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Poornam mantra

Poornam Shanti Mantra are usually recited as prayers before the study of Upanishad begins. For the peace to be established during and after the study. Here one also finds prayers for strength and wisdom which are essential for studying the Upanishads. At the end one finds repeatation of word “Shanti” thrice indicating that after studying the Upanishad and also during the study let there be peace in three worlds viz., The Divine, The Physical, and The Evil. These three are also interpreted as Cosmic, Worldly, Inner Peace.

 

This Mantra is in the beginning of Ishavasyopanishad and Brihadaranyakopanishad.

 

Om Poornam Adah Poornam Idam

Poornaat Poornam Udachyate

Poornasya Poornam Aadaay

Poornam Evaa Vashishyate

Om Shanti! Shanti!! Shantihi!!!

 

That is complete, This is complete

From complete, The complete has emerged

Giving completeness of complete

The complete remains.

 

Sanskrit Words and their meanings:

“Purnam” = complete

“Adah” = that

“Purnamadah” = “that” is complete.

“That” is referred to “Supreme Soul- Brahman”

(what we generally refer as God)

 

God is complete means what? Complete means He is self sufficient. He is Eternal. He IS always there. He does not need any external agency to support Him.

 

Sanskrit Words and their meanings:

“Idam” = “this”

“Purnam Idam” = This is also Complete

“This” indicates the “Atman”

“ATMAN”= the individual Soul- which resides in every living being.”Soul” is complete means “self sufficient” like “Supreme Soul”.

 

In other words the “Soul” which resides in our body is Identical with the “Supreme Soul”.

 

Sanskrit Words and their meanings:

“Purnat” = from (that) complete referring to “Supreme Soul”

“Purnam” = (this) complete referring to “Individual Soul”

“Udachyate” = has “come out” or emerged

 

This means from the “Supreme Soul” (which is complete by itself) this “Individual Soul” (Complete) has emerged.

 

This is the verbal meaning of the above. Now let us try to understand the same.

 

The Ocean is full of water.Thus referring to ocean we can say that (the ocean) is complete (Purnam) = full here.

 

From this, the small vessel is filled with water. Thus referring to the vessel also we can say this is Complete (Purnam) = full here.

 

Thus, we can say that the ocean is complete (full of water) and the vessel is also complete (i.e.full of water).

 

Thus, “Purnamadah Purnamidam” can be interpreted as Supreme Soul and the Individual Soul are both Complete i.e. whole and Identical.

 

Purnat Purnam Udachyate meaning from the Supreme Soul this Individual Soul is emerged.

 

Sanskrit Words and their meanings:

“Purnasya” = of Complete referring to “Supreme Soul”

“Purnam” = Complete referring to “Individual Soul”

“Aday” = giving away to

(i.e. by giving away the completeness (wholeness) of “Supreme Soul” to “Individul Soul”.

 

“Purnam eva vashishyate” — only the Complete remains

 

Now because a few vessels of water, if taken away from the Ocean, is the Ocean incomplete i.e has it become less full of water? or is it still full of water? It hardly matters to the Ocean (i.e.,the level of water in Ocean) as to how much water is taken away.

 

Similarly from “Supreme self” individual self has emerged and is identical and even after taking away the soul, what remains is also the complete self.

 

General Discussion:

Thus as per this Shanti Mantra, the Atma (soul) which is there within ourselves is part of Brahman (God) because it has emerged from God.

 

Just as the mercury droplet when disturbed give us small small droplets and when we bring them together, again merge into the big droplet. Thus our souls have also emerged from God and are destined to merge in God. Only difference is mercury droplet has definite quantity hence reduces in size when small droplets are formed. But Brahman being infinite being does not get reduced even after the soul is emerged. And even after the soul merges in to Brahman it remains the same.

 

But this is the ideal condition. Just as mercury droplets covered with dust do not merge fully into a big droplet, our souls covered with subtle cover of desires (to worldly things) do not merge with God after death but are born again and again.The aim of study of Upanishad is to cast off the dust of desire and let our souls merge with the God.

Things to desire...