At the beginning and end or all my classes I always chant the opening or closing mantra’s followed by Om shanti shanti shanti. Shanti means peace, but why chant it three times? The first time we chant it is to bring peace to our own being, both mentally and physically, the second is to bring peace to all other living entities, and lastly we chant it to bring peace to Mother Earth to free her from all disasters and tragedies. You can also look at it from the point of view of chanting once for our minds to bring peaceful thoughts that cause no harm to ourselves or others, once for our way of speech that again there is only peace in what we are saying, and once for our hearts, that our hearts be full of peaceful love.
Chanting in Sanskrit brings out certain vibrations that reverberate into the world around us, so chanting shanti mantras allows that peaceful vibration to lighten the world around us as well as bring peace to ourselves. In this day and age this chanting is a necessity. Of course there are more shanti mantras than just chanting shanti, from the Vedas there were 10 main shanti mantras, which should if possible be chanted daily. The following one I chant daily and is used at all the Sivananda centre’s and Ashrams around the world.
Saha nou bhunaktu
Saha viryam karavavahai
Tejasvinavadhitamastu ma vidvisavahai
Om shanti shanti shanti
Meaning let the Lord protect both the teacher and the student, by giving us the Vedic knowledge may you protect and nourish us. Let us enjoy the benefit of that knowledge. Let me put effort into what the Guru is teaching and the Guru put effort into what they are teaching. Let the knowledge stay fresh in our memories and let there not be any misunderstandings between both student and teacher. Om peace peace peace.
The image above is of Lord Dakshinamurti, he is an aspect of Siva in his form of the Guru of all types of knowledge, especially of knowledge of thy self or jnana. This aspect of Siva is his personification as ultimate awareness, understanding and knowledge. The first teacher of yoga and destroyer of ignorance as he removes the darkness with light. Thursdays are a significant day to start any educational endeavours and it is the day to give thanks to the Guru, so tomorrow begin your day with a positive sankalpa or resolve to learn something new remembering to chant the shanti mantra first before you embark on your learning.
Om shanti shanti shanti have a beautiful peaceful day!