Prayers/ Bhajans

Here are some famous mantras that you can teach your children so that they grow up with a greater appreciation of their culture.
Ganesh Mantra
This mantra, dedicated to Ganesh the beloved elephant-headed god of Hinduism, is chanted before any activity, ritual or puja is performed.
Vakratund Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha
Nirvhignam Kurumedeya Sarva Karyashu Sarvada
Meaning: O Lord with the large body, curved trunk, and the brilliance of crore (10 million) suns, please free my work from all obstacles, forever.
Aum or Om is the greatest of all syllables in Hinduism and forms part of many mantras. It is related to the Tibetan 'Hum' while some believe that it also may be related to the Hebrew 'Amen'.
Meaning: Aum represents God as sound. As Krishna says in the Bhagvad Gita, "Of all the alphabets, I'm the Aum." The Aum is said to contain the knowledge of the entire Vedas. It is also the sound of the celestial spheres, the 'hum' of the universe, and the primordial sound heard at the beginning of the universe.
Hare Krishna Maha Mantra
This simplest of mantras is quite popular all over the world. Devotional in nature, chanting this mantra is said to bring one closer to God, and wash away all sins.
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare
Meaning: The mantra simply refers to Rama and Krishna, who are regarded as the incarnations of Vishnu. The word 'Hare' probably refers to another name for Krishna, but also means the 'energy of God'.
Shanti Mantras
Each of these mantras is followed by the phrase "Om shanti, shanti, shanti", and hence these mantras are known collectively as the Shanti mantras. The word 'shanti' means peace in Sanskrit.
Mantra 1:
Asatoma sad gamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrityor ma amritam gamaya
Meaning: Lead me from untruth to truth; lead me from darkness to the light; lead me from mortality to immortality
Mantra 2:
Om poornamadah poornamidam
Poornaat poornamudachyate
Poornasya poornamaadaya
Meaning: That is Absolute (God). This is Absolute. Absolute arises out of Absolute. The Absolute is taken from the Absolute, yet the Absolute remains.
Mantra 3:
Om sahanaa vavatu sahanau bhunaktu
Saha veeryam karavaavahai
Tejasvi naavadheetamastu maa vidvishaavahai
Meaning: May He protect us. May He nourish us. May we work together. May our study be enlightening! May we never hate each other!
Prayer to the Guru
Indian traditions stress greatly on the importance of the guru or the teacher, especially in the realm of spirituality.
Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheshwara
Guru Sakshath Parambrahma Tasmai Shri Gurave Namaha
Meaning: The guru is the creator, the guru is the preserver, and the guru is the destroyer. The guru is the Absolute. I bow before you
A famous poem by Kabir illustrating the meaning of this mantra goes like "Guru and God both appeared before me. Whom should I bow to first? I bow to my Guru for it is he who introduced me to God."