ॐ सह नाववतु। 

सह नौ भुनक्तु।

सह वीर्यं करवावहै।

तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै।

ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः॥

oṁ saha nāvavatu

saha nau bhunaktu

saha vīryaṁ karavāvahai

tējasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai

oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

May the Divine Grace protect us both, 

May we both be nourished,

May we exert and be effective together,

May there be brilliant clarity and no hostility,

Om! Peace. Peace. Peace.

(Krishna Yajur Taittiriya Upanishad 2.2.2)

That is one of the foremost Shanti Mantra, a peace chant in Sanatana Dharma. It was chanted together by the Guru and disciple in Gurukulas, the ancient schools, before the start of lessons. Today, this mantra is used for various purposes – during wedding rites, before eating, etc.

Have you ever wondered why we chant Shanti or Peace three times? Peace is just peace, then why exactly three times?

Here’s the answer: we chant the Shanti or Peace three times to help us retain our calm in three types of situations. As follows:

1. Forces beyond our control: In Sanskrit, this is called Adhi-daivika or ‘ordained by the Divine’. When we chant peace the first time, we seek calm during calamities like cyclones, tsunamis, etc. 

2. Disturbances from our surroundings: Known as Adhi-bhautika, this refers to issues caused by the world around us. When we chant peace for the second time, we seek calm during problems like relationship issues, pollution, etc. 

3. Problems from within us: Referred to as Adhyatmika, this indicates the issues that arise from with us. With the third peace, we seek calm during troubles like indigestion, the restlessness of our monkey mind, etc.

So, the next time you hear Shanti or peace three times, you know what to pray! To summarize in simple terms, in general, we chant Shanti mantras for the below reasons:

•  As a reminder to keep our minds calm in all situations

•  To remove inner disturbances and bring our mind to the present moment

•  As a means to develop compassion in our hearts towards everyone and everything around

•  To take away any frustrations that being in society many cause us

Now, there remains one more question. Why did both the Guru and disciple chant this mantra together?

Typically, a Guru is considered as the parent of a disciple. Which kid doesn’t have differences of opinion with the parent? The disciple  must learn to deal with such conflicts without disrespecting the Guru. And, the Guru’s mind shouldn’t become partial to any disciple (like many of today’s teachers have their pets to whom they give more attention!). This peace chant brought mindfulness and reminded everyone to remain calm and steadfast in their goal (of making the disciple learned).

We all know that our minds love to wander. When we recite such peace chants mindfully, we learn to train the mind to be in the present moment. So, it is essential to give our complete attention while chanting these mantras. If you’re thinking of having a boxing match with your rival while chanting, you know how peaceful you will become! 

Once Mulla Nasruddin’s wife was furious at him. She added extra chillies in his soup for dinner to get back at him. As they sat down to eat – she imagined her smiling face when Mulla would cry after eating the soup! Entirely distracted, she thrust a spoonful of soup into her mouth. Tears flowed down her eyes. A concerned Mulla asked, “What happened, darling? Why are you crying?”

She obviously couldn’t tell Mulla the real reason. So she uttered, “I’m thinking of my late mother and am sad that she’s left us for good.” 

“Oh,” said the Mulla, relieved that his wife was okay. He now took a spoonful of soup, and tears started streaming from his eyes. 

Barely suppressing her triumphant smile, the wife asked, “What happened? Are you sad about my mother’s demise too?”

“Not really,” said the Mulla, “I’m sad because she didn’t take you with her!”

Saying a peace mantra brings mindfulness and calm to our mind without seeking revenge like Mulla’s wife! A focussed mind burns obstacles like a concentrated sunbeam through a magnifying glass can burn holes in paper or boil water. Therefore, please make use of this peace chant. Maybe you can try to chant it three times a day, before every meal, and see the magic for yourself.

oṁ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

 Writer’s note : Whether its on the geo political stage where the battle rages on between Ukraine and Russia , the less life threatening but equally anxious battle fronts  at work  – we all long for peace and tranquility . This post on shanti mantras was written a bit earlier and transformed entirely by the magic wand of Sri Devi didi .  Its a  chant we have all heard in different contexts – I have found this personally to be a very effective chant to restore peace and mindfulness and I hope my young friends find it useful too .My sincere pranaam and a  humble offering to Sri Hari and Swami ji who has brought Santana Dharma and mantra yoga to life