Saturday, February 27, 2016

The first post-Vedic Hindu prayers

The  first post-Vedic Hindu prayers


        Most   of the great scholars agree    that the Vedic Gods   are  the powers governing  natural  phenomena in the world  .  The following Gods were  considered as important by the Vedas :Indra, Varuna  , Agni  , Rudra , Mithra , Vayu, Surya  , Vishnu  , Savithr, Pusan  , Usha  , Soma Asvins  , Maruths  , Viswadevas , Vasus  , Adithyas . Vasishta  , Brihaspathi  , Bhaga , Rta  , Rhibhus  , Heaven  , earth  Kapinjala  , Dandhikravan  Rati, Yama  , Manyu  , Purusha ,  Prajanya  Saraswathi   and Adithi  ( ).Some of the most important Gods of the Vedic pantheon were Indra , Vayu, Agni   , Mithra, Yama  , Bhaga  , Purusha and Rudra  .Lord Vishnu mentioned in the list  is a minor   God  and is one of the Adithyas. Some  believers identify Purusha , the Vedic God as Vishnu. There are eleven Rudras mentioned in  the Vedas .
     The Vedic deities were  worshipped    using Sukthas or through  Yagas  conducted to please them. The Fire God was the medium    who transferred   all the things    that were  offered   to the different  Gods. Most of the Sukthas   are Manthras   used in  Vedic Fire sacrifices.
     Possibly the earliest post Vedic  book   was the Ramayana  written and taught by Sage Valmiki  to his students  due to the encouragement   given to him by  Sage Narada. It is interesting to note   that , except for a mention of a temple like structure   in the banks of Ganges river by Sita   while she   was crossing Ganges river and   near Asoka Vana  by Hanuman, no temples are mentioned any where  in the  entire Ramayana .Even  when people were put in to extreme difficulty they were not seen visiting temples   and  praying   there to  Gods like Vishnu and Lord Shiva.  But penance(thapas)   to please Brahma, Shiva etc  are mentioned in various places.   But there is a prayer by Sita    addressed to  river Ganges while they were  going to  the  forest. Though I have translated   Ramayana verse by verse  , I was under  the impression  that  Adithya  Hrudayam (A prayer taught  by Sage Agasthya   to Lord Rama , so as to help him slay  Ravana ) was the only prayer   in Ramayana, But my friend Sri Ananthanarayanan  Vaidyanathan   pointed out to me   this is not so. He pointed out to me that there are several small prayers in Valmiki Ramayana. He also helped me to find   where they are  in. Some of them   are given below:-

 I.Prayer of Sita to river Ganga while they were crossing it on the way to the forest:-

Ayodhya Kanda -52nd Sarga   Sloka 83-91 

1.Puthraa  dasarathasya   ayam  maha Rajasya Dheematha,
Nidhesaam Palayathu   enam   Gange   twad  Abhirakshitha.

Oh river Ganga, let  the son of Dasaratha   who is a great and wise king,
Who is obeying his order be under  your protection.

2.CHathur dasa hi varshaani   samagrani  uSya kanane  ,
Brathra saha maya   chaiva  puna pratyagamishyathi .

After   having lived  in the forest   for fourteen years ,
Along me and his brother , may he again return.

3.THathaa twam devi   subaghe  kshmena  punar Aagatha,
Yakshye pramuditha Gange  sarva Kama  Samrudhiye

Oh blessed  Goddess  Ganga, let us all return   safely  ,
And then with   all my desires fulfilled  I shall   worship you.

4. Thvam hi tripathaaga    devi brahma lokaan  Samikshase,
BHarya   cha udhadhi  raajasya  loke asmin sampradarshyase.

You who are with three branches     are seen in the Brahma loka also,
And  you are also seen in this    world as the wife of ocean God.

5.Saa thwam devi  namasyaami  prashamsami cha shobhane  ,
Prapthe rajye nara vyagra Shivena punar agathe,
6.Gavam satha sahasraani  vasthrani annam cha peshalam,
Brahmanebhya  pradasyaami   thava  priya chikeershaya.

