Sudhir prayed everyday. Many a times it would be a quick, cursory recognition of God’s existence. At other times it would be an elaborate, indulgent ritual leaving Sudhir with a sense of satisfaction, benevolence and appreciation of a job well done.
One day, God asked him … “Why do you pray?” Sudhir found himself at a loss for words. God changed tack. “Do you bathe everyday?” “Yes,” said Sudhir. “What would happen if you were to skip bathing one day?” “Discomfort,” he replied. “One week?” “I’d feel dirty.” “A month?” “I’d stink and everyone would shun me.” “A year?” “My wife and child would leave me and I’d probably develop some awful skin diseases, feel like I was rotting and begin hating myself.”
God said to him, “When you clean yourself on the outside religiously, don’t you think you need to do the same on the inside? To look in, to inspect, to heal, to realise, to become aware, to atone, to make amends, to forgive yourself, to make peace … so that the lining of ignorance doesn’t continue to collect and form a hard shell. So that a time doesn’t come when you have a moment to pause and say ‘hello’ to yourself and you fail to recognise the person you see before you?
That’s why you pray, or whatever you choose to call it. You bow to the God within you.”