About the Opening Ashtanga Mantra

At our last yoga sutra discussion, we translated and studied the opening slocum or mantra for our Astanga practice.  We agreed we would like to look at the closing mantra also.  The following is our summary of the interpretation drawing from our own texts and from Richard Freemen’s website yogaworkshop.com.  We also received affirmation from our Sanskrit speaker that our pronunciation is generally very good but for purusakaram where we should lengthen the first and second “a” sounds.

Vande (I bow down) gurunam (multiple gurus) caranaravinde (with my hands/to the lotus feet).  I bow down to the lotus feet of the gurus.

 Sandarasita (to bring sight) svatma (pure soul) sukhavabodhe (happiness, awakened teaching).  The guru is bringing sight of true being and happiness.

 Nihsreyase (refuge) jangalikayamane (jungle doctor or shaman) samsara (conditioned existence) hala hala (poison or disturbance)  Moha (delusion) shantyai (peace)

Jungle doctor provides refuge and removes the poison of conditioned existence.

Abahu (good shoulders) purusakaram (human form)  Down to the shoulders assumes the form of a man.

Sankha (conch shell – divine sound) cakra (circle, wheel, duscus – time) asi (sword – discrimination) dharinam (wearing, holding)  Holding a conch, a discus and a  sword.

 Sahasra (thousands) sirasam (heads) svetam (white, radiant)  A thousand white heads.

 Pranamami (I prostrate) patanjalim (the sage Patanjalim – falling into open hands, falling prayer)  I prostrate myself to Patanjalim.


We meet on moon days when we do not have
Mysore practice at the studio from  6:30 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.  We chant the sutras that we have studied so far, we are up to Sutra 12 of the first book, examine one or more of the sutras for it’s literal translation, pronunciation and our understanding and experience of the lesson.  We share based on various texts that we each may bring and our own experience.  Please feel  free to join us anytime.

One thought on “About the Opening Ashtanga Mantra

  1. Adarsh & Heleen

    Wow, thanks for that post Sherry. I have to say this is one of the more interesting interpretations I’ve come across!

    BTW, have a great trip!!!

    -adarsh

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