31 Dec 2011

A new year coming . . . a universal prayer



The 2011 calendar year is about to close out and a new year begin.

This blog is still quite new, having only begun over the past two months. But, already, there is a strong readership -- one that is active in commenting here on the site, on Facebook, on Twitter, and in private messages to me -- all of us engaging in a growing and fulfilling conversation. I’m pleased and proud to be part of it, and I just wanted to take a moment to say, Thank you.

The first post for the new year will be the latest in the series of spiritual biographies. I’m happy to have interviewed author Sharon Maas (Of Marriageable Age, Peacocks Dancing, The Speech of Angels, and the newly released Sons of God: The Mahabharata Retold) and will be sharing her story over the next few days.

Also, as I have discussed with some readers privately, I’m working on a piece about the issue of ‘conversion’ in India and among Hindus, from both the personal and political perspectives. That, as it turns out, involves a good bit of research, more than I anticipated, so it will have to come later in the new year. I just want to take my time and do the subject justice.

And, of course, I’ll be writing about various things that come to mind. As the bio over there on the sidebar states, I’m a woman who embraces Sanātana Dharma, engages in meditation and yoga, studies jyotish, practices vegetarianism. . . I am also a feminist, a liberal, a voracious reader, an equally voracious talker, who speaks freely about issues related to women, sexuality, race, ethnicity, education, ecology, democracy, politics and just about anything else going on in the world that I think needs commenting on. So, in 2012, there could be articles and reflections on just about anything this black western Hindu woman gets the urge to speak about. I hope you all stick around to engage and enjoy.

So, to close out this year, I will share a simple, ecumenical prayer written by Swami Sivananda. Though a Hindu monastic, Swami Sivananda took pains to always expound the notion that all paths and all faiths, if followed well, will lead to the same place: union with the Divine, awareness of the Self, or communion with God in whatever name, form or formlessness you conceive of It/Him/Her.

In that inclusive and loving spirit, here is a prayer for us all. I hope the new year brings you blessings and peace.



Universal Prayer

by Sri Swami Sivananda

O Adorable Lord of Mercy and Love,
salutations and prostrations unto Thee.
Thou art omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient.
Thou art Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute.
Thou art the Indweller of all beings.

Grant us an understanding heart,
equal vision, balanced mind,
faith, devotion and wisdom.
Grant us inner spiritual strength
to resist temptation and to control the mind.
Free us from egoism, lust, greed, hatred, anger and jealousy.
Fill our hearts with divine virtues.

Let us behold Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us serve Thee in all these names and forms.
Let us ever remember Thee.
Let us ever sing Thy glories.
Let Thy Name be ever on our lips.
Let us abide in Thee for ever and ever.


  1. Aum,
    I look forward to reading these new articles. I always find the New year celebrations rather odd. In effect we are celebrating the election of Roman councils in 153 BCE. For a long time the new year began in March, which is why our "numbered" months are now wrong (september, october, november, december).

    The British Inland revenue is still 500 years behind the rest of the world, having applied the Gregorian correction, moving new year to April 6th, but not moving the new year to January.

    I love the Universal prayer.

  2. Hello Tandava, thank you,

    And thanks for those links. Really interesting info... I had a professor once who reminded us of the arbitrary nature of any calendar: 'calendars are human constructs; the seasons are Nature's' -- [or something similar, can't remember his exact phrasing ;)]

  3. Really universal prayer, awesome thoughts. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Thank you, Jeet. Happy new year!

  5. I learnt about this prayer when I was around 8 years old. Barely understood a word of English then let alone understood its meaning. We also had a Tamil version of it. It's amazing how after 19 years, I can still remember both versions of it although within a few years of learning it, I stopped saying it. That prayer is a true epitome of love. The world would indeed be a more peaceful place if more people could relate to it universally. Happy New Year to you. :)

  6. Thank you, Jivanti. My son is turning 7, and while I've sung a version of the Gayatri Mantra to him as a lullaby for a long while now, I've not taught him any prayers. Your comment has spurred me on to see if this is the one he'd first like to learn by heart :)