Types of Prayers


1. Sakām (With expectations) and Nishkām (Without expectations) prayer

1A. Sakām prayer

Meaning : A prayer made for the fulfillment of a desire or worldly happiness.

Examples : 1. O God ! Let me acquire a lot of wealth. 2. O God ! Let my stomachache be cured.

1B. Nishkām prayer

Meaning : A prayer that is devoid of any worldly desires.

  • A nishkām prayer does not contain any worldly intention, desire or expectation.

  • This prayer contains self-surrender unto God.

  • This type of prayer eliminates ego and desires and leads to spiritual progress.

  • A prayer pertaining to spiritual progress or Guru’s mission is considered a nishkām prayer.

Example : O God ! Please get the Dharmakārya (Mission unto Dharma) performed through me as per your expectations.

  • An individual who performs sakām worship offers sakām prayers, while an individual who performs nishkām worship offers nishkām

  • He who offers a sakām prayer gets entrapped in Māyā (Great Illusion), while he who prays in a nishkām manner moves towards God-realisation by overcoming Māyā.

  • Therefore, whoever performs sādhanā for God-realisation should pray in a nishkām

2. Vyashṭī (Individual) and Samashṭī (For the sake of the society) prayer

2A. Vyashṭi prayer

Praying for individual gain, removal of unhappiness, spiritual progress, etc. is a ‘vyashṭī prayer’.

2B. Samashṭī prayer

Praying for the benefit of our family, community, society, village, town, city, country, for removal of their unhappiness, their spiritual progress, etc. is a ‘samashṭī prayer’. The perspective of a seeker in the preliminary stage of sādhanā (Spiritual practice) for God-realisation is limited only to – ‘Me and my sādhanā.’ However, it is necessary to develop a bhāv (Spiritual emotion) of  ‘वसुधैवकुटुंबकम् ।’ (‘The entire universe is my home’) for God-realisation. A samashṭī prayer is useful in that direction, because expansiveness and love towards others develops faster due to samashṭī prayers.

Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text, ‘Prayer – Importance and Examples

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