OM saMskRtM saaQanaa OM

Sanskrit Sadhana

namasto  Namaste! ! nama: iSavaaya  Om Namah Shivaya
I'm Mike Brooker and you're not!  And I'm a Sanskrit junkie.  Sometimes I even go by a Sanskrit name, Keval.  Welcome to my Sanskrit page.  On this page you will find some of my favourite Sanskrit prayers and slokas (verses) from the Bhagavad Gita and Devi Mahatmyam, as well as links to some websites for Sanskrit scholars or those who would like to learn the language.  First of all, in order to read the Sanskrit alphabet  (Devanagari script) on this page you will need to download the Shusha TrueType Font (free).  Otherwise, some of the text will look like scrambled gibberish.  In case you don't read Devanagari script, or haven't downloaded the font, I've also included Roman transliterations that don't look like scrambled gibberish!  (along with English translations, of course!)

Why study Sanskrit? Vyaas Houston, the founder of the American Sanskrit Institute, explains:

Sanskrit is the language of mantra, words of power subtly attuned to the unseen harmonies of the matrix of creation.

 The extraordinary thing about Sanskrit is that it offers direct accessibility by anyone to that elevated plane where the two, mathematics and music, brain and heart, analytical and intuitive, scientific and spiritual become one. This is fertile ground for revelation.

 Sanskrit is like a crystalline river, flowing with tremendous force to the ocean of our eternal, all pervading Being...The vibrational purity and resonating power of Sanskrit, as well as the meanings conveyed in its awesome body of sacred literature, is an opera on a cosmic scale that you can sing with your whole heart and being.

 Sanskrit is the living heritage of great rishis, the enlightened ones who walked this earth thousands of years ago. It presents us with a compelling responsibility and a lifelong challenge, while it inspires us to remain fully engaged in exploring what's possible for a human being. Learning Sanskrit is an opportunity to know directly for ourselves what the rishis discovered long ago. Most important, when approached as a sacred language, it makes us happy.

Prayers and Mantras
Saraswati Here is an invocation to Saraswati, consort of Brahma the Creator, the Goddess of language and learning, the mother of the Sanskrit language:  (Kids, this is also a prayer for success in academics, so be sure to recite the following every day in school, unless you live in the U.S. or another country where school prayer has been declared unconstitutional.)

sarsvatI namastuByaM vardo kama$ipiNa .
ivaVaramBaM kirYyaima isaiwBa-vatu mao sada ..
Saraswati namastubhyam varade kamarupini, vidyarambham karishyami siddhirbhavatu me sada.

O Mother Saraswati, my humble prostrations to Thee, who art the fulfiller of all my wishes.  I start my studies with the request that Thou wilt bestow Thy blessings on me.
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An invocation to Ganesha, the elephant-faced deity who is worshipped as the remover of all obstacles.  Ganesha's blessings are always sought before beginning a journey, before undertaking a project, even before uploading a Web page!

Sau@laambarQarM ivaYNauM SaiSavaNa-M catuBau-jama\ .
p`sannavadnaM Qyaayaot\ sava-ivaGnaaopSaantyao ..
Shuklambaradharam vishnum shashivarnam chaturbhujam, prasannavadanam dhyayet sarvavighnopashantaye.

We meditate upon the divine Lord Ganesha (Vighneshvara), who is clothed in pure white and whose energy pervades the entire cosmos.  His sweet, round face resembles the full moon with its radiant spiritual light, and he smiles affectionately  upon all beings  His four powerful shoulders have the strength and the will to remove all obstacles from the path of those who pray to Him.  May He remove all the barriers to auspiciousness and universal good. (Translation courtesy of Karunamayi, who is believed to be an incarnation of Saraswati.)

A reminder that God is in everyone and everything:

%vamaova maata ca ipta %vamaova %vamaova banQauXca saKa %vamaova .
%vamaova ivaVa d`ivaNaM %vamaova %vamaova savaM- mama dova dova ..
Twameva mata cha pita twameva, twameva bandhushcha sakha twameva, twameva vidya dravinam twameva, twameva sarvam mama deva deva.

Thou art my mother, Thou art my father, Thou art my friend, Thou art my comrade, Thou art my knowledge, Thou art my wealth, Thou art my all-in-all, O God of gods.
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A prayer for peace:

! VaO: SaaintrntirxaM Saaint: pRiqavaI Saaintrap: SaaintraoYaQaya: Saaint: vanasptya: Saaintiva-Xvaodovaa: Saaintb`a*ma Saaint: savaM- Saaint: Saaintrova Saaint: saa maa SaaintroiQa ..
Om dyauh shantir, antariksham shantih, prithivi shantir, apah shantir, oshadhayah shantih, vanaspatayah shantir, vishvedevah shanti, brahma shantih, sarvam shantih, shantireva shantih sa ma shantir edhih.

