The Invocation

Lead me from the unreal to the real.
Lead me from darkness to light.
May I recognize the real
So that the real may express itself through me.

Let there be peace within me,
et there be peace around me,
Let there be peace throughout the world.

Om apyayantu mamangani vak pranascaksuh
srotramatho balamindriyani ca sarvani.
Sarvam Brahmaupanisadam Maham Brahma nirakuryam ma ma
Brahma nirakarod anirakaranamastu anirakaranam me astu.
Tadatmani nirate ya Upanisatsu dharmaste mayi santu te mayi santu.

Om shanti Om shanti Om shanti.

Commentary by Vimala Thakar

This is the prayer sung by the rishi and the student together before they begin the study and the prayer in a very brief way indicates the essence of the Upanishad itself.

It means, let me take care of the holistic development of all my faculties. What are my faculties which should be developed? Vak – speech. Prana – the vital force that is vibrating in the being. Caksuh – the eyes. Srotram – the ears. Balam – the strength permeating all the faculties simultaneously. lndriyani ca Sarvani – all the sense organs. Let them be properly developed.

Why is there so much concern about the balance and development of all the faculties? Because the Upanishad tells us that everything is the Brahman or the real. Brahman means the real and should not be confused with the god Brahma of Indian religious mythology. What I call my body, what I look upon as my personal faculties, are expressions of the Brahman. The body itself is the expression of the Brahman.

Let me not be overlooked by the Brahman. Let there be reciprocity in understanding and awareness. Let the real, the Brahman, be aware of my existence. And let me be aware of the Brahman. Let there be communion. It is only the recognition of That as the real by me and of me by That as the real, which will produce this relationship. If we are not aware of our fundamental ground of existence, there cannot be relationship and there cannot be any interaction.

What is the use of this mutual recognition? If that recognition takes place, then in me, all the natural virtues and the full potentiality contained in the human being, will get expressed in my life. Then in my person, in my being, enriched by that awareness, all the potentialities described in all the Upanishads will naturally get expressed through my being.

So I pray and desire that all those potentialities will manifest themselves through me. I wish to become the vehicle for the expression of all the characteristics of the divinity, all the characteristics of truth and beauty and goodness and love.

I recognize that what I call my limbs vak, prana, caksu, srotra, sarvam Brahmaupanisadam – all that is the Brahman. I am a different expression but I am not other than that. I am not separate from that. There is no division between the wholeness of life and this particular expression of life contained in what I call my body. You can say it is a drop of water but the drop of water contained in the ocean is a part of ocean. In the same way I am an organic part of the totality. I am an organic part of the wholeness of life.

It is a beautiful prayer.

Te mayi saritu te mayi santu.
Om shanti Om shanti Om shanti.

Let there be peace within me,
Let there be peace around me,
Let there be peace.