A prayer for service

servicesby Vidya R.
In this edition,  our Sanskrit expert Vidya explores the meaning behind a common Indian prayer. Do you have a shloka that you would like Vidya to explain ? Post it in the comments below !

कायेनवाचा मनसेन्द्रियेणवा बुद्ध्यात्मनावा प्रकृतेस्स्वभावात् ।
करोमि यद्यद् सकलं परस्मै  नारायणायेतिसमर्पयामि ।।

kāyēnavācā mansēndriyēṇavā buddhyātmanāvā prakr̥tēssvabhāvāt|
karōmi yadyad sakalaṁ parasmai nārāyaṇāyēti samarpayāmi ||
kāyēna – (kāya – body) – bodily;   vācā – (vāc – sound) – through a word;    manasā – (manas – mind) – mentally;    indriyēṇa – (indriya – organ) – using an organ;    vā – or;    buddhyā – (buddhi – intellect) – through the intellect;    ātmanā – (ātman – self) – by one’s self;    vā – or;    prakr̥tēḥ – (prakr̥ti – nature), svabhāvāt – (svabhāva – one’s own inclination) –  by one’s own natural inclination;     karōmi – (kr̥ – to do) – I do;     yat yat – all that;     sakalam – (sakala) – everything;     parasmai – (para – other) – for others;      nārāyaṇāya – (nārāyaṇa – Lord Narayana / Ishvara) – for Narayana;    iti – thus;     samarpayāmi – (samarpaya – to offer) – I offer

Every single thing that I do for others – by word, deed, or thought, through an organ (sense organs / organs of perception …), or my intellect, willfully, or because of natural instincts – all of that I do as offerings to Narayana.

This is a verse that is generally included as part of the conclusion of prayers.  Service unto Mankind is Service unto Ishvara.  The important word in this shloka is probably the word 'parasmai', which, grammatically, is an opposite for 'ātmane'.   'ātmane' means for one's self.   'parasmai' means for others.

About the Author: Vidya R. is a renewable energy consultant based in the New England Area. She is also passionate about Sanskrit and voulunteers as a Samkrit teacher for Samskrita Bharati. She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.