We tend to pray usually with flowers,fruits,diyas etc.Especially,in case there is a festival ,there are flowers & fruits to be got for paying annual obeisance to the Almighty.This is more true for flowers as they end up adorning the Lord whereas fruits are devoured by us mortals as prasad after being offered to the deity.
But whenever,I have got flowers from the market,I often wonder about the flower vendors.It is they, who buy the flowers in the main market,cut the stems,separate the good ones from the worn out & also maybe string them into garlands.It is then, that we buy from them.I am sure, that when we pray, by offering flowers ,fruits,diyas,the wicks et al,a part of our prayer is granted away by the Almighty to the flower vendor,another part to the fruit vendor,still another part to that seller of diyas & vatis & so on & so forth.Only then, is it fair distribution .This is so, because, the fruit fellow has got the fruits,the flower vendor has got the flowers & the list goes on.Our prayers would not have the same sanctity without the colorful paraphernalia.Also,without the help & assistance of the said persons,our puja would remain incomplete.We are in an age wherein we are all dependent on a each other or rather we are incomplete without the others.It takes a team effort to do a task as simple as a puja.Of course,in addition, if we have a purohit chanting the shlokas,then obviously a part of the boon is given away to the priest.
All this distribution is like a pyramid .At the base are all the people -the vendors of flowers,fruits,the priests,& we ,who are praying with all the accompaniments of flowers,fruits,sweets, oil & ghee lamps,et al.As our prayers travel up the pyramid they all converge in the tip of the pyramid,at the feet of the Lord.In all this praying,everyone has contributed something -howsoever little it is, by money or labour or both.
The Almighty bestows his blessings & they in turn, travel downwards towards the bottom of the pyramid.As the aashirvad reaches the base,it gets shared amongst all -us,the purohit & the vendors .The blessings unless fairly distributed would be unjustified ,isn't it ? Likewise,the treatment for our countless errors.If there are people along with us who participated in our errors,they also get the flak from above.If this was not so,many of us would be worse off by now having sinned persistently & continuously.
I remember, that, one of my old neighbors who was very close to me would pick up tens of parijata flowers daily & give them to me asking me to offer them to Goddess Lakshmi.I would do as requested.At times, I would arrange the parijata flowers to make a rangoli of flowers & at other times,I would string the parijatas together & make a garland for the Goddess of Wealth.I believed, then also, that nearly half of the effort put in my form of prayer to Lakshmi was due to the flowers so lovingly collected by my neighbour.But there was a downside to this act of hers-she used to steal the flowers from another neighbour's garden ! So in conclusion,if she shared in the fruits of my prayers,I in turn, shared in her act of theft.
I often used to ponder about my prayers being unanswered - now,I feel , I know the reason.The complete fruits of my prayer have not been granted to me as enroute,the flower ,fruit vendor also had to be given their rightful shares.I guess to have my prayers answered fully,I just have to pray many more times than before.But I am happy about one thing- the sharing effect will be effective in the case of sins as well.That is why ,though I have lost count of my sins,I have not been banished as yet.All thanks to the pyramid effect !