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05. Seek His Help
I know from correspondence with the students all over India, what wrecks they have become by having stuffed their brains with information derived from a cartload of books. Some have become unhinged, others have become lunatics, some have been leading a life of helpless impurity. My heart goes out to them when, they say that try as much as they might, they are what they are, because they cannot overpower the devil. 'Tell us," they plaintively ask, "how to get rid of the devil, how to get rid of the impurity that has seized us." When I ask them to take Ramanama and kneel before God and seek His help, they come to me and say: "We do not know where God is. We do not know what it is to pray." That is the state to which they have been reduced....
A Tamil saying has always remained in my memory, and it means: "God is the Help of the helpless." If you would ask Him to help you, you would go to Him in all your nakedness, approach Him without reservations, also without fear of doubts as to how He can help a fallen being like you. He who has helped millions who have approached Him, is He going to desert you? He makes no exception whatsoever, and you will find that everyone of your prayers will be answered. The prayer of even the most impure will be answered.1 I am telling this out of my personal experience. I have gone through the purgatory. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and everything will be added unto you.
*But prayer is no mere exercise of words or of the ears, it is no mere repetition of empty formula. Any amount of repetition of Ramanama is futile, if it fails to stir the soul. It is better in prayer to have a heart without words, than words without a heart. It must be in clear response to the spirit which hungers for it. And even as a hungry man relishes a hearty meal, a hungry soul will relish a heartfelt prayer. And I am giving you a bit of my experience, and that of my companions, when I say that he who has experienced the magic of prayer may do without food for days together, but not a single moment without prayer. For without prayer there is no inward peace.
Young India, 23-1-1930