Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

This month we will investigate one of the most-used larger prayers, which masquerades as 'hymn' to some extent, and which offers deeper meanings beyond blessing of actions. It is chanted at every puja, before every endeavour of business or study or such; it is the Great Prayer of Sri Ganesha.

ïI g[ezawvRzI;R>/ Shri GaneshaatharvashiirshaH

Last week you were introduced to the idea of prayer as a regular practice at all times. This particular prayer, as stated then, is used to initiate just about anything. If you are about to embark on a new course of study, are about to take an interview, going on a major trip… anything at all which holds deep import and requires smooth running, that is when you should pull out this prayer.  To be able to chant it like the priests on that clip last week may be a bit much to expect, when you are learning only from the page like this. However, be not daunted. Learn the words, the essence, and set your heart and mind to it, and it will be every bit as effective.

Before an text is approached in Sanskrit tradition, there is a mantra of invocation. There are such 'shanti paths' for most deities, but this one of Ganesha is very popular and is often used on its own - it is strong and worth using before beginning daily tasks of all types.

भद्रं कर्णेभिः शृणुयाम देवाः
Om Bhadram KarnebhiH ShRnuyaama Devaah
भद्रं पश्येमाक्षभिर्यजत्राः
Bhadram Pashyem-Akshabhir-YajatraaH
व्यशेम देवहितं यदायूः
Vyashema Devahitam YadaayuuH
स्वस्ति इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः
Swasti Na Indro VRddhashravaaH
स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः
Swasti NaH Puusha Vishva-VedaaH
स्वस्ति नस्ताक्षर्यो अरिष्टनेमिः
Swasti Nastaarkshyo ArishtanemiH
स्वस्ति नो ब्रुहस्पतिर्दधातु
Swasti No BRhaspatir-dadhaatu
शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः
Om, ShaantiH ShaantiH ShaantiH

As this is an important shanti path, have given it in slightly different format (though that last strange colour is a complete mystery!!!), hoping to help you at least get a rhythm going in its recitation. Don't fret about accent for now, concentrate on enunciation; it is pretty phonetic, so take your time. Speed is not the issue, accuracy is. Of course, if the Sanskrit frightens you a bit, then the translation will suit you better.

Om; may we hear only that which is auspicious with our ears
May we see only what is auspicious with our eyes, oh holy ones who are worthy of worship
May our lives be filled with satisfaction and our organs and bodies be strong and healthy
May we continue to praise the Lord during the lifespan granted to us by the gods
May god Indra, of great fame, bless us
May the omniscient Puusha (cosmic being) bless us
May the protector, Garuda, bless us
May the Lord BRhspati protect us.
Om peace, peace, peace.

Not quite as bouncy a flow, but the beauty comes in the intention and the adoration. There is very little which needs to be explained after this translation - it's purpose is quite clear. If we are to be strong in our saadhana, then keeping our senses well-tamed is of primary importance. There is much in the world to distract, disturb and delay us from our path, it is up to us to redirect our ears and eyes, indeed all senses, to more worthy (auspicious) pursuits; devotional music, philosophical reading, healthy eating and so forth.

This mantra, then, is a plea for commonsense! It acknowledges that we are instruments of Higher Purpose, if we permit ourselves to be, and that we have guides all around us. The names are not important, but the essence of presence is.

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Hari OM
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