Pavamana Mantra

Pavamana Mantra

What is it?

Pavamana Mantra is a vedic prayer taken from the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (1.3.28), and the word ‘Pavamana’ means to be purified. It is now considered a highly important mantra for spiritual awakening and spiritual guidance, and is incorporated into many yoga and meditation practices.

How do you chant Pavamana Mantra?

I stumbled across this recording of the Pavamana Mantra while I was researching a lesson plan about Satya (which means non-false, i.e. truth; clarity, non-distortion). The legendary Ravi Shankar recorded this version, which was produced by George Harrison.

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।मृत्योर् मामृतं गमय ।ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

oṃ asato mā sadgamaya
tamaso mā jyotirgamaya
mṛtyor mā’mṛtaṃ gamaya
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ

Om, from falsehood lead me to truth
From darkness lead me to the light
From death lead me to immortality
Om peace peace peace

It opens with the 3 Pavamana Mantras, followed by the Peace Mantra, where we chant shanti (peace) three times for the physical, mental, and spiritual states. This transformation mantra is where we ask for divine guidance on how to live a truthful, enlightened life. It is about knowing who you truly are.

You will find many different versions of Pavanama Mantra, so don’t feel confused by this! The differences varied greatly by geographical area and personal interpretation, because these teachings were often verbal, not written. You might see the Peace Mantra written as Oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥi – Om, peace, peace, peacefully.

I am currently without faith, but interested in all faiths. I choose to interpret this mantra as a reminder to look inwardly – as opposed to asking for divine assistance – to live my best life. I’d love to hear about what Pavamana Mantra means to you, and how you interpret this ancient prayer.

Photo credit: India Today