‘Shanti’ means peace. Generally, at the end of our prayers, we chant ‘Om shantih, shantih, shantihi’. Shanti is chanted thrice to express an intense desire for peace and to be liberated from all misery and obstacles. All our pains and sorrows arise from three sources, namely – ‘adhidaivik’, ‘adhibhautik’ and ‘adhyatmik’.
‘Adhidaivik’ means the operation of natural forces which are responsible for earthquakes, floods, famine, volcanic eruptions and other natural calamities. It is believed that these are all due the displeasure of the nature Gods towards mankind.
‘Adhibhautik’ sources of suffering arise because of man himself. Man is responsible for war, pollution, and performs crime, painful and cruel acts among one another.
‘Adhyatmik’ sorrows are created because of the mental state of anger, frustration, etc.
The devout pray to God to free them from such problems or obstacles in their daily work or during special tasks. Therefore, the word ‘shanti’ is chanted thrice after prayers. The first addresses the unseen forces of God (nature). The second ‘shanti’ is chanted softer and directed towards man and the surrounding circumstances. The final ‘shanti’ is chanted the softest because it is addressed to one’s own mind.
Om shantih, shantih, shantihi!
(Om peace, peace, peace!)