October 10, 2019
With what we consider to be our own firm conviction in their efficacy, we recite our prayers and chant mantras. For very good reasons our ancient sages have inculcated in us the faith that their very repetition would save us from sorrow. By this the text have been preserved, and this faith persuades us to study them till the prayer becomes alive in us.
Some may regard the whole thing as superstition. But, Gurudev Swami Sivananda had great faith in the Devi Mahatmyam (Durga Saptashati). Faith is different from belief. One who is never seen burning fire may be told that it is hot. He believes that statement. But when he draws near a real fire he feels the heat. He now has faith in the truth the fire is hot. If he comes into direct contact with it he knows. One hears that the Durga Saptashati is a powerful mantra or prayer. One participates in the ceremony with devotion. Then one experiences grace. Then faith is born. One may then continue the devotional practice and the experience of truth.
Often our prayers are answered. But the answered prayers stop us from praying. We are satisfied that the prayer has been answered and therefore we can cease to pray. This is invitation to disaster. Wise men, when their prayers are answered, immediately give thanks to the Lord for the grace shown. This is wisdom.
There is something more. If one sincerely realizes that "I could not make it myself and hence I prayed for divine grace; and it was on account of the grace that I succeeded. Success belongs to the divine!" then there is true humility and continued prayerfulness. This is the key to continued perception of grace and continued success.