Om Purnam adah Purnam idam: Meaning and Explanation

This mantra serves as the Shanti mantra, the peace invocation found in both the Ishavasya Upanishad and the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. These Upanishads and the mantra belong to the Shukla Yajurveda.

While the specific details regarding the Rishi (sage), Devata (deity), and Chandas (meter) of this mantra are not explicitly known, given its invocation of the Supreme Consciousness, Brahman can be considered the Devata for this mantra.

The Mantra

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥

Word by Word Translation

ॐ पूर्णमदः पूर्णमिदं
Om Purnam adah Purnam idam
That (brahman) is infinite, this (world) is infinite.

पूर्णात् पूर्णमुदच्यते ।
Purnaat-Purnam-Udacyate ।
From that infinite (brahman) this infinite (world) arose.

पूर्णस्य पूर्णमादाय
Purnasya Purnam aadaaya
When this infinite (world) came from infinite (brahman)

पूर्णमेवावशिष्यते ॥
Purnam eva-Avashissyate ॥
(brahman) remained infinite

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ॥
Om Peace, Peace, Peace


The invisible is the infinite, the visible too is the infinite. From the infinite, the visible universe of infinite extension has come out. The infinite remains the same, even though the infinite universe has come out of it.

Word split

(this is based on the commentary of Sri Shankaracharya)

पूर्णम् – Omnipresent Brahman; 

अद: – that (Brahman); 

पूर्णम् – Omnipresent Brahman; 

इदम् – this; 

पूर्णात् – from the Omnipresent Brahman; 

पूर्णम् – Omnipresent Brahman; 

उदच्यते – emerges; 

पूर्णस्य – of the Omnipresent Brahman; 

पूर्णम् – Omnipresent Brahman; 

आदाय – taking 

पूर्णम् – Omnipresent Brahman; 

एव – only; 

अवशिष्यते – remains.


As Acharya Shankar’s insightful commentary highlights, there are three fundamental concepts for contemplation and meditation:

  1. Brahman encompasses everything—the visible universe and pure Consciousness—and represents the ultimate reality of our existence.
  2. There exists a causal relationship between Brahman and the observable world.
  3. Despite the truth of these principles, it is essential to internalize this reality through practice (Sadhana) to attain true understanding. Otherwise, the truth may remain theoretical, and realization may remain beyond reach.

Further, this is a Shanti Mantra because peace will reign only when this Upanishadic truth about the essential oneness of our existence is taken in. As long as the perceived apparent separateness governs our existence, there will be strife, stress, and suffering. This sincere prayer about the Purnam will flood all the gaps and dents with pure existence, knowledge, and bliss (sat-cit-ananda) and grant great peace.

Why Hindu

We, a group of youths born into Hindu families, were raised in the rich culture of Vedic Sanatan Dharma, embracing its cultures and traditions. Post-graduation, recognizing the immense value of our Sanatan Dharma for humanity, we initiated the "Why Hindu" project. With guidance from our elders, we aim to create awareness about Hindu Dharma, delve into Vedic scripture, explore Vedic mantras, and elucidate the significance of festivals. Through this endeavor, we strive to share the profound teachings of our heritage, fostering understanding and appreciation for the timeless principles of Sanatan Dharma.

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