It is a tradition in Integral Yoga that after daily meditation we repeat Shanti mantras, or peace prayers. These prayers are a beautiful way to end one’s formal meditation sitting and are a spiritual support in that they are affirmations of peace. The Yoga tradition reminds us that our meditation practice is not only of benefit to us individually, but helps us to carry the awareness of our inner peace out into the world. Peace prayers—whatever one’s spiritual practice—can also serve as a way to send out peaceful vibrations and wishes for world peace and happiness for all. Chant along with Swami Satchidananda here.
OM Sarveshām Svastir Bhavatu Auspiciousness be unto all,
Sarveshām Śāntir Bhavatu Perfect peace be unto all,
Sarveshām Pūrṇam Bhavatu Fullness be unto all,
Sarveshām Maṅgalam Bhavatu Prosperity be unto all.
Sarve Bhavantu Sukhinaha Happiness be unto all,
Sarve Santu Nirāmayāḥ Perfect health be unto all,
Sarve Bhadrāṇi Paśyantu May all see good in everyone,
Mā Kaśchid Duhkha Bhāg Bhavet May all be free from suffering.
OM Saha Nāvavatu May God protect us,
Saha Nau Bhunaktu Grant us wisdom’s fruit,
Saha Vīryam Karavāvahai May we gain energy to know the Truth,
Tejasvi Nāvadhītam Astu May our intellects grow clear and bright,
Mā Vidvishāvahai May we cherish no ill feeling toward anyone.
OM Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ Śāntiḥ Om peace, peace, peace.
Lokāh Samastāḥ Sukhino Bhavantu May the entire universe be filled with peace and joy, love and light.
These Shanti mantras are universal mantras that have their source and inspiration in the ancient sacred texts of India, including the Upanishads and Puranas. They are universal in the sense that they apply to anyone, at any time, without regard to a specific faith, race, or culture. Originally written in the ancient Sanskrit language, they foster the spirit of community, with their wishes of peace and good will to one and all.
You may have heard it said that Sanskrit is a language of vibration. Joseph Campbell often described Sanskrit as the “great spiritual language of the world.” In analyzing Sanskrit—originally a Vedic language dating back to 1700–1200 BCE—linguists identified approximately 54 basic vibrations from which Sanskrit stems. A 2021 article in the science magazine Discover, noted: “When chanted [the Sanskrit mantra] OM vibrates at the frequency of 432Hz— the same vibrational frequency found in all things throughout nature.”
Swami Satchidananda, the founder of Integral Yoga, often spoke of the benefits of this vibrational language, with its use of mantras. He said, “Thousands of years ago spiritual seers were using these sound formulas. Today, modern science, and even medical research, has shown the benefit of sound for various purposes. You can clean jewelry using ultra-sonic sound. Doctors can operate utilizing sound waves. Sanskrit mantras also produce vibrations within the individual’s entire system that are in tune with the divine vibration.”
Often we hear people talking about the unrest in the world, violent clashes between religions, cultures, countries, and individuals and how they feel helpless. We may ask ourselves, “What can I do? I’m just one person. I can’t change the world.” The truth is that each of us can contribute to world peace. Each person changes the world when they are able to bring more peace to it through their own peaceful vibrations and prayers.
The very foundation of Yoga is the understanding that a sincere thought—a one-pointed thought or prayer—is able to travel all over the world carrying power. Thought-power, prayer, and peaceful vibrations are more powerful than imagined. Even a few people sending out powerful, peaceful thoughts can change the world.
The more we can attune ourselves to the vibrations of these peace chants, the more we can tap into the inner stillness that is at the heart of every being. Whether we utilize these Shanti mantras, or any other prayers for peace, the most important ingredient in prayer is that it comes from the heart; that is what is most important.
So, use this or any other prayers, or your own words to pray for peace for everybody. In this way, we cultivate feelings of compassion, of unity with all, enabling us to release the illusion of separateness and foster community. For, in truth, we are all one.
~Offered in honor of the International Day of Peace, September 21