Mantras, Prayers and Music

Prayers

Prayers are an integral part of Human Life.

Prayers, whenever offered in

  1. Mass or as
  2. An Individual, make us calm and peaceful.

Prayers are the simple mode of expression of our faith and our surrendering to the Supreme Power.

  • By offering prayers we ask for the soothing of sorrows and distress .
  • By offering prayers, we ask for blessings to lead a moralistic, peaceful and meaningful life.
  • Offering prayers also helps us to cleanse our minds and concentrate.
  •  Prayers also help us to see the Divine or God within our own heart creating insight to the Self.

Swami Ramkrishna Paramhansa explains:

”Whenever we post a letter, we believe that it will reach the right person at its destination”. Likewise, it happens with our prayers.

  • Certain prayers are Universal.
  • These prayers have no boundaries of religion, age or sex.
  • They are very meaningful and Divine and have been in existence for thousands of years.
  • Traditionally, they are passed down from generation to generation, which conserves their purity.
  • Vedic prayers have direct appeal to the heart.

Vedas are the oldest scriptures in the world and the mother of all scriptures.

Vedas are four in number. They are –

  1. Rig Veda.
  2. Yajur Veda.
  3. Sama Veda.
  4. Atharva Veda.
  • All prayers born out of these scriptures are Universal.
  • When one sings or chants these prayers, it is important to pronounce the words in a certain way.
  • Properly pronounced prayers have a distinct effect on our bodies and minds.
  • According to Ancient Tradition, they are always learned from the Masters.
  • The healing powers of prayers are well known to humankind and are time tested.

Some popular prayers are mentioned here with their meanings.

OM is the most popular and simple prayer known worldwide.

  • In India, the first prayer is always offered to the God Ganapati or Ganesha (Elephant headed God).
  • Ganesha is the God who helps us to remove obstacles from our lives.
  • Ganesha is always remembered at the beginning of any ceremony or ritual.
  • He is asked to bless the aim and function and protect us.

The traditional bowing down to Ganesha is by chanting the following –

ganesh

// OM GAM GANAPATAYE NAMAH //

Meaning,

Oh, Primal Supreme Power who is the good omen, we bow down to you.


1. Prayers to the Guru:

In the word Guru; Gu – means Ignorance and Ru means who takes it away.

The word is self- explanatory. Guru is the one who has wisdom and love for you, the same way a mother has for her child. A Guru makes you aware of your goal in life and gives you the means to achieve it, helping you to attain perfection.

The most well known prayer for the guru is –

 

// GURUR BRAHMAA GURUR VISHNU

GURUR DEVO MAHESHWARHAH /

GURUSSAKSHAAT PARABRAHMAAN

TASMAI SHREE GURAVE NAMAH //

Meaning,

Guru, himself, is Lord Brahma. He is Vishnu and he is Shiva also.

Guru is the ultimate Brahma and I offer my salutations to him.

//BRAHMAANAND PARAMASUKHADAM

KEWALAM JNAANMOORTIM

DVANDAATEETAM GAGANSADRISHAM

TATTVAMASSYADI LAKSHYAM /

EKAM NITYAM VIMALAM ACHALAM

SARVADHEE SAKSHIBHOOTAM

BHAAVATEETAM TRIGUNARAHITAM

SADGURUM TAMA NAMAAMI //

Meaning,

We salute to the real Guru who is bliss of Brahma and who blesses us with the highest happiness, who is the idol of knowledge, who is beyond duality, detached, who is like the sky, who is one, eternal pure, immovable, the witness of all changes in the intellect, who is beyond all states and is not influenced by three gunas. (Triguna – prakriti).

//OM SAHANAAVAVATU / SAHANAU BHUNAKTU / SAHAVEERYAM KARAVAVAHAI /

TEJASWINAVADHITAMASTU MAA VIDVISHAAVAHAI //

OM PEACE / OM PEACE / OM PEACE //

Meaning,

Oh Supreme, protect us both, teacher (Guru) and disciple (Shishya).

May he nourish us both. May our study be fruitful and thorough. May we never hate each other.


2. Universal Prayers:

//OM BHADRAM KARNE BHIH SHRUNUYAAMA DEVAAH /

BHADRAM PASHYEMAAKSHABHIR YAJATRAAHA /

STHIRAIRANGAI STUSHTUVAAGUM SASTANOOBHIH

VYASHEMA DEVAHITAM YADAAYUH /

SVASTI NA INDRO VRIDDHASHRAVAAH

SWASTI NAH POOSHA VISHWA VEDAAH /

SWASTI NASTAARKSHYO ARISHTANEMIH

SWASTI NO BRIHASPATIR DADHAATU

OM PEACE / OM PEACE / OM PEACE //

Meaning,

May we hear only well through our ears.

