Slice of Life: Asato Ma Saad Gamaya

 असतो मा सद् गमया।

तमसो मा ज्यओितिर् गमया।

मॄत्योर् मा अमॄित गमया।

ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः ॥

Growing up, school day started with a assembly; each student and teachers joined together for prayers followed by different things each day.  Mondays & Fridays were Virmatiben, Our progressive principal’s, domain.  She had taught my dad as well as most of my peer’s fathers.  Our beloved, benevolent principal had pulse of the kids and love for them in her heart.  Students and teachers lead assembly on other days. Here is what I recall :

Mondays –  Happening @ our school to around the world & its impact on us.

TuesdaysA piece of literature or a talk about a literary figure

WednesdaysPoetry, a skit or on the spur talk

ThursdaysScience talk 

FridaysStudent Concerns. Outside the Principal’s office, we had a locked mailbox for students to drop off a question or a list of questions in it. On Fridays, Virmatiben answered some of the questions along with teachers.  Cool, ya?  

SaturdaysStraight to the group exercise lead by several students.

Yes, we went to a half-day school on Saturdays.  

Each day, we started the assembly with this hymn from the Vedas:

 असतो मा सद् गमया।       Ohm Asato Ma Saad Gamaya          

तमसो मा ज्यओितिर् गमया।    Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya

मॄत्योर् मा अमॄित गमया।   Mrityor Ma Amrit Gamaya

ॐ शांतिः शांतिः शांतिः ॥  Ohm Shantihi Shantihi Shantihi

Are you wondering what does it mean?  Let me tell you that you will find similar prayer in your hymn book – whichever religion you are following.  It has a special meaning to me as my Grandpa used to recite this each morning and taught us the meaning of it by living his life following the tenets of it.  It says: 



Lead us from Ignorance to Truth

Lead us from Darkness to Light

Lead us from destruction & death to Life & construction


May peace be prevailed

May peace be prevailed

May peace be prevailed


How did your school day started as a kid?  How is it organized now?  Would you like to share it here or with the supportive Slice of Life community hosted by Two Writing Teachers

Feel free to leave your blog’s url, so we can visit your blog as well.


Ohm = The sacred sound, the beginning the end and everything in between.

Asato = Not Truth   

Saad = good, pure, Truth

Tamaso = Darkness  

Jyotir = Light

Mrityor = from death

Amrit = Embrosa, Life giving substance

Shanti  = Peace  ===> Shantihi = May peace be prevailed

Slice of Life






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10 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Asato Ma Saad Gamaya

  1. Wonderful backstory of your school days. It is especially interesting to see how your day flowed and what a peaceful prayer to introduce the morning.

  2. It was fascinating to read about your childhood school days. My husband’s school had a weekly “student question” assembly and he remembers it quite fondly. I have a horrible memory and don’t remember much about the day to day details of school. The prayer you shared is lovely.

    • Molly,

      I really feel sorry that kids now a days have lost recess and being kids.

      I wonder how the school is changing in my hometown.

      I am sorry you have horrible memories of school. I have a hunch you used your past experience and help kids make positive memories. Glad you liked the prayer.



  3. Thanks for visiting.


    It was a nice way to start the day. We had this beautiful school. It was almost like a resort. We did not have cafeteria; we went to small gardens, on terraces or on grass for lunches that we brought from home.


    Thanks for sharing the video for Asato Ma. As I grew up listening to all these hymns, it is always different when I hear it others singing them.

    I meant to post RaviShankar’s Youtube video

    Best wishes.

    • Oh, yes yes yes to that Ravi Shankar album. It is one of my favorites. The Sarva Mangalam mantra on that album is my favorite version of that chant. 🙂

  4. Eye-opening slice showing ways we differ and ways we’re united. I remember my high-school starting with a morning meeting, largely focused on announcements re: daily business.

    • Brian,

      Isn’t is amazing that we all share same fundamental values? The first prime minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, fondly called Chