Om Sahana Vavatu
Definition - What does Om Sahana Vavatu mean?
Om Sahana Vavatu (Sanskrit: ॐ सह नाववतु) is the name of an ancient Sanskrit mantra, commonly recited as a devotional prayer before sacred Hindu scriptures are studied.
Originally found in the Krishna Yajurveda Taittiriya Upanishad (2.2.2), it is often chanted at the start of a school class or at the beginning of a yoga practice.
The name of this mantra is derived from several Sanskrit terms. Om is considered to be the primal sound of the universe and a symbol of universal consciousness or the Divine. Saha means "together," nau, means "both" and avatu can be translated as "may he protect."
As such, this mantra calls upon protection from divine universal consciousness. Additionally, it is considered to be a shanti mantra, otherwise known as a chant or prayer for peace.
The Om Sahana Vavatu mantra should be chanted by teacher and student together at the start of a class or practice, as a means of calling upon divine blessings for whatever is to be studied. In order to enhance the power of this mantra, it should be repeated in full at least three times.
Yogapedia explains Om Sahana Vavatu
Otherwise known as the teaching mantra, Om Sahana Vavatu is believed to unite teacher and student through the protection of the Divine. It can be used to help clear any negative energy between teacher and student, allowing them to enter the process of learning in harmony.
Since Sanskrit terms tend to have a rich and multifaceted meaning, direct translations of a mantra into English often do not relay the full meaning of the text. One common translation of the full mantra is as follows:
Om sahana vavatu
ॐ सह नाववतु
Om, may God protect both teacher and student
Saha nau bhunaktu
सह नौ भुनक्तु
May He nourish us together
Saha viiryam karavaavahai
सह वीर्यं करवावहै
May we work together with great energy
May our studies be enlightening.
May there be no hate among us
Om shanti, shanti, shanti
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Om peace, peace, peace
The threefold Om shanti shanti shanti is a common means of concluding a mantra, in which each repetition of shanti is thought to have a unique meaning and use.
The first chant of shanti is a way to cleanse and purify the body of suffering. The second is used to relieve the mind of negative feelings and worries, whilst the third touches the soul or spirit of the individual in order to connect them with their higher self.
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