Oh Charming  Goddess , I am saluting you  and also  showering praises on you,
After the kl lion in man returns  back and   takes over the kingdom ,
WE would offer  you  hundred thousand cows m,
And also feed the Brahmins    so that  it would please you.

6.suraaghaa  ta sareerena  mamsa  buttodanena cha  ,
Yakshe thwaam   prayathaa   Devi  purim  punar upagathaa.

6.Oh Goddess after reaching back the city  , I shall worship you  ,
With thousand pots of liquor  , meat and with cooked rice.

7. Yaani   thaw thera vasini  daivathanu    cha santhi hi,
Tanni sarvaan   yakshyaami   theerthani  aayathanamicha.

7.I would also worship all the Gods who are in your banks,
AS well as sacred   spots   and sanctuaries.

8. Punareva  Maha bahu   maya bharathara   cha  SAmagatha,
Ayodhyam   Vana vaasaathu  pravishta vanaghi   Anaghe.

8.Oh Goddess   without any faults , may the sinless mighty  Rama,
Enter  back the city  after kl living in the forest along with me and his brother.

  In this prayer we  see many similarities   of our prayer   to Gods with several requests and later   tell Him/Her that   we would  offer  some things if our wishes are fulfilled.Also this is a prayer to river Ganges (A part of the pan theistic objects   worshipped   in Vedas).

II . Prayer by Hanuman

      This is a one Sloka prayer  occurs in Sundara  Kanda of Ramayana  in the thirteeth   chapter  (sloka63)

Hanuman  wanders all over  Lanka  in search of   Sita and becomes disappointed  in not able to find her out. Then he sees Asoka Vana    and  hope of  finding Sita   germinates  in his mind  .Then he prays:-

13.63 Namoshtu  RamayasalakshmanayadEvyai cha thasyai janakathmajaya,
Namoshtu  rudrendrayamanilebhyo Namosthu Chandrarka Maruth ganebhyo.

I salute  Rama  along with Lakshmana and also offer my salute  to the daughter  of Janaka,
I also salute Rudra , Indra, Yama  , Fire God  , moon,  sun God   and the Maruth ganas*

     *They are  the seven rain storms   and sons of Vedic Gods Rudra and Prisini, They ride on olden chariots.

   Rama , Lakshmana   and Sita were  the masters of Hanuman in this case . He was only saluting them in the first line   and then late   he salutes several Vedic Gods   which were the part of nature.

III. Sundara Kandam ( Chapter  13-69-71)  Prayer  by Hanuman  to Help Vedic Gods   to  help him find Sita in Asoka Vana

1.Brahma Swayambhur  Bhagawan  devaaschaiva disanthu may  ,
Sidhim agnischa  Vayuscha puru hoothascha vajra bruth.

1.Let   God  Brahma   who was born by himself and all other devas,
Fire god, Wind God, Indra  holding the Vajra give me  success  in my   attempt.

2.Varuna Pasa Hasthascha, Soma aadhithyou Thadaiva cha,
Aswinou   cha  Mahath manou Marutha, Sarva   yeva cha.
3.Sidhim sarvaani  bhoothani  Bhoothanam chaiva ya prabhu,
Dasyanthi   mama  ye chanye  hyadrushtaa  padhi gochara.

2.Let Varuna holding  the noose , Moon   and Sun,
The Aswini Devas who are great , Maruths, Lord Shiva  the lord of all Bhoothas,
All Bhoothas , All devas , All invisible beings  as well as   all those who are  in between,
Grant me the  power    to  do the job in a complete way.

IV .Sundara Kandam   ( chapter 42 :33-37)
      After  taking leave of Sita  , Lord G Hanuman decides   to teach a lesson to Ravana by destroying  Asoka Vana  .When the Rakshasis   guarding   Asoka Vana   complain to Ravana he sent a very big army to attack  Hanuman. Then these five slokas were told by him. Though classified as a prayer  , they are not prayer but   announcement of Hanuman about his prowess and back ground.

