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The Pavamana Mantra (pavamāna meaning "being purified, strained", historically a name of Soma), also known as pavamāna abhyāroha (abhyāroha, lit. "ascending", being an Upanishadic technical term for "prayer"[1]) is a Hindu mantra introduced in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (1.3.28.)[2] The mantra was originally meant to be recited during the introductory praise of the Soma sacrifice by the patron sponsoring the sacrifice.[3]

Text and TranslationEdit

The text of the mantra reads:

ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।,
तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।,
मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।,
ॐ शान्तिः शान्तिः शान्तिः ॥
asato mā sad gamaya,
tamaso mā jyotir gamaya,
mṛtyor mā amṛtaṃ gamaya,
Om shanti~ shanti~ shanti hi~~

This translates to:

Lead me from falsehood to truth,
Lead me from darkness to light,
Lead me from death to the immortality
Om peace peace peace

These three statements are referred to as the three Pavamana Mantras.

Sanskrit Word MeaningEdit

The word used for immortality here is āmṛtaṃ, and the word used for death is mṛtyu (root word) mṛtyor (ablative case, meaning "from death"). The word used for light is jyotir, and the word used for darkness is tamas. The word used for truth here is sat (or "sad" in IAST). The word used for falsehood is the negation of sat, asat, a combination of a (negation) and sat. The verb used is gam + Nich (to go, causal form: to cause to go, i.e. to lead, inspire, push, etc.), in the imperative lot mood, second person singular gamaya.

The Sanskrit term sat, which means "truth" or "what is existing, real", has a range of important religious meanings including "truth" or "the Absolute, Brahman". The passage immediately following the mantra explicitly identifies the unreal and darkness with death and the real and light with immortality, saying that all three portions of the mantra have the same meaning of "Make me immortal."[3] In the interpretation of Swami Krishnananda (1977), "From the nonexistent, from the unreal, from the apparent, lead me to the other side of it, the Existent, the Real, the Noumenon." In keeping with the philosophy of Vedanta, the text rejects the material world as "unreal", "dark" and "dead" and invokes a concept of the transcendental reality (according to this interpretation).[4]


  1. ^ Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit Dictionary (1899)
  2. ^ Brhadaranyaka-Upanisad (Brhadaranyakopanisad), Kanva recension; GRETIL version, input by members of the Sansknet project (formerly:
  3. ^ a b Trans. Patrick Olivelle, Upaniṣads. Oxford University Press, 2008.
  4. ^ Krishnananda 1977: "The light that we see in this world is really a form of darkness, [...] all forms of life are forms of death only. They are not realities. The sunlight is not real light, because it is not intelligent. [...] So, the prayer is for a total rise from this involved, insufficient, conditioned 'being' to the absolutely independent, unconditioned 'Being' which is simultaneously Sat, Jyotir and Amrtam – Existence, Light, Enlightenment, Consciousness, Omniscience and Immortality. No rebirth is possible there. "