Sunday, March 27, 2011

Meaning of Shanti Mantra - Sahanaavavatu

 Shanti Mantram

Om Saha naavavatu

Saha Nau Bhunaktu

Saha Veeryam Karavavahai

Tejasvinavadheetamastu Ma Vidhvishavahai

Om Shanti Shanti Shantihi

ōṁ saha nāvavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha vīryam karavāvahai
tējasvināvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai
ōṁ śānti śānti śānti hi

ओं सह नाववतु
सह नौ भुनक्तु
सह वीर्यम् करवावहै
तेजस्विनावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै
ओं शान्ति शान्ति शान्ति हि

Word to word meaning:
Saha = both; Nau = us/for us; Avatu = may he protect;  Bhunaktu = may he nourish; Veeryam = capacity; Karavaavahai = may we acquire; Tejasvi = be brilliant; Nau = us/for us; Adheetam = what is studied; Astu = let it be; Ma Vidvishaavahai = may we not argue with each other.

May He protect both (the teacher and students) of us. May He nourish both of us. May we both acquire the capacity (to study and understand the scriptures). May our study be brilliant. May we not argue with each other. Let there be peace, peace, and only  peace.

Shanti mantras trace back to upanishads.  They are a way of pacifying or creating a serene atmosphere. Most of the Bala Vihars or Gurukulas start their classes with this invocation prayer involving the teacher and the students.  This prayer is intended to get God's blessings in doing the activities together free of obstacles and to have a good communication or understanding between the teacher and students which is key to the success of learning.  At the end of the shanti mantras we say three times "Shanti Shanti Shanti Hi". This usually represents the desire to have peace within the person who is seeking the peace, his/her surrounds, and on the forces that are acting on him/her.  This prayer is also recited during the chanting of Namakam and Chamakam for Lord Shiva.

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