3.H.2 A Popular Hindu Prayer and a Text from Bhagavata Purana (11.27), presented by Acharya Shrivatsa Goswami

  • Commentary

The spiritual life and daily life appears to be juxtaposed as a pair of binary opposites, but definitely not so in the Caitanyaite-Vaisnava-Hindu tradition. the Ultimate reality Bhagavan is the only substantive Being, the Absolute. Rest all including the human and the material world is understood as its potencies (saktis).

Potencies are classified as

a. ‘innate-essential’ (svarupa), the divine associates and functions,
b. ‘external’ material world (maya),
c. ‘in-between’ the living beings (tatastha ‘on the bank’), which touches both the material grounds and the flow of the divine stream of bliss. Metaphysically a human seeker is a soul (atma) embodied physically.
The Integral relation between the spiritual and mundane world is further emphasized by the theological belief that this world is merely a manifestation of the divine body. Hence the body of god cannot be unreal. This world as the body of god is real, not otherwise.
Hindu tradition focuses upon the centrality of the dharma, the universal human values and the process sustaining those values. Various expressions of the human affairs from economic to religious, legal to spiritual, political to aesthetic, all come under the gambit ofdharma. Hindu believes in the continuity of the spiritual life in the daily life, not their separation. The texts explain that.


  • Text

Spiritualising the Daily Life:

A popular Hindu prayer

“Think of Visnu while taking medication, while dining Janardana.
Going to sleep meditate upon Padmanabha, in marriage Prajapati.

In battle Chakradhara, during journeys Trivikram.

Narayana while giving up the body, Shridhara while copulating with beloved.

In a bad dream remember Govind, in dangers Madhusudana.

In forest Narasimha, in fire Jalashayi.

In waters Varaha, on mountains Raghunandana.

While departing Vamana, and always in all deeds Madhava.

Getting up in the morning one who recites these sixteen Divine Names, he frees himself from all the sins and attains the divine land of Vishnu.”


Daily Chores of the Spiritual Life

The Lord Krishna instructed Uddhava, a philosopher.

Bhagavata Purana (11.27)

My devotee should (also) lovingly decorate me in the proper way with garments, the sacred thread, jewels, wreaths of basil leaves, scents and sandalpaste. The worshipper should (then) reverently offer to Me water to wash My feet and rinse My mouth, sandal-paste flowers and grains of unbroken rice (for decoration), incense, light, and articles of food.
If one has enough wealth, one should offer to Me as food (daily or at least on festive occasions) jaggery (or sugar); rice boiled in milk and sweetened with sugar; ghee; large round cakes of ground rice, sugar and sesamum seeds which are cooked in oil; piles of sweet cakes made of meal and sugar which are fried in ghee; lumps of sweets composed of meal which are cooked in ghee; porridge made of wheat flour with ghee, milk and molasses; curds; and seasoned dal.
These offerings should be arranged at least on every sacred day (e.g. Ekadasi or the full moon), and preferably every day if one’s means allow it :
Offering a brush for cleansing My teeth. Giving perfumed oil for anointing My body. A paste of saffron and camphor powder to be rubbed on the various parts of My body to cleanse it from dirt; bathing My image with a preparation composed of a kind milk, curds, ghee, honey and sugar as well as with scented water; clothing Me with costly silk and adorning Me with jewels, sandal-paste and wreaths and putting a mirror before Me (to show Me how I look); offering Me food which can be easily swallowed (without chewing) as well as that which needs chewing (together with fragrant water, betel leaves, a bed of flowers, etc.) and (also) the singing of songs and dancing.