We have all chanted mantras mostly repeating the sounds without understanding the words. However, the benefits of the chanting can be amplified if not only we know the words but also understand the meaning behind them.
The Pavamana Mantra is known as the realization or transformation mantra. It is considered a prayer mantra done for the divine power to guide oneself through life. This mantra is not well known in the West, but it is a very important one from the Vedic tradition having been introduced by the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanisad.
When you recite this mantra, you are asking for guidance to live a truthful life, one that brings you to the light of wisdom, to knowing who you truly are.
The text of the mantra reads:
ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।,
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।,
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।,
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
asato mā sad gamaya,
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya,
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṃ gamaya,
Om shanti~ shanti~ shanti hi~~
This translates to:
Lead me from falsehood to truth,
Show me from darkness to light,
Guide me from death to the immortality
Om peace peace peace
On the first line, you pray to be led to a truthful life, which is a life rooted into meditation, one where you can learn who you are.
On the second line, you pray to be shown out of ignorance and into the light of knowledge. This knowledge is not diplomas or certificates but the wisdom of the reality, of oneself.
Finally, on the third line, you pray to be guided to immortality, which represents the liberation from this life. And by being free, you learn how to be one with the universe.
This mantra is very powerful, and I recommend my students to recite or chant it as part of their sadhana (spiritual practice). You can perform it at the beginning of a yoga asana practice to bring calm or as part of a meditation session to focus the mind.
Whatever way you decide to incorporate this mantra into your life, the benefits of a truthful life will bring you closer to the knowledge of oneself.
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