The Opening Ashtanga Chant

Chanting is powerful, especially in Sanskrit. But I don’t like chanting without knowing the meaning of the words I am saying. Here is a translation of the opening Ashtanga chant:

I pray to the lotus feet of the supreme guru
Who teaches the good knowledge, showing the way
To knowing the self-awakening great happiness,
Beyond better is the doctor of the jungle, able to remove
The poisoned ignorance of conditioned existence.

In his guise as the divine servant,
With 1,000 white radiant heads,
Human form below the shoulders,
Holding the sword of discrimination,
The fire wheel of time,
and the conch of divine sound,
To the sage Patanjali I prostrate.

Here’s the original chant:

vande gurunam caranaravinde
sandarsitasvatma sukhava bodhe
nih sreyase jangalikayamane
samsara halahalamohasantyai
abahu purusakaram
sankhacakrasi dharinam
sahasra sirasam svetam
pranamami patanjalim

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