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Growing in Love: A Manual for the Aspiring Soul. Saturday’s Inspiration 29, to Umesh Chandra Bhatt


Manatita is an esteemed author living in London, UK. He writes spiritual books, flash fiction and esoteric poetry, his favourite genre.


Qualities of the Devotee

Growing in Love requires prayers and meditations; regularity and discipline … earnestness and sacrifice. I will put forward a manual of spiritual practices (Sadhana), in order to better facilitate, the inner journey of the aspiring seeker.

Faith: from time immemorial, man has always been asking for proof. This is not new. The deer grows musk in its own body, yet it runs around searching for a smell, until it finally dies, not knowing that the smell that it was searching for, was actually in its own body. God is Spirit and we must find it in Spirit and in Truth.

If I wish to swim, I must enter the water. You can give me googles and pull-buoys, flotillas and so forth, but if I do not like or am afraid of water, I will not be able to swim. So too, like the bubble entering the mighty Ocean, man must enter within the vast Ocean of Consciousness, to commune in Love.

Prayers and Meditations: True prayer is a flowering of the soul and as such, worship. Yet again, it is only a part of spiritual practices: singing, reading of scriptures, vocal and silent reflections, videos, chants and supplications and more. The Islamic word for worship is Ibadah.

Ibadah is the sum total of all we are and all we do, consciously or unconsciously, in obedience or surrender to the Will of the Supreme. Christ said it best: “May Thy Will be done in and through me.”, or “Let Thy Will be done.” So, I wake in the morning, offering gratitude to the Universe. I could have easily died, or be like one of the starving children in impoverished places, but Love has chosen to grant me the boon of another day.

I wash my face and perform supplications for the Love of Something Higher. I hug my wife and kiss my children for the sake of the inner Light. I go out of the house and interact with trees, animals and humans for the Love of Allah, then I get into my car and go to work for this same Love. That is Ibadah or worship, a recognition or conscious awareness of the Love in all and for all … a surrender to the Will of the Highest, running in and through Creation.


Modes of Prayer

  • It is good to mix the modes of prayer: singing of devotional songs, scriptural readings done by you or even taken from the internet, this can also enhance prayer. Aphorisms, especially from the Psalms or Beatitudes are beautiful, but if you are not of the Christian Faith, then sutras and slokas from the Gita or Buddhist chants are great as well as Zhikr or Salat.

Some stories with morals, videos and plays, as well as both vocal and silent prayer, at least half an hour, is useful. Gentle breathing and an enhancement of the power of concentration or focus, are great aids in the beginning. I shall put some guidelines at the end.

Do not find fault with others: it is better to clean our own mirrors, than to look for someone else’s mirror to clean. If we perceive a beautiful world, it is because we ourselves are beautiful. If we perceive a world full of imperfections, then we need to do some inner work. We will initially stumble, but this is a part of life and true failure is only when we give up. Never give up!

Selfless Service: Always bear in mind that you are a spark of light, as is the next person. Everyone we meet are the Self and as such our neighbours. Truly speaking, we do not help anyone but ourselves. If I am God and you are God, then who is helping whom? Again, helping brings with it a feeling of superiority and inferiority; a sense of false pride in what we are doing for the world. Only God can help … only the Supreme is indispensable. We can only serve.

Even reflecting on the heavens and nature, can be modes of prayer. The Heart's intention is the key as well as a calm and silent mind

Even reflecting on the heavens and nature, can be modes of prayer. The Heart's intention is the key as well as a calm and silent mind

Again, the very nature of service, is as an outpouring of the Heart to others, in a spirit of soulful offering. There’s no bargaining in the Hearts offerings, as it comes directly from Love. Some days I sing, sing and just keep singing. My Heart feels so full and so beautiful! Prayer works and this brings me to the next recommendation.

Punctuality and regularity of Salat (Prayer): you may also increase the duration according to receptivity, but daily sadhana is crucial. Some do a day or a week or two weeks, then start again when things are bad. Let’s cut this short. I have sat in prayer and meditation daily, without fail, for 38 years! Try it for just three months, day after day and you will fall in Love with it.

Receptivity: this is the inflow and outflow of Grace. Grace is always here and like sunshine. If we keep our curtains closed, then it cannot enter. Our service to man, our prayers and meditations, our gratitude and love, gradually opens the curtains. Hurt no living creature intentionally; what ever you do, must be with a pure motive. Purity of intent; sincerity of purpose is the key. Enough for today, now let me give you some guidelines:

How to pray: God is omnipresent and when you pray, you are invoking God. Prayer, in a sense, is an attempt to lay hold of God Itself and the urge or call to prayer (Azaan, or namaz), comes from Allah (God) Itself. The Mother is literally inside you, not separate.

