Shanti Mantras – Prayers of Peace

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Prayers for Peace, recited at the beginning or end of ceremonies and teachings.

Below you’ll find the essential meanings (summary) of the 10 Shanti Mantras as presented by Swami Paramarthananda, in his introduction to the Brahma Sutras. Listen to the Shanti Mantras in Sanskrit on BS 003. The Shanti Mantras are excerpts from the ten primary Upanishads.

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Written primarily in the first person as a prayer. Swam P’s full transcription below this summary.

1. I ask for auspiciousness and offer prostrations to Hiraṇyagarbha, the source of all creation. The glorification of Hiraṇyagarbha is the embodiment of all virtues. May both the student and teacher be protected so there can effective communication.
2. I pray for protection for the student and teacher so there may be effective communication. There must be good effort so that communication can happen. Clear speaking and active listening. Homework is required for both the student and teacher. The more effort with homework, the greater the understanding. May there be mutual goodwill between student and teacher. The student must have trust in the teacher and the teacher must have compassion for student.
3. I ask that I be able to grasp the teachings. Let me gain self knowledge. Let me be fit enough for this great pursuit. Let me have continuous shravanam, immersion and hearing and retention (memory) of knowledge.
4. I ask for self knowledge. After gaining this knowledge. I have Isvara shakti. I have all the glories of Isvara. I have the greatest wealth in the world – Brahman Jnanam –  knowledge of the self.
5. Atma (the self) alone is satyam (the truth). Anatma (the not-self, this body, mind, sense complex, and the realm of objects and experience) is mithya. Without atma there is no anatma.
6. I ask for fitness – a healthy mind, body, sense complex. I have faith (shraddha) in Brahman until I understand Brahman. It cannot be known through the sense organs. It is not my experience, I am the experiencer. Let me not reject Brahman and Isvara. And let not Brahman and Isvara regect or negate me. Let me enjoy all the virtues necessary for the assimilation of this knowledge.
7. I ask for harmony of thought, word and deed. The capacity to grasp the teachings and retention of what I have heard. Let my life be in keeping with my learning and my understanding. Let student and teacher be protected, so this sampradaya can continue.
8. I ask Isvara to gently lead. Take my mind to atmam, Brahman, the truth. Oh mind, lead me to Brahman.
9. I ask for auspiciousness in our lives and strength of the body, mind, sense complex.
10. I am surrendering to the lord, Isvara. Who is the revealer of self knowledge. It is your job to rescue me from samsara. Isvara, who sends the vedas and a teacher, make me competent, make my teacher competent. I want self knowledge because I am the seeker of moksha, freedom.
I honor and offer gratitude to all the rishis and gurus through time for their efforts, for their blessings. Because of my association with them, I have a discovered a great thing. I am that Brahman – pure consciousness, the inner essence, the inner reality.
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Direct Transcription from Swami Paramarthananda’s Brahma Sutras, pertaining to the meaning of each Shanti Mantra and from which Upanishad they came.

First shanti pada is om shano mitra, which occurs in Taittriya upanisad. The essence of this is that student asks for auspicious. He offers prostrations to hiranyagarbha who is the embodiment of all the devatas. Then he glorifies the hiranyagarbha as the very vayu tattvam. Hiranyagarbha is also seen as embodiment of all the virtues. Then there is a prayer of guru sishya raksanam that protect guru sishya.

Second shanti pata occurs in Taittriya upanisad Brahmananda valli. First teacher prays for guru sishya raksanam for communication. A prayer is to put forward sufficient effort for communication. Teacher and sishya are to put forward sufficient efforts to study. Homework has to be done both by teacher and sishya. Good homework on both guru and sishya to make the study effective. Also there is a prayer for mutual relationship between guru and sishya. Compassion on the part of teacher and trust on the part of sishya will make the study effective. Such relations are valid for family relationship also.

