Prayers (primary version) (word document download)
Keep in mind that many Hindu songs, poems and mantras are also a form of prayer, and you may consult the corresponding material on this CD-Rom. It is also important to note that some of these prayers will need to be adapted for use with or by children, especially at Key Stage 1.
Prayer for liberation and enlightenment PRA-01
From the temporary lead me to the eternal!
From darkness lead me to light!
From death lead me to ever-lasting life!
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28
Prayers for Peace – Prayer 1 PRA-02
Oh Lord God almighty, may there be peace in
May there be peace on Earth.
May the waters bring us peace.
May herbs give us health, and may trees and
plants bestow tranquility on all.
May all kind
people bring peace to us.
May your Vedic teachings spread peace
throughout the entire world.
May all things be a source of peace to us.
And may your peace itself give peace to all
And may that peace come to me also.
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.29)
Prayers for Peace – Prayer 2 PRA-03
Let there be peace in heaven,
Let there be peace in the sky,
May peace fill the four directions.
May the waters and medicinal herbs bring peace,
May the planets give peace to all living beings,
May enlightened persons disseminate peace to everyone.
May the Vedas spread peace everywhere,
May all other objects everywhere give us peace,
And may that peace come to us and remain with us forever.
From Yajur Veda 36/37
Prayers in the morning PRA-04
On the tips of my fingers lives Lakshmi, the Goddess of Fortune. In the centre of my palm resides Saraswati, the Goddess of Learning and at the base of my palm, resides Lord Govinda. Therefore, thinking in this way, first thing in the morning I look at my palms.
O! Mother Earth, who has the ocean as clothes and mountains and forests on her body, who is the wife of Lord Vishnu, I bow to you. Please forgive me for touching you with my feet
Prayer before bathing or using water in puja PRA-05
Gange cha Yamune chaiva, Godavari Saraswati,
Narmade Sindhu Kaveri, jalesmin sannidhim kuru
In this water, I call for the presence of the holy waters from the seven sacred rivers – the Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Saraswati, Narmada, Sindhu and Kaveri
Prayer before Eating PRA-06
brahmarpanam brahma havir, brahmagnau brahmana hutam,
brahmaiva tena gantavyam, brahma-karma-samadhina..
A process of offering is Brahman, the oblation is Brahman, the instrument of offering is Brahman, the fire to which the offering is made is also Brahman. By only that person absorbed in Brahman is Brahman is reached.
Another translation reads:
Understand that these three things are all spiritual; the fire you worship, the ghee you offer into the fire and the person who makes the offering. Only that person who sees the divine in everything, and in all living beings, can understand his own eternal spiritual nature.
Prayers during diksha/sacred thread ceremony PRA-07
Speak only what is true. Do your duties. Don’t give up your study of the Veda. Do not swerve from Truth and Dharma, and do something useful in society. Achieve greatness, and do not fail to refresh your memory in respect of what you have learnt.
Prayer before learning PRA-08
May the Lord protect us, both teacher and student.
May He nourish us, so that we can work together with great energy.
Through our studies, may we both acquire brilliance of intellect,
Let there arise no trace of ill-will between us“
Prayers to the Guru
gurubrahma gururvishnu, gururdevo maheshvarah, PRA-09
guruh sakshat parabrahma, tasmai shri gurave namah
I bow down to that Guru (spiritual teacher), who is himself Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara (Shiva) , and who represents God himself.
Om ajnana – timirandhasya PRA-10
chaksura unmilitam yena
tasmai sri-gurave namah
I was born in the darkness of ignorance, and my spiritual master opened my eyes with the torch of knowledge. I therefore offer my respectful obeisances unto Him.
Prayer to the Supreme Person PRA-11
tvameva mata ca pita tvameva, tvameva bandhu ca sakha tvameva;
vameva vidya dravinam tvameva, tvameva sarvam mamah deva deva.