Mother Theresa, Sri Chinmoy and her Sisters of Charity

Combining Prayer and service

Combining Prayer and service

Setting up for Prayer

  1. Build a shrine/alter/puja in a quiet spot at home. A table or chair with cloth, candles, pictures of your deity or God and burn incense to purify the spot with good vibrations.
  2. Sit on a comfortable chair with your eyes open and entire body relaxed. Do not force the eyes
  3. Focus on the candle or picture of your deity or God (Ishta Devata). Concentration is the ability to focus one’s attention on a particular spot, to the exclusion of everything else. This slowly harnesses energy, which will come to the fore to assist with silencing the mind in due course.
  4. Keep up the practice of breathing and focus, singing, praying or whatever feels good at the time. The Lord’s Prayer is an awesome Invocation, but the best invocation is what comes directly from the Heart.
  5. Remember to reflect in silence. When we pray, we are talking to God, when we are silent, we are listening to God speak. Learn to calm the mind first (Don’t fight it, just watch), then the inner stillness will flow.
  6. Eat at least two hours before prayer and be still or silent for a few minutes afterwards. This helps with assimilation of the experience. Prayer is most effective when nature is calm and as such she helps us. Morning and evening are good for beginners. Let prayer be the first thing you do when you wake up.

Finally, do not worry about current life, neither should you live in the past or future. They are both dead elephants. Be in the Eternal Now. Man has been troubled for centuries! You are all wise enough to know that nothing is new.

Didn’t we complain in the old Testament, with the Romans and down the sweep of centuries? Stalin came and went as did Hitler and Usaama. I’m saying that the problem is not outside us, but within: Doubt, hate, jealousy, greed, attachments, passion, ego … to name just a few.

Prayer is the process of transformation of our lower nature to a Higher nature, so that we – as Spirit beings – can know our true Self. Much Love and God speed! – Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 23rd May, 2020


Equal Before Love

I stand as one transfixed, my breath the Breath

Of breaths, in the redolence of jasmines. Yet here

In this garden of the meadow of Love, I am also conscious

Of the sacrifice of the rose; of its radiance and allure.

Everyone and everything, contributes to Mother Earth.

When the cold chill of winter stabs my bones, the purity

Of the snowflakes lifts my mood; even as the shadow pervades

Night, so too, the rays of the moon descends from heaven.

Baldwin and Isherwood were both gay writers. One became

Known for his fine writing; the other brought souls to Paradise.

When Love abides in the Heart, everyone is a rich storehouse

Of experiences. There the Light manifests and none becomes unwanted.

In the Kingdom of the Emperor, there are

No distinctions: No caste, no creed, no race … no mental

Labels. There the Beloved closes the door to the

Proud and judgmental, but opens it, to the fragrance of each Soul.

Manatita, The Lantern Carrier. 19th May, 2020

Lockdown and its effect

© 2020 manatita44


manatita44 (author) from london on May 26, 2020:

Great to see you, my Bhaia Ji.

I know you understand and like me, are progressing in wisdom. Jai Ram!!

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on May 26, 2020:

Welcome back, Manatita, We love your poems but in fact we also require them for our rejuvenation. Doing prayer with faith is actually the sign of our true love for God.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 24, 2020:

Yes, my sweet. I totally concur. We serve others too as prayer is a very powerful energy. Pamela seemed surprised that we can do so much with prayer.

I'm doing at least two hours or more but recently, my mind was a little off after the first hour. So I played the video section of the programme.

The first part was an aphorism which went straight to my being. Then a much longer reading on the psychic Being by a disciple, followed by a play about devotion. I could feel myself going deeper and deeper into meditation.

I'm saying all this as Sri Chinmoy used to say, we cannot eat the same food every day. And so for Pamela, Mary and others, sometimes the Psalms will help or beatitudes, or someone just reading The Prodigal Son or The Good Samaritan.

Humour, childlike plays and skits, deep breathing, singing ... spiritual practices are so vast! So diverse!

Now some will change and social disparity is becoming more obvious. But the 0.1 percent that hold so much of the world's wealth is a problem. Yet Love ultimately prevails. Thank you so much! Let us pray.

P.S. Self-reliance has never been a good thing. God has given us limited freedom, but remains in charge. Prayer begins when human capacity ends ... when the need for humility surfaces.

