Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Shanti Mean?

Shanti is a Sanskrit term meaning "peace." In both Hindu and Buddhist practices, shanti is often chanted three times to represent threefold peace in body, mind and spirit.

In yoga, the mantra Om Shanti Shanti Shanti is often used at the end of a practice as an invocation of inner peace. This same mantra may also be used to close a Hindu or Buddhist worship service as a blessing of peace over the congregation.

In India, Om Shanti is commonly used as a form of greeting upon meeting or parting with another person, much in the same way that Namaste is used. In this sense, Om Shanti can be translated as "peace be with you.’"

In meditation practice, Om Shanti can also be used as a mantra in order to develop concentration and focus the mind.


Yogapedia Explains Shanti

Shanti specifically refers to a state of inner rather than outer peace. Since cultivating a sense of inner peace is the central goal of most spiritual practices, shanti is an important concept across religious and spiritual traditions such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and yoga. As such, the term is commonly found embedded within a variety of Sanskrit prayers and mantras.

The threefold Om Shanti Shanti Shanti mantra is the most common, in which each repetition of shanti is thought to have a unique meaning and use:

  1. The first chant of shanti is a means of cleansing and purifying the body of suffering.
  2. The second is used to relieve the mind of negative feelings and worries.
  3. The third touches the soul or spirit of the individual in order to connect them with their higher self.

Chanting the shanti mantra can help to relieve stress, withdraw the senses, spark deep relaxation and calm or focus the mind. As such, it is particularly useful in preparation for meditation, but it may also help to cultivate inner peace within the practitioner if recited during meditation practice itself.

In Buddhism, Shanti is believed to arise only when the mind has let go of grasping and aversion. The path of this practice is known as Santimarga (or Santimagga in Pali), directly translated as "the path of peace."

This is expressed in a well-known Dhammapada verse, santimaggam eva bruhaya, meaning "cultivate this very path of peace."

In some Buddhist texts, Shanti is synonymous with Nirvana, a state in which the individual transcends suffering and attains the ultimate inner peace.

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