(Below is part of a transcript of a talk given by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in Rishikesh, India, in 1968. This is part 4 of a 7-part posting on Facebook by Alan Waite, who cinematically documented much of Maharishi’s work in its earlier years)

“The outpouring of love is also said to be a prayer. And this prayer is something most desirable, most enjoyable, most effective. And it’s effective for everything! This prayer is a spontaneous outburst of the state of fulfillment.
The other type of prayer is a cry in need… life in a state of non-fulfillment. So, the cry in the state of need without fulfillment is just a vain… waste of energy. [laughing] It’s just a waste of energy! One could cry in agony, one could have a flash of some miraculously grand sight of God. So overpowering and then it goes away. And when it’s gone then the devotee of God cries in anguish and pain of separation. And then he prays… he prays for something or may even pray for the same sight once again. This demand… prayer that aims at demanding… at asking… is from a very undesirable level life. From a non-deserving level. A level of life where one doesn’t deserve that grandeur. And non-deserving, one cries for it.
But there is a proverb [in India]: First deserve and then desire. Deserve and desire. And once you deserve it you don’t have to desire – it’s supplied already!
So, the prayer which is the outflow of the state of fulfillment is very fortunate prayer. And the prayer which is in anguish of need… asking for fulfillment… it’s a waste of time. It doesn’t mean much in life.
What has happened is… when the devotees of God have floated in that great emotional experience of ecstasies and they pray to God and in prayer they say: “Oh, Thou art like that, and Thou art like that, and Thou art like that… So merciful and so unbounded, and present everywhere and so kind…” All these … memories of some visions of God, some beautiful experiences. This memory refreshes the whole thing and then… as I said… just an outpouring of the fullness of life.
But the other type of prayer… it’s a formality, and when we conduct the formalities it doesn’t touch the heart. The lips chatter like that like that and in two minutes the prayer over and that’s it. Duty done. When it’s a matter of duty then it doesn’t touch the core of life. Too much superficial, on the surface. But, in a way, it maybe good for the children when the father prays. And when the father prays the children see that prayer is something that should be done. It creates a sort of tradition.”

(Maharishi did not, to my knowledge, often speak of prayer or other “religious” subjects. He was far more dedicated to speaking of Transcendental Meditation as not being a religion, or requiring religious or other belief. But it might have been impossible for him to avoid the topic completely. He gave countless public talks, which almost always included questions posted by those who were present.)