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.” Translations vary on Om asatoma sadgamaya, but usually are something like “Lead me from falsehood to truth,” or “Lead me from the unreal to the real.”
It is part of what is called the Pavamana (purifying) mantra, which was originally chanted as part of a sacrifice ritual to promote the well-being of humanity. Today, the full mantra may be recited at the end of yoga class in some styles of yoga.
Yogapedia explains Om Asatoma
The Pavamana mantra is considered to be a peace mantra. 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.
Sometimes the first three lines of the mantra are referred to as three separate mantras — the Pavamana mantras — and they can be chanted separately. The full Sanskrit text follows:
Om asatoma sadgamaya
Tamaso ma jyotir gamaya
Mrtyor ma amrtam gamaya
Om shanti shanti shanti
The translation of the last three lines is:
Lead me from darkness to the light
Lead me from death to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace