the aggregate of the Dhyan
Chohans and other forces.
3. [these 'forces'] ...are dual in character ...(a) the
irrational 'brute energy' inherent in nature, and (b) the
intelligent soul or cosmic consciousness which directs and guides
that energy and which is the 'Dhyan-Chohanic thought reflecting
the Ideation of the Universal Mind.'
This results in a perpetual series of physical manifestations
and 'moral effects' on Earth during manvantaric periods, the
whole being subservient to Karma...therefore, neither the
collective Host (Demiurgos), nor any of the working powers
individually, are proper subjects for divine honours or worship.
All are entitled to the grateful reverence of Humanity, however,
and man ought to be ever striving to help the divine evolution of
'Ideas,' by becoming to the best of his ability a 'co-worker
with nature' in the cyclic task.
The ever unknowable and incognizable 'Karana' alone, the
'Causeless' Cause of all causes, should have its shrine and altar
on the holy and ever untrodden ground of our heart--invisible,
intangible, unmentioned, save through the still small voice of
our spiritual consciousness. Those who worship before it, ought
to do so in the silence and the sanctified solitude of their
Souls; making their spirit the sole mediator between them and
the 'Universal Spirit,' their good actions the only priests, and
their sinful intentions the only visible and objective sanctified
victims to the 'PRESENCE."
SECRET DOCTRINE I p. 279-280.
"It is the profane of the past ages who have degraded the pure
idea of cosmic creation...it is the esoteric teachings and the
initiates of the Future, whose mission it is, and will be, to
redeem and ennoble once more the primitive conception so sadly
profaned by its crude and gross application to exoteric dogmas
and personations by theological and ecclesiastical religionists.
The silent worship of abstract or 'noumenal' Nature, the only
divine manifestation, is the one ennobling religion of Humanity."
SECRET DOCTRINE I 281 footnote.
"When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are...but
enter into 'thine inner chamber and having shut thy door, pray to
thy Father which is in secret," [ Mathew vi]. Our Father is
'within us' "in Secret," our 7th principle [Atma], in the "inner
chamber" of our soul perception. "The Kingdom of Heaven" and of
god "is within us" says Jesus, not 'outside.'
SECRET DOCTRINE I 280 fn.
"Real ecstasy was defined by Plotinus as "the liberation of the
mind from its finite consciousness, becoming one and identified
with the infinite. This is the highest condition...but not one
of permanent duration, and it is reached only by the very
few...Meditation is silent and 'unuttered' prayer, or, as Plato
expressed it, "the ardent turning of the soul towards the divine;
not to ask any particular good (as in the common meaning of
prayer), but for good itself--for the universal Supreme Good" of
which we are a part on earth, and out of the essence of which we
have all emerged." KEY p. 10
"The Unknowable is capable of relations only in its parts to each
other, but it is non-existent as regards any finite relations.
The visible universe depends for its existence and phenomena on
its mutually acting forms and their laws, not on prayer or
prayers. [Q.: Do you not believe at all in the efficacy of
prayer?] ... Not in prayer taught in so many words and repeated
externally, if by prayer you mean the outward petition to an
unknown God as the addressee... [Q.: Is there any other kind of
prayer?] ... Most decidedly; we call it WILL-PRAYER, and it is
rather an internal command than a petition. [Q.: To whom, then,
do you pray...?] ... To "our Father in heaven"-- in its esoteric
meaning...An Occultist or a theosophist addresses his prayer to
his 'Father which is in secret' (read and try to understand
Matthew VI v 6), not to an extra-cosmic and therefore finite
God, and that "Father" is in man himself. [Q.: Then you make of
man a God?] ... Please say "God" and not "a God." In our sense
the inner man is the only god we can have cognizance of...We call
our "Father in heaven" the deific essence of which we are
cognizant within us, in our heart and spiritual consciousness
Yet, let no man anthropomorphise that essence in us...for all
one." KEY p. 66-7.
These few references will give the positive aspect of prayer
viewed Theosophically. any kind of prayer that has for object a
special benefit for the one who is praying is held to be a kind
of Black-magic" or sorcery practices. [ see SD I 416 467-9 ]
Sent: Friday, April 05, 2002 5:26 PM
Subject: Re: Questions and Answers
As a beginning, one might ask, when one prays, to whom or what
does one pray?
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