O Supreme Lord (deva-deva, Master of all demigods), you are our mother, father, brother, and friend. You are the knowledge and you are the only treasure. To us, you are our everything.
Prayers to Vishnu – Prayer 1 PRA-12
I bow to Lord Vishnu the One Master of the Universe, who is ever peaceful, who reclines on the great serpent bed, from whose navel springs the Lotus of Creative Power, who is the Supreme Being, who supports the entire universe, who is all-pervading as the sky, who is dark like the clouds and has a beautiful form; the Lord of Lakshmi, the lotus-eyed One, whom the yogis are able to perceive through meditation and who is the destroyer of the fear of repeated birth and death.
Prayers to Vishnu – Prayer 2 PRA-13
O Lord Narayana! I offer all that which I have done,
through thought, word and body (deed),
consciously or unconsciously,
by force of habit, or pull of maya and karma.
Kindly forgive me and protect me.
Prayer to the Goddess (Devi, Shakti) PRA-14
O Devi, who removes the sufferings of your suppliants, be gracious to us. Bestow your blessings, O Mother of the whole world. Be gracious, O Mother of the universe. Please protect the universe. O Devi, you are the ruler of all that is, both moving and unmoving.
From the Devi Mahatmyam (glory of the Divine Mother)
Prayer to Krishna, for grace and guidance PRA-15
I offer my respects to Lord Madhava,
The husband of the Goddess of Fortune,
the source of supreme bliss,
by whose mercy the dumb become eloquent
and the infirm can cross mountains.
Prayer to Radha PRA-16
I offer my respects to Radharani, whose bodily complexion is like molten gold and who is the Queen of Vrindavana. You are the daughter of King Vrishabanu, and you are very dear to Lord Krishna.
Prayers to Rama – Prayer 1 PRA-17
The cheerful face of Rama did not lose its splendor when he was banished to the forest nor did it become more radiant with his impending coronation. May that lotus face bring tender delight and sweet auspiciousness in our daily lives.”
Prayers to Rama – Prayer 2 PRA-18
“I adore Lord Hari, known by the name of Shri Rama, who is the supreme, the cause of all causes, and whose maya (illusory power) holds sway over all beings from Lord Brahma down. By his light, truth becomes evident, as when what appeared to be a snake turns out to be a rope. His lotus feet are the only ferry for those eager to cross safely over the ocean of mundane existence”
Prayer to Hanuman PRA-19
I take shelter in Lord Rama’s messenger, who is swift as the mind, as powerful as the wind, in control of his senses, supremely intelligent, the commander of the army of forest creatures, and the son of Vayu (the wind-god).
Prayers to Lakshmi PRA-20
Oh Goddess Lakshmi!
We pray to you with gravity and with affection
to kindly shower upon us your blessings and your wealth.
O daughter of the ocean of milk, you are the gorgeous temple of auspicious qualities, and the unique embodiment of all fourteen gems of virtuous conduct.
Prayer to Sarasvati PRA-21
O Goddess Saraswati,
You are as fair as the moon, pearl, snowflake, and jasmine flower,
Adorned in pure white silk,
Your delicate hands grace the neck of an exquisite vina.
As you sit on a white lotus,
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva and other deities offer you worship.
O Goddess of knowledge,
Please protect us and purify our minds of all ignorance.
Prayer to Ganesh PRA-22
Lord Ganesh, of large body and curved trunk, and resplendent with the brilliance of a million suns, please remove all obstacles from all my good actions.
Prayer to Skanda PRA-23
Oh Gurunatha! You came along riding on the peacock holding in your hand the Vel (spear) that smashed to pieces the Krauncha Mountain. You took possession of me so that the people of the world may admire your grace.”
Prayer by Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) PRA-24
This is my prayer to you, my lord –
Strike, strike at the penury in my heart.
Give me the strength
lightly to bear my joys and sorrows
Give me the strength
to make my love fruitful in service
Give me the strength
never to disown the poor
or bend my knees before insolent might.
