“Asato Maa Sat Gamaya…” is one of the famous shanti mantras originating from the Brahadaranyaka Upanishad. Shanti mantras are generally used before discussion upon any of the diverse areas of knowledge and sometimes at the end of the discussion as well. It is for seeking true knowledge, striving for guidance and requesting help for better comprehension, to rise above distractions and disagreeable propensities, and for the zeal to practice and live the teaching.
Literal Translation of the Words
Asato means unreal, ignorance or untruth.
Maa refers to me.
Sat infers reality or truth.
Gamaya means lead.
Tamas here denotes darkness, ignorance or laziness.
Jyothi is light.
Mrityo suggests death or decay.
Amrutam indicates deathlessness or immortality
Meaning of the Mantra
This is a prayer where the seeker acknowledges his inadequacies, and implores for assistance on the path to wisdom and emancipation.
The first line, “Asato-Maa Sat-Gamaya” is a plea that may we move in the direction of truth from untruth; it’s an appeal to be led step by step to reality from ignorance. Truth is to know and experience what is eternal; not subject to past, present, future or even beyond and to clearly know what is temporary. That which exists in all these periods of time is real, else it is transient and many times referred to as unreal.
The world around us is subject to change, whether it is our growth, age, emotions, circumstances, seasons, climate or even the Universe. Hence, all this is considered unreal according to our scriptures, which actually means that they may be real for now, but are transient, undergoing change and not lasting forever.
The word “unreal” must be grasped clearly. All manifested Universe is actually real, but is subject to the law of cycles and law of change. And hence, it is transient or unreal, undergoing change, present for a limited period of time, yet with a definite purpose. That which has purpose is precious and must be utilised optimally.
In the first statement, we therefore plead the God, higher beings or the Guru to lead us out of all that is transient and guide us towards our True Nature or True Self.
The next line, “Tamaso-Maa Jyotir-Gamaya” is a request to lead to the light of wisdom from the darkness of ignorance. The wisdom being spoken of here is the true knowledge of the Self. Association of the Guru or wise or Satsang is a must for acquiring this knowledge. This kind of association also helps maintain the zeal and motivation to continue with regular practice of the teaching. After proper validation, you must practice with focus and awareness towards the set target. The Sadhana must be done with joyful interest and enthusiasm with no scope for laziness. Such wisdom and the experience achieved due to the Sadhana (persistent regular practice), drives the darkness away.
The third line, “Mrityorma-Maa Amrutam-Gamaya” is an appeal to lead us to immortality from death. It doesn’t mean that you live on Earth forever. This actually implies leading into the Intuitional plane or higher, so that you can remain in the state of Turiya. We are asking that we come out of the attachment to the lower and not slide down after touching the higher planes of Intuitional and beyond. May we establish there!
After death of the bodies, you come back again into incarnation. What is born will die and what dies is born again. It is cyclical, but with a purpose. However, liberation is achieved when you no longer come back, when you are released from this cycle of birth and death. This occurs when you realize your True Self and achieve Nirvana. Slowly, with practice, your attitude towards the transient things changes, leading to detachment. The desires naturally start to decrease and your mind is not easily stirred up. With such a still and discerning mind, you can finally realize your True Nature.
The first step is to know that you are the Jiv-Atma or Incarnated Soul extended into the mental, emotional and physical bodies or vehicles for the purpose of development of the Incarnated Soul.
The second step is to know that the Incarnated Soul is part of the Atma or the Higher Soul. By sustained effort of many incarnations, the Atma or the Higher Soul develops and becomes a Maha-Atma or a greater Atma or a Paramahansa.
The third step is to know and realise that the Atma or the Higher Soul is one small extension of your True Self, the Param-Atma or Divine Spark. Many such Atmas or Higher Souls extend from one Paramatma. Achieving union with your Paramatma is Nirvana, or transcending from the cycle of birth and death. A person accomplishing Nirvana is known as Aseka or a Holy Master. Beyond that there are many stages. The Paramatma or Divine Spark is part of God (or child of God) and always One with God and One with all.
Arhat Yoga in Yoga Prana Vidya (YPV) system guides you through this journey with various practices and learning to lead you at least to the state of Paramahansa in the present incarnation itself.
You may join our daily online sessions to practice breathing exercises to calm down, Forgiveness Sadhana to forgive and let go of the past, inner reflection to reflect within and remove the undesirable predispositions and loving kindness meditations, such as, Planetary Peace Meditation, Metta Meditation or prayer on Great Invocation to channelise the blessings to entire Earth and also to transform your environment and people around to be able to gain clarity and tread the right path. You can also experience a powerful guided Divine Healing during these sessions. These sessions are being conducted regularly @ www.facebook.com/ShriNJReddy. Timings: Morning 7.15 AM, Afternoon 1.00 PM, Evening 6.30 PM.
You may also try our YPV Sadhana app which is available in various languages. It has guided audios for the breathing exercises, Forgiveness Sadhana and Planetary Peace Meditation. These techniques also boost and sustain your immune system.