Prayer takes many different forms, and is a vital way that we express our faith. It can take the form of meditation, individual or communal prayer, responsive prayers, silent or spoken out loud, using words, images or music – or any way that you find helpful to connect with God.
Prayer is a way that we can become more aware of our role in affecting the ecological balance in Mother Nature. Through prayer we can recommit ourselves to the task of restoring that balance and remember the poor who are most affected by its effect on climate change. It is about creating the space of silence and stillness to allow ourselves to listen and be transformed.
Below are a few examples of prayers from different Hindu scriptures that you might find helpful to use with your faith community – if you feel inspired to write your own prayers, go for it!
Respect for Mother Earth – Bhumi Devi
Many Hindus touch the floor before getting out of their beds, requesting Bhumi Devi, the Goddess
Earth, to forgive them for trampling over Her body, by reciting the following Verse:
“Samudra vasane devi parvatstana mandale
Vishnupatni namas tubhyam padsparsam ksmasva me”
Oh! Goddess (Lakshmi), who resides in the ocean,
who has large bosom (big as mountains), consort of Lord Vishnu.
My prostrations at your feet. May I be forgiven.
Prayer for Mother Nature
Source: “The Good Green Word” from Autumn 2010 edition of the Green Pages
Another prayer from our ancient Scripture, Yajur Veda:
Live in complete harmony with Nature,
Experience the grace of God in the splendour of the universe.
Be blessed by God’s reassuring love,
The sweet dawn will sweeten your soul,
The dazzling mid-day will set your hearts aflutter,
And the serene music of your soul will guide you towards peace and prosperity.
And when the day’s task is over, you will sleep in the lap of Mother Nature,
All the deities will be favourable to you.
— Mother Nature,Yajur Veda 34.37
Prayer to Mother Earth for Grace
Source: Hindu Declaration on Climate Change
“Earth in which the seas, the rivers and many waters lie,
from which arise foods and fields of grain,
abode to all that breathes and moves,
may She confer on us Her finest yield.”
— Bhumi Suktam, Atharva Veda xii.1.3
An Ancient Peace Chant
“May the Goddess Waters be auspicious for us to drink.
May they flow, with blessings upon us.
May the Earth be pleasant and free of thorns as our place of rest.
May She grant us a wide peace.
May the Divine Waters which grant us blessings, may they sustain us vigor and energy,
for a great vision of delight.
May we partake of that which is their most auspicious essence, as from loving mothers.
May the Heaven grant us peace, and the Atmosphere.
May the Earth grant us peace, and the Waters.
May the plants and the great forest trees give us their peace.
May all the Devas grant us peace; may Brahman grant us peace.
May the entire universe grant us peace.
May that supreme peace come to us.
May that peace dwell in me.
Take this firm resolve: May all beings look at me with the eyes of a friend.
May I look at all beings with the eyes of a friend.
May we all look at each other with the eyes of a friend.
— Shukla Yajur Veda (36.12-15, 17-18) Translation by Vamadeva Shastri
Everything is pervaded by God
“Isha vasyam idam sarvam, yat kinch jagatyam jagat
Tain tyaktain bhunjhitha, ma gridh kasyasvid dhanam”
— Isa Upanishad, Verse 1
One translation and commentary is as follows:
Everything animate or inanimate that is within the universe is pervaded by Isha (God). One should
therefore consume only what is necessary for himself, with an attitude of caring and detachment;
God has provided us with the natural abundance but one must not hoard things (that are not
needed) – and thus depriving others who may need them. After all, whose wealth it is? Land and its
resources are not wealth of any individual, it all belongs to God.
Ideas for contemplation
The following extracts can be used by the your religious leader or priest, to invite devotees to
contemplate on the depth of knowledge in our scriptures, and how these are relevant to Bhakts
(devotees) today in dealing with the challenges of climate change. After the reading, devotees can
take a few minutes to contemplate and focus their Dhyaan (thoughts) on the meaning of scriptures
from our ancient texts and implications for their own lives today. The quote below reflects on the
virtues of ‘sacrifice’, and can be used to get your community to think of the prevalent linkages to
material goods, and what a ‘sacrifice’ of material wants, and choosing a simpler path of living can
“Living bodies subsist on food grains, which are produced from rains. Rains are produced from
performance of yajna [sacrifice], and yajna is born of prescribed duties. Regulated activities are
prescribed in the Vedas, and the Vedas are directly manifested from the Supreme Personality of
Consequently the all-pervading Transcendence is eternally situated in acts of sacrifice. My dear
Arjuna, one who does not follow in human life the cycle of sacrifice thus established by the Vedas
certainly lives a life full of sin. Living only for the satisfaction of the senses, such a person lives in
– Bhagavad Gita 3:14-16