January 17, 2015 Comments Off on Walking Prayer
One way of prayer is to walk, either in a prescribed way, or an unplanned way.
Circumambulation is to walk around a sacred center. It could be a sacred space, temple, shrine, Kaaba, stupa, altars, idol or relics.
Circumambulation of temples or deity images is an integral part of Hindu and Buddhist devotional practice (known in Sanskrit as pradakśiṇā). It is also present in other religions, including Christianity, Sikhism, Judaism and Islam.
Source and more: Wikipedia
Around a stupa or holy places like Mt. Kailas
Around sacred shrines
Called pradakshina or parikrama. Around the sanctum sanctorum of a temple.
Around the Kaaba
Around the Torah specially on Hoshanot
Around the Holy Granth Sahib, sacred book
[A work in progress]
August 22, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayers- Tribal
August 17, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayers : Islam
Ritual prayer, or salat, is a basic activity of daily life. Muslims are called to pray five times a day: before dawn, at midday, in the mid-afternoon, at sunset, and at night. The call to prayer is made by a muezzin, who calls out from the top of a tower, called a minaret. The muezzin’s call is an art form, and begins by proclaiming “God is great” (Allahu akbar), and then continues “I bear witness that there is no god but God; I bear witness that Muhammad is the messenger of God; hasten to prayer; hasten to success; establishing the communal ritual of prayer.”
Before praying, one is expected to perform a ritual ablution, cleansing both mind and body. If water is available, the hands, arms, face, neck, and feet are washed. Prayers are performed facing in the direction of Mecca. While praying together is preferred to solitary prayer, Muslims can pray wherever they happen to be, whether alone or in groups. They can pray outdoors, at home, or in the mosque. It is obligatory for Muslim males to attend the mosque for the Friday noon prayer, a special time set aside for communal prayer.
1) The dawn prayer (Fajr): This prayer should be done between the time the first ray of light appears in the sky and the time of sunrise.
2) The noon prayer (Duhr): The specific time for this prayer is right after the sun passes over its noon position. However, it can be done up until sunset.
3) The afternoon prayer (Asr): This prayer can be done any time after the noon prayer and before sunset.
4) The sunset prayer (Maghrib): This prayer should be done after the sun sets at the time when the red sky on the eastern horizon disappears. Yet, it can be done up until midnight.
5) The night prayer (Isha): This prayer can be done any time after the sunset prayer and before midnight.
During prayer, all Muslims must face the Kabah, the House of God, built by Prophet Abraham and his son Ishmael. The Kabah is located in the city of Makkah, in the Arabian Peninsula (Middle East). One way to determine the precise direction of prayer (called al-qiblah) is to use a compass. In North America, Muslims face northeast to locate the shortest path to Makkah.
The place where a person is going to recite his or her prayer should either belong to that person or that person must have permission to pray in that area unless the place is public. The spot where the forehead touches the ground should be clean (tahir), and prostration must be done on earth or inedible plants (including paper or wood).
Purity of the body:
Just as the soul must be pure, concentrated, and calm before the prayers, the body must also be free from impurities. Certain items are considered ritually impure and must be avoided, removed, or purified before the prayers. A specified washing (wudhu) must also be done before the prayers.
If water is unavailable, dust may be used out of necessity.
During prayer, a man must wear enough clothing to cover his body, and a woman must cover her entire body (including the head and hair), except for the face and hands. Clothing worn during prayer must be clean and lawfully obtained; it must not be stolen or borrowed without permission.
August 17, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayers – Judaism
In traditional Jewish practice, the daily tefillot or prayers are divided into three separate services, Shaharit (the morning service), Minhah (the afternoon service), and Maariv (the evening service).
Shaharit (the morning service) The morning prayers begin with a series of blessings meant to start the process of thanking God for our most basic needs. The most notable of these blessings is the Birkot Hashahar. The early portion of the services offers blessings for various fundamental needs, such as clothing, and freedom, and includes textual references to sacrifices and other core Jewish texts. Practices vary regarding how much of these early passages are recited.
The first major portion of Shaharit is Pesukei D’zimra, a series of passages mainly from Psalms that begins with Psalm 50 and concludes with the recitation of Yishtabakh. The purpose of the Peseukei D’zimra is to properly prepare oneself for the central portion of the morning service.
Following Peseukei D’zimra, the main section of the Shaharit service begins with the Barkhu prayer, followed by the Shema in the middle, and ending with the Amidah. This portion of the service is also known as Shema U’Birkhotekha, or “Shema and its subsequent blessings.” It is customary for one not to speak or interrupt their prayers from the Barkhu through the Amidah.
After the Amidah comes Tahanun, the penitential prayers. On Mondays and Thursday, the Torah is read in public minyanim (groups of 10 or more). This is in accordance with the practice instituted by Ezra the Scribe in Ancient Judea (Nehemiah 8). The weekday reading is shorter than the one on Shabbat; the first aliyah of the coming week’s parasha is split into three smaller aliyot.
