World Scripture, A Comparative Anthology Of Sacred Texts

Editor, Andrew Wilson



We open with representative prayers, taken from the scriptures of the world's religions. They invoke, give thanks, and affirm the efficacious influence of Absolute Reality in human life.


We meditate upon the glorious splendor of the Vivifier divine. May he himself illumine our minds. OM.

Hinduism. Rig Veda 3.62.10: The Gayatri Mantra

Homage to Him, the Exalted One, the Arahant, the All-enlightened One. To the Buddha I go for refuge. To the Norm I go for refuge. To the Order I go for refuge.

Buddhism. Khuddaka Patha

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Praise be to God, Lord of the Worlds, The Beneficent, the Merciful, Owner of the Day of Judgment. Thee alone we worship; Thee alone we ask for help. Show us the straight path: The path of those whom Thou hast favored; not of those who earn Thine anger nor of those who go astray.

Islam. Qur'an 1: Al-Fatihah

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

Christianity. Bible, Matthew 6.9-13: The Lord's Prayer

Glorified and sanctified be God's great name throughout the world which he has created according to his will. May he establish his kingdom in your lifetime and during your days, and within the life of the entire house of Israel, speedily and soon; and say, Amen.

May his great name be blessed forever and to all eternity.

Blessed and praised, glorified and exalted, extolled and honored, adored and lauded be the name of the Holy One, blessed be he, beyond all the blessings and hymns, praises and consolations that are ever spoken in the world; and say, Amen.

May the prayers and supplications of the whole house of Israel be accepted by their Father who is in heaven; and say, Amen.

May there be abundant peace from heaven, and life, for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

He who creates peace in his celestial heights, may he create peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

Judaism. Daily Prayer Book: The Kaddish

Our Father, it is thy universe, it is thy will, Let us be at peace, let the souls of the people be cool. Thou art our Father; remove all evil from our path.

African Traditional Religions. Nuer Prayer (Sudan)

With pleasure of the Wise Lord! Blessed is the thought, blessed the word, Blessed is the deed of Holy Zarathustra!

Do I pray with obeisance, with upstretched hands for this support: First, O Lord, that I perform all deeds with Right, of the beneficent Spirit, With wisdom of Good Thought, so I may serve the Soul of the Creation!

Zoroastrianism. Avesta, Yasna 28.1

I bow to the Arahants, the perfected human beings, Godmen. I bow to the Siddhas, liberated bodiless souls, God. I bow to the Acharyas, the masters and heads of congregations. I bow to the Upadhyayas, the spiritual teachers. I bow to the spiritual practitioners in the universe, Sadhus.

This fivefold obeisance mantra, Destroys all sins and obstacles, And of all auspicious repetitions, Is the first and foremost.

Jainism. Namokar Mantra

He is the Sole Supreme Being; of eternal manifestation; Creator, Immanent Reality; Without Fear, Without Rancor; Timeless Form; Unincarnated; Self-existent; Realized by the grace of the Holy Preceptor.

Sikhism. Adi Granth, Japuji p. 1: The Mul Mantra

"Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you this day shall be upon your heart; and you shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. And you shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. And you sh all write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates."

Judaism. Bible, Deuteronomy 6.4-9: The Shema

The Sky blesses me, the Earth blesses me; Up in the Skies I cause to dance the Spirits; On the Earth, the people I cause to dance.

Native American Religions. Cree Round Dance Song

All this is full. All That is full. From fullness, fullness comes. When fullness is taken from fullness, Fullness still remains. Om. Peace, peace, peace.

Hinduism. Isha Upanishad: Peace Chant

From the unreal lead me to the Real! From darkness lead me to light! From death lead me to immortality! Om.

Hinduism. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28

May the Lord bless you and keep you; May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you; May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Numbers 6.24-26: The Aaronic Benediction

Our Lord! Lo! We have heard a crier calling unto faith, "Believe in your Lord!" So we believed. Our Lord! Therefore forgive us our sins, and remit from us our evil deeds, and make us die the death of the righteous.

Islam. Qur'an 3.193

Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.

Judaism and Christianity. Bible, Psalm 19.14

In the name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. Say, "I take refuge in the Lord of mankind, the King of mankind, the God of mankind, from the evil of the sneaking whisperer who whispers in the hearts of mankind, of the jinn and of mankind."

Islam. Qur'an 114


Rig Veda 3.62.10: The opening syllable OM is regarded as the cosmic sound of Being. When it is chanted it resonates in oneness with the divine Source. Cf. Katha Upanishad 1.2.15-16, p. 834; Mandukya Upanishad, p. 834. Khuddaka Patha: The Three Refuges from this suffering world are the Buddha (the Teacher), the Dhamma (the Teaching), and the Sangha (the Taught). These three are also called the Three Jewels. See Dhammapada 188-92, p. 671. Qur'an 1: The Fatihah is the chief Muslim prayer; it is recited with prostrations five times a day. In honor and in parallel content it is frequently compared to The Lord's Prayer.

Matthew 6.9-13: The Lord's Prayer is not only a supplication; it includes a pledge to live up to the ideals of a Christian, specifically to forgive. God only forgives us if we forgive others; see Matthew 18.21-35, p. 995 and 5.23-24, p. 997. The Kaddish is a source for The Lord's Prayer (above), to which it bears much resemblance. Nuer Prayer: This is only one of the African invocations represented in this anthology; cf. Anuak Prayer, p. 83; Dinka Song, p. 115; Shona Prayer, p. 129; Boran Prayer, p. 560; Kikuya Prayer, p. 779. Yasna 28.1: In modern Zoroastrianism, 'Good Thought' and 'Spirit' are aspects of the one Wise Lord, the only God, Ahura Mazda. Historians have theorized that in earlier ages they were regarded as subordinate deities.

Namokar Mantra: English translations cannot do justice to mantras such as this one and the Gayatri (above), which, when recited in the original language, call forth spiritual energies through the very sounds themselves. Invocations and mantras beginning with the words 'Obeisance' or 'All hail' are exceedingly common; cf. the Shiva Mantra in Black Yajur Veda 6.6, p. 139; the Nichiren Buddhist mantra 'Homage to the Lotus Sutra,' the Pure Land Buddhist chant 'Adoration to Buddha Amitabha,' and the Roman Catholic 'Hail, Mary,' pp. 833f. Deuteronomy 6.4-9: Cf. Matthew 22.36-40, p. 174. Cree Round Dance Song: This song describes the intercourse between the spiritual and physical realms; cf. Winnebago Invocation at the Sweat Lodge, p. 373; Cheyenne Song, p. 294.

Isha Upanishad: 'That' is interpreted by both Shankara and Ramanuja as Brahman; 'this' as the individual soul. Qur'an 114: This is the concluding sura of the Qur'an.

Invocation, _World Scripture_, pp29-32. (c) 1991, IRF


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