May we see only well through our eyes.

May we who sing praise of you live our whole allotted span of life with perfect health and vigor.

May Indra who is praised by the devotees safeguard our existence and well being.

May the wise Pooshan grant us safety.

May Garuda and Brihaspati grant us well being.

Om Peace / Om Peace / Om Peace //

// OM POORNAMADAH POORNAMIDAM

POORNAAT POORNAMUDACHYATE

POORNASYA POORNAMAADAAYA

POORNAMEVAAVASHISHYATE //

OM PEACE / OM PEACE / OM PEACE //

Meaning,

The invisible is Infinite, the visible is infinite. From the infinite the visible universe of infinite expansion has come out .The infinite is unchanged even after the infinite universe is born out of it.

Om Peace / Om Peace / Om Peace //


3. Prayers of certain Gods and Idols:

a.Lord Vishnu:

Vishnu signifies satvik bhava (triguna – prakriti). He is the Lord who is lying down on the coiled, 5 – headed snake (Shesha), who is holding Earth on his fang. From his umbilicus, a lotus is born and Lord Brahma is sitting on that.

 

// SHAANTAAKAARAM BHUJAGSHAYANAM

PADMANAABHAM SURESHAM

VISHWADHAARAM GAGANSADRISHAM

MEGHAVARNAM SHUBHAANGAM

LAKSHMIKAANTAM KAMALANAYANAM

YOGIHRIDHYAANAGAMYAM

VANDE VISHNUM BHAVBHAYAHARAM

SARVALOKAIKANAATHAM //

Meaning,

I surrender before Lord Vishnu.

Who is the Lord of all the worlds and who removes causes of all worries and fears.

His form is blissful.

He sleeps on a bed of serpents.

He sports a lotus on his navel.

He is the Lord of the Celestials.

He supports the whole Cosmos.

He has exquisite limbs and his color is as blue as the sky, which looks like a rainy cloud.

He is the husband of the Goddess Lakshmi.

His eyes look like lotus petals.

Yogis meditate on him.


b. Goddess Lakshmi:

Lakshmi is considered to be the Goddess of Wealth and Fortune. She sits on a Lotus and holds a Lotus in each of her two hands.

// NAMASTESTU MAHAMAAYE

SHREE PEETHE SURAPOOJITE /

SHANKHA CHAKRA GADAA HASTE

MAHALAKSHMI NAMOSTU TE //

SARWAJNE SARVAVARDE

SARWA DUSHTA BHAYANKARI /

SARWA DUKHA HARE DEVI

MAHAALAKSHMI NAMOSTU TE //

Meaning,

We bow down to you Goddess MahaaLakshmi. You are the great deluder who sits on Shree Chakra. The Celestials worship you .You hold in your hands the Conch, The Discus, The Mace, And the Lotus.

We bow to you again, you are omniscient .You shower boons on the good and you are a terror for all the bad.You take away all the sorrows of devotees who worship you.


c. Goddess Saraswati:


Saraswati
is the Goddess of Learning and Intellect. She is the wife of Lord Brahma who is the Creator. Saraswati is considered as the embodiment of –

1.Education (Vidya).

2.Intellect (Buddhi)

3.Knowledge (Buddhi)

4.Memory (Smruti)

5.Wisdom (Pradnya)


She is called as Saraswati because she gives (ti) the essence (saara) of our own self (Sva).

She has four hands. She holds a rosary and a book in two of her hands and a Veena, (musical string instrument) with her other two hands.

The book represents all of the Secular Sciences. The Veena is a symbol of fine arts. Rosary symbolizes all spiritual sciences.


As per Indian heritage, the color black symbolizes ignorance and Knowledge is symbolized by white
. That is why Saraswati is in white.

// YAA KUNDENDU TUSHAARHAARA DHAWALA

YAA SHUBHRA VASTRAVRITTA

YAA VEENAA VARADANDA MANDITKARAA

YAA SHVETA PADMASANAA

YAA BRAHMAACHUUTA SHANKARA PRABHRITIBHIR

DEVAIH SADAA VANDITAA

SAA MAAM PAATU SARASWATI BHAGAVATEE

NISHSHESHA JAADYAPAHAA //

Meaning,

Goddess Saraswati is all in white like the blossom of Kunda flowers, the moon, snow and pearl.

Her dress is pure white.

Two of her hands are playing the Veena.

Her other two hands are poised to give awards and punishments as required.

She is seated on a White Lotus.

All the Celestials, including Lord Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, worship her.

Hey Goddess Saraswati, Please remove hurdles in my life and protect me.

Yoga Nature

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