Give me the strength
To raise my mind high above earthly trifles.
And give me the strength
To surrender my strength to your will
The Purusha Shukta Prayers (Prayers at the Time of Creation) PRA-25
1. The Virat Purusha, the Supreme in the form of the universe, has a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet, for He contains all living beings. Having completely pervaded the universe to give it existence, the independent Lord extended Himself beyond it by ten fingers.
2. The universes, past, present and future, are but manifestations of the Supreme Lord who expands Himself as the Purusha. He is the Lord of immortality but within the universe has manifested Himself as the Purusha so that the jivas (individual souls) may enjoy material pleasures.
3. The past, present and future universes are manifestations of the Lord’s powers, but the Lord Himself is much greater. The material creation is one-quarter of the entire cosmos, and the eternal spiritual sky constitutes the remaining three-quarters.
4. The three quarters portion of the Lord transcends the material world. The Lord, within the one-quarter portion, manifested the material world again, as He had done repeatedly before. He began the work of creation, by moving around and taking the form of all animate and inanimate objects.
5. From that Lord, the universe (virat) was born. The Virat Purusha then expanded himself, and entered the universe as its Paramatman (supersoul). Having appeared, the Virat Purusha grew, and produced the earth and the bodies of all the jivas.
6. The first created beings, the Devas (gods), then performed a mental sacrifice to complete the creation, using the Virat Purusa (the totality of ingredients of the material world), as the offering. Spring was the ghee, summer was the wood used for fuel and autumn was the offering.
7. In this sacrifice, the kusha-grass blades strewn around the fire (for protection from evil beings) were seven (the seven Vedic poetic metres), and the fuel sticks were twenty-one (12 months, 6 seasons and the 3 worlds). As the Devas performed this mental sacrifice, they bound the Virat Purusha to offer Him into the fire, just as one would tie the sacrificial animal.
8. The Devas, Sadhyas and Rishis (sages of old) placed the Virat Purusha, the first being of the universe, on kusha and sprinkled Him with water for purification. In this way they used him to conduct the mental sacrifice.
9.From that ceremony in which everything in the universe was sacrificed, yogurt and ghee (all nourishing foods) were produced. It created all species of birds, and all wild and domesticated animals.
10. From that ultimate sacrifice the Rik (hymns), Sama (musical) and Yajus (prose) portions of the Vedas, and the seven Vedic metres, were born.
11. From the sacrifice, horses were born, and animals with two sets of teeth such as donkeys and mules. From that, sacrifice, goats and sheep were created.
12. In the mental sacrifice, when they divided up the Virat Purusha, how many parts did they create? What is stated about His face, His arms, His thighs and feet?
13. From his face came the brahmins, and from the two arms the kshatriyas. From his thighs were born the vaishyas and from His feet the shudras.
14. The moon was born from His mind, and the Sun from His two eyes. From His mouth were born Indra (the deity presiding over rain) and Agni (the deity in charge of fire), and from His breath emerged Vayu, god of the wind.
15. From His navel came the space between earth and heaven. From His head emerged the heavenly planets, from his feet the earth, and from His ears the ten directions. In this way, all the worlds were created.
16. I know that great Virat Purusha, who is as effulgent as the sun and who stands beyond the darkness of the material creation. Having given all the living entities their forms and names, He directs and maintains their affairs.
17. Brahma explained his realisation to Indra. Indra, who knows all living entities in all four directions, explained it to everyone else. One who knows the nature of the Virat Purusha becomes immortal even during this life on earth. There is no other path to reach the goal of eternal life.
18.In this way, using the Virat Purusha, the Devas conducted the mental sacrifice to manifest variety in the world. By that sacrifice, they generated both the physical laws of nature and the first ethical principles. The great souls, by similar mental worship, attain the place of immortality where the Sadhyas and Devas, the first worshippers, now dwell”.
You can here a short recitation of these prayers on the Audio-CD, Track 20