Hindu Prayers: The Ocean of Spiritual Pearls

GaneshaSpiritual teachings form the core and basis of this book. Repeating these teachings in one form or another would deepen the groove of our learning. All the religions of the world teach a similar philosophy in different ways. Religion is a program of self-enhancement by imbibing noble virtues, which are explained and expounded by the wisdom-filled sages and seers over a long period of time.

Hindu sages composed many beautiful universal prayers:

Common be your prayer,
Common be your desires,
Common be your hearts,
United be your intentions,
Perfect be the union amongst you.
—Rig Veda X, 191–3, 4

The universal nature of the Hindu faith is very visible in this prayer.

All that is invisible is verily the Infinite Brahman.
All that is visible is also the Infinite Brahman.
The whole universe has come out of the Infinite Brahman.
Brahman is infinite although the whole universe has come out of it.
Om Peace Peace Peace.
—Brihadarnyakopanishad V, 1, 1

The infinite and unfathomable nature of the Divine has been described securely.

Gods, May we hear with our ears what is auspicious.
O Ye adorable ones, May we see with our eyes what is auspicious.
May we sing praise to ye and enjoy with strong limbs
and body the life allotted to us by the Gods.
—Vedic

Auspiciousness and goodwill (sadbhavna) has been a marked feature
in Hindu philosophy.

May there be peace in heaven. May there be peace in the sky.
May there be peace on earth. May there be peace in the
water.
May there be peace in the plants. May there be peace in the
trees.
May there be peace in the Gods. May there be peace in
Brahman.
May there be peace in all. May that peace, real peace, be
mine.
—Vedic

Peace, or shanti, is invoked repeatedly with great passion.

He, whose greatness has made Him, the one sole king of this
animate and inanimate world, who is the creator and lord of all
bipeds and quadrupeds, He is to whom we offer our prayers.
—Rig Veda X, 121.1, 2, 3, 4

Hindu sages adore God above everything else. He is the most
powerful, omniscient and all-wise being.

Be of easy approach to us, even as father to his son.
Do thou, O self-effulgent Lord, abide with us and bring
blessings to us.
—Rig Veda I, 1, 9

God is regarded as a loving father and mother; his blessings are
sought at evry step.

Lord, Thy blissful removes all ills and roots of all pain.
Do Thou make our lives happy and fruitful.
—Yajur Veda Samhita XVI, 2

We pray to God to remove all obstacles and discomforts and to
bestow happiness and success.

Lord, O Thou the illuminator, do Thou free us from sins.
Do Thou bring to us what is auspicious.
—Yajur Veda Samhita XXX, 3

God is invoked to grant us the spiritual knowledge Jnana, and
make our life auspicious.

May I be able to look upon all beings with the eye of a friend.
May we look upon one another with the eye of a friend.
—Yajur Veda Samhita XXXVI, 18

Again, goodwill and auspiciousness are adored.

Lord, Thou art our father; do Thou instruct us like a father.
We offer our salutations to Thee. Do Thou not destroy us; do
Thou protect us.
—Yajur Veda Samhita XXXVII, 20

God is invoked as a loving parent; freedom from any harm and
destruction are sought.

We contemplate on the embodiment of the highest wisdom.
We meditate upon the very first cause. May that Brahman—
the infinite being—ever guide our understanding.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 1, 29

God is invoked as all knowing and wise being. His guidance is
invoked.

Whatever sins have been committed by me, by thought,
word, or deed, may the Supreme Lord, the source of strength,
wisdom, and purity, forgive me and cleanse me of them all.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 1, 48

We pray that our miskes and sins be forgiven and our inner
being (antahkaran) be transformed.

Being free from sins and impurities, bondages and evils, may I
soar up to the highest heavens; may I attain to the same abode
as the almighty Brahman.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 1, 52

Freedom from all impurities and sins will elevate us to the Divine;
this is the Hindu belief.

Being purified by the holy, all pervading, eternal presence
of the effulgent Being, man gets rid of evil. May we too go
beyond the touch of sin, our great enemy, being free from
Impurity by that ever-holy Presence that purifies all.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 11

God is invoked to remove of all evils and sins.