Third prayer is taken from taittriya upanisad siksa valli to develop medha saksi. First he asks for grahanam saksi to grasp the teaching. Secondly he asks for jnanam jivatma paramatma jnanam and thirdly he wants his sthoola sariram and sookshma sariram fit enough to pursue the study and fourthly he asks for continuous sravanam without any obstacles. Finally student asks for retaining what he has learnt from the guru.

Fourth mantra is also taken from Taittriya upanisad siksa valli meant for Atma jnana siddhi. Here we quote the statement of great Brahma jnani known as trisanku rishi. This statement comes after gaining the knowledge. He says i am as great as Isvara and i have Isvara saksi. I enliven and invigorate the whole creation. He says that he has the glories of Isvara. Thirdly he says i have got greatest wealth in the world, which is Brahma jnanam.

Fourth mantra states that I am as great as lord i am as glorious as lord and i am wealthiest in the world. Student will own up with the statement after gaining Atma jnanam. Jivatma and paramatma have got karana karya sambandha. First we talk of aikyam and then we talk of sambandha. Aikyam is from the standpoint of Atma and sambanda is from the standpoint of jivatma. Atma dristya aikyam and anatma dristya sambanda. Atma is sathyam if you remove Atma anatma cannot exist independently.

Sixth shanti mantra occurs in keno upanisad. First he asks for sarira yogyatha. Both sthoola sariram and sookshma sariram seventeen organs must be healthy. Then he asks for shraddha and faith in Brahman until he understands Brahman. Brahman cannot be known through sense organs, mind and not available for transactions and initially he may think Brahman is nonexistent. Student must believe in nirgunam Brahman even if he does not understand in the beginning. Next he wants Isvara anugraha. Let me not negate Isvara and let not Isvara negate me. The he wants all virtue required for assimilation for jnanam.

Seventh mantra belongs to rg Veda occurring in Aitreryea upanisad. He asks for following blessings. He asks for harmony of thought and word. Let there not be split between thought and need. Secondly he asks for grahanam capacity to grasp the teachings. Even if don’t go in for Veda, let Veda come to me. Student ask for daranam which means retention of whatever he heard and fourthly let the life be in keeping with the learning and understudying and guru sishya raksanam so that the yagna continue.

Eighth one is prayer to lord to gently lead or gently take the mind to auspicious Brahman or Atman or truth. Second is addressed to the mind praying it to lead to Brahman. Either way the essence is that we should gain Brahma jnanam.

Ninth mantra relates to atharvana Veda. He asks for auspiciousness. Second prayer is for sarira yogyatha.

Tenth shanti pada occurs in svetasvara upasana. Here student says that he surrenders to the lord and it lord’s job to save him from samsara and give liberation. All responsibility is passed on to Isvara. Jnana yoga is preceded by saranagathi. The lord is glorified. The lord is the one who creates Brahmaji or hiranyagarbha before creation. Hiranyagarbha is samasti sookshma sariram. Isvara is Hiranyagarbha’s father.

That Isvara alone sends Vedas to hiranyagarbha. Hiranyagarbha is the disciple of Isvara. He gets Vedas from Isvara alone. Brahmanji does not require systematic teachings. He grasps the whole thing through tapas or intuition as it were. It is mouna vakyanam. That Isvara’s name Atma buddhi prakasam. He is the one who reveals Atma jnanam. Students ask Isvara to reveal Brahma jnanam to him as he had done to Brahmaji.

Next prayer is the one directed to all the rishi parampara. There is vamsa Brahmanam given in Brihadaranyaka upanisad giving the details of gurus who have perpetuated the teaching from the beginning to date. You cannot compare one from the other. There is prostration for all the gurus. I am identical with Brahman with the blessings of all the rishis. Then prayers are offered to Dakshinamurthi. More in the next class

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The Sanskrit words for the chant coming soon. I have tracked down the written verses but need to organize them properly.

Great gratitude to Swami Paramarthananda and the sampradaya.

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