Meaning of shanti paath: swami niranjan
Shanti Path has two meanings. One is as a mantra for peace and prosperity, which is traditionally said at the end of every yogic or spiritual session to infuse the body and mind with positive feelings and vibrations. This is the main purpose of the Shanti Path. It also helps to remind the psychic personality, the personality which is influenced by vibrations, of a spiritual aim.
The yogis have always envisioned the human being as a spiritual being too. This is not just a concept; they say the spiritual being is experienced in the form of a body, and the mental being is experienced in the form of a body, in the same way as the physical being is experienced and perceived as the body. Whether you are Chinese, Japanese, Indian or Australian, no matter who you may be, the body is the same. Two arms, two legs, one head, two eyes; it is like a stamp of God which has been put all over the place. The height might be different, the colour might be different, there may be certain variations here and there, such as a bit more on the waist side, a bit more on the shoulder side.
In the same way the mind is also seen as having a body, and the eccentricities of the mind, the fatness or thinness, the tallness or the short stature of the mind is the individual personality. But mind also definitely has a shape unperceivable to us at present. In the same way, the atma, the spiritual body, also has a shape unknown to us at present. Just as we deal with intellect in the gross plane, the manifest plane, the spiritual body or atma interacts in terms of vibration, in the form of vibration. It understands vibration. In order to communicate externally, we use Hindi or English or any other language, but internally, in order to communicate, there is the language of vibrations, which is universal. Many people have felt it, too. In day-to-day life we may get a nice feeling from somebody, or a horrible feeling from another person, without speaking, just through the interaction of vibrations.
Mantras tend to influence and awaken the psychic vibratory field. Whether you understand them rationally, logically, or not is irrelevant. By chanting and repeating a mantra, some form of internal change is brought about which may not be experienced on the outer level immediately.
Each mantra awakens a particular centre. Apart from the chakras there are many psychic centres around the chakras which we understand in the form of chakra patterns. Each mantra can and does stimulate one of the minor centres and a combination of various sounds can influence, alter and induce a change in the total performance of the chakras.
So when we do the shanti mantras at the end of any yogic or spiritual session, a few things happen. After a session of yoga, after some discussion, satsang or kirtan, there is some change in the atmosphere around the body, within the body, around the mind, in the structure of the emotions and in the structure of spirit. At that moment, when we create a vibration it affects the spiritual body directly. One example can be given to roughly explain this state. If you are totally involved in some kind of activity and another person comes and asks you something totally different, you have to think for a few seconds. You have to divert the attention, divert the mind from one topic and start thinking of the next. For a few seconds you have to break the previous mould and start thinking along the other line. So when we do our meditation or asanas or pranayama or kriyas or satsang, kirtan, the mind is distracted from its natural pattern of behaviour and is attentive towards another pattern of behaviour and action. At that moment the mantra comes in, creates certain ripples, and then it dies down. Another session of yoga, again that same state, the mantra comes in, creates another sensation, and again it dies down. It's like sweeping a very dirty carpet. At first you don't get much dirt but as you keep on going over the same place again and again, even the most subtle dust right at the bottom is pulled up. So the Shanti Path is just a method of hitting the vibratory aspect of our personality again and again, over and over again. Eventually the vibrations or the sounds awaken those psychic centres which correspond with that vibration.
Of course, the translation of the mantra itself is quite nice if people can follow it and understand it: Lead me from unreal to real-Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from death to immortality. May there be happiness, peace, well-being and contentment everywhere. You don't only say it externally, but you also feel it internally, and that is the purpose of Shanti Path.