God (February 2012)
The assignment for this month is God.
Hindus believe in the Supreme Power that has created the entire world including all living and non-living things. He is the creator and sustainer of the universe. He existed prior to the creation of the universe. Hindus call that divine conscious power (God) by various names: Ishwar, Parameshwar, Paramatma, Brahma, Aum, Bhagwan, Prabhu, and many other names.
Characteristics and attributes of God
· Omniscient: He is all knowing; knows our inner thoughts and desires; knows past, present and future.
· Omnipresent: He is present everywhere and in everything. There is no place where He is not present. He is present in physical and non-physical realms.
· Omnipotent: He is all powerful. There is nothing that He cannot do. No one is more powerful than Him.
· Eternal: God has no start and no end. He is without beginning (Anadi), and He is without end (Anant). He is in every coordinate of time and space, and He also exists beyond time and space.
One God with numerous Names
While Hindus believe in one God, He is called with different names based on His different attributes. E.g., Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Yama, Vaayu, Agni, Rudra, Shakti. Meaning of some of the names Hindus have given to God:
· AUM: The power to create (A), sustain (U), and dissolve (M)
· Ishwar: Lord of the world
· Parameshwar: Most powerful lord of the world
· Paramatma: The Supreme soul
· Prabhu: All capable
· Brahma: The Creator
· Vishnu: The Sustainer
· Mahesh/Rudra: The Destroyer
· Laxmi: Giver of abundance
· Saraswati: Giver of knowledge
· Agni: Symbol of light and destroyer of darkness
· Savita: Source of pure inspiration
Of all the names, the name AUM is the most powerful and complete ascription of God’s attributes. Because of the effectiveness of this name, a majority of mantras start with the recitation of the word AUM.
Mantra of the Month (MoM)
First mantra of Ishwar Stuti Prarthana Upasana Mantras
Mantra: Om Vishwaani deva savitar duritaani paraa-suva. Yad bhadram tan-na aasuva.
Meaning: O God! You are the creator of the entire universe. Take away from us all the bad deeds, bad habits and miseries. Give us all the good qualities, blissful and auspicious objects.
Please take time to discuss this topic with kids, and encourage them to memorize the MoM with meanings.