Intro : I have composed this prayer for non-Indian seekers of Hinduism in English. It is important to know that Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma) is a complex mix of many profound theologies, philosophies, schools of thoughts, etc. Contrary to popular opinion among Westerners, Hinduism is not polytheistic. It may be considered as henotheistic and panentheistic. Profound philosophies like Advaita Vedanta, Achintya Bhedabheda, Vishishtadvaita, Tantra, Vedic texts, etc. form the base of Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma). "Sanatan" means eternal and "Dharma" means moral order. Because Hinduism is henotheistic, its scriptures mention and praise numerous deities as if they are one ultimate unitary divine essence. While concentrating on one form of God, the devotion of a Hindu sadhak rises to such a level that for a particular period of time that form of God is worshipped as Supreme. There are a plethora of schools of thoughts in Hinduism which can be described as being monist, monotheist, henotheist, panentheist, etc. Different sects have different interpretation even though all of them are united as a single Hindu family. While making this humble attempt to compose an English Hindu prayer, I would like to clarify that I do not intend to disrespect any school/sect and I indeed respect and endorse all of them. All these sects/schools are like pearls tied together with a single string of Hinduism (Sanatan Dharma). Therefore like most Hindus, I respect all deities/names/forms as manifestations/representations of the same Supreme Divine. Most Hindus consider different forms as signifying different attributes/qualities of the same Supreme Divine. Thus, Hindus are secular in the sense that we see even non-Hindu names, terms and forms of God (of different religions of the world) as that of the Supreme Being itself. I recommend reading the Bhagavad Geeta (Advaita Vedantic interpretation) to understand the true essence of Hinduism.
I begin by reciting the sound Om (ॐ), which is the divine cosmic sound containing all vibrations of the Multiverse and symbol of the cause of the Multiverse, essence of life, Brahman (God principle), Atman (soul), and Self-knowledge (Swabhaas).
I bow with folded hands (Namaste/Namaskar pose) before the One who is worshipped first (Pratham pujya) Lord Ganesha, remover of all obstacles in the path to righteousness (Dharma) and god of auspiciousness.
I bow with folded hands before Swamy (Lord Of Lords), Lord Vishnu, preserver of the Multiverse and Swayam Prabhu (God itself).
I bow with folded hands before Father Lord Shiva, destroyer and transformer of the Multiverse (Sanhaarak), Pashupatinath (Lord Protector of all beings), Rudra (mightiest of the mighty) and who is the essence of the world (Sansar saaram).
I bow with folded hands before Mother Adi Shakti (Parvati/Mahakali/Parashakti), protector of righteousness (Dharma) and force underlying the whole Multiverse.
I bow with folded hands before Mother Saraswati, embodiment and bestower of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning.
I bow with folded hands before Mother Lakshmi, goddess of abundance, wife of Lord Vishnu and bestower of wealth, fortune and prosperity.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Krishna, who is the embodiment of love and is Swayam Prabhu Purna Purushottam (God itself complete with all divine qualities).
I bow with folded hands before Mother Radha, supreme goddess of blissful devotion and soulmate of Lord Krishna.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Ram, who is the perfect ideal person (Maryada Purushottam).
I bow with folded hands before Gurudev (teacher/guide/expert/master) Lord Hanuman, the embodiment of devotion, knowledge, power, excellence, part incarnation of Lord Shiva (Shivaansh) and supreme devotee of Lord Ram.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Narsimha, incarnation/avatar of Lord Vishnu and he who strikes terror in the minds of non-religious and non-righteous (adharmi).
I bow with folded hands before Lord Venkateswara Swamy, manifestation of Lord Vishnu and destroyer of sins.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Vithoba (Vitthal/Panduranga), manifestation of Lord Krishna and guide towards the Supreme.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Mururgan (Kartikeya/Shanmukha/Swaminath/Skanda), son of Lord Shiva and god of war.
I bow with folded hands before Lord Brahma, creator of the universe.
I bow with folded hands before Brahman (pronounced “Brahm”), the highest universal abstract impersonal formless genderless pervasive infinite eternal true blissful principle/reality underlying the Multiverse and also existing apart from it.
