Opening Mantra 1 : Asatomaa
This is the first part of the opening mantra we recite before our practice. After you are familiar with the words, let’s recite wholeheartedly with sincerity.
The mantra is part of the pavamana prayer, which is the closing chant of chapter 3 in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, part 1:
असतो मा सद्गमय
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय
मृत्योर् मा अमृतं गमय
ॐ शांति शांति शांति
Asato maa sadgamaya
Tamaso maa jyotirgamaya
Mrityor maa amritamgamaya
Ōm shanti shanti shanti
Lead Us From the Unreal To the Real,
Lead Us From Darkness To Light,
Lead Us From Death To Immortality,
OM Let There Be Peace Peace Peace
– Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.3.28.
When the mantra (verse) says: “Lead me from the unreal to the real,” “the unreal” means death and the “real,” immortality; so it says, “From death lead me to immortality,” that is to say, “Make me immortal.” When it says: “From darkness lead me to light,” “darkness” means death and “light,” immortality; so it says: “From death lead me to immortality,” that is to say, “Make me immortal.” In the verse: “From death lead me to immortality,” there is nothing that is hidden.
In a nutshell, the whole meaning of this invocation is to unreveal the ultimate truth, and remove the maya (illusion) which is blinding us.