The Universal Prayer that found me
Universal Prayer of Swami Sivananda
O adoring Lord of Mercy and Love! Salutations and prostrations unto Thee. Thou art Omnipresent, Omnipotent, Omniscient; Thou art Satchidananda. (Existence-Consciousness-Bliss Absolute) Thou art the In dweller 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 and anger. 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.
Harī Oṁ Tat Sat
(Usually, a single mantra is used as a closing mantra – ‘Harī Oṁ Tat Sat’ includes the name of God with form, the Absolute, and as Auspiciousness.)
On Swami Sivananda’s Universal Prayer
This wonderful prayer is a teaching and a prayer at the same time. It is non-sectarian and can be used in prayer by one and all on any occasion and as frequently as we feel to pray.
The first verse reminds us that it is addressed to ‘Adorable Lord’ and there should be adoration in our heart. The next few lines tell about God and our relation to him. The God we worship is not someone among many and some place but being omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient – is here and now and does hear our prayer in the words we utter and the feelings we have behind them. This prayer is not a hope or a plea of sorts but a sort of door we open immediately whether we may feel it as such from the beginning or not. Any obstruction felt, is due to the commotion in our own mind.
In the second verse, the seeker asks for what is most important – divine virtues such as: an understanding heart, equal vision, balanced mind, faith, devotion, wisdom, inner spiritual strength to resist temptation and to control the mind. He also asks for help where it matters most – freedom from egoism, lust, greed and hatred as these are the chains that bind very deep. Lastly, he asks for the heart free of all clutter for God to fill our hearts with divine qualities as only like contacts like. In this one verse, we also see all that is important and of real value in life. It is no use to accumulate all the wealth of the world and be poor in these.
The third verse is very important as here, one resolves what one would do with what is sought and perhaps, why it is so important. We are not asking for ‘things for our self’ but for what has been referred to as ‘divine wealth’ so that we may constantly remember God and serve Him in all these forms and names.
In these three verses, we have a roadmap of how the spiritual path lays out: recognition of God’s Omnipresence; plea for help where it matters most and this is also recognition of the real obstacles on the path; and; all of what we promise to do with what was sought. This prayer is not a mere plea or asking but a contract with God and if rooted in sincerity, light on the path which can withstand any storm.