(July 1929) In Dhulia, a Brahmin priest lived in a room adjoining the mandali’s. Every morning he would get up early and loudly chant Hindu shlokas (verses) from the Shastras (Scriptures). The mandali complained about him to Baba.. . . in reference to the Brahmin priest, Meher Baba explained:
Everywhere in the world, in the name of prayer and worship, this sort of useless babbling is going on. Nothing is gained by it; it has no substance. Those who practice it derive nothing from it. Do they for a minute think that loud noises can bring results? For years on end, it has been happening, and it will go on for years to come. For ages, the Brahmins, the Maulvis, the Dasturs and the priests have been muttering hired prayers, and they are actually paid for such drivel! But not the slightest advantage has been gained by anyone as a result.
The reason is that none of them does it sincerely or wholeheartedly. Their prayers are nothing more than the vocal cord’s useless prattle with no heart or feeling in it. Their minds’ intellect, attention and thoughts wander here and there, and this idle mumbo jumbo goes on. If it is done with a clear mind and with all sincerity, one’s prayers reach straight to God. God wants honesty and an open heart – not an outward show of meaningless chatter.
From any corner of the world, heartfelt remembrance of God, even by the worst sinner or the most worthless and lowest person, immediately reaches God’s ears. I am deaf to the sound of that Brahmin priest’s chanting, though it is so near. I cannot hear it because it does not touch me. It has no effect upon me. Any type of loud, insincere prayer from any quarter leaves us Masters unmoved because it is only noise and carries no heart. Such dry flat prayers, however loud or lengthy, or done over a long period of years, have no effect on us Masters. Instead, if anyone prays to God, to me, purely and honestly, from however far away and however slowly or softly, I, as God, immediately hear it and a connection is established.
For example, take a long distance telephone station. Other telephones are connected to it and the desired connection is given immediately upon dialing. In the same way, the Qutub is humanity’s central main station; and if one remembers him sincerely and wholeheartedly, from however long a distance, one’s cry is heard and the connection is made. There is no question of distance here. The Qutub is the center, the focal point equidistant from one and all in creation. And he, as this center, serves the purpose not only for this world or universe, but for the three worlds and their various levels and planes.
But how is it possible that all prayers are heard at one and the same time? How is it that the prayers and calls of millions of persons bring immediate connection with the Qutub? The answer is simple. What is a Qutub? The ruler of infinite and unlimited powers! To him there is no question of one or twenty-one, a thousand, or a hundred thousand, or millions and billions. Everyone is equal in his eyes. But your call should be from the innermost depths of your heart. It will then reach his ears irrespective of distance or traffic on the line.
All prayers and sounds are a mere show if they do not originate from the heart. If not, then such prayers, however loud and however long, are quite meaningless. But compared to this, offering hired prayers through Brahmins, Dasturs, Maulvis and priests is much worse. It is nothing short of sheer hypocrisy.
Someone questioned Baba, “If it is done with a feeling of devotion, is it bad for a person who has no time to pray himself to have it done through a medium?”
In reply, Meher Baba stated:
This is total foolishness and completely absurd. It is an excuse and a useless pretext. It does not hold water. It is an insult to one’s common sense. Can prayer, worship or entreaties to God ever be hired? It is beyond one’s imagination. While still being lured by Maya, it is like throwing the burden of one’s actions on the shoulders of others and paying them money to take him to God. It is a pretense for keeping oneself immersed in Mayavic pleasures.
A person says, “I have no time to pray.” Why not? Because one is unwilling to spare time for it. It is a meaningless excuse to cover up one’s preoccupation with the world and lack of time due to one’s desire to remain involved in Mayavic pursuits. The mind is entrapped in Maya and does not want to be freed; and so to achieve merit, a person offers hired prayers. Can this ever result in any meritorious action or virtue?
If you want to remember or offer worship to God, do it honestly and loyally with all your heart and mind. Even if you can only remember or pray to Him a few minutes each day, do it sincerely. Compared to babbling for hours on end, a sincere prayer of two minutes has more effect. It immediately reaches God’s ears. The reason is that God always listens to the voice of the heart.
Lord Meher, American ed., Bhau Kalchuri, Vol. 4, pp. 1173 -1175.