Sri Jaya  Panchakam


(These five slokas  are told  by Hanuman in the Sundara  Kanda of Valmiki Ramayana  (Chapter 42-33-37). SEngalipuram Anantha Rama Deekshithar   says that  if these are  chanted at time of Vivaha Nischayathartham , when we are troubled by debts, when we are fighting case in courts and in times of danger , we are sure to emerge victorious,.)

1.Jayathyathi balo ramo  , Lakshmanascha maha bala,
Raja  JayathiSugreevo  Ragahvenabhi palitha

1.The very strong Rama wins over all and so does the  very strong  Lakshmana,
And the king Sugreeva  protected   by   Raghava   also wins.

2.Dasoham kosalendrasya  Ramasya  klishta  karmana,
Hanumaan SAthru sainyaanaam  nihanthaa  Maruthathmaja.

2.Hanman, the son of wind God    who is  the destroyer of enemy army  ,
Is the slave  of Rama  , the  king of Kosala  who completes  every job  effortlessly.

3.Na Ravana sahasram may yudheprathibalam   bhaveth,
Silabhisthu   praharatha padapaischa   sahasrasa.

3.Even thousand Ravanas  would not be able to fight  in war with me,
Who  strikes every one   with thousands  of stones and trees.

4.Ardhayithwa   pureem  Lankaam  Abhivadhya   cha Maithileem,
Samrudhartho  gamishyami  mishathaam  Sarva  rakshasaam.

After  shaking the city  of Lanka  and after   saluting  Lady Sita,
I am returning   with contentment, when all Rakshasas are  staring at me.

5.Thasya  SAnnadha   sabdhena  the abhavan  Bhaya  Sankithaa,
Dadhruscha  Hanoomantham Sandhyaa megha mivonnatham.

5.Hearing  that herald of victory  of Hanuman , those Rakshasas  stood  greatly scared,
And they  saw Hanuman  rising  high in the sky  like the  cloud    at dawn.

V.Sundara Kanda (chapter 43  -slokas  26-30)   -Prayer by Sita   addressed to the  Fire God

     The Rakshasis come and  inform Sita how  the tail of the monkey which   tried  to help her , was set fire  .Sita prays  the fire God to be  cool to Hanuman:-

1.Mangalabhimukhi thasya   saa  thadaaseen maha kape ,
Upadasthe  Visalakshi   prayathaa  havya vahanam.

1.That broad eyed lady  wanting   to have  auspicious safety   to the great monkey,
Saluted and with great devotion  prayed  the  fire  God.

2.Yadyasthi pathi susruoosha , yadhyyasthi   charitham thapa,
Yadya chasthya  yeka pathneethwam   , Seetho bhava  Hanumatha.

2.If I have done service to my husband  properly,
If I have done   observing  of penance  in a proper manner ,
If  I have   had   relations  only with one husband, be cool to Hanuman.

3.yadhi Kinchid anukrosa  thasya  mayyasthi dheematha,
Yadhi vaa  BHagyasesho  may  , seethe bhava  Hanumatha.

3.If that   Great one  has  even little   of mercy   towards me,
And If I have   atleast a small   amount  of luck, be cool to Hanuman.

4.Yadhi maam vrutha sampannam  thath samagama  lalasaam,
Sa vijaanaathi  Dharmathma seethe bhava  Hanumatha.

If that  follower of Dharma knows me    who is full of virtue  ,
To be only  interested in meeting with him  , be cool to Hanuman.

5.Yadhi maam  Tharayedharya Sugreeva   sathya  sangara ,
Asmad dukhaan maha bahu , seethe bhava  Hanumatha.

If The lover of Truth  and worshipful Sugreeva   who has   long hands ,
Would make   me cross   this state of sorrow  , be cool to Hanuman.

  This again is not a normal prayer  . For she does not praise fire God   and says that  she has several  virtues and because of that  Fire God should be cool to Hanuman. Again the prayer is addressed to a part of nature.

