Truth is universal and is beyond all times and places. Throughout the course of history, different teachers have come to impart the teachings based on the era, requirement, emotional maturity, intellectual development and preferences of people. The teachings must be distilled so that they are perceptible and simple. When the teachings are made simple and clear, the credit goes to the Teacher! The famous Italian genius, astronomer and physicist, Galileo Galilei said, “All truths are easy to understand once they are discovered; the point is to discover them”.
If somebody presents to you the theory of Earth moving around the sun, about the reasoning for day, night and the seasons; even if you are not able to grasp it immediately, you may still be able to comprehend it soon because it is already discovered. It is easy to understand the mathematical theorems or formulae because already the subject is put in a perceptible, quantifiable manner. You have to only go through it to know and absorb. That is, the teachings have already been distilled and condensed.
All religions preach about prayers and seeking blessings for all. As mentioned, truth is universal! This can be seen in the various statements like, “loka samasta sukhino bhavantu” or “sabka mangal ho”; in the prayer of Metta asking for blessings for all kingdoms of nature; in the Great Invocation prayer to bring Divine light, love and power on all planes of manifestation on Earth; in the prayer of St Francis of Assisi which is used in the Planetary Peace Meditation to channel blessings to Mother Earth. Let us discuss and interpret this prayer of St. Francis of Assisi in detail today.
Understanding the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi:
I. LORD, MAKE ME AN INSTRUMENT OF YOUR PEACE.
As you attempt to become a medium for peace, you internalise peace within yourself in the process. You cannot give peace unless you have peace. Like, you cannot share water unless you have water. If you intend to distribute water to ten people, you will have a pot of water stored. If you further intend to give water to more people, you will use a bigger pot. You will become a store house for water. Similarly, as you share peace, you become a repository of peace, abundantly permeated with it. By opening your heart and blessing the Earth, you become a channel for peace. Peace is coming from the Divine, but it is emanating through you to the people who are in need. Everybody needs peace, whether rich or poor, sick or healthy; everyone is looking for peace!
In between the Divine and the Earth, you can be the bulb radiating, exuding and channelling peace to everyone. For this, opening of the Heart chakra is all that is required!
II. WHERE THERE IS HATRED LET ME SOW LOVE; WHERE THERE IS INJURY, PARDON.
We must transform hatred into love and compassion. Pain must be replaced with forgiveness. Many people are wounded at physical, emotional or mental levels. By becoming a channel for love and forgiveness, we can transform all this suffering. Love heals, it transforms all that is unpleasant. One small light can eradicate darkness in a huge room.
As you strive for becoming an instrument of Divine peace, love and forgiveness, you open the Heart centre and gradually start becoming a grander channel for distributing them. Slowly, the expanse of your compassion heightens and intensifies into Divine love because you are now a conduit not only to your family and loved ones, but to every person and every being. Thus, you will ultimately gain mastery over peace, love and forgiveness! A person channelling these qualities becomes magnetic. Therefore, all Great Teachers without exception, are magnetic! Mastery of these three aspects to a very high degree is a Paramahansa, an Arhat or a saint. Please note, this prayer is given by a saint, St. Francis of Assisi.
III. WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR, HOPE; DOUBT, FAITH.
People have an issue with hope and faith because many a times, things do not happen the way they want; they are stuck with situations, finances, resources, health problems and so many other issues. They must remind themselves that all this is transient and will certainly pass. But they need to be given strength to face and move forward in these situations. Hope makes them cope and emerge from the condition. When you radiate hope and faith, people around you do not succumb. Therefore, in order to support the people around, you must maintain your inner peace, happiness and develop hope and faith! That’s how you become a channel for hope and faith.
IV. WHERE THERE IS DARKNESS, LIGHT; SADNESS, JOY.
“Tamso maa jyotir gamaya”! Sadness comes because of darkness. You throw light to understand the causes, address them so that the situation will not repeat again and you can become joyful. Due to ignorance people become sad, and unfortunately a channel for depression and sadness. Like you get benefited by radiating peace and comforting others and the environment; similarly, you get affected by radiating sadness, in addition to disturbing people around and the surroundings. Hence, you must uplift those who are sad by healing and blessing them. You may not be able to reason with them initially. They may be pessimistic, focussing only on negativity around. By healing them, not only are they helped, but those around them and the environment is also alleviated. Techniques of Yoga Prana Vidya level 3 are essential to heal them and their relationship issues. These techniques are already discovered and are easy to understand. They are very simple techniques which you can learn and with practice and persistence you can achieve wonderful results for yourself and others.
Second Part of the Prayer:
The first part is a prayer for channelling the blessings, whereas the second part is a request for bestowing us with the qualities which we find hard to imbibe.
