An Introduction to Katha Upanishad

The Peace Chant of Katha Upanishad

Every Upanishad commences with a prayer, the Shanti Mantra; a formula for the invocation of peace, chanted at the beginning and close of study. The Shanti Mantra of the Katha Upanishad reads:

ॐ सह नाववतु सह नौ भुनक्तु सह वीर्यं करवावहै,
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ॥ ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥

auṁ saha nāvavatu, sahanau bhunaktu, saha vīryam karavāvahai,
tejasvi nav adhītam astu: mā vidviṣāvahai; auṁ śāntih, śāntih, śāntih ॥

It means that there should be proper attunement of spirit between the Guru and disciple before they begin the study, for only then will the teaching be fruitful:

Om. May Brahman protect us both! May Brahman bestow upon us both the fruit of Knowledge! May we both obtain the energy to acquire Knowledge! May what we both study reveal the Truth! May we cherish no ill feeling toward each other!

Om. Peace! Peace! Peace!

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