VI. Yudha Kandam ( Chapter 105)

  This is the longest prayer  in Vamiki Ramayana . Rama finds it difficult to kill Ravana due to several boons that  he has received.  The devas depute sage Agasthya   to teach Rama a prayer   which would help Rama  in killing Ravana . Sage Agasthya   then teaches  this great prayer addressed to the Sun God:-

Adithya Hrudayam  (Yudha  Kandam –Chapter 105)

(The heart o the Sun God)

Asya sree adithya hrudaya sthothra maha manthasya Agasthyo bhagawan rishi, anushtup chanda, Sree Adithyathma Soorya narayano devatha= sarva jaya sidhyarthe jape viniyoga

The sage for Adithya Hrudaya stotras is Sage Agasthya, the meter is anushtup and the presiding deity is Soorya Narayana who is the heart of Adithya.

Adha dyanam:-
Jayathu jayathu soorya saptha lokaika deepam,
Kirana samitha papam klesa dukhasya nasam,
Aruna nigama gamyam chadhi adithya moorthim,
Sakala bhuvana vandhyam, bhaskaram tham namami

Now prayer:-
Victory, Oh victory to the Sun god,
Who is the lamp to the seven worlds,
Who by his rays destroys sin,
Who destroys aches and sorrow,
Who is lead to by the path of Vedas,
Who is the Sun God to the universe,
And Who is saluted by all the worlds,
And also my salutations to Him who makes the day.
Thatho yudha parisrantham samare chinthaya sthitham,
Ravanam chagratho drushtwa yudhaya samupasthitham.
Daivathischa samagamya drushtu mabhya gatho ranam,
Upagamyabraveed ramam Agasthyo Bhagawan rishi.

The great God like sage Agasthya,
Who has come along with other Gods to see the war,
Seeing the tired and thought filled Ravana,
Approached Lord Rama , who is ready for the war and told.
Rama rama maha baho srunu guhyam sanathanam,
Yena sarvaanareen vatsa samare vijayishyasi.

Hey rama, Hey dear Rama, , be pleased to hear,
That which is secret and perennial,
By reciting which , son,
You would be victorious in war.
Adithya hrudayam punyam, sarva sathru vinasanam,
Jayavaham japen nithyam akshayyam paramam shubham.

This is the prayer called “the heart of the sun”.
Which is holy , destroys all enemies,
Which leads to victory,
And by reciting which daily,
Leads you to perennial state of good.
Sarva mangala mangalyam, sarva papa pranasanam,
Chinthasoka prasamanam, ayur vardhanamuthamam.

This prayer great gives all that is good,
Destroys all sins committed,
Acts as an antidote for sorrow and thought,
And also leads to very long life.
Rasmi mantham samudhyantham devasura namaskrutham,
Poojayaswa vivaswantham bhaskaram bhuvaneshwaram.

Offer prayers to the Great Sun God,
Who is the owner of rays,
Who rises up from below,
Who is worshipped by devas and asuras,
And who is worshipped by every one of the universe.
Sarva devathmako hyesha tejaswai rasmi bhavana,
Esha devasura ganan lokan pathi gabasthibhi.

He has within him all the devas,
He is the brightest among the bright,
He runs the whole world by his rays,
And protects all the worlds of Devas and Asuras,
By his great Rays.
Esha brahma cha Vishnuscha shiva skanda prajapathi,
Mahendro, dhandha kalo yama somo hyapam pathi.

He is Brhama, He is Vishnu,
He is Shiva, He is Skanda,
He is the progenitor of human race,
He is the king of devas,
He is Kubhera, the lord of all riches.
He is Kala, the God of death,
And He is the moon also He is Varuna
Pitharo vasava sadhya hyaswinou marutho, manu,
Vayur vahni praja prana ruthu hartha prabhakara.

He is the manes, He is the Gods called Vasus,
He is the gods called sadhya,
He is the Aswini devathas, the doctors of Gods,
He is the maruths who are responsible for breeze,
He is the wind God, He is the fire God,
He is the soul of all beings,
He is the creator of seasons,
And he is the giver of light.
Adithya savitha soorya khaga poosha gabasthiman,
Suvarna sadrusa bhanu , hiranya retha divakara.

