Parvardigar Prayer

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The Parvardigar Prayer is the common name of a prayer composed by Meher Baba. It was originally called the Master's Prayer or the Universal Prayer. Meher Baba composed the prayer in Dehradun, India, in August 1953 and made it public on September 13, 1953.[1] Near the end of January 1968 Meher Baba dictated a circular to his followers to recite the Parvardigar Prayer and the Prayer of Repentance each day until March 25, 1968.[2] On February 21 of that year he issued a second circular requesting that the prayers be continued until May 21, 1968.[3] The order ended on that date.

Use and meaning[edit]

The prayer is one of three frequently recited prayers by followers at gatherings, along with the Prayer of Repentance and the Beloved God Prayer. The three prayers are recited morning and evening at Meher Baba's samadhi in Ahmednagar, India at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. each day, followed by devotional songs which compose Baba's aarti.

The prayer is a prayer of praise, listing the attributes of God. It specifically uses names of God from various traditions including Sufism (Parvardigar), Hinduism (Prabhu, Parameshwar, Parabrahma), Islam (Allah), Judaism (Elahi), Zoroastrianism (Yezdan, Ahuramazda, Ezad), and Christianity (God the Beloved). The attributes praised are those of omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, omnibenevolence, and infinite love.

Text of the prayer[edit]

While there is some uncertainty about the prayer's original form,[4] Meher Baba's main biography Meher Prabu, Lord Meher gives the prayer as follows.[5]

O Parvardigar! The Preserver and Protector of All,
You are without beginning and without end.
Non-dual, beyond comparison,
and none can measure You.
You are without color, without expression,
without form and without attributes.
You are unlimited and unfathomable;
beyond imagination and conception;
eternal and imperishable.
You are indivisible;
and none can see you but with eyes divine.
You always were, You always are,
and You always will be.
You are everywhere, You are in everything, and
You are also beyond everywhere and beyond everything.
You are in the firmament and in the depths,
You are manifest and unmanifest;
on all planes and beyond all planes.
You are in the three worlds,
and also beyond the three worlds.
You are imperceptible and independent.
You are the Creator, the Lord of Lords,
the Knower of all minds and hearts.
You are Omnipotent and Omnipresent.
You are Knowledge Infinite, Power Infinite and Bliss Infinite.
You are the Ocean of Knowledge,
All-knowing, Infinitely-knowing;
the Knower of the past, the present and the future;
and You are Knowledge itself.
You are all-merciful and eternally benevolent.
You are the Soul of souls, the One with infinite attributes.
You are the Trinity of Truth, Knowledge and Bliss;
You are the Source of Truth, the Ocean of Love.
You are the Ancient One, the Highest of the High.
You are Prabhu and Parameshwar;
You are the Beyond God and the Beyond-Beyond God also;
You are Parabrahma; Paramatma; Allah; Elahi; Yezdan;
Ahuramazda, God Almighty, and God the Beloved.
You are named Ezad, the Only One Worthy of Worship.

Meanings of terms[edit]

Several of the names of God used in the prayer are explained here.

  • Parvardigar (also Parwardigar): The Preserver or Sustainer – Sufism
  • You are in the three worlds, and also beyond the three worlds: Refers to the gross, subtle, and mental worlds (akash, pran, mana) of Sufism and Vedanta described in Meher Baba's book God Speaks.
  • Prabhu: The supreme Lord (God). Literally: master, lord, king. A name applied to God. – Vedanta.
  • Parameshwar: a Hindu concept that literally means the Supreme God. – Vedanta
  • Beyond God and the Beyond-Beyond God: Concepts discussed in Meher Baba's book God Speaks.
  • Parabrahma: Supreme Brahman or Supreme Spirit; That which is beyond Brahman; Paratpar Parabrahma is God in His Beyond Beyond state. The self-sufficient cause of all causes, the essence of everything in the cosmos. Explained in Meher Baba's book God Speaks. – Vedanta
  • Paramatma: Supreme Soul or Over-soul – Vedanta
  • Allah: The one God – Islam
  • Elahi: A word in Aramaic that means My God. Most likely the name of God used by Jesus and his disciples. – Judaism
  • Yezdan (also Yazdan): "worthy of worship" – Zoroastrianism
  • Ahuramazda: Name of God's attribute of Life and Wisdom. – Zoroastrianism
  • God Almighty: From Persian Harvesp-tawan, second of the 101 names of the Lord Ahura Mazda, meaning "Almighty"[6] or "All powerful." – Zoroastrianism. Also from Judaic El Shaddai meaning literally "God Almighty." A very early name of God in Hebrew. The name by which God was known to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.[7] Also Al-Aziz, meaning "The Almighty," is the eighth of the 99 names of God in Islam.[8]
  • Ezad (also Izad, Yazata or Yazad): The one God, in Persian. Literally: "worthy of worship". – Zoroastrianism
  • In some versions the names Paramatma and God Almighty are omitted from the second to last stanza.

