If a devotee comes forward with a claim that his prayers were unanswered, I keep hearing one of the following reasons from the other devotees:

  1. You are not praying hard enough.
  2. You are not destined to reap the benefits of prayer. Your fate is sealed forever.

Are the above, valid scriptural reasons/answers for a devotee whose prayers go unanswered or are these folks ('other devotees') just speculating/speaking their mind?

  • 3
    the standard reason I have heard is - we do not know what is best for us, God does. Sometimes he grants it, sometimes he doesn't. Place the same amount of trust a small child places on its mother, on God. If a child wants to eat mud, and mom slaps its hand, child will get angry. Later he learns why, and regrets shouting at his mom.
    – mar
    Sep 25 '17 at 23:49
  • I heard a quote in Hindi earlier something like this.. Agar bhawana hamey koi cheez tabb nhi dete jabb hamm unse mangte hai tau wo yakinan hamey tabb denge jabb hamey uski zaroorat hogi. So by this quote we conlude that Just have faith in Lord. Uake darr par der hai andher nhi :) May be he is waiting for right time. English translation by me: If Lord don't give us thing when we want then he will surely give us when we will in need of it.
    – Vishvam
    Sep 26 '17 at 4:26
  • I read in Ramayana Long ago. When Narada asked from Lord Visnu to make him Handsome like him (Vishnu) then Vishnu replied "When a patient want something from doctor which will make patient more unhealthy then docton doesn't give that thing to patient to protect him. Exactly same way I have made up my mind to cure you". And he granted Narda the form of vanara (monkey) instead of Handsome form. Actully Vishnu did this to kill ego of Narada. Same way if we wish something from Lord that will be harmfull for our future then Lord never gives that thing coz he knows whats good for us and whats not.
    – Vishvam
    Sep 26 '17 at 4:39
  • Weak moon and Brihaspati.
    – user9392
    Sep 26 '17 at 5:52
For what reasons do prayers go unanswered?

Prayers never go unanswered. In fact they are answered immediately.

BG 4.12 - Acting desirous of success, those who worship the deities (deva/raksha/preta/pitru) here in this human world, the success happens quickly from those actions
BG 7.22 - Filled with that faith, that person engages in worshipping that form, and gets those very desired results as they are dispensed by Me alone.

If a devotee claims that his prayers were unanswered ...

The prayers are answered with exactly same sincerity & way, with which the prayers are offered.

BG 4.11 - The way they approach Me (direct or via deity), exactly in same way I serve them; O Partha human beings follow My path in every way.

Hence, if a person prays: "I want to be very rich.", then the result of that prayer will be immediately returned with the next thought in their mind. e.g. "I will purchase xyz." "I will travel at abc." ...

  • If person prays in imagination, then gets results in imagination too like above
  • If person brings the worship for money in conscience, then the prayer will result in planning.
  • If the person brings the worship in action, then the prayer will result in hard work in a direction.
  • If the person brings the worship in perseverance, then the prayer may result in actual wealth as well

Important to note that, prayers are not limited to hands folded with eyes closed. There are various way of worshipping/praying certain aspect (deity). They are listed scattered in Gita (e.g. 4.25-4.30).

One may think,

Why sometimes, even after giving enough of efforts certain goals are not achieved?

Because the earlier prayers are in work! If a person has in early life or birth has prayed to evil traits even more intensely, then they would nullify the person's lighter prayers in present time.
Practising evil traits is as good as praying evil traits.

  • 1
    Your points are confusing. You said "If person prays in imagination, then gets results in imagination too". But prayers is use to do in imagination only. I mean whether we use our tongue in prayer or not, how does it make any difference? If i chant Rama naam orally or just in my mind without using tongue. The chanting will effect in both cases? Besides whats exact meaning of imagination? In my sense m guessing imagination is not using tongue. Your all four points need more explanation.
    – Vishvam
    Sep 26 '17 at 8:22
  • 1
    @Rishabh, "prayers are not limited to hands folded with eyes closed". Typically people limit prayers to imagination. If true, then its results also will be in imagination. In that case act of "worshipping" can be considered as a superset of "prayers". Worshipping (bhakti) can be done in many ways -- dhyAna-yoga (prayers), chanting (japa), listening (shravana), kriya-yoga, karma-yoga, gyAna-yoga, service (seva), animosity (shatrutA), friendship (mitratA), & so on. The way one offers devotion, exactly same one one receives its results. Probably OP meant worship instead of prayers.
    – iammilind
    Sep 26 '17 at 8:47
  • Ok got your point. But need to know about 3rd point. Worship in action by means vrata (fast)? How one gets worship in action(which leads to hard work)? Does that mean if we will worship in action then Lord will direct us towards a way in which we have to do hard works to get our desired wish instead of granting our wish by his own? Means Lord won't grant us wish directly but instead He will tell us the way/direction in which we can achieve it?
    – Vishvam
    Sep 26 '17 at 8:53
  • 1
    @Rishabh, coincidentally, your last sentence Qn is almost an exact verse of Gita!! BG 7.21 - Whichever form [of a deity], any devotee wants to worship with faith, that faith only of his I strengthen. People often mistaken a deity with a person who stays somewhere high above. In reality, deity is an aspect of nature (water - varuna, money - kubera). When a person brings the money worshipping in action, that means ==> he/she is desiring to act on plans to make money. As a result, the lord indirectly gives the intuition towards "hard work". Example: Bhagiratha, mountain man Manjhi .. so on.
    – iammilind
    Sep 26 '17 at 9:00
  • 1
    I like the correlation analysis, it's just like this: 'For each action there is equal and opposite reaction'.
    – Just_Do_It
    Sep 28 '17 at 14:27

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