Om.  May there be peace in heaven.  May there be peace in the sky.  May there be peace on earth.  May there be peace in the water.  May there be peace in the plants.  May there be peace in the trees.  May there be peace in the Gods.  May there be peace in Brahman.  May there be peace in all.  May that peace, real peace, be mine.
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Continuous chanting of the Mahamritunjaya Mantra, literally the "Great death-conquering mantra", can create the power to overcome all obstacles, even the fear of death, and obtain immortality:

! ~yambakM yajaamaho saugainQaM puiYTvaQa-nama\ .
]vaa-rukimava banQanaana\ maR%yaaoma-uxaIya maamaRtat\ ..
Om trayambakam yajamahe sugandhim pushtivardhanam, urvarukamiva bandhanan mrityormukshiya mamritat.

We meditate on Shiva, the three-eyed one, of sweet fragrance, who expands spiritual growth.  Like the fully-ripened cucumber (easily snapped) from its stem, may I be free from the bondage of death.  May I not be without the nectar of immortality.
* * * * *

There is no single prayer in Hinduism, no one confession of faith, that would be the equivalent of the Lord's Prayer in Christianity or "Shma Yisrael" in Judaism.  But the Gayatri Mantra, one of the most sacred Vedic mantras recited in virtually all Hindu temples, comes close:

! BaUBau-va: sva: t%saivatuva-roNyaM Bagaao- dovasya QaImaih iQayaao yaaona: p`caaodyaat\
Om bhur buvah swaha, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo na prachodayat.

Om.  Let us contemplate the wondrous spirit of the divine creator of the earthly, atmospheric and celestial spheres.  May He direct our minds toward the attainment of dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.  (Virtuous action, wealth, desires - both material and spiritual - and liberation from all three.)

* * * * *

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Bhagavad Gita
The Bhagavad Gita, the teachings of Lord Krishna to the warrior Arjuna on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, is perhaps the best-known Hindu scripture, as anyone who has been accosted by Hare Krishna devotees at an airport or on a downtown street can attest. It is also one of the most widely translated holy texts, not only in the number of English versions that have been published since the mid-19th century, but also in the number of languages it has been translated into.  The Gita has even been translated into North American Indian languages.  In the Gita, Krishna imparts the basic teachings of Bhakti Yoga (devotion to God), Karma Yoga (selfless service in the name of God) and Jñana Yoga (knowledge of the Supreme Absolute).

II:22 - Krishna compares the body's death and reincarnation to discarding worn-out clothes and putting on new duds:

vaasaaMisa jaINaa-ina yaqaa ivahaya navaaina gaRh\Naait narao|praiNa .
tqaa SarIraiNa ivahaya jaINaa-nyanyaaina saMyaait navaaina dohI ..
Vasamsi jirnani yatha vihaya navani grihnati naro parani, tatha sharirani vihaya jirnany anyani samyati navani dehi.

As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.
* * * * *

IV: 7, 8 - Krishna answers the question "Who am I?  Why am I here":
"Yada Yada" has become a 1990's pop-culture phrase, meaning "and so forth" or "etcetera".  But yada yada has very sacred Sanskrit roots in the Gita, meaning literally "whenever and wherever".

yada yada ih Qama-sya glaainaBa-vait Baart .
AByau%qaanamaQama-sya tda%maanaM saRjaamyahma\ ..
Yada yada hi dharmasya glanir bhavati bharata, abhuytthanam adharmasya tadatmanam srijamyaham.

Whenever and wherever dharma declines and adharma (unrighteousness; irreligion) prevails, at that time, O Bharata (Arjuna), I come to birth.

pir~aNaaya saaQaUnaaM ivanaaSaaya ca duYkRtama\ .
Qama- saMsqaapnaaqaa-ya saMBavaaima yaugao yaugao ..
Paritranaya sadhunam, vinashaya cha dushkritam, dharma samsthapanarthaya, sambhavami yuge yuge.

To save the righteous, to destroy the wicked, and to re-establish Dharma, I am born from age to age.
* * * * *

IX: 26 - No matter how small your offering may be, even just a leaf or a few drops of water, if it is given with love and devotion the Lord will accept it:

p~M puYpM flaM taoyaM yaao mao Ba@%yaa p`yacCit .
tdhM Ba@%yaup)tmaXnaaima p`yata%mana: ..
Patram pushpam phalam toyam yo me bhaktya prayacchati, tad aham bhakty-upahrtam ashnami prayatatmanah.