He is the son of Adithi,
He is the creator of the world,
He makes us do things,
He travels on the sky,
He feeds the world by rain,
He is the one with rays,
He is the colour of Gold,
He is always shining,
He is responsible for creation,
And he is the maker of the day.
Haridaswa sahasrarchi saptha sapthir mareechiman,
Thimironmadhana shambhu thwashtwa marthanda amsuman.

He has green horses,
He has thousands of rays,
He rides on seven horses,
He dispels darkness,
He gives a pleasant life,
He kills all life,
He gives rebirth to those killed,
He removes darkness,
And he is resplendent in his glory.
Hiranya garbha shisira thapano bhaskaro ravi,
Agni garbha adithe puthra sanka shisira nasana.

He who keeps the golden source,
He who cools down minds of devotees,
He who bestows heat,
He who is the source of light,
He who is praised by every one,
He who has fire within himself,
He who is the son of adhithi,
He who travels in the sky with pleasure,
And he who melts cold.
Vyomanadha sthamobhedi rig yajur sama paraga,
Ghana vrushtirapam mithro vindhya veedhi plavangama.

He who is the lord of the sky,
He who dispels darkness,
He who is a master of Rig, Yajur and Sama veda,
He who is the cause of heavy rains,
He who is the friend of water,
And he who travels over the Vindhyas swiftly.

Aathapee mandali mruthyu pingala sarva thapana,
Kavir viswo maha thejaa raktha sarvodbhava.

He who gives heat,
He who is of the global shape,
He who is of the form of death,
He who is of the colour of gold,
He who heats everything,
He who is in expert in knowledge,
He who manages the universe,
He who is of great brilliance,
He who is dear to every one,
And he who manages every event.

Nakshtra gruha tharanam adhipo , viswa bhaavana,
Thejasam aphi thejaswi dwadasathman namosththe.

Salutations to him who is the Lord of stars, planets and zodiac,
To him who looks after the universe,
To him who gives light to all that shines,
And To him who has twelve forms.
Nama poorvaya giraye, paschimayadraye nama,
Jyothirgananam pathaye dhinadhipathaye nama.

Salutations to him who rises from the mounts of east,
Salutations to him who sets on mounts of west,
Salutations to the lord of objects that shine,
And the Lord of the day.
Jayaya jaya bhadraya haryaswaya namo nama,
Namo nama sahasramso adithyaya namo nama.

Salutations to him who is the cause of victories,
Salutations to him who has green horses,
Salutations and salutations to him who has thousand rays,
Salutations and salutations to the son of Adhithi.
Nama ugraya veeraya sarangaya namo nama,
Nama padma prabhodaya , marthandaya namo nama.

Salutations and salutations,
To him who is fearful to the sinners,
To him who is the hero,
And to him who travels swiftly.
Salutations to him who opens the lotus,
And salutations and salutations,
To him who makes men live.
Brhamesanachuthesaya sooryadhithya varchase,
Bhaswathe sarva bhakshaya roudraya vapushe nama

Salutations to Him,
Who is God to Brahma, Achyutha and Shiva,
Who is the giver of light,
Who is the son of Adhithi,
Who is ever shining,
Who eats everything,
And to him who has a fearsome body,
Thmognaya himagnaya sathrugnaya amithathmane,
Kruthagnagnaya devaya jyothisham pathaye nama.

Salutations to him,
Who destroys darkness,
Who destroys, snow,
Who destroys his enemies,
Who has an immeasurable body,
Who destroys those who are not grateful,
And to him who is the Lord of those who shine.
Taptha chamikarabhaya vahnaye viswa karmane,
Namasthomabhinignaya ruchaye loka sakshine.

Salutations to Him,
Who is of the colour of molten gold,
Who is of the form of fire,
Who has created the world,
Who destroys ignorance,
Who is the subject of all that is loved,
And to him who is the witness of the world.

Naasa yatyesha vai bhootham tadeva srujathi prabha,
Payathyesha thapathyesha varshatyesha gabhasthibhi.

