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Prayers
Lord Indra has the power to stop lightning.

Prayers

In a Hindu’s life prayer plays an important part. Every action and event and the ensuing circumstances, whether success or failure, are filled with prayers. Because of this, in Hindu tradition prayer takes more different and numerous forms compared to other cultures, though the object and motive remain the same.

Arguably, Hinduism is the religion with the highest number of prayers, acts of worship, rituals and ceremonies. Waking up, going to sleep, bathing, eating meals, studies, travel, name giving, birth, death, marriage, taking medicine and commencing a new venture are just some of the things requiring prayer. Prayers are important throughout the whole life of a Hindu.

In Hinduism, prayer is called Prârthana. Prârthana is not merely requesting, praising or confessing. It is simply an act of communicating to God. Such an act may not contain any praise or request or, for that matter, have any particular reason.

Hindu prayers can be broadly classified into mental (Mânasika), verbal (Vâcika) and physical (Kayika). Staying in the very thought of the Divine and completely forgetting oneself is a mental or Mânasika Prârthana, though, at lower level, a thought about the Divine, an appeal or desire about God can also be construed as Mânasika Prarthana. Chanting of mantras, repeating the verses about God, or verbal appeals and requests, constitute the Vâcika Prarthana. In a verbal Prarthana several mystical syllables are used since these syllables have the power of conveying the Grace of God quicker and also cleansing the aspirant both physically and mentally. Offering of oblation to fire, making mystical gestures, circumambulation of a temple, prostrating in front of God, lighting and waving lamps, offering food to God or going on a pilgrimage constitute physical or Kâyika Prârthana.

A unique feature of Hindu prayers is that the prayers are not only made to God or a lesser deity and the images representing them, but also to many things that are considered Holy and Sacred as they are manifestations of the Ultimate. So, a Hindu prays to a variety of Sages, Saints and Preceptors, the mountains, the rivers and even the trees.

There are set of prayers that a Hindu repeats every day spiritualising and energising every day existence. There are prayers that are repeated on certain occasions and there are prayers that are meant only for special occasions.

1.
An important exam's coming up, and I am really unprepared. I start praying to the Hindu goddess of knowledge to bless me so that I may pass. What is her name?
Yamuna
Ganga
Urbashi
Saraswati
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, arts and science. She is the daughter of Durga along with Lakshmi, Ganesha and Karthik. It is said in some religious texts that her knowledge helped Brahma to create the universe. Urbashi/Urvashi is an Apsara (a spirit of clouds and water) who used to entertain the gods by her dancing skills during the meeting of gods in heaven
2.
The morning courier brings in happy news for Aditya. He has received the contract for construction of a multiplex. He bows his head down and prays to the Hindu god of workmanship and industry so that he may succeed. Who is Aditya praying to?
Agni
Vishwakarma
Shiva
Narasimha
Vishwakarma is the god of workmanship and industry. He is responsible for building the weapons of the gods and also their chariots. His most famous creation, perhaps, is the island city of Lanka featured in the epic Ramayana. He also trained Nala, the ape, who helped to build a bridge from the continent of India to the island of Lanka
3.
Which famous Indian said that "Prayer is the very soul and essence of religion, and therefore prayer must be the very core of the life of man"?
Prithviraj Kapoor
Mahatma Gandhi
Mithun Chakraborty
Jawaharlal Nehru
Mahatma Gandhi was one of the leaders in the movement for Indian independence from Britain. He said these words about prayer at a Prayer Meeting in Sabarmati Ashram in 1930
4.
Really angry and frustrated with his life, Debjeet shouts out "Why doesn't ____ take me away? I am sick of my life!" Who is the Hindu god of death whom Debjeet was addressing?
Jayadrath
Saam
Bedna
Yama
Yama is the lord of death in Hindu mythology, first appearing in the Vedas. His name can be interpreted in various ways, one meaning being "twin", and he is sometimes depicted as having a twin sister, Yami. He is assisted by Chitragupta, who keeps the record of deeds (both good and bad) of humans during their lifetime. Yama is also considered to be Kala (time) in Hindu mythology, as the time of his arrival is set in stone
5.
Some farmers are really unhappy due to drought conditions. They keep on praying to the god of water to help them out. What is his name?
Vishwamitra
Agnidev
Varundev
Upula
Varundev is the god of the sky, rainfall, seas and oceans. He has a weapon named Varunastra which is similar to a lasso. His mount is the crocodile, Makara. In the Vedic periods, he was also considered to be the god of law and of the underworld
6.
Seeing the thunder and lightning dance on the sky, Aritra cowers back and prays to Lord Indra to make the lightning stop. What is the weapon of Lord Indra?
Sword
Hammer
Bow and arrow
Lightning
Lord Indra is the son of the Saint Kashyap and Aditi. He is also the king of gods and the chief god mentioned in the Rig Veda (the other three Vedas are the Yajur Veda, the Sam Veda and the Atharva Veda). He uses Vajra (lightning) as his main weapon. It is thought by some that he also has the authority to bring rain
7.
Tuntuni, the little weaver bird, is troubled by a nasty snake each day. She wishes and prays that if only the king of birds will arrive, she will be saved. Which animal deity is she praying to?
Arjuna
Lord Garuda
Ajayveer
Lord Vishnu
In Hindu mythology Lord Garuda, the enemy of nagas (serpents), is described as the king of birds and serves as the sacred vehicle of Lord Vishnu. He can fly really fast and serves as a messenger between the deities and men. He is the son of Saint Kashyap and Vinita
8.
Akash has been running a very successful business over the years. However, he is still humble and does not forget to pray to the Hindu goddess of wealth every night. What is her name?
Raven
Aditi
Lakshmi
Kali
Lakshmi is the Hindu goddess of prosperity, fortune and wealth. She is also a consort of Vishnu. The Hindu festival of Kojagiri Purnima is celebrated in her honour. She is referred to as "Shri" because she has the six "Gunas" (divine qualities) and also because she provides strength even to Vishnu, one of the three supreme gods
9.
This god appeared on earth in the forms of his various avatars, Rama being one of them. I always pray to him if I am scared, as he is the preserver of the universe as well as the eradicator of evils in Hindu mythology. Who is he?
Vishnu
Arunkumari
Vayu
Meenakshi
Vaishnavism regards Vishnu as the supreme god. He appears on Earth to eradicate evils and to free worthy souls from the cycle of rebirth. He usually appears as incarnations, or avatars. Some well known avatars are Varaha, Narasimha (half man, half lion), Rama, Krishna and Matsya (fish). He is also known as Hari or Madhusudan
10.
The Gayatri Mantra is one of the most prominent prayers for Hindus. Who is worshipped in this prayer?
The Sun
Vishnu
The Moon
Shiva
The sun God, Surya, is pictured as a red-skinned man having four arms and three eyes. He rides a chariot which is pulled by seven mares and he holds water lilies with two of his hands

 

Author:  Siddarth Bhattacharjee

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