V. LORD GRANT THAT I MAY NOT SO MUCH SEEK TO BE CONSOLED, AS TO CONSOLE.
We are requesting the Lord for imparting the inner strength to be able to see additionally from other’s point of view, and not only from our own point of view. Our Heart chakra must be big for this. Our point of view, the I centre, is the Solar Plexus chakra. To be able to empathise with others, requires the centre for human love, the Heart chakra, which must be activated and maintained bigger. Only then, can we expect to console others than asking for consoling ourselves.
VI. TO BE LOVED AS TO LOVE. TO BE UNDERSTOOD AS TO UNDERSTAND.
I open my Heart and channel greater love to all. I always seek more to understand others needs along with my own needs. May I prioritize empathising with others.
Third Part of the Prayer:
The third part of the prayer enunciates the motive behind this appeal to be an instrument – “Why be a channel for the Divine for peace, love and forgiveness? Why should I transform despair into hope; doubt to faith; darkness to light and sadness to joy? Why should I seek to empathise with others?”
VII. FOR IT IS IN GIVING YOU RECEIVE.
According to the Law of Cause and Effect or Law of Consequence, our entitlement depends on our generosity. This is mentioned in the Bible as well. Share what you want with others, you will receive it in abundance. Try becoming an avenue for peace, by activating your Heart centre, raising your hands in blessing position and blessing the Earth with peace. Kindly try and experience it to understand. When you seek to be a channel for blessings, you are completely permeated with it.
VIII. IT IS IN PARDONING THAT YOU ARE PARDONED.
By forgiving you create the privilege for being forgiven. This is quoted in the Lord’s Prayer as, “Lord, forgive my trespasses as I forgive those who trespass against me.” The Law of Forgiveness supersedes the Law of Karma. If you have karma to be troubled, then bless those who have troubled you. You will be forgiven! You normally reap your karma, but it can be mitigated. In forgiving you are forgiven. This implies that the effect can be transformed. If you show mercy, mercy will be shown to you. There are ample opportunities on Earth to show mercy and to forgive others around you. These actions supersede the Law of Consequence or Law of Karma. Do not lose any opportunity of giving, showing mercy, sharing, tithing, nurturing and in turn you will receive bountifully!
IX. IT IS IN DYING THAT YOU ARE BORN TO ETERNAL LIFE.
This signifies that as you get rid of the lower desires, emotional upheaval and uncontrolled chain of thoughts, you are born to a higher existence. Born to eternal life does not mean taking another birth. It means with deeper spiritual practice you cast off all that is lesser to transcend the cycle of birth and death. Eternal life implies liberation or jeevanmukta! This line is a parallel to mrityunjaya mantra!
With reference to a specific situation, Lord Jesus clearly mentioned in Bible that John the Baptist is none other than Priest Eliza in his previous incarnation. The story clearly supports Law of Consequence or Law of Karma and Reincarnation.
To sum up, the St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer has three parts. In the first part you become a guiding, irradiating medium of the Divine, in the second you appeal to be able to empathise with others and the third part is to know the rationale behind this striving and endeavour.
St. Francis of Assisi’s prayer is indicating to you that you can come out of the cycle of birth and death by outstretching, giving and routing the blessings. By carrying out healings, blessings and wishing good for others, you start to materialise your greatness in action. And in doing so, you will internalise the far-reaching peace, all embracing love and absolute forgiveness.
Concrete Lessons from Law of Karma:
According to the Law of Karma, “as you sow, so you reap!” To know what to do and what to avoid, you can take guidance from the corollary of Law of Karma. That is the Golden Rule. It states, “Do to others, what you want others to do to you and do not do to others, what you do not want others to do to you.” This teaching is put forward by many religions and scriptures.
Law of Karma need not be considered as fatalistic. We can neutralise some of the not so good fortune by bestowing forgiveness, extending empathy, showing mercy and helping out in countless ways of caring, sharing, nurturing, healing and opening the heart to accepting people as they are. This will make you transcend and supersede Law of Karma! The key is to open the Heart centre. The Karma gets neutralised proportionate to your generosity and mercy.
Another aspect of Law of Karma is that what you waste will be taken away, including time. Time is limited in this physical body. There is a great opportunity on Earth for learning. Hence, time is precious. The time that is wasted will not come back. Especially, group time is the most important! Utilise it appropriately, by aligning with a right association, combined spiritual practice and working for the Divine Plan. Your upgradation and development will be exponentially accelerated. A contribution that may appear small in the direction of the Divine plan is much more valuable than a great accomplishment in the eyes of the world. Everyone is working for the Divine Plan directly or indirectly. However, when you wholly work for it and align with the right group, the progress of your soul is hastened!
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