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I had a few questions about this:

  1. Can we pray to Lord Narayana from any location, or does it have to be in a temple or in front of an idol or picture?

  2. Can we pray in simple English or any other language or does it have to be a Sanskrit shloka?

  3. Can we ask for the removal of our problems/difficulties, etc.?

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  1. You can pray to Lord Narayana from any location. However, when you pray in a temple or in front of idol or image, you have better concentration.

  2. You can pray to Him in any language you wish; there is no language barrier. The Alzhwars sang His glories in Tamil; Haridasas of Karnataka have sung about Him in Kannada. What really matters is Bhakti.

  3. Of course, you can ask him to remove your difficulties. In fact, Krishna himself says that his devotees are four types in Bhagavad Gita Chapter 7, Shloka 16:

    चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जना: सुकृतिनोऽर्जुन |
    आर्तो जिज्ञासुरर्थार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ ||

    Aartha, meaning the one in distress and pray to him to remove their distress; Artharthi meaning the one who seeks material benefits; Jignasu meaning one who is curious to know Him and Jnani meaning who indulge in Nishkama bhakti, meaning they do not expect anything in return. There are great devotees of Lord Vishnu who fall in each of these categories: Dhruva in Artharthi, Gajendra and Draupadi in Aartha, Uddhawa in Jignasu and Prahlada in Jnani.

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The Mahanarayana Upanishad (Swami Vimalananda translator) says:

13.4 Narayana is the Supreme Reality designated as Brahman. Narayana is the highest (Self). Narayana is the supreme Light (described in the Upanishads). Narayana is the infinite Self. [Narayana is the most excellent meditator and meditation.]

13.6 One should meditate upon the Supreme--the limitless, unchanging, all-knowing, cause of the happiness of the world, dwelling in the sea of one's own heart, as the goal of all striving. The place for His meditation is the ether in the heart--the heart which is comparable to an inverted lotus bud.

The location for praying to Narayana is in the cave of your heart. What is outside is inconsequential. If certain outside environments are more conducive to helping you concentrate upon Him in the cave of your heart, then do so. As Sri Chaitanya says in one of his poems - "No times are set, no rites are needful, for chanting of Thy name."

Any language that you understand will do. Sanskrit slokas can help if they are pronounced correctly...remember if not pronounced correctly, they can lead to opposite effects. The Lord looks at your heart's intentions, not at your pronunciation.

The Lord gives you what you ask for. But why go before a King and ask for glass beads when there are diamonds to be had? Pray to Him and ask only that you may have only pure love for His lotus feet. If that is given, everything else happens without asking...

  • 'if not pronounced correctly, they can lead to opposite effects. The Lord looks at your heart's intentions, not at your pronunciation' - both can't be true, which takes precedence, your intentions or the pronunciation? – sv. Jul 5 '18 at 16:46

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