In music and film[edit]

Pete Townshend, a follower of Meher Baba since 1967, composed O' Parvardigar, a song set to the words of the Parvardigar Prayer. It first appeared in 1972 on both his debut solo album Who Came First and on I Am, a tribute album to Meher with music composed and performed by Townshend and a group of other Meher followers.[9][10] Townshend said in a Rolling Stone interview "I don't actually say this prayer, I just happened to put it to music [...] Preposterous as it may sound, I thought that by putting it to music, a lot people would just be saying it without thinking about it."[11] Townsend's biographer Geoffrey Giuliano described the song as a "spiritual bullet right between the eyes, a masterpiece of poetics, devotion and the musical art."[9] The song was later included as the final track on Townshend's 2001 album The Oceanic Concerts and released as an EP, O' Parvardigar, with different three version.[12][13]

The song was later used as the soundtrack to a short montage film on Meher's life produced by Townshend and likewise entitled O' Parvardigar. It was first screened in 1976 at the opening of the Meher Baba Oceanic Centre in Twickenham and was screened again in 1994 on the 100th anniversary of Meher's birth.[10][14] The film was released on CD-ROM in 2001 by Townshend's company Eel Pie Publishing as part of a box set devoted to Meher entitled Avatar. A restored and extended version of the film was completed in 2003, the 50th anniversary of Meher's composition of the prayer, and released on DVD by Eel Pie in February 2004.[15]

The song also appears on the soundtrack of Delia, another film produced by Townshend and screened at the 1976 Oceanic Centre opening. That film was a documentary on the actress Delia de Leon (1901–1993) who was an early and fervent follower of Meher and an admirer of Townshend's song.[9][16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 4209
  2. ^ Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 6560
  3. ^ Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 6572
  4. ^ See J. S. Rathore, "Parvardigar Prayer and the Prayer of Repentance: A Review." As Rathore notes in this essay, the earliest known printed version of the "O Parvardigar" prayer can be found in "Life Circular No. 15, issued on 14-9-1953 [Sept. 14, 1953]," reproduced within The Life Circulars of Avatar Meher Baba: A compilation of the 67 Life Circulars. Meher Vihar English Publications Series: 2 (Hyderabad, India: The Meher Vihar Trust, 1968), pp. 33-34. The text as reproduced in circular 15 does not include "Paramatma" or "God Almighty" at the prayer's end.
  5. ^ Lord Meher, Bhau Kalchuri, Manifestation, Inc. 1986. p. 4209
  6. ^ 101 Names of the Lord Ahura Mazda
  7. ^ Exodus 6:3
  8. ^ 99 Names of Allah Archived 2009-10-15 at the Wayback Machine.
  9. ^ a b c Giuliano, Geoffrey (2002). Behind Blue Eyes: The Life of Pete Townshend, pp. 120–123; 142. Rowman & Littlefield. ISBN 0815410700
  10. ^ a b Wilkerson, Mark (2009). Who Are You: The Life Of Pete Townshend, pp. 240; 250; 633. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0857120085.
  11. ^ Quoted in Wilkerson (2009) p. 240
  12. ^ Robbins, Ira (8 January 2002). "Pete Townshend: The Oceanic Concerts" Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  13. ^ Eel Pie Publishing. O' Parvardigar. Retrieved 19 June 2018 via archive.org
  14. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (24 February 1994). "Baba don't preach". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018.
  15. ^ Eel Pie Publishing. DVD: O Parvardigar Restored and Extended. Retrieved 19 June 2018 via archive.org
  16. ^ Horder, John (5 March 1993). "Obituary: Delia de Leon". The Independent. Retrieved 19 June 2018.

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