This our lord helps beings to grow,
And also destroys them.
He with his awesome rays,
Looks after every being,
Gives intense heat to them,
And also causes rains to shower
Yesha suptheshu jagarthi bhootheshu parinishtitha,
Yesha evagnihothram cha phalam chaivagnihothrinam.

This our Lord is awake,
When all the world is asleep,
Without anyone being aware,
And he is the fire sacrifice,
And also the one who performs fire sacrifice.
Vedascha kradavaschaiva krathoonam phalameva cha,
Yani kruthyani lokeshu sarva yesha ravi prabhu.

All the Vedas,
All the yagas,
Result of all yagas.
And all the actions,
That happen in this world,
Are this Lord Surya himself.
Yena mapathsu kruchreshu kanthareshu bhayeshu cha,
Keerthayan Purusha kaschin aavaseedhathi raghava.

Hey Lord Raghava,
Any one who sings the praise of the Sun,
In time of danger,
In time of suffering,
In wild forests.
And in times of fear,
Is able to cross the problem for sure.

Poojaswaikegro deva devam jagat pathim,
Ethath trigunitham japthwa yudeshu vijayishyasi.

Please worship Him.
Who is God of Gods,
And who is the lord of the universe,
With single minded devotion.
If you chant this thrice,
You would win in the war.
Asmin kshane maha baaho ravanam thwam vadhishyasi,
Evamukthwaa agasthyo jagam yada gatham.

“Oh hero of heroes,
You would kill Ravana within a second,”
Saying this the sage Agasthya,
Went back his way.
Edath sruthwa maha theja nashta shoka abhavath thada,
Dharayamasa supreetho raghava prayathathmavaan.

Hearing this, the resplendent one,
Became devoid of sorrow,
And with utmost devotion,
Wore this prayer within himself.
Adhithya prekshya japthwa thu param harsha mavapthavan,
Thrirachamya suchir bhoothwa dhanuradhaaya veeryavaan.

Cleansing himself,
By doing Aachamana thrice,
And facing the Sun God,
Lifting his bow
The great hero Rama became very happy
Ravanam preshya hrushtathma yudhaya samupagamath,
Sarva yathnena mahatha vadhe thasya drutho bhavath.

Came he facing Ravana,
For starting the war again,
With all preparations great,
With an intention of killing him.
Adharavira vadha nireekshya ramam,
Mudhithamana paramam prahrushyamana,
Nisicharapathi samkshyam vidhithwa,
Sura gana Madhya gatho vachasthwarethi.

Immediately then Lord Sun,
Who is the king of the skies
Arose from the middle of the bevy of Gods,
With mind full of happiness,
And asked Rama to kill Ravana forthwith.


Sooryam sundara loka nadham amrutham vedantha saram shivam,
Gnanam brahma mayam suresha mamalam lokaika chitham swayam.

I bow and salute always before the great Sun God,
Who is ever shining,
Who is the Lord of the universe,
Who is forever living,
Who is the essence of Veda,
Who is forever peaceful,
Who is store house of knowledge,
Who is God personified,
Who is the king of gods,
Who is purity personified,
And who has the mind of all the world under his control.

Bhano bhaskara marthanda, chanda rasmai, divakara,
Ayur arogyam aiswaryam vidhyam dehi namosthuthe.

Oh God of gods,
Who is source of light,
Who makes the day,
Who removes darkness,
Who has fearful rays,
And who is the creator of the morn,
Please give me long life,
Health, wealth, knowledge
And I salute you.

Anyadha saranam nasthi thwameva saranam mama,
Thasmath karunya bhavena raksha raksha maha prabho.

I don’t have anybody to seek refuge,
Except thee , Oh great God,
So please have mercy upon me,
And protect me again and again.

Ithi srimad Valmeekhi Ramayane Yudha Kande,
Sapthothara sathathama sargathmakam,
Adhithya hrudaya sthothram samaptham,

Thus ends the great prayer called Adithya Hrudhayam,
Which occurs in the 107th chapter of the section of war,
In Ramayana composed by Sage Valmikhi.

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