Ishwar Stuti Prarthana Upasana Mantras (August 2019)
Immediately after the Achman and Anga Sparsh mantras in the Vedic Agnihotra procedure (Hawan) are a set of eight mantras, called Ishwar Stuti Prarthana Upasana Mantras. This month, we will focus on the first two mantras. The first mantra is Om Vishwani Dev, which can also be termed as a vice-cleansing mantra – a mantra with very powerful meaning and significance. If you recall, this single mantra was the theme of the kids’ assignments for the year 2017 and 2018. You can find the introduction of this mantra in Januarty 2017 article (www.hawan.net/?p=625). The second mantra is Om Hiranyagarbhah. I expect majority of the kids of the kids to cover the second mantra this month. However, if you are new or have missed some assignments in those years, please cover the both mantras.
First, let’s understand why a set of eight mantras are termed Ishar Stuti Prarthana Upasana Mantra and why they are placed in the starting of the hawan procedure. At the literal level, Ishar means God; stuti means praise; prarthana means prayer; and, upasana means worshipping while sitting close.
Does it mean that we must praise God before placing any requests in the form of prayers, or God is so shallow or ignorant that He will be pleased with us when we praise Him, or we are supposed to literally sit down in some place of worship to effectively worship Him? No!
If we go with the literal meanings of those words, we may take away a wrong message. The true reasoning behind these mantras is that when praising God, we remember His attributes, such as Omnipotent (powerful), Truth, Justice, Pure Knowledge, All-knower, and All-pervading. Thinking of His attributes does two things: one, it reminds us of His true form; hence we avoid mistakes. Two, we start to appreciate and imbibe His qualities, which make us humble and kind human being. Our soul gets purified. And, for a pure soul, all thoughts are prayers; God is always close; and, every place is a place of worship.
Now, let’s look at the second mantra:
Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ samavartataagre bhootasya jaataḥ patirekaaseet |
Sa daadhara pṛithviṃ dhyamutemaaṃ kasmai devaayahaviṣaa vidhema ||
हिरण्यगर्भः समवर्तताग्रे भूतस्य जातः पतिरेकासीत ।
स दाधार पृथ्वीं ध्यामुतेमां कस्मै देवायहविषा विधेम ॥
Literal Meaning: God is the creator of the universe; He is the most important entity; He is the master of all living beings; He sustains the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars, i.e., the entire universe. We understand that He showers bliss. We worship Him with selfless service and self-sacrifice.
Let’s go over this in details: As God created the universe, God was there before the universe came in to being and He will be there after the universe ceases to exist. He is unbound and infinite. On the other hand, we (our body and life – and not the soul) are finite. We are minuscule and insignificant.
Contemplating and meditating upon God’s unbound nature makes us humble. The humility not only prepares us for a true worship, it also relieves our stresses and tensions. We get attracted towards acts like yoga, pranayama, knowledge, and truthfulness. We are able to see situations clearly – we are able to avoid the day-to-day stresses that have been otherwise accepted as the essential aspects of life. Where study and job ensure one has a comfortable life, purity of mind [with thoughts immersed in spirituality] ensures a fulfilling life. God awareness brings joy, peace and true happiness to life.
We understand that God sees our true self. We cannot pray if our heart is not clean. With vicious thoughts or selfish nature, we cannot please Him. Knowing He is all knowing evaporates impurities from our heart; we start to serve our fellow beings with true love, respect, and compassion. At that stage, all of our thoughts and intentions become prayers that He always listens – and fulfills them if they serve us well.
By now, it should be clear how this mantra has extremely deep significance, preparing the worshipper for the true worship of God.
In this month’s assignment, the kids will
– Talk about the meaning of Ishwar Stuti, Prarthana, and Upasana;
– Memorize the first two mantras;
– Expand on the first or both the mantras;
– Talk about how the new understanding makes them look at the act of worship.
Dear Kids, please make us proud!