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Tuesday, Oct 26, 2021
Outlook.com

A Prayer For Everyone

It's a salve for tormented souls, across religions, across communities

A Prayer For Everyone
Jayachandran
A Prayer For Everyone
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53
ONE does not have to believe in God to concede that prayer has power: most people in distress pray for help when they are in trouble. "More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of," wrote Lord Tennyson. I know of a lady faith healer whose simple formula to fight sickness is to chant "Om arogyam." Apparently it worked with her: she also claims to have healed many people. You may take recourse to passages from sacred texts as most Hindus turn to the Gayatri Mantra, Christians to the Lord's Prayer or one of the Psalms, Muslims to aayat-ul-Kursi (the Throne Verse) or sayings of Prophet Mohammed in the Hadith, Sikhs to their favourite passages from the Granth Sahib. And there is nothing to stop anyone making up his or her own prayer. Bernard Shaw was right in holding that common people do not pray, they beg.

Renuka Narayanan, who writes a weekly column for The Indian Express, has compiled The Prayer Book in which she has included her favourite quotations from the religious scriptures of all communities as well as sayings of saints: Hindu bhaktas, evangelists, Muslim Sufis and others. It is entirely understandable that extracts from Hindu sacred texts predominate. Instead of dividing them on the basis of religion, she has chosen one for every day of the year with the originals of some transliterated and followed by translations in English. The great merit of her compilation is that it highlights how much different religions share in common when it comes to approaching divinity and craving for solace. Reading them will remove many deep-seated prejudices cherished by the semi-literate. One example will suffice. Most non-Muslims tend to equate Islam with the fanaticism of the Taliban, and in the name of Islam, call for jehad (holy war) against Christians, Jews and Hindus. This is what the founder of Islam, Prophet Mohammed, had to say about...
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