for bbc.co.uk on Nov. 11, 2011
Shaunaka Rishi Das, the Director of Oxford Center for Hindu Studies offered six prayers that had been broadcast on UK`s BBC Radio 4 on Diwali week. The program slot attracts 4 million listeners. Here is one of his prayers:
Some years ago I was on pilgrimage in Vrindavan. I had come with a purpose, although, for the life of me, I didn’t know what that purpose was, at least I couldn’t articulate what it was.
Vrindavan is a temple town, dedicated to Krishna. I always try to come here when I want to discern the voice of the Lord in my life. I try to do what Krishna wants me to do, to be God’s servant in thought, word, and deed.
On this visit I had arrived a stressed and jaded wreck. Management and financial strains in my service were weighing heavily. For over thirty years my constant prayer was, “What do you want me to do?” This time prayers deserted me. I went from temple to temple and my mind was blank.
It seemed that I had the answer to my constant prayer – the one that made sure I was on track. I knew what to do. I had enough to do for many lifetimes, and what I was doing had been blessed by so many spiritual people, chimed with sacred text, and had been discerned thread-bare. I did not want to annoy Krishna.
After some mute days I went to Radhakund, the lake special to Krishna’s devotee, Radha. I chanted there for some hours and then decided just to say the “What do you want me to do” prayer. So, I cupped some water in my hands and offered it into the lake and my prayer began with the word “How” popping out, not “What”.
Dear Lord, it’s always been about how I serve you, with what humility, dedication, and love I bring to relationships, and to my relationship with you. It has taken thirty years to notice the obvious but I have found my prayer – now how can I thank you?