Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Hindu Prayer - Eulogy on Various aspects of Hinduism


-Hinduism is like an all-encompassing ocean. Here, in the West only rational thought is considered essential for science and faith for religion. Hinduism stresses the whole consciousness, which also includes rational thought and faith, and is more universal. It is a living philosophy of life.

-Hinduism is the oldest living religion of the world. Great thinkers all over the world agree with this. Any one individual or a prophet does not formally enunciate Hinduism. It is the collection of revelations to several saints during their period of rigorous and disciplined meditation (Tapasyaa). This collection of revelations is known as the Vedaas.

-Hinduism is a natural way of life. It is not a constructed main road but a self-formed footpath trodden by the continuous walking of masses by their own will and choice. Hinduism is never imposed on any body at any time and is only religion in the world that does not believe in conversion. It wants everyone to realise the Almighty through their own will.

-Hinduism is a symbol of unity. It is not a single religion, but a composite one where people of various religions were put together under a single shade. The diversity of rituals, belief, castes, food, dress, social behaviour, languages and politics have not been able to destroy the deeper spirituality of Hinduism.

-Hinduism is the religion of experience. It is not based on dogmas and creeds to be accepted with blind faith, but is based on self-realisation. -Hinduism allows absolute freedom in the faith and mode of worship, not insisting that God could be reached through only a particular name, place or path.

-Hinduism has sacred scriptures written by women saints, no other religion matching this feature.

-Hinduism states that God is everything and everywhere.

-Hinduism is a religion of love and gratitude, and of tolerance and patience giving due respect to all religions.

OM ॐ

Om is the Akshara, or the imperishable - i.e. God. Om is the Universe, and this is the exposition of Om. The past, the present and the future, all that was, all is, all that will be, is Om. Likewise all else that may exist beyond the bounds of time, that too is Om.

Another word for Om is Pranava ('Nu' meaning praise and `Pra' meaning superior) Thus Om means the best prayer or praise.

The letters AUM also stand for the mantra `Tat Twam Asi' which means That which you are., Man's realisation of divinity within himself. This relieves man from the fragmentation of body, mind, psyche and spirit.

Om is composed of three sounds 'AH', `00', `MM'. It is the first word uttered and from it come all the alphabets and all the phonetics.

The letter `AH' begins the sound of OM and this sound is the first letter of the alphabet in all languages.

The letter `00' sustains the sound of OM. And finally `MM' ends the sound of OM.

Hence Om stands for the Trinity - Brahmaa (The Creator), Vishnu (The Sustainer) & Mahesh (The Destroyer).

The Sanskrit `Om' and the Latin 'Omne' come from the same root.'Omkar'

for the Sikhs and `Amen' for the Christians may also come from the same


The Mantra Om precedes all Hindu prayers. It is the original sound of Brahmaa. It may be practiced silently or vocally. The vibration of it should permeate the whole of our beings. It helps purify the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of our being.

"On the bow of the mystic syllable Om, place the arrow of the Self, point at the target of Brahman, with an undistracted mind stretch the bow and penetrate the mark,"

- Mundak Upanishad.

Havan Yagya

The Sacrificial Fire

Hindus believe that the purification of the mind and spirit is even more important than the purification of the body. It is through meditation, acts of worship and goodwill to all humanity that this is achieved.

Yagya is one of the most significant forms of Hindu act of worship. The sacred fire has a very special place in all Hindu religious ceremonies. During Yagya, Ghee, food and 'Havan Samagree' (consisting of vegetable matter, roots, food stuffs and sandal wood) are offered to the sacred fire. The act of praying while offering these items to the fire is called 'Aahootee'. The timing of the individual offerings made during the Yagya, should coincide with the utterance of the word 'Swaahaa'. The offerings should be dropped into the fire with the palm facing up: the offerings should not be thrown in!

During Havan we are not praying to the actual fire in front of us. The fire, 'Agni' (in Sanskrit) denotes warmth and light and thus signifies God, Who is radiant and bright, and leads us from darkness to light, untruth to truth, and death to immortality.

During the Yagya, besides the physical acts of worship, we are concentrating on the highest qualities of God that we, mere mortals, are capable of imagining; at the same time we are exalting ourselves to rise above the mental, emotional and spiritual level we are at the time. This is where mere repeating and chanting of the Mantras in a rote manner is not as useful, as when we recited the same with some understanding of the beautiful and rich meaning that they carry.

