2500 BC, somewhere in central India. The Guru began where he had left off.
He translated the Shanti Mantra thus:
“That’ absolute reality, Brahman, is infinite and complete. ‘This world of the visible phenomenon is also infinite and complete. ‘This world has manifested out of ‘That’. Even if ‘This‘ is taken away, ‘That’ still remains infinite and complete. Om! Peace! Peace! Peace!”
The young students appeared perplexed. How is it possible? Deduction is always a reduction. This statement is a paradox.
The Guru explains
Guru smiled; wisdom lit on his face. “Don’t get puzzled, dear students. To make you understand let me give you an example. Visualize a very dimly lit room and a rope lying in a corner of the room. Most of us will surely mistake it for a snake. But when the room is brightly lit, the rope becomes visible. The snake disappears. The snake is an illusion. The illusion is real only as long as one is ignorant of reality. The illusion (snake) arises out of reality (rope). When the illusion is gone the reality still remains intact. God [Brahman] is the only reality. This world that we experience is in reality an illusion.
This world is like the snake in the example. When the light of awareness shines, we perceive reality. This world manifests out of Brahman which is always complete by itself. This world is complete in our perception. But when we realize the real difference the illusion is lost forever.” This world of ours, [Samsara], with plurality, names, and forms is like the illusory snake, arising out of the absolute reality [Paramātmā or Brahman ] which is like the rope.
Revealing of the ultimate truth
“This mantra reveals the ultimate reality in such a short and beautiful verse. Vedas tell us that the final goal of human life is to strive for self-realization. This ‘self’ is the same as That Paramātmā, the indivisible, absolute reality. We are all Brahman. We always were, we always will be. Like in our example there was only the rope. This world, like the snake, appears as an illusion because of our ignorance. It is gone the moment we realize reality. This realization can only happen in the light of self-awareness, by knowing who we actually are. This should be the goal of our life. This mantra is a jewel amongst Shanti Mantras.”
“Do you comprehend the mantra? Are you clear now?” asked the Guru.
“I bow to you to you, my venerable Guru, I am clear and feeling blissful.” said the boy
“Well then, meditate on Brahman. Let us now pray together and invoke threefold peace [Adhidaivic, Adhibhautic, Aadhyatmic], Om Peace, Peace, Peace [Om,Shanti, Shanti, Shanti]”
ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदम् पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते | पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते || This peace chant is from Ishavasya Upanishad