If you are interested in yoga or meditation, you may have heard of the ancient Om Sahana Vavatu mantra.
But what does the Om Sahana Vavatu mantra mean, and how can you use it in everyday life?
In this article, we’ll help you to gain a deeper understanding of this ancient mantra.
What is a mantra?
To fully comprehend the Om Sahana Vavatu mantra, we need to understand first and foremost what the word ‘mantra’ means.
Originating from the Sanskrit language, the word ‘mantra’ can be split into two: the word ‘man,’ which translates to ‘mind,’ and ‘tra,’ which means transport or vehicle. In other words, it is a powerful tool for your mind.
A mantra is often a word or sound given to a training meditator for them to repeat and practice mediation.
Mantras are a deeply spiritual practice that combines your breath, rhythm, sound, and vibration to create a harmonious flow of energy throughout your body.
You can use mantras for meditation and for everyday activities, such as clearing your mind of negative energy and rebalancing your mind and body.
What do the words Om Sahana Vavatu mean?
Translating Sanskrit is a complex challenge, thanks to its richness and multifaceted meanings.
The words Om Sahana Vavatu can be interpreted in a number of ways, as they derive from several different Sanskrit meanings.
We can translate it by breaking down the name to:
Om – Saha – nau – avatu
According to Hinduism, ‘Om’ is believed to be the divine sound of the universe.
The Om mantra by itself is a pure sound energy and a powerful symbol of The Divine Consciousness.
It is a common practice in Yoga to recite ‘Om’ and feel the connectedness between yourself and Ultimate Reality (or the universe).
The words ‘Saha’ and ‘nau’ can be roughly translated as ‘together’ or ‘both,’ and finally, ‘avatu’ means ‘may he protect’.
Piecing the translations together, the mantra’s name means to call for divine protection.
READ MORE: White Mahakala Mantra
The teaching mantra
Om Sahana Vavatu is also known as the teaching mantra.
It is often used to unite both teacher and student by calling for divine protection together.
The mantra can also offer a way to cleanse the environment and clear any energy that might seem negative or unproductive between student and teacher.
The Om Sahana Vavatu mantra encourages a healthy energy into the classroom and the students are now able to enter a learning environment that is full of harmony and free of negativity.
When is the mantra recited?
The Om Sahana Vavatu mantra is often recited just before sacred Hindu scriptures are studied, or at the beginning of school or yoga practice (both traditional yoga and Westernised yoga).
It is also believed to be a Shanti Mantra, which is a prayer for peace. Mantras that call for peace are designed to calm the mind and the surrounding environment.
What is a Shanti mantra?
The Shanti mantra is another ancient Sanskrit mantra, similar to Om Sahana Vavatu. It is a prayer of devotion and recited from the scriptures known as the Upanishads.
The Shanti mantra is also a prayer for peace. ‘Shanti’ directly translates as peace. It is recited before important Hindu rituals.
It is also a common mantra for yoga, as ‘Om Shanti’ can be recited as a greeting or a goodbye. The mantra helps to focus the yoga students before and after their class.
READ MORE: Om Hraum Mitraya Namaha
A popular translation is the following:
Oṁ Saha nāvavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
Saha vīryam karavāvahai
Oṁ Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ, Shāntiḥ
Om, May we all be protected
May we all be nourished
May we work together with great energy
May our intellect be sharpened (may our study be effective)
Let there be no animosity amongst us
Om, peace (in me), peace (in nature), peace (in divine forces)
ॐ सह नाववतु।
सह नौ भुनक्तु।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
It can also be translated as:
May the Lord protect us together,
May he nourish us together,
May we work together uniting our strength for the good of humanity,
May we never hate one another,
May our learning be purposeful and luminous,
May there be peace, peace, and perfect peace.
You can listen to the mantra on YouTube. A chant, however, is not just meant to be listened to. To truly understand its power, you should try the chant for yourself, and repeat it three times.
How do you chant the mantra?
The Om Sahana Vavatu mantra is a prayer of peace and can be chanted for a number of reasons.
For example, you could use the mantra to call upon the divine blessings of whatever activity you are about to embark on, such as learning in a classroom. The teacher and students would chant together before the class begins.
For the mantra to be as powerful as possible and to resonate with its chanters, it should be repeated three times or more.
Why is the mantra powerful?
Mantras are designed to activate a healing energy within your body.
Different parts of your body may require different mantras and energies.
Reciting this mantra is a way of consciously trying to control your behavior and moods.
It can be a powerful instrument, as you can alter and enhance your own energy and vibration.
It is important to chant the mantra with an awareness of its meaning and an understanding of why you are reciting it. It is often said that to chant a mantra without awareness brings only dullness to the mind.
However, if you recite the Om Sahana Vavatu mantra with a precise understanding of what it is, and with an awareness of yourself, the mantra can become a sacred vessel and tool for your life.
Image credit – @Getty
READ THIS NEXT: Adi Shakti Mantra Meaning