0 Lord, I pray for the strength and splendour of my powers of speech, respiratory system, sight, hearing, centres of love, feeling and heart, my throat and brain, my hands and arms; my whole body for my personal ends and for the service of all.


There are five great daily sacrifices that are to be performed by every householder.

They are:

1. Brahma Yajna, called also Veda Yajna, sacrifice to Brahman or the Vedas or the sages;

2. Deva Yajna, sacrifice to the celestials;

3. Pitri Yajna, sacrifice to the manes;

4. Bhuta Yajna, sacrifice to all the creatures; and

5. Manushya Yajna, sacrifice to men.

The performance of these five Yajnas is conducive to the spiritual evolution or growth of a man. He gradually learns that he is not a separate entity or isolated creature or isolated unit, but is a part of a great whole. He obtains knowledge by studying the sacred scriptures written by great Rishis. He gets help from his friends, relatives and fellow-beings. His parents gave his physical body. The milk of cows, grains, vegetables and fruits nourishes his body. The five elements help him. He cannot live without oxygen and water. The Devas and the Pitris bless him. Therefore, he owes a fivefold debt to Nature. He must pay back his debt by performing these five sacrifices daily. Further, numerous insects are killed by him unconsciously during walking, sweeping, grinding, cooking, etc. This sin is removed by the performance of these sacrifices.

THE FIVE YAJNAS (or yagyas)

The Rishis, the Devas, the Pitris, the Bhutas and the guests expect help from the householders. Hence, they should perform these five sacrifices daily. Teaching and studying of scriptures is Brahma Yajna; Tarpana or offering of water to the ancestors, and Sraaddha, form Pitri Yajna; Homa or oblations into the fire is Deva Yajna; Bali or offering of food to all creatures is Bhuta Yajna; and hospitality to guests is Manushya Yajna or Atithi Yajna.

Brahma Yajna or Rishi Yajna

Every man should study daily the sacred scriptures. He should share the knowledge with others. This is Brahma Yajna or Rishi Yajna. By so doing, he

pays the debt to Rishis.

Deva Yajna

Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: "Having, in ancient times, emanated mankind together with sacrifice, the Lord of Creation said, 'By this shall ye propagate; be this to you the fulfiller of desires. With this, nourish ye the shining ones, and may the shining ones nourish ye. Thus nourishing one another, ye shall reap the highest good. For, nourished by sacrifice, the shining ones shall bestow on you the enjoyments you desire. A thief verily is he who enjoyeth what they give without returning them anything. The righteous, who eat the remains of the sacrifice, are freed from all sins; but the unpious who cook for their own sake, they verily eat sin" (Ch. III-10, 11, 12, 13). Manu says: " Let a man ever engage in the study of the Vedas and in the rites of the Devas; engaging in the rites of the Vedas, he supports the movable and the immovable kingdoms." These sacrifices turn the wheel of life in accordance with the divine will and thus help the evolution of man and the worlds.

Pitri Yajna

Offering libations, etc., to the forefathers, regularly, is Pitri Yajna.

Bhuta Yajna

Distribution of food to cows, dogs, birds, fish, etc., is Bhuta Yajna.

Manushya Yajna

Feeding the poor is Manushya Yajna. Feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless, comforting the distressed, etc., are all forms of Manushya Yajna. Any kind of service to the suffering humanity is Manushya Yajna. Feeding a guest is Manushya Yajna.


By daily doing such acts of kindness and sympathy, man develops mercy. Hatred vanishes. His hard egoistic heart is gradually softened. He cultivates cosmic love. His heart expands. He has a wider outlook on life. He tries to feel his oneness with all beings. His old feeling of separateness on account of selfishness and egoism is gradually thinned and eventually eradicated. He learns that he can be happy only by making others happy, by serving others, by helping others, by removing the sufferings of others and by sharing what he has with others. The five great daily sacrifices teach man his relations with his superiors, his equals and his inferiors.

Man has no separate individual existence. He is connected with the world. He is like a bead in the rosary. His whole life must be a life of sacrifice and duties. Then only he will have rapid evolution. Then only he will realize the supreme bliss of the Eternal. Then only he will free himself from the round of births and deaths and attain immortality.

NOTE: This information, I found on the net. The contains are not mine. Please feel free to contact me if you are the author of this article. Whoever has written its beautiful. I am just being the medium and wanted to share these information to all the Hindu in the world.

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