Definition - What does Om Asatoma mean?
Om asatoma – sometimes referred to as Om asatoma sadgamaya – is a peace mantra often used after yoga class or meditation. It comes from the Sanskrit, om, which is the primordial sound of the universe; asato, which means “unreality”; and ma, meaning “not” or “me.”
Peace mantras, or shanti mantras, are recited for their ability to create a serene environment; in particular, to calm the mind and create inner peace. Often, the sound vibrations created by chanting the syllables are more important to creating this peace than any meaning ascribed to the words.
Yogapedia explains Om Asatoma
The full Om Asatoma mantra is:
Om asatoma sadgamaya. Tamasoma jyotirgamaya. Mrityorma amritamgamaya. Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
Translations vary, but the meaning is basically the same. Here is one simple translation:
“Om, lead me from the unreal to the real. Lead me from darkness to the light. Lead me from death to eternal life. Om, peace, peace, peace.”
The Om Asatoma dates back to ancient times, having been mentioned in the Hindu text, "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad." It is also known as the pavamana (“purified”) mantra. Today, it is also used as an invocation or prayer during spiritual gatherings, in Indian schools and at social events.