The Language of Yoga: Shanti (santi, shantih) – Peace, Calmness
Merriam Webster: PEACE – a state of tranquility or quiet
Here are several excerpts from sages and ancient scriptures on the meaning of Peace.
4.39: Resolute, restraining his senses, the man of faith becomes wise; once he attains true wisdom, he soon attains perfect peace
5.12: the resolute in yoga surrender results, and gain perfect peace; the irresolute, attached to results, are bound by everything they do
The Yoga Sutras
To maintain a peaceful mind follow Yoga Sutra 1.33:
By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard for the wicked, the mind-stuff retains its undisturbed calmess.
The Dalai Lama
As one brought up in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition, I feel that love and compassion are the moral fabric of world peace.
Genuine compassion is based on the recognition that others have the right to happiness just like yourself, and therefore even your enemy is a human being with the same wish for happiness as you, and the same right to happiness as you. A sense of concern developed on this basis is what we call compassion; it extends to everyone, irrespective of whether the person’s attitude toward you is hostile or friendly.
“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.”
“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”
To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.
Shanti is chanted thrice not for emphasis but because disturbances are of three distinct categories. In Sanskrit, these are referred to as adhi-daivikam, adhi-bhautikam and adhyatmikam.
Adhi-daivikam literally means “mental disturbances that come from God”-i.e. things that are utterly beyond our control: hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, etc. We have no control over these types of disturbances.
Adhi-bhautikam literally means “disturbances that come from the world.” That means anything stemming from the world around us-mosquitoes, noisy neighbors, barking dogs, the phone ringing, family arguments. As opposed to the first category, we have some control over this second category of disturbances.
The third type of disturbance is the most powerful and, at the same time, the only one over which we have total control. Adhyatmikam means “disturbances stemming from the self.” For one who is still identified with the ego, the people, places and things of this world stimulate one of two reactions in the mind-attachment or aversion.
In fact, Amma says that the ego is the only true obstacle to mental peace. This third shanti is therefore the most important one, because even if we are free from outside disturbances, if the inner realm is not calm we will never know peace. Conversely, once we have found inner peace, no external force can ever disturb us. So chanting this third shanti is akin to praying, “O God, please remove all the inner obstacles.”
There is one more element to the three-fold chanting of “shanti,” and that is the silence that follows each repetition. If chanted properly, this silence is the emphasis.This silence is representative of true peace, the peace of an Enlightened One like Amma. For the spiritual seeker, peace is the goal. For an Enlightened One peace has been realized as his very nature.