Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Shānti Mantra: Saha Nāvavatu

There are in total ten śhānti mantras in the Vedas. These mantras are very popular and are usually chanted at the beginning and end of a class. Each veda has their own śhānti mantras, and thus before the study of an Upanishad the respective mantra is chanted. The mantras have their own svaras- this means there is a specific way to chant it, as per the Vedic tradition.

Śhānti mantras are mantras invoking peace and harmony. Each mantra finishes with chanting the word "śhānti" three times. Pujya Swamiji says, this doesn't mean that there are three types of śhānti; there is only one. But there are three types of problems that can deny our śhānti. When chanting these mantras we pray for freedom from these problems.
The three types of problems are:
  1. Ādhidaivika आधिदैविक - problems arising from forces over which we have no control, like natural disasters, etc. We can't do anything about it happening, we can only try to protect ourselves. Thus we pray: "Let there be no obstacles from such forces over which we have no control"
  2. Ādhibhautika आधिभौतिक - problems arising from others around us. For example political or social disturbances, or even quarrels among friends or family. We ask: "Let us be free from problems caused by the external world and people"
  3. Ādhyātmika आध्यात्मिक - problems arising from factors centered on ourselves. This includes physical, mental and emotional issues one may undergo. We pray for our strength and wellbeing, "May i have the capacity; physically, physiologically and mentally, to pursue my dreams and journey".
This śhānti mantra belongs to the Krishna Yajur Veda and thus is chanted before Taittiriyopanishad (Brahmānanda valli), Kaṭopanishad, and Shvetāsvataropanishad. This mantra is very popular and is generally chanted at the beginning of ANY class, as it's praying for the wellbeing of the student and the teacher, and their relationship.

Sa ha nāvavatu
Sa ha nau bhunaktu
Saha vīryam karavavahai
Tejasvināvadhītam astu
mā vidviṣhavahai
Om śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ śhāntiḥ
May he protect both of us. May he nourish both of us (with knowledge). May both of us make effort for the capacity (to learn). May what is studied by us be brilliantly clear. Let us not have any misunderstanding. Let there be freedom from three possible obstacles.
May he (Isvara) protect and bless both of us, the teacher and the student. May he nourish us with knowledge, and may we be equipped with the capacity to take in the knowledge. Capacity in terms of commitment, motivation, alertness, etc. May we be sincere in our study and let our hard work give us good results: clear knowledge. Let it not remain pure words, but let it become part and parcel of us, being ever more meaningful. Let there not be any misunderstanding between the teacher and the student, let nothing come between the two so that the flow of knowledge is not obstructed.

Om Śhāntiḥ, Śhāntiḥ, Śhāntiḥ

To learn how to chant this mantra, please contact me privately to arrange chanting classes. As of now, chanting classes are held in Dubai. Please check for more details

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