Thus bowing before all the divine forms of the Supreme, I end by reciting Om (ॐ), concentrating upon Om (ॐ) and dissolving my whole being into Om (ॐ).
Source : The Hindu (Faith Column)
One who perceives the underlying oneness in creation realises peace. The legends and stories about saints, kings, devotees, etc, in the Puranas enable the common man to come to an intuitive understanding of this abstract Truth, said Swami Paramasukhananda in a discourse.
Daksha’s hatred for Siva is transformed to bhakti when his ignorance about the Supreme Truth is broken and wisdom dawns in him. After the yagna Daksha had planned was disrupted, the celestial beings along with Brahma approach Siva to show mercy on them. They had not opposed Daksha’s extreme behaviour. Siva is extolled as the Supreme Deity in the famous Siva Stuti at this juncture.
Daksha is repentant after being chastised, and, once again performs the yagna. This time the offerings to the celestial beings are duly made. At that time Vishnu appears and explains the truth that Brahma, Vishnu and Siva though three in form are one entity. The Lord, though one and without a second, assumes the three forms, respectively of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva for creation, preservation and dissolution of the world. No difference in the three exists except in attributes.
Scriptures hail this Supreme Brahman as above all Gunas and as the very embodiment of Sat-Chit-Ananda, the eternally existing Truth which is the essence of consciousness and bliss. Though He is the ultimate principle, He is also the personal God who creates the perceptible world by His Prakriti and also resides in the heart of every being. He is the enjoyer of all sacrifices. He stirs our hearts to devotion and answers our prayers and is the source and sustainer of values. He enters into personal relationship with us in worship and prayer.
Source : The Hindu
As Suka begins narrating the Bhagavata Purana, he tells Parikshit that when one perceives the Supreme Brahman with a spiritual eye, one is released from all fear and sorrow. A wise aspirant, knowing Brahman to be the Supreme goal, should learn to shape his life and conduct himself in such a way that he can attain Him. Human birth is a valuable opportunity to cultivate enduring love for God. The same idea is reiterated in the Upanishads which speak of realisation of the Supreme Brahman as the only goal worth pursuing, pointed out Swami Paramasukhananda in a discourse. Sage Yagnyavalkya, who is acknowledged as the greatest expounder of Brahman in the court of king Janaka, describes the nature of Brahman as Akshara, the Unchanging Reality. He replies to the two questions of Gargi thus: “Ether pervades heaven and earth as well as the space above heaven and below earth and this Ether is held intact by what is known as Akshara Brahman. On the command of this Akshara, the sun and the moon follow their course; heaven and earth hold their position. Time and its paraphernalia follow their path; rivers issuing from snowy mountains flow in all directions.”
He then claims that if one fails to know about this Brahman during one’s lifetime, he is to be really pitied for, he lives in ignorance and continues in the cycle of birth. When beings, both believers and non-believers, seek many worldly objects which they assume will give them happiness, they are in fact searching for this Akshara Brahman, the essence of Sat-chit-ananda — Eternity, Consciousness, Bliss. For this Brahman is unseen but sees, unheard but is the hearer, unthinkable but is the thinker, unknown but is the knower. He who departs from this world knowing the Akshara is wise.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu is regarded as the greatest saint of India and Adi Shankaracharya is regarded as the greatest philosopher of India.
Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the master of Bhakti-Yog (Devotional-Yog) while Adi Shankaracharya was the master of Jnana-Yog/Gyaan-Yog (Knowledge-Yog).
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu propounded the philosophy of Achintya-Bheda-Abheda (अचिन्त्यभेदाभेद) meaning “inconceivable one-ness and difference” between devotee and God.
- Adi Shankaracharya propounded the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta which teaches non-dualism between devotee and God.
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu was the greatest contributor to Bhakti and Sankirtan Movement in India while Adi Shankaracharya who established the four mathas (monastries) in four corners of the vast Indian subcontinent was responsible for the cultural integration of India.
- Adi Shankara brought together the different Sampradayas/sects existing and fighting among each other for the supremacy of their respective deities during those times.
- Chaitanya Mahaprabhu made God and Godly realization accessible to the common man of India through his simple methods of God-realization.
These two were the greatest of Mahapurushas (Masters) produced by Mother India.
Please read some pearls of wisdom sprinkled by these great men: