Buy these books from Flipkart
A cute little book, which contains aspects from our Vedas. Twelve slokas are explained in detail in a lucid and crisp language. the book answers a few of the following questions
The first few chapters for your reading pleasure. Please note that the matter is copyrighted. (C) Dr L.Prakash. Email at [email protected] for permission to copy excerpts.
What is This Book All about?
Hinduism a more way of life than a religion. Unlike most other religions with a single holy book like a Bible, Quoran or a Granth, the Hindu philosophy is an immense collective literature, many hundred times more than these.
Rig, Yajur, Sam and Atharva are the four Vedas which are called,
Appoorva Shestayatva, Nithya nirdosha
Swaha promanya, Paramaha gyana.
Reveling, perpetually blemishless, axiomatic and self proving, and the ultimate knowledge. These are our four Vedas. The Vedas can justifiably be considered as the four major rivers of knowledge, from which have sprung up numerous tributaries like Upnishads, Vedanthas and Puranas. From them our ancient literature teaches us a great wisdom and propounds a wonderful philosophy.
The value of prayers is well known. In the following chapters, I have collected a dozen sequences from our Vedic and Puranic texts, with an appropriate prayer for common occasions.
Our Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas are written in Sanskrit. In India, less than 0.5% people understand the language. Original Sanskrit is written in Devangan script, similar to that used by the current Hindi. I have however written down the prayers in English script. This is because, I don’t expect many of my readers to be familiar with the original script. Basically, I have chosen one prayer for each occasion. I have given a background or back story for each prayer. In most cases it is the narrative sequence of the situations under which the prayer was originally used. This is followed by the sloka itself in Sanskrit written in English script. I have then translated the prayer, and explained its purport.
In our Hindu mythology, there are various prayers for various occasions. I have also given a brief description of each occasion.
Most Hindu prayers start with a preamble or an introduction. I too would start my book with the same.
Shuklam Baradharam Vishnum,
Sasi varnam Chaturbhujam,
Prassanna Vadanam Dhyayeth,
Sarva Vighno Upashantaye.
I offer prayers and salutations to the dark colored, four handed, Lord Mahavishnu, thinking of whose pleasant face, would ensure that I reach my goal without any obstacles.
And so with the God’s blessings, let us move on to the first chapter.
1.. Parashara’s wisdom
Vasishta was a virtuous sage of great repute, while Vishwamitra was the king. The sage had his ashrama at the outskirts of the kingdom, and displayed a lavish hospitality, when the king came to visit. King Viswamithra was surprised at the grand manner, in which a humble sage could look after him and expressed his curiosity. Vasishta showed him his divine cow Saubala which was capable of providing whatever he desired. Vishwamithra was tempted and requested Vasishta for the cow. The sage needed the cow for his day to day existence, because it was Sabubla’s milk that provided him with ghee for his daily yagnas. It was her milk, sweeter than Amrita, which was the Chief Prayer offering. Saubala’s dung with its miraculous properties, was used to anoint the floor of the ashrama. But far more than that, sage Vasishta considered Saubala as his own mother.
He thus politely explained to the king, the impossibility of his desire. Vishwamithra however was a stubborn king and would not be pacified. He wanted the cow and would have her. He tried arguing with the sage, but when the latter proved stubborn, got really angry. Vishwamithra ordered his soldiers to forcefully seize the cow and drag it to his palace. However he had totally underestimated the powers of sage Vasishta. Despite being an unarmed Brahmin, his yogic powers were profound. Despite all efforts, Vishwamithra could not snatch the cow, and he and his ministers had to return back disappointed.
Vishwamithra was seething with rage at this humiliation. He was surprised that, unarmed and unprepared, Vasishta could not only repel all his attacks, but could also win over the huge army of his soldiers. But the king was a stubborn individual. The cow no longer mattered, but it had now become a prestige issue. The humiliating defeat at the hands of a rishi, was simply not acceptable to him.
Vishwamithra realized that, Vashista owed his powers to prayers and austerities. Military might was not the way to fight with Vasishta. And yes! By now it had become a fight for Vishwamithra. His hurt ego would not be assuaged, unless he got a victory over the rishi.
The king thus handed over the kingdom to his sons and went away to the mountains to do penance. He spent many years in prayers and austerities. When he felt that he was strong enough, he came back and challenged Vasishta. But once again, he had to face a humiliating defeat. Undeterred, he went back once again to redouble his prayers and austerities.
Again and again, Vishwamithra would come back to challenge Vasishta and meet a humiliating defeat. He finally offered prayers to Pulasya, son of Brahma the creator, and master of a thousand Rakshasas. Pulasya was pleased by the sacrifice and sent with him an army of Rakshasas. These Asuras tried to swallow Vasishta, but the pious sage proved too much for them. So great was his tapas and tejas, that they were unsuccessful in swallowing him and had to return back empty handed. A frustrated Vishwamithra once again went to the mountains to redouble his prayers and austerities. The king was not some one to give up so easily. Parashara was a great sage and Vasishta’s grand son. He was aghast at the act done by the Rakshasas. Boiling with rage, he sat down to perform a Rakshasa Vinashana Yagya. It was a powerful sacrificial pyre, and hundreds of thousands of Rakshas fell into it and were burnt to ashes. So great was Parashara and so powerful were his prayers, that it wrecked carnage on the Asuras.
On seeing the almost total extermination of the Asura race, Vasishta addressed his grand son thus “Oh young Parashara! Too much of anger does not suit a Brahmana. You have wrecked enough havoc on the Rakshasas. In a way, it was no fault of theirs. They were just obeying orders.”
Parashara replied “But oh Venerated grandfather! How can I forgive someone who has heaped such great insults on you?”
Vasishta said “Forgiveness is the quality of Brahmana and not anger. Anger clouds judgment and makes an animal out of man. Anger is the spark of fire, which would burn the cotton bales of rational thinking. My dear grandson, you have wrecked enough carnage and havoc. Now is the time to stop, because it is rightly said, that forgiveness is the fortune of the Brahmana.”
Thus pacified by his grandfather, Parasara stopped the Yagya. Vasishta was extremely pleased. At this time, Pulasya, the son of Brahma and the father of Asuras appeared before them and blessed Parasara for his tolerance and kindness. Pulasya then said,
“Oh son Parashara, despite a great anger, you have controlled your temper and stopped the Yagya, thereby preventing the anahilitation of my progeny. For this, I would give you a blessing.
“You would be the twenty sixth Vyasa of the twenty sixth treta yuga. Godess Saraswathi would take residence on your tongue. Your mind would be filled with multitude of thoughts and you will become a possessor of all knowledge. You would classify Vedas and write many Puranas. You will catalogue all knowledge known to mankind. But before you start seeking knowledge and then imparting them, you must compose a prayer to lord Vishnu. The perpetrator of our universe, Vishnu, from whom this world has been born, Vishnu in whom it exists, and Vishnu in whom it exits. Your prayers to Vishnu would expand your consciousness and make you intelligent enough to compose the Puranas and catalogue the Vedas.
Parashara then composed the following Slokas.
Avikaraya Shuddhya Nityaya Paramatmane
Sadaika Roopa roopaya vishnave sarvavishnawe
Namo Hiranya garbhaya haraye shadonkaraya cha
Vasudevaya taraya sagarsthiltha atyantakarine
Ekarneka roopaya sthoola sookshmytmane namaha
Avyakta vyaktaroopaya Vishnave Muktilhetave
Sargastithi Vinashanaam. Jagato yo Jaganamayaha
Bhoolabhoota namastasmai Vishnave paramatmane
Adhara bhootam Vishvasya pyaniyaan samaniyasam
Pranamya sarvabhootastamchyut Purushotamanae
Gyana swaroopan, atyanta nirmalam paramarthaha
Tameva artharoopana branthi darshantaha stitham.
Pulasya, was greatly impressed and said,
“Oh Parashara! No wonder I see the effects of my blessings straight away. Has not your knowledge and intellect increased manifold to be able to compose such a beautiful prayer to Lord Vishnu!”
Grandfather Vasishta added,
“Oh Vatsa! This is one prayer that would indeed please Lord Vishnu. Whoever utters these prayers with a full belief and total concentration, would be endowed with intellect and reasoning like you. He too, would become a great scholar and a brilliant academician. Lord Vishnu would indeed be pleased and bestow understanding, intellect, knowledge and power.”
The above six Slokas can be roughly translated as below “The one who is responsible for Brahma’s creation, Vishnu’s perpetration and Shankara’s destruction, and the one who guides his devotees through the turbulent seas of life, to that flawless, pure, indestructible, supreme being, perpetually equanimous and the ever victorious Lord Vasudeva, I offer my salutations. He is one and yet has innumerable forms. From the smallest to the incalculable infinity. His Vishwaroopa encompasses the universe, and in whose innate powers lie creation, perpetration and annihilation. I offer my total and unquestioned subservience.”
“The one who occupies the world, the one who exists in all living creatures, the one who is best of men, and the one who is formless, being pure as knowledge in himself, but appears in innumerable forms due to our own ignorance, to that unborn, undying and indestructible Vishnu, I offer my salutations and prayers.”
The above six Slokas could thus be taken as prayers invoking the blessings of the supreme being, when you set out on the path of acquisitioning knowledge. What better prayer could there be for a student, academician, doctor, lawyer or technocrat, in whose life knowledge indeed is power? And what better way can we have, to express our humility and total surrender to the supreme being from whom we seek knowledge?
Chennai 600107 India.
Phone: 044 29001193, 9791020615