by Jayaram V
We meditate upon that adorable effulgence of
the resplendent Savitr, the life giver. May he stimulate our
intellects. (A prayer to Savitr. Rig Veda II.62.10)
O Lord lead me, from untruth to Truth,
from darkness to Light and death to Immortality. (Brihadaranyaka
May good thoughts come to us from every side,
pure, unobstructed, overflowing. May we, O Devas, with our ears
hear what is good. Holy ones, may we see with our eyes
what is good. (Rig Veda)
Following are some of the basic concepts about prayers
1. In Hinduism prayers are used to invoke gods or various supernatural
powers for the welfare of particular individuals or the entire
community. The Vedic hymns are some of the most powerful prayers
ever known to the mankind.
2. In Hindu prayers the content of the prayer as well as the
sounds involved in the utterance of prayers are equally important.
A great emphasis is laid on the manner and method in which the prayers
are recited. If a prayer is not correctly chanted, if the syllables
are not properly pronounced, the prayers may not yield desired results
and may even harm the individuals.
3. The Vedic mantras are believed to possess irresistible magical
power to invoke supernatural beings, provided they are chanted in
a particular manner and according to a particular rhythm.
4. The prayers extol the virtues and potencies of various gods
and goddesses in order to seek favors from them.
5. The Vedic mantras are often chanted loudly during public ceremonies.
At the same time there are some mantras, especially the personal
mantras which are meant to kept secret. The scriptures also insist
that the mantras should not be revealed to those who are not spiritually
6. Traditional Hindus offer prayers to gods in the morning, in
the afternoon and in the evening.
7. The Bhakti tradition made the practice of singing and dancing
in the presence of God very popular. The songs sung on such occasions
are deep devotional prayers.
In the spiritual realm a prayer has a greater significance. Continuous
recitation of gods name (nam japam) would lead to purification of
the mind and inner transformation. It is the best way to develop
communion with God and realize the inner self.
Suggested Further Reading