“Since the light illumines all the senses every day so deeply and so systematically, a time will soon come when you can no more relish dark and evil sights, yearn for dark and sinister tales, crave for base, harmful, deadening toxic food and drink, handle dirty demeaning things, approach places of ill-fame and injury, or frame evil designs against anyone at any time. Stay on in that thrill of witnessing the light everywhere. If you are adoring God in any form now, try to visualize that form in the all-pervasive light. For Light is God; God is Light.
“Practice this meditation as I have advised regularly every day. At other times repeat the name of God (any Name fragrant with any of His many Majesties), always taking care to be conscious of His might, mercy, and munificence.”
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Sathya Sai Speaks, Volume X, Page 348-350, Shivarathri, 1979
In Prasanthi Nilayam at early dawn, the people in the Mandir chant 21 Oms and Shanti, Shanti, Shanti. Each part of this chanting is
significant, and knowing the significance can make this spiritual discipline more meaningful to us.
Om is the verbal symbol of God, says Swami; it announces the Lord’s presence. It is the primeval sound. In fact, Swami has said that Om is the only sound –every other sound arises from it. Swami has called Om the real life-principle of every person. So, when chanting Om, we are calling God and also affirming that we are God.
The number 21 is not arbitrary, and each of the 21 Oms is chanted for a purpose.
- Five Oms are chanted for the organs of action: vocal chords, hands, feet, elimination organs (represented by the anus), and
- Five Oms are for the organs of perception: eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin, which correspond to sight, hearing, smell,
taste, and touch.
- Five Oms are for the five vital airs of the body. English doesn’t seem to have names for these vital airs, so we list them with their Sanskrit names. They are: prana (located in lungs), apana (flatus, which moves downward through the rectum), vyana (diffused throughout the whole body), samana (navel; essential to digestion), and udana (rises through throat to head).
- Five Oms are for the five sheaths or encasings of the body: the material sheath, the sheath of vital air, the mental-emotional sheath, the sheath of intellect, and the sheath of bliss.
- The last Om is for the person itself –and the person’s self-realisation.
Chanting twenty Oms purifies and clarifies the five organs of action, the five organs of perception, the five vital airs, and the five
sheaths. This prepares the human being for merger with the Supreme. Swami advises us to think of the life-principle in a person as a rider on a twenty-headed horse; we chant Om for each of the 21 components.
Omkar ends with three Shantis: peace is chanted for purity of the body, purity of the mind, and purity of the spirit. In other words, Peace is
prayed for in the physical, mental, and spiritual planes.
Swami has said that “This recital of Om will tone you up, calm all agitations of the mind, and quicken the downpour of grace.” He has said
that “spiritual discipline of this sort is a must for all Sai workers, for it alone can give them peace and the other most valuable gift, love.” We hope this explanation will make Omkar more precious to you
This page was written using Swami’s own words in Sathya Sai Speaks 14, Chapter 3, discourse on 6 June 1978.
It has been customary to sing
Lokah Samastha Sukhino Bhavanthu
at the end of some devotion sessions. This mantra has been chanted three times after bhajans in Prasanthi Nilayam for years and years. It means, “let all the people in the world be happy” (Lokah has two meanings in Sanskrit, one: people; and the other: world).
In late summer 2008, Bhagawan directed that, hence forward, we should chant
Samastha Lokah Sukhino Bhavanthu
which means “Let all the worlds be happy,” (and thereby all the beings in the worlds). The earlier mantra referred only to this world. The new mantra refers to all the worlds and is broader in outlook.
Hear the college boys chant the mantra in Prasanthi NIlayam (mp3 file).