20 Inspirational Mantras

Contributed by AYC Instructor Michael Johnson

Yoga in Asheville, NC
Asheville Yoga Studio, building a community of yogis since 1997.

To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Asheville Yoga Center, I would like to offer you these 20 mantras with a brief explanation. Mantra means resolution. It is derived from the words manas ≈ mind and trai ≈ to defend. Nearly all the Sanskṛt mantras below originated within the extraordinarily diverse culture of India. I have attempted to translate some of them into English, with respect to the many lineages of teachers who have taught them with the purest intent.

Sometimes, the difference between thriving or suffering in life is the content of our mind. Such content can be transformed and then reinforced by our speech, actions, habits and values with far-reaching consequences. Mantra practice is a way to defend our mind from the obstacles to wellness. Repeating a mantra regularly can also help empower us to realize our highest potential.

A mantra only has power if we agree with it and aim to act on it. Furthermore, its power can grow by repeating it over the course of many days, months and decades. Śrī Svāmī Saccidānanda used to say that you only need to say the mantra once for it to shift your mind into a higher state. However, you might need to practice saying it a million times before you learn how to say it once with that kind of power.

There are many styles of mantra practice: japa, kīrtan, bhajan, nāda yoga, prāṇāyāma and bhakti viñyāsa yoga. Japa means recitation, which usually coincides with a master/apprentice relationship, where the apprentice is assigned to repeat a mantra 108,000 times. The apprentice often wears a mālā to keep count of their recitations (which can range from 108-1,080 daily) until they complete their assignment. Kīrtan is a style of music where a mantra is sung back and forth in a call and response fashion. Bhajan is like kīrtan, but everyone sings at the same time. Nāda yoga is where you repeat a mantra out loud (ahata) and then go into deep listening meditation for the inner sound (anāhata). Prāṇāyāma is a wide variety of breathing techniques that are either samavṛtti (even count between inhale and exhale) or viṣamavṛtti (uneven count) where mantras are used to measure the duration of breaths to achieve specific ratios with predictable results. Bhakti viñyāsa yoga is a style that uses mantra to help master ujjāyī prāṇāyāma during a sequence of postures designed to help increase strength, balance, flexibility and inner stillness.

Some mantras resonate with us more than others. Some are associated with specific deities and others are more for universal peace. Mantra practice can be very beneficial without any need for dogma — religious or otherwise. I hope you find at least one of these mantras inspiring. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or feedback: clearlight76@gmail.com

लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu
“May all be happy and free!”

अथ योगानुशासनम्
atha yogānuśāsanam
“It’s like this now.”

ॐ गं गणपतये नमः
om gaṃ gaṇapataye namaḥ
“Come, Remover of obstacles, greetings.”

ॐ गते गते पारगते पारसंगते बोधि स्वाहा
oṃ gate gate pāragate pārasaṅgate bodhi svāhā
“Gone, gone, beyond gone, way beyond gone to awakening as a final offering.”

गोविन्द गोविन्द गोपाल क्मुरली मनो हरानन्द लाला
govinda govinda gopāla muralī mano harānanda lālā
“Cow Herder of all cow herders who attracts the herd with the blissful sound of a flute.”

तद्यथाः ॐ भैष्ज्ये भैष्ज्ये महा भैष्ज्ये राज समुङ्गते स्वाहा
tadyathāḥ oṃ bekandze bekandze mahā bekandze rāndza samungate sohā
“By example, may I be a healer for myself, my family and community, like the buddha, as an offering.”

ॐ मणि पद्मे हूं
oṃ maṇi padme hūṃ
“The Jewel of wisdom is in the Lotus of compassion.”

भूर्भुव: स्व: ।
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।
bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devāsya dhīmahi
dhīyo yo naḥ prachodayāt
“To the divine Light 

which pervades the three worlds;
the Light which is Love;
on that divine Radiance we meditate;
may It enlighten our intellect
and awaken our spiritual wisdom.”

असतोमा सद्गमय ।
तमसोमा ज्योतिर् गमय ।
मृत्योर्मामृतं गमय ॥
ॐ शान्ति शान्ति शान्तिः ॥
asatomā sadgamaya
tamasomā jyotirgamaya
mṛtyormā amṛtaṃ gamaya
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
“From delusion to truth;
from darkness to light;
from death to life;
peace, peace, peace.”

सह नाववतु ।
सह नौ भुनक्तु ।
सह वीर्यं करवावहै ।
तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
saha nāvavatu
saha nau bhunaktu
saha vīryāṃ karavāvahai
tejasvi nāva dhītamastu
mā vidviṣā vahai
oṃ śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ, śāntiḥ
“May we protect each other;
may we nourish each other;
may we work together with great energy;
may we gain the wisdom to not resent each other;
peace, peace, peace.”

पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
pūrṇamidaḥ pūrṇamidam
pūrṇat pūrṇa mudacyate
pūrṇasya pūrṇa mādāya
pūrṇame vāvaśihyate
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
“This is full; That is full;
all of This fullness comes from That fullness;

no matter how much fullness comes from That;
That fullness is always full;
peace, peace, peace.”

सर्वेषां स्वस्तिर्भवतु ।
सर्वेषां शान्तिर्भवतु ।
सर्वेषां पूर्नं भवतु ।
सर्वेषां मड्गलं भवतु ॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
sarveśām svastir bhavatu
sarveśām śhāntir bhavatu
sarveśām pūrnam bhavatu
sarveśām maṇgalam bhavatu
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
“May all be happy;
may all be peaceful;
may all be complete;
may all be successful;
peace, peace, peace.”

वन्दे गुरूणां चरणारविन्दे संदर्शितस्वात्मसुखावबोधे।
निःश्रेयसे जाङ्गलिकायमाने संसारहालाहलमोहशान्त्यै॥
आबाहु  पुरुषाकारं शंखचक्रासि धारिणम् ।
सहस्र शिरसं श्वेतं प्रणमामि प्रणमामि पतञ्जलिं ॥
vande gurūṇāṁ caraṇāravinde
sandarśita svātma sukhāva bodhe
niḥśreyase jāṅgali kāyamāne
saṁsāra hālāhala moha śāntyai
ābhāhu puruṣākāraṃ 
śankhacakrasi dhāriṇam
sahasra śirasaṃ śvetaṃ
praṇamāmi patañjalim
“I bow to the lotus feet of the gurus;
the awakening happiness of the Self revealed.

Beyond better, acting like the jungle physician
pacifying delusion, the poison of sansāra;

taking the form of a man to the shoulders
holding a conch, a discus, and a sword
one thousand white heads;
I salute Patanjali.”

स्वस्तिप्रजाभ्यः परिपालयंतां
न्यायेन मार्गेण महीं महीशाः ।
गोब्राह्मणेभ्यः शुभमस्तु नित्यं
लोकाः समस्ताः सुखिनोभवंतु ॥
svasti prajābhyaḥ paripālayantāṃ
nyāyena mārgeṇa mahīṃ mahīśāḥ
gobrāh maṇebhaḥ śubhamastu nityaṃ
lokāḥ samastāḥ sukhino bhavantu
“May all be well with humanity.
May the leaders of earth protect it in every way by keeping to the right path.
May there be goodness for those who know earth to be sacred.
May all worlds be happy and free!”

सर्वे भवन्तु सुखिनः।
सर्वे सन्तु निरामयाः।
सर्वे भद्राणि पश्यन्तु।
मा कश्चित् दुःख भाग्भवेत्॥
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
sarve bhavantu sukhinaḥ
sarve santu nirāmayāḥ
sarve bhadrāṇi paśyantu
mā kaścit duḥkha bhāgbhavet
oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ
“May all be happy;
may all be peaceful;
may all be surrounded by kindness;
may no one suffer from sorrow;
peace, peace, peace.”

त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान्मृत्योर्मुक्षीय माऽमृतात् ॥
tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭi vardhanam
urvā rukamiva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣhīya mā’mṛtāt
“Worshipping the three worlds, sweet smelling and well nourished
like a cucumber that falls from the vine when it is ripe, may we find liberation from fear of death.”

ॐ नमः सिवाय
oṃ namaḥ śivāya
“Greetings to the ever-changing Universe, dancing within Itself.”

ॐ ऐं सरस्वतये नमः
oṃ aiṃ sarasvataye namaḥ
“Divine Mother, greetings.”

ॐ तरे तुत्तरे तुरे सोहा
oṃ tare tuttare ture sohā
“The compassionate Mother is in all beings, past, present and future.”

Michael has been a full-time yoga instructor for over 15 years, certified in Jivamukti, travelled to India to study Ashtanga with K. Pattabhi Jois, spent a month with Swami Satchidananda in Yogaville and completed 3 Goenka style 10-day Vipassana Meditation retreats. He now lives in Asheville and teaches weekly Bhakti Vinyasa and Yin classes, along with weekend workshops on Sanskrit, Meditation, Chakras, the Yogasūtra, the Bhagavadgītā, Positive Psychology, Yoga History and Prāṇāyāma. He is also a lead instructor for Asheville Yoga Center’s 200hr Teacher Training and 300hr Advanced Training Programs.


Friday     10:15 – 11:45 am     Bhakti Flow
Saturday     8:30 – 10:00 am     WARM Ashtanga Mix
Sunday     10:15 – 11:45 am     Bhakti Flow
Sunday     7:00 – 8:15 pm    *Gentle Restorative & Yin $10
Monday     5:45 – 7:00 pm     Bhakti Flow
Wednesday     10:15 – 11:45 am     Bhakti Flow
Wednesday     4:00 – 5:00 pm     *Gentle Restorative & Yin
Wednesday     5:45 – 7:00 pm     Bhakti Flow
Thursday     4:00 – 5:15 pm     Bhakti Flow