Minhah (the afternoon service), and Maariv (the evening service).
Minhah is the shortest of the three services. It begins with Ashrei (Psalm 145), is followed by the Amidah and Tahanun, and concludes with the Aleinu.
In some sense, Maariv is comparable to the other daily services, as it contains similar content to Shaharit, with both the Shema and the Amidah, which are meant to be joined together as a single liturgical unit. However, in some ways, Maariv is the most dissimilar of the three daily services, because of the ways in which it is described by the rabbis of the Talmud and Mishnah.
The Mishnah states that Maariv is “ein la keva,” or “without a fixed time” (Mishnah Berakhot 4:1). This statement could mean that the Maariv service does not have a window of time in which it should be recited, as opposed to Shaharit and Minhah, each of which have very proscribed time frames.
Yet, when commenting on the meaning of this statement that Maariv is “ein la keva,” the Talmud says that the Maariv service is reshut, which means that it is optional, as opposed to Shaharit and Minhah, which are hovah, or mandatory (Berakhot 26a).
Later rabbinic authorizes assert that Maariv has the same status as Shaharit and Minhah, the halakhically mandated services. However, because Maariv is given a different status by the Talmud, it is the only daily service where it is not customary for the prayer leader to repeat the Amidah after the silent recitation.
August 17, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayer
August 17, 2014 Comments Off on Daily Prayers : Hinduism
A prayer is one of the methods of being in communication with God. It, more often than not, takes the shape of addressing the God with the purpose of petitioning, praising, worshipping, confessing or even verbally abusing the chosen deity while in the process being in communication with the God. Or a prayer can also take the form of a person merely pouring out his/her emotions as an act of sharing. One of the main ends of a prayer across all religions and cultures is seeking solace.
In a Hindu’s life, the prayer forms an important component. Every action, event and the ensuing circumstances, success or failure, is filled with prayers. Therefore, in Hindu tradition, prayer takes different and numerous forms compared to other cultures, though the object and motive remain the same.
Arguably, Hinduism is the one religion with maximum number of prayers, worship, rituals and ceremonies. Waking up, going to sleep, bathing, eating meals, studies, travel, name giving, birth, death, marriage, taking medicine and commencing a new venture – to name some, prayers form the important part in all these and the whole life.
In Hinduism, the prayer is called Prārthana. Prārthana is not merely requesting or praising or confessing. It is simply an act of communicating to God. Such an act may not contain any praise or request or for that matter prayer for any particular thing.
Hindu prayers can be broadly classified into mental or Mānasika, verbal or Vācika and physical or kāyika. Staying in the very thought of the Divine and completely forgetting oneself is a mental or Mānasika Prārthana, though, at lower level, a thought about Divine, an appeal or desire about God can also be construed as Mānasika Prārthana. Chanting of mantras, repeating the verses about God, or verbal appeals and requests constitute the Vācika Prārthana. Offering of oblation to fire, making mystical gestures, circumambulation of a temple, prostrating in front of god, lighting and waving the lamps, offering food to god, going on a pilgrimage, etc. constitute physical or Kāyika Prārthana.
In the verbal Prārthana, several mystical syllables are used since these syllables have the power of conveying the Grace of God quicker and also cleansing the aspirant both physically and mentally.
An unique feature of Hindu prayers is that the prayers are not only made to God or Deity and the images representing them, but also to many things that are considered Holy and Sacred as they are manifestations of the Ultimate. So, a Hindu prays to variety of Sages, Saints and Preceptors, the mountains, the rivers and even the trees.
There are set of prayers that a Hindu repeats every day spiritualising and energizing every day existence. There are prayers that are repeated on certain occasions. And there are prayers that are meant for special occasions.
Following are a few daily prayers and some useful prayers to various gods and for specific occasions. [Please Note: There could be minor variations in the mantras provided in this series, due to regional differences, etc.]
Some Daily Prayers
Prayer to be chanted on waking up
Karāgre vasate lakșmeeh,
Karamadhye tu govindah,
“On the tip of fingers is Goddess Lakshmi, on the base of the fingers is Goddess Saraswati, in the middle of the fingers is Lord Govinda.”
Remembering this, on waking up one should look at their palms first before doing anything else.
Prayer to be chanted on setting foot on the ground
Parvata stana maṇḍite
Namo viśvambhare mātah
Pāda sparśaṁ kṣamasva me.
“Salutations to You, Oh Mother Earth! Who is decked by ocean as the garment and mountains as the breasts! Kindly pardon me as I touch you by my feet”
Saying this, one should get up from the bed and set foot on the ground.
Rules of Bathing
There are a number of prayers associated with the daily bathing of the individual. These prayers vary according the place, time, class, etc. Chanting of hymns called Agamarṣana Sūktam and Puruṣa Sūktam are most popular. Those who are interested in learning these mantras can do so from the traditional scholars locally.