If one offers Me with love and devotion a leaf, a flower, fruit or water, I will accept it.
* * * * *

XVIII: 66 - Near the end of the final chapter of the Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna to forget everything He has been teaching and simply surrender to Him:

sava-Qamaa-npir%yajya maamaokM SarNaM va`ja .
AhM %vaaM sava-papoByaao maaoxaiyaYyaaima maa Sauca: ..
Sarva dharman parityajya mam ekam sharanam vraja, aham twam sarva-papebhyo mokshayishyami ma shuchah.

Abandon all varieties of religion (dharmas) and just surrender unto Me.  I shall deliver you from all sinful reaction.  Do not fear.
* * * * *

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Devi Mahatmyam
The Devi Mahatmyam, the "Glory of the Divine Mother", also known as Durga Saptasati (700 mantras to Sri Durga) or the "Chandi", glorifies the triumph of the Divine Mother over the forces of evil. A good portion of the Devi Mahatmyam consists of graphic accounts of the Devi (goddess) killing a host of asuras (demons) intent on destroying Her. But in between the blood & guts war stories are some beautiful verses affirming the power and love of the Divine Mother.

An invocation of the Divine Mother in the form of  Narayani (who has three eyes, like Shiva).  One of the best-known slokas from the Devi Mahatmyam:

sava-maMgalamaaMgalyao iSavao savaa-qa-saaiQako .
SaraNyao ~yambako gaaOir naarayaiNa namaao|stu to ..
Sarva mangala mangalye shive sarvartha sadhike, sharanye trayambake gauri, Narayani namostute.

I salute the three-eyed Divine Mother Narayani, the good of all that is good, the bringer of auspiciousness and the fulfiller of all the spiritual and material desires of Her devotees.
* * * * *

Another invocation of the Divine Mother, asking for Her grace:

doiva p`pnnaait-hro p`saId p`saId maatja-gatao|iKlasya .
p`saId ivaXvaoXvair paih ivaXvaM %vamaIXvarI doiva caracarsya ..
Devi prapannarti hare prasida, prasida matar jagato'khilasya, prasida vishveshvari pahi vishvam, twam ishvari devi characharasya.

O Mother, Thou art the destroyer of the troubles of Thy suppliants, Thou art the mother of the universe.  Let Thy mercy be upon all.  O Mother, Thou art the mistress of the universe.  Thou art the one ruler of all that is moving and non-moving.  Do Thou protect the universe and shower Thy mercy on all.
* * * * *

The ya devi sarvabhuteshu slokas glorify the all-pervading nature of the Divine Mother, who is present in every being, in every action, and even in every emotion:

yaa dovaI sava-BaUtoYau ivaYNaumaayaoit Saibdta .
namastsyaO namastsyaO namastsyaO namaao nama: ..
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu vishnumayeti shabdita, namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namah.

Salutations again and again to the Devi who in all beings is called Vishnumaya (the Maya of Lord Vishnu).

yaa dovaI saba-BaUtoYau caotnao%yaiBaQaIyato .
namastsyaO namastsyaO namastsyaO namaao nama: ..
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu chetanetyabhidhiyate, namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai namo manah.

Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings as consciousness.

yaa dovaI sava-BaUtoYau bauiw$poNa saMisqata .
namastsyaO namastsyaO namastsyaO namaao nama: ..
Ya devi sarvabhuteshu buddhirupena samsthita, namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai, namo namah.

Salutations again and again to the Devi who abides in all beings in the form of intelligence.

And so on, yada yada :-) inserting the following forms of the Devi after Ya devi sarvabhuteshu....

inada`$poNa  nidrarupena (in the form of sleep)Durga
xauQaa$poNa  kshudarupena (hunger)
Cayaa$poNa  chayarupena (reflection)
Sai>$poNa  shaktirupena (power)
tRYNaa$poNa  trishnarupena (thirst)
xaaint$poNa  kshantirupena (forgiveness)
jaait$poNa  jatirupena (genus, caste)
lajjaa$poNa    lajjarupena (modesty)
Saaint$poNa  shantirupena (peace)
Eawa$poNa  shraddharupena (faith)
kaint$poNa  kantirupena (loveliness)
laxmaI$poNa  lakshmirupena (good fortune)
vaRi<a$poNa  vrittirupena (activity)
smaRit$poNa  smritirupena (memory)
dyaa$poNa  dayarupena (compassion)
tuiYT$poNa  tushtirupena (contentment)
Ba`aint$poNa  bhrantirupena (error)
maatR$poNa  matrirupena (mother)

[ind`yaaNaamaiQaYTa~I BaUtanaaM caaiKlaoYau yaa .
BaUtoYau sattM tsyaO vyaaiPtdovyaO namaao nama: ..
Indriyana madhishtatri bhutanam chakhileshu ya, bhuteshu satatam tasyai vyaptidevyai namo namah.