May the winds bring us happiness.
May the rivers carry happiness to us. May the herbs give us
happiness.
May the night and day yield us happiness.
May the dust of the earth bring us happiness.
May the heavens give us happiness.
May the trees give us happiness.
May the sun pour down the happiness. May the cows yield us
happiness.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 39

All nature gods are invoked to grant us happiness and prosperity.

May my body become pure.
May I be free from impurity and sin.
May I realize myself as the light divine.
May my mind become pure.
May my self become pure.
May I be free from impurity and sin.
May I realize myself as the light divine.
—Taittiriya Aranyaka X, 66

Prayer is made to seek freedom from evil and sin.

May He, the One without a second, who, though formless,
produces by means of His manifold powers, various forms
without any purpose of His own; from whom the universe
comes into being in the beginning of creation; and to whom it
returns in the end-endow us with good thoughts.
—Svetasvataropanishad IV, I

Supreme God, transcendental and omniscient, is the creator of
universe.

Thou art the imperishable, the Supreme Being, the one to be
known.
Thou art the great refuge of this universe.
Thou art the unchanging guardian of the eternal religion.
Thou art, I know the most ancient being
—Bhagavad Gita XI, 18

Thou art the most glorious cosmic being with innumerable
feet, hands, and eyes. Thou art the supporter of the world of
beings and of the earth with the mountains.
—Valmikiramayan VI, cxix, 21, 22

The Divine is eulogized as the most Supreme Being, with infinite
virtue and power.

Wealth, nobility, ancestry, physical beauty, asceticism, scriptural
knowledge, power, energy, courage, might, diligence, prudence, and yogic practice—all these I deem of no avail in the worship of the
Supreme Being. For indeed, the almighty Lord is pleased with the
devotee; not for anything else but for his great devotion.
Unconditional surrender and devotion are considered as the
most proper way for worshipping the Divine.
—Bhagvatam VII, 9, 9

I consider even the lowest-born man, who has dedicated his
thoughts, words, efforts, riches, and life to the Lord, to be
worthier than the Brahmin—the highest-born—who, though
possessing the above mentioned twelve qualities, is disinclined
to worship the lotus feet of the lord; for the former sanctifies
his race, but not so the later who is puffed with immense
conceit.
—Bhagvatam VII, 9,10

True and sincere worship is more worthy than any caste factor.

Let our speech be devoted to the narration of thy excellence,
our ears to the hearing of thy wonderful glory, our hands to
the performance of thy work, our minds to meditation on thy
holy feet, our heads to bowing to the world—thy abode—and
our eyes to seeing the righteous who are thy body.
-Bhagvatam X, 10, 38

Adoration of the Divine at all times is the principal activity of a
true devotee.

Thou art the self of all, O Lord of all and the indweller of all
beings.
What then shall I speak unto thee who knowest my inmost
thoughts.
-Vishnupurana I, 12, 72

The Divine is hailed as the omniscient and all-knowing wisdom.

Salutation to thee who art ever interested in destroying the
miseries of devotees. Thou art the infinite ocean of grace to the
weak and lowly. Salutations unto thee.
—Skandapurana II, ii, Ch. XXVII

God alone protects us from any harm and miseries. We bow
before him.
Lord, thou art the one Brahman without the second.
Thou art everything. Thou art the one Truth, and verily there
is nothing but Thee. O Thou destroyer of misery, Thou alone
dost exist eternally, and none besides. Therefore I take refuge
in Thee, the supreme Lord.
—Skandapurana IV, Pt. I, Ch. X, Verse 126

God is but everything that we perceive and feel. There is nothing
apart from God.

Mother divine, thou art the giver of success and intelligence.
Thou art the giver of both worldly enjoyment and liberation.
The mystic sound symbols—the mantras—verily constitute
thy form. Mother auspicious, I bow to thee always.
—Mahalakshmyashtaka 4

God is prayed on the form of the Divine mother.


NOTE: All prayers are adapted from Swami Yatiswarananda, Universal Prayers. Chenai, India: Sri Ramakrishna Math, 2001.

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