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What’s the difference between Prayer and Mediation – Sadhguru’s Answer

Ah Sadhguru always cracks me up. Question to Sadhguru:

– What is the difference between prayer and meditation?

– Are you trying to get me into trouble?

– Yes (laughter) because some people would say “my prayer is my meditation”

– Could be, could be.

– Probably meditation is more of a form of listening, I would imagine

– See, there is something called as “organized prayer” and there is something that all of us may experience at some point, and you don’t have to be religious for this – sometimes you become prayer-full. You see a glorious sunset and you just sit there, without knowing why (makes a blissful face with hands in front of him) … you’re not saying anything to the sun – afterall he’s going… (laughter) simply just the beauty and the magnificient nature of what it is maybe your hands came together like this, like this (imitates various cultural prayer modes) is something you did… it happens, right? (laughter and nodding from the audience) So you are prayer-full. To be prayer-full is a fantastic place to be.

Now, somebody created systems to make you prayer-full. But unfortunately that just became prayer for a lot of people. Prayer means you are talking to somebody. A long-distance talk. (laughter) And unfortunately if you look at the prayers on the planet, I would say 95% of the prayers on the planet – whatever kind of religion they belong to – is just about dear god give me this, give me that, save me, protect me… (laughter) isn’t that so? (laughter and nodding from the audience)

So “give me this, give me that, save me, protect me” does it seem like a divine process to you? Or does it seem like survival process outsourced? (laughter and applause from the audience)

So, outsourcing your survival is not an efficient way to survive… (laughter) You survive on this planet, you don’t need any divine help. You just need four limbs and a few braincells that work. That’s all you need to survive. You don’t need any other forces to come and cooperate with you – for survival.

Only when your life is beyond survival you are looking for other dimensions of existence then you might need the cooperation of other forces. For survival when a worm can survive, an insect can survive, a bird can survive, an animal can survive, with such a big brain you cannot survive? What is this?!? (laughter) The only problem may be you want to survive like somebody else… that is a problem (laughter) That’s not going to be ever achieved. Because somebody else will always be doing something different, or better or whatever you think it is.

So, prayer as a process has unfortunately become a talking process. If you are prayer-full it’s fantastic.

So, being in meditation… see the English term for meditation is not specific to anything. It’s a general term. If you see somebody with their eyes closed we say they are meditating. But, with eyes closed you can do many things. You can do (starts citing Hindu words for various meditation techniques) there are many many things you can do. Or might have just mastered the art of sleeping in meditative postures. (laughter)

So the English word meditation is not describing anything specific. But as you said one word “listening”… Listening is a dangerous thing. Because if you start listening people will people will think “listen to what?” Listen to god… All those people, I’m saying this with all due respect, to those who are devout, those who are prayer-full, that’s a different matter. But people who claimed they heard God speaking, they did the most terrible things on this planet. Yes or No? (audience responds Yes) Because they said “God told me this, God told me that” It gave them license to do all kinds of horrors on this planet, and especially as women you should not subscribe to this because millions of women have been burned alive because God told something. So, listening is a dangerous word.

… Don’t take these words too literally…

Watch the entire interview here

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Last modified: February 14, 2020