There are number of rules concerning bathing. Again, these rules vary from region to region, etc. However, the most important one is that one should not take bath naked.
Prayer to be chanted before studies
Siddhir bhavatume sadā.
“Oh Goddess Saraswati, my humble prostrations unto Thee, who are the fulfiller of all my wishes. I start my studies with a request that Thou wilt bestow Thy blessings on me”.
Saying this prayer, the student should start studies daily.
Prayer to be chanted before meals
Brahmārpaṇam brahma havir
Brahmaiva tena gantavyam
Brahma karma samādhinā.
“Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is the clarified butter etc. constituting the offerings, by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in all actions.”
Uttering this prayer, one should start one’s meals.
Prayer to be chanted before going to bed
There are two prayers for this occasion.
Rāmaṁ skandam hanumantaṁ vainateyaṁ vṛkodaram
śayane yah smarennityaṁ duḥswapnastasya naśyati.
“The bad dream of a person disappears if he/she recollects always at the time of going to bed Raama, Skanda, Hanuman, Vainateya (Garuda) and Vrkodara (Bheema).”
Saying so, one should go to sleep.
Kara-caraṇa-kṛtam vāk-kāyajam karmajam vā
Śravaṇa-nayanajam vā mānasam vā (a)parādham
Vihitamavihitam vā sarva metat kṣamasva
Jaya jaya karuṇābdhe Śree Mahādeva Śambho.
“Oh Lord, kindly forgive my wrong actions done knowingly or unknowingly, either through my organs of action or through organs of perception or by my mind. Glory unto Thee oh Lord, who is the ocean of kindness”
This prayer is said before going to sleep.
Some Useful Prayers for certain occasions
Salutation to the Guru
Gurur Brahmā Gurur Viṣṇuḥ
Gurur Devo Maheśwarah;
Guru Sākṣāt Para Brahma
Tasmai Śree Gurave Namahah.
“I salute the Guru, who is verily Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwara and who is also verily the Ultimate Brahman”
One should chant this mantra while saluting one’s Guru.
Prayer to be chanted while entering the temple
Gajānanaṁ bhūta gaṇādi sevitam
Kapittha jambūphala sāra bhakṣitam
Umāsutam śoka vināśa kāraṇaṁ
Namāmi vigneśwara pāda paṅkajam.
“I worship the Lotus Feet of Lord Vigneshwara, the cause for the destruction of the miseries, the elephant faced God, who is being worshipped by His bhootaganas, who is fond of eating wood apple and jambuphala and who is the son of Goddess Uma”
One should chant this mantra while entering the temple.
Prayer to be chanted while travelling
Vainyaṁ pṛthum haihayamarjunaṁ ca
Śākuntaleyaṁ bharataṁ nalaṁ ca
Etān nṛpān yaḥ smarati prayāṇe
Tasyārtha siddhiḥ punarāgamaśca
“Accomplishment and safe return will happen to him who remembers during journey the names of these kings – Prthu the son of Vainya, Arjuna (kaarthaveerya) of Haihaya, Bharata son of Shakuntala and Nala”
Prayer to be chanted while consuming medicine
Phaṇirājaṁ ca kaustubham
Acyutaṁ cāmṛtam candraṁ
“While administering the medicine one should remember Dhanvantari, Garuda, Ādi Shesha, Kaustubha, Achyuta, Amrta and Chandra”
Prayer to ward off evil:
Lābhasteṣām jayasteṣām kutasteṣām parābhavaḥ eṣām
Indee varaśyāmahaḥ hrdayastho janārdanaḥ
“Prosperity and victory come to those in whose heart is seated Lord Janardana, who is of dark blue colour like the blue lotus. Where is the scope for defeat?”
Prayer for Universal Peace
Sarve bhavantu sukhinah,
Sarve santu nirāmayāh;
Sarve bhadrāni paśyantu,
Mā kaśchid duhkha bhāga bhavet
“May everybody be happy. May everybody be free from disease. May everybody have good luck. May none fall on evil days.”
S.C. Vasu, Daily Practice of Hindus, 2008, New Delhi: Satguru Publications.
M. Raghu and S. Aruna Sundaram. Daily Prayers, 2002, Chennai: M. Raghu.
Daily Prayers, 1991, Bombay: Chinmaya Mission Trust.
September 20, 2011 Comments Off on Protection
Native American Prayer of Protection
I burn this sage in honor of the Creator,
my spirit guides and teachers,
the great warriors and chiefs who protect this land,
and my ancestors before me.
I burn this sage and ask for divine intervention
and protection of the Creator’s white light and love.
I ask to be covered in the white light to give me strength
and send all energies of the Creator’s light from this space.
Prayer to my Guardian Angel
Angel of God, my guardian dear,
To whom His love commits me here,
Ever this night be at my side,
To light and guard, to rule and guide.
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
“Hope” is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,
And sweetest in the gale is heard;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.
I’ve heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.