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TEXAS FAITH 48: Should we pray for rain?

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Dallas Morning News,

Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

With the drought creating havoc across Texas, including leading to brutal fires in Central Texas, it's not uncommon to hear people either jokingly or seriously assert that they are going to pray for rain. Gov. Rick Perry even issued a proclamation last April asking Texans to pray for rain over a 72-hour period. Part of the proclamation read this way:

"WHEREAS, throughout our history, both as a state and as individuals, Texans have been strengthened, assured and lifted up through prayer; it seems right and fitting that the people of Texas should join together in prayer to humbly seek an end to this devastating drought and these dangerous wildfires;"

What is your view on this?

Should Texans or, for that matter, others afflicted by drought pray for rain?

If so, how would you pray? And what would you expect?

If not, why wouldn't you pray for rain?

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas 

This is an example of one's dependence upon God. Regarding this subject a great teacher, Srila Prabhupada has said,

"If nature likes, there can be profuse rain. That is nature's arrangement. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā. Parjanyād anna-sambhavah. Parjanyāt: you must have sufficient rain. And for having sufficient rain, you must execute yajña, or sacrifice. Yajñād bhavati parjanyah. So these leaders are now becoming rascals. They are not performing yajñas. They are opening slaughterhouses. How will there be rain? Instead of performing yajñas, they are opening big slaughterhouses"

According to the Vedic tradition, nature, which is one of God's energies, reciprocates with the activities of man. If we perform our spiritual duties (yajna) and abstain from sinful actions, such as killing the innocent and defenseless (meat eating and abortion) then nature will shower her blessings upon us. A pious society receives all their necessities from Mother Nature.

Our modern so-called materially advanced society does not cultivate an understanding of the dependence upon God. Children and adults alike believe that their food comes from the grocery store and the foolish technologist believes that they can eventually conquer death. The intelligent reject this post-dated check and understand that we cannot live on nuts and bolts but rather only survive by the mercy of God.

The easiest form of yajna in our modern age is the performance of kirtan. Kirtan means to glorify and specifically means the chanting of the many names of God. One can chant Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare or one may chant any name of God from the various traditions. Such chanting is a form of prayer wherein we ask the Lord to engage us in His loving service. By such chanting one can purify one's existence and at the same time directly experience God. God is never ungrateful for sincere efforts of loving service (Matthew 6:26) and therefore provides all that is needed. (BG 9.22)