Asatoma Sadgamaya: lyrics and meaning
Asatoma Sadgamaya is a Shanti Mantra (Mantra of peace), it is taken from Brihadaranyaka Upanishads (1.3.28). It is used as a prayer in Indian schools, during spiritual/ religious gatherings , social events and other times; it is believed that the recitation of these verses bring peace. In recent times this peace mantra has been used in the ‘Navras’ soundtrack from the movie ‘The Matrix Revolutions’.
Sanskrit in English
asato mā sadgamaya
tamasomā jyotir gamaya
Oṁ śhānti śhānti śhāntiḥ
Meaning in English
From ignorance, lead me to truth;
From darkness, lead me to light;
From death, lead me to immortality
Om peace, peace, peace
The first line explains that we should try remember to know our true selves. The goal of human life is to attain the knowledge to know the ultimate reality. The second line explains how to lead a life towards knowledge from ignorance which obscures our mind to understand the ultimate reality. The third line of the prayer attempts to deliver the spiritual seeker from the cycle of life and death – to deliver them to an ultimate state beyond Nirvana.
What the mantra really means is “God, please lead me to the understanding that I am not the limited body, mind and intellect, but I am, was and always will be that eternal, absolute, blissful consciousness”.