Linda Lum from Washington State, USA on May 24, 2020:

Oh, Manatita, you have been missed here. Your thoughts (prose and poem) on prayer are always welcome, but we need prayer in our lives more than ever in these challenging times. Perhaps this time of sadness and worry will become a good thing as it brings us back to God and away from self-reliance.

Thank you for taking the time to share with us. Blessings to you.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 24, 2020:

Hello Peggy. Great to see you. Much Love.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 24, 2020:

These are beautiful thoughts and teachings. Thank you!

manatita44 (author) from london on May 24, 2020:

Thanks Dee.

Indeed! Indeed!!

Thanks Eric. So kind! Appreciated!

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on May 24, 2020:

Lots to reflect on in both the poetry and the prose. Never underestimate the power of worship to to our God and the willingness to love our fellowmen. Best to you, Manatita.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 24, 2020:

Manatita you are in my soul. So I shall always pray for you.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 23, 2020:

Ah, Lorna, my Dear.

Sorry I'm late. I spent the last two hours in prayer. Thank you so much for liking my poetry. Gratitude ... much!!


So sweet, Verlie, so sweet. Thank you!

Writing I do not stop. I have written about 40 poems since. This Hub alone was just one sit down with a couple of reads. Much easier than trying to figure how to select 150 poems from 800. Not so easy!


Well, that is a very beautiful sentiment. I think I'll write a part 2 for Monday, perhaps. Shukriya.

Lorna Lamon on May 23, 2020:

It's lovely to see you back on Hub Pages Manatita, we have missed your words of wisdom, such as the ones in this poem. The last verse is beautiful.

Verlie Burroughs from Canada on May 23, 2020:

Lovely to see you writing again manatita. I can't think of anything to add. Your light is shining bright.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 23, 2020:

Wow! I often checked for your next hub and read a few comments and came to know of you taking a break from Hubpages. Hope all is well with you I am glad you are back. A fantastic start to another hub of yours. Growing in love is amazing!

manatita44 (author) from london on May 23, 2020:


Chuckle. Aren't we seeing the result? See the whole as well as the individual. Love, as you know, is oneness. The microcosm and the macrocosm are one. We grow together in Love, but pain and disparity emerge from the ego ... from separation and greed.

We are all one in Spirit. A Joy to hear from you, Bro. My prayers are with you. Pray for me too. Peace.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 23, 2020:

This is a great thinking and feeling piece. Thank you. I wonder what it would be like not growing in love. Hmm.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 23, 2020:

Mashallah, yes. Thank you for asking. Jai Ram!

Rinita Sen on May 23, 2020:

I am well. Thank you. Hope you are well, too.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 23, 2020:

Ah, Rinita, so good to see you!

Are you well? Stay well. Om Shanti!

Rinita Sen on May 23, 2020:

You've been missed. Happy to read your warm poetry again.

manatita44 (author) from london on May 23, 2020:

Thank You, Pamela.

You are so sweet!! Yes, many are realising that we are all inter-connected. We are now seeing the disparity. When we trod so viciously on our neighbours, we are trodding on ourselves. Nature eventually compensates by way of God's Love. Transformation by way of Justice. This we forget to remember ... that justice also comes from the Divine. Much Gratitude, my friend.


So nice to hear from you. There's a lot I have not mentioned. Intensity is necessary as well as a calm, silent, vacant mind. Hence the practice of concentration. Puja in its various forms are preparatory and gratitude is crucial!!

The child cries when it is hungry and the mother comes running. Salat will in time intensify your longing for Allah and gradually the transformation will take place. Meanwhile, watch the nafs: Ahamkara (Ego), Kroda (Anger), Moha (Attachments), Lobo (Greed) and Kama (Lust or passion) for sensual things).

You are doing well. Cultivate patience.

"Life's perfection-road is very long, but the journey is richly rewarding." - Sri Chinmoy

Hi Bill,

Always a joy to hear from you. Pax tecum!

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 23, 2020:

Manatita, This is a very good article. Reading of all the ways we can pray is enlightening. Your poem is also so wonderfully sweet. I have found people, like friends, relatives and neighbors to be so giving during this pandemic.

Overall this is a wonderful article that enjoyed immensely. It is a blessing for Umesh as well. God bless you Manatita.

Rosina S Khan on May 23, 2020:

Are you back Manatita? This hub is mainly based on the importance and power of prayers. I try to pray all five times throughout the day but sometimes skip one or two due to distractions or interruptions. But then I am back to my schedule of five prayers daily.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 23, 2020:

You have given me much to think about on this Saturday morning. Thank you for leading me to the water and helping me to drink it. Peace be with you always, my friend.

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