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Is it Better to Pray Using Only the Words Chosen by Our Guru-varga?


Question: When praying, mediating or writing about the pastimes of Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, can we do so according to our own desires, or should we follow only what our guru-vargas have given?


Śrīla Bhāratī Gosvāmī Mahārāja: Although one can pray in whatever way one wants, it is always preferable to pray according to the examples set by our guru-vargas, such as Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, Śrīla Narottama dāsa Ṭhākura, Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī and Śrīla Sanātana Gosvāmīpāda. However, if there is by chance some yearning in our heart that has not been described in the prayers of our ācāryas, then it is acceptable to pray according to that mood; otherwise preference should always be given to the words of our ācāryas.


When a person has taken shelter at the lotus feet of the Vaiṣṇavas, he develops niṣṭhā that the words used by those Vaiṣṇavas carry immense potency. Considering his own words to lack the ability to yield any desirable result, he then resolves to exclusively use the words of the Vaiṣṇavas when submitting prayers to Bhagavān. Therefore, one who is śaraṇāgata (surrendered) will always express one’s devotional sentiments to the Lord using only the prayers written by our ācāryas. To neglect this principle may be seen as a sign that one is not yet fully surrendered.

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