Higher Teachings of Sri Swamiji

A Prayer and a Promise

Only twice have I asked God for help, once in 1963 and again in 1989. Swami Sivananda had told me to spread the message of yoga throughout the world and give it a scientific outlook. Due to His grace I was able to do so. I was made an instrument by a divine power. From 1956 to 1963 I traveled throughout the Asian subcontinent as a parivrajaka, a wandering sannyasin. I realized how difficult it was to enter into competition with god men. I finally accepted defeat. In December 1963 I went to Trayambakeshwar, the seat of my ishta devata, Lord Shiva in the form of Mrityunjaya. I said, “Lord, I cannot fulfil the mission my guru gave me without your help. I will work with whatever inspiration you may give me for twenty years, after which I will renounce everything and come to you.” I made this one promise and prayer to Him.

He heard me and fulfilled my request. From 1964, I toured the world like a whirlwind, because He was speaking, writing and teaching through me. I became ensnared for a quarter of a century as a result of that one prayer. It is very dangerous to pray to God and ask for something. Who knows, if God decides to fulfil your wish, then you will be trapped forever.

In 1963 I had taken a vow to hasten to the service of my ishta devata as soon as my mission was fulfilled, but I had forgotten the vow. By 1983 I had the ashram of my dream. The system of yoga I had developed had gained universal acceptance and recognition. But the period of twenty years had elapsed and I was violating the promise I had made.

I went to Trayambakeshwar to have darshan of my ishta devata. At once I was reminded of the solemn vow I had made. When you are in front of God you soon realize your mistakes. Then divine grace comes. Why did I forget the promise I had made to God? Maya held me in her sway because success is also an illusion. Success gives birth to intoxication and you forget the commitment, if any, you have made. When I was reminded of the commitment, I finally resolved to bid farewell to Munger.

Prayers are made on the basis of faith. There must be no doubt in your mind. They must also be kept secret and protected. A prayer is a seed, a sankalpa, a resolve, arising from the mind. Bury the seed in the soil of your mind and then forget about it totally. In 1963, in Trayambakeshwar, I sowed that seed so deep that I forgot about it. I now realize that God was responsible for that change in me. He is responsible for everything, everywhere.

Praying for the fulfillment of a wish is very powerful if done properly. However, when you make a wish, you must also promise to renounce something. God made me victorious globally and I had promised to return that to Him. You must also give something in return because your destiny is fixed. This is the law of karma. Everyone has to follow these laws, whether Rama, Krishna or Satyananda. Nothing is impossible to attain in the kingdom of God, but God is a complicated element. There is only one way to handle God. Say a prayer and make a promise which even He does not know of. Only you need to know that promise.

The more hidden the seed is, the stronger the plant will be. I had totally forgotten the promise I had made to God, despite receiving so much from Him. There had been no obstacles in the development of my mission, because whoever is blessed by God is a king in himself. However, you must promise some act of renunciation. You give something to God and you take something from Him. You will only receive what you are destined for, and I was given whatever was in my destiny.