To the all-pervading Devi who constantly presides over the senses of all beings and governs all the elements.

icait$poNa yaa kR%snamaod\vyaaPya isqata jagat\ .
namastsyaO namastsyaO namastsyaO namaao nama: ..
Chitirupena ya kritsnametadvyapya sthita jagat, namastasyai, namastasyai, namastasyai namo namah.

Salutations again and again to the Devi who, pervading this entire world, abides in the form of consciousness.

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Sanskrit Links:

Ananda Ashram in Monroe, NY offers daily Sanskrit classes, taught in the unique method developed by the ashram's founder, the late Sri Brahmananda Saraswati (Ramamurti S. Mishra, M.D.).

Full text of the  Bhagavad Gita in English, 15 other languages, and Sanskrit, plus Real Audio of all 700 Sanskrit verses.

Speak Sanskrit Movement  - a movement for social change through Sanskrit.

Vagyoga: Kundalini Yoga and Sanskrit taught by Madonna's Sanskrit teacher, Dr. Vagish Shastri.

The Sanskrit Religions Institute in California promotes the research, translation and publication of Sanskrit texts.

The Sanskrit Academy in San Jose, CA offers Sanskrit classes taught by Dr. Saraswati Mohan, the first woman to receive a PhD. in Sanskrit in India.

Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan - established in 1970 for the development and promotion of Sanskrit across India.

Languages and Scripts of India: Links, downloadable fonts, and more.

El Sitio Sánscrito en la Web: a Sanskrit site en español.

Le Cahier de Satya: Le Sanskrit en français.

Shanti Shanti: Two young sisters from Nevada, Andrea and Sara Forman, can chant Sanskrit with the best of them and have released some amazing CDs: Shanti Shanti, Walkin' with the Devas, and  Dreaming in Real Time.

More online English-Sanskrit dictionaries:
Apte Sanskrit Dictionary (based on The Practical Sanskrit-English Dictionary of Vaman Shivaram Apte).
Cologne Digital Sanskrit Lexicon (a project of the University of Cologne in Germany).

Acharya: Online Sanskrit lessons, Indian language fonts, etc. from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras.. or Chennai, if you prefer the official Indian re-naming of Tamil Nadu's capital city!

Ammachi This page is an offering to the Holy Mother  Mata Amritanandamayi (Ammachi), whose love and hugs inspire me to undertake my next linguistic project: learning her native language, Malayalam.  Jai Ma!

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U.S. flag There are no prayers in Sanskrit, or any language, that can do justice to the tragedy of September 11, 2001.  But in the days immediately following the terrorist attacks, I searched the Sanskrit scriptures for something appropriate and found the following appeal to the Divine Mother, from the Devi Mahatmyam.

rxaMisa ya~aoga`ivaYaXca naagaa ya~aryaao dsyaubalaina ya~ .
davanalaao ya~ tqaaibQamaQyao t~ isqata %vaM pirpaisa ivaXvama\ ..
Rakshamshi yatro gravishashcha naga yatrarayo dasyubalani yatra,
davanalo yatra tathabhdimadhye tatra sthita twam paripasi vishvam.

Wherever there are rakshasas (demons) and snakes with terrible poison, wherever there are enemies, wherever armies of thieves; where there are forest fires, there and even in the middle of the ocean, you stand and save the world.

The above sloka also seemed appropriate following the South Asian tsunami and hurricane Katrina -- particularly the reference to the Divine Mother's presence "even in the middle of the ocean"!

Since the tsunami, Ammachi has recommended that her devotees chant a simple prayer daily:

laaoka: samasta: sauiKnaao Bavantu
Lokah samastah sukhino bhavantu
May all beings in all the worlds be happy.

If anyone out there knows of a Sanskrit prayer to help end the war in Iraq or bring down the price of gas, please e-mail me! :)

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If you like this page - or even if you don't - or if you have a Sanskrit sloka or link that you would like to see on this page, and to report any non-functioning (404) links, please e-mail me:   Sorry for the inconvenience of having to manually copy or cut and paste the address.  I've removed the <mail to > HTML tags so the lingam-enlargement, cut-rate Viagra, fake Rolex, and other spam-meisters will have one less opportunity to harvest my address.

©1999-2008, Mike Brooker ( kovala\).  Updated June 30, 2008.  Reproduction of the contents of this page without my express written consent is bad karma.  Spammers will reincarnate as bottom-feeding pond slime.