Thanks for A2A.
Now this NOT an easy answer. It wasn’t something that I can answer off hand using my knowledge, simple “logic”, or even in extreme case, refer to my books and reply. This one had come from the depths of heart and sheer experience.
Again putting it in words wasn’t easy, it took me a late night chat with one of my most intelligent clients who threw me a curved ball by asking me “Aren’t all these remedies like a bribe to god? Thankfully I was half asleep and as usual the Divine came to my aid, which is far wiser than my limited intelligence I told him something in semi-conscious state, which answered and comforted him. Upon reading the entire chat in the morning I was myself amazed at what I had written. The first thing after that I thought I should share this with all so here I am at 8 in the morning writing this answer.
The answer is YES. THEY DO WORK. Mantras, meditations, pranayama yoga etc. they all do work.
Somebody might question why do they work? Can you bribe the Divine? The answer is NO. Divine is far more intelligent than limited human capacity.
These things work because IT IS A BENEVOLENT UNIVERSE-THE DIVINE LOVES US LIKE A MOTHER.
If you punished your child, you don’t feel good, right? And if the child cries and hugs you, even if you know that she is doing this in order to avoid further punishment, chances are that you would go soft on her and hug her back. You may still tell her to clean the room (karmic mess in our case) but I can bet you won’t slap her face after this. The same principle works here.
The closer you go to the Divine, the better your life becomes (it is like hugging a parent). Now please note that I am talking about INTERNAL LIFE. Even great saints like Ramakrishna and Ramana had to suffer, but they were so close to the Divine that they were able to smile during their suffering.
All these spiritual practices work from the INSIDE. They give you more strength and wisdom so that you THINK your way through tough situations and overcome your Karma. In case of unfixed (adridha) Karma you can actually change the external circumstances by sheer effort and thought and a dash of newly found luck. You may get a good idea, a long lost contact, or even external help may come to your aid (happened to me many a time).
If your Karma is really fixed (dridha) and there is no way you can change it, still these practices give you the wisdom and strength to tolerate the circumstance better and not lose hope or get desperate.
Life is easy when you know that the Divine loves you and the closer you get, the better it becomes.