May 30, 2024

Shanti Mantras and their effects

 As part of MSc Yoga programme, I'm learning some of the Shanti Mantras from the Upanishads. When I went to the University for in-person classes early this January, I struggled during the Vedic chanting class and found it hard to chant the Mantras in the right meter and pronunciation. For the first 2 classes, our faculty asked us to listen and repeat after him (without any visual aid), similar to how learning was imparted in the Gurukul way of education (karna parampara). This was even more challenging for me, as I'm attuned to the visual way of learning. 

Once we received our books, it felt a little more manageable to look at the words and chant, but I wasn't confident. After multiple rounds of practice at home, I'm finally able to memorize and chant them. It is in no way close to a perfect recitation. But the reason why I wanted to share it here is the effect these Shanti Mantras have on our body and mind.

Shanti Mantras, as the name implies, are peace chants where we call upon different deities for the well-being and peace of everyone. The prevalent Shanti Mantras, typically chanted during Yoga classes are "Sahana Vavatu", "Asatoma Sadgamaya" and "Sarve Bhavantu".

Whenever I chant these Shanti Mantras, I feel a sense of calm and serenity. The brain feels relaxed, the mind is devoid of thoughts and the breathing rate slows down. Knowing the meaning of these Mantras makes it easier to chant with Bhava (emotion). For eg, through this mantra "Bhadram Karnebhi", we pray that we hear only good and auspicious through our ears and that we only see adorable and auspicious through our eyes.

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