Aviva Directory » Faith & Spirituality » Prayer » Hindu Prayer

Prayer is an integral part of Hinduism, as it is viewed as holding immense power.

Prayer is a way of connecting with the deities, expressing love and devotion, and seeking blessings.

In ancient Vedic times, elaborate rituals involved chanting mantras or prayers to seek God's blessings for individual desires or community well-being. For example, the Shanti Mantra sought peace, health, and well-being for all.

Prayer is practiced during Hindu worship (puja), and is an expression of devotion (Bhakti). The chanting of mantras is the most common form of Hindu worship. Other Vedas are liturgical texts, such as mantras and hymns, and Stuti is an umbrella term for religious literary creations, but it literally means "praise."

Hindu devotional Bhakti traditions focus on repetitive prayer, known as japa. Devotees repeat mantras (sacred syllables) to connect with specific deities. For example, chanting "Om Namah Shivaya" invokes Lord Shiva. Japa is central to Bhakti traditions, focusing on personal forms of gods and goddesses, such as Vishnu's avatars, most notably Rama and Krishna, Shiva, or Shiva's sons, Kartikeya and Ganesha, as well as Mahadevi, the supreme goddess, and her forms, such as Lakshmi or Kali.

Puja worship rituals involve offerings, incense, flowers, and lamps to deities at home shrines or temples. Puja can be elaborate or simple.

Rare today, Vedit rituals known as Yagnas involve offerings in sacrificial fires (havans) to purify the body, mind, and environment. Specific yagnas exist for various life occasions.

Each day of the week is devoted to a specific deity or deities. Rituals, including fasting and prayer, honor these gods and goddesses. For example, Monday (Somvar) is dedicated to Lord Shiva and Parvati, while Tuesday (Mangalvar) honors Lord Hanuman, and Wednesday (Budhvar) is for Lord Krishna and Lord Vihal.

Nitya rituals are daily offerings at home shrines or performing puja to family deities, and Naimittika rituals occur during specific times, such as festivals, while Kamya rituals are optional, but desirable practices.

To someone in the West, Buddhist and Hindu prayer might seem similar, and they may be in some ways, but there are differences. While Hindu prayer often centers on specific deities, Buddhist prayer emphasizes inner states of being and aspirations. Hindu prayer seeks blessings from the gods, while Buddhist prayer focuses on inner transformation and compassion. Both Hindu and Buddhist prayers offer unique paths to spiritual growth, connecting individuals with the divine or inner wisdom.

This category focuses on Hindu prayer.



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