The Anusara Invocation is used at the beginning of a yoga class so as to set the intention of opening our practice with devotion and the recognition of the Divine within us as auspicious goodness. The act of chanting together at the beginning of class creates the beauty of community and a centering in the heart.
You will find the words, translations and sheet music below.
Om Namah Shivaya Gurave
The following English translation reflects a general sentiment of the actual Sanskrit words; they rhyme and work together for singing.
I open my heart to the power of Grace
That lives in us as goodness
That never is absent and radiates peace
And lights the way to transformation
Below you will find two more literal translations; the first comes directly from the Anusara Yoga Teacher Training Manual :
Namah Shivaya Gurave
I offer myself to the Light, the Auspicious Lord,
who is the True Teacher within and without,
Who assumes the forms of Reality,
Consciousness, and Bliss,
Who is never absent and is full of peace,
Independent in His existence,
He is the vital essence of illumination.
Yet another translation into English:
I bow to the presence of the Divine within
Our true and highest teacher
That lives in and around us as
Being, consciousness and bliss.
It is ever-present and radiates peace
Lighting the way to transformation.
Here is a more complete review of the Sanskrit words of the invocation and their meaning:
A sacred syllable symbolizing the Absolute, the Universal Energy that lives in all of us. Om represents the “soundless sound,” the eternal vibration of life essence. As science has discovered, there is a constant subtle hum to the universe; yogis know that we are all connected by these harmonics of being. Om is the vibration that the universe is making at its most subtle and sublime level. Through this awareness, the yogin (practitioner of yoga)
sees the Self in all things.
Namah means to honor or to bow with respect. Shiva translates literally as “auspicious,” “good,” or “benevolent.” Namah Shivaya is know as a maha mantra, or great mantra ,and has been chanted for hundreds of years. The chant says, “I recognize that the ground of being is goodness, and I honor this goodness in myself and in all beings.”
Gu means “darkness,” and ru means “remover,” or “destroyer.” Gurave means to bow to the teacher, especially the teacher within. In the outer world, the guru is the energy that you can listen to as a teacher. The guru can be your partner, your children, your dog, or even a place in nature that speaks to you.
Literally, Being, Consciousness Bliss. This phrase refers to the experience of unconditional or non-referential awareness experiencing itself in form as bliss, joy or ease of being. The phrase describes a moment of awareness resting in its true nature, like a drop of ocean water being absorbed into the peace of the ocean.
Literally, “image,” or “form.” The word refers to images that invoke the qualities of expansion, peace, and balance. Murtaye can apply to literal images of Krishna, Jesus, Buddha, etc. or to inner visualizations such as the many visualization practices in Tibetan Buddhism. The work also refers to the inner image one creates of oneself.
A power of Grace that is never absent. This word refers to a current or river of life energy, prana, or life force, that always runs through our lives. By aligning more and more with this current we can create transformation and balance in the current of energy through our own bodies and spirits.
The Sanskrit word Shanti means “peace” and refers to a balance of mind. When the mind is poised delicately and intentionally between the past and the future, awareness can rest in its true nature, which is an expansive state of non-referential peacefulness.
A quality of light or illumination that exists eternally and is independent in its existence. In spiritual traditions worldwide, there is reference to light as a symbol of the expanded Self. Luminosity is an attribute of the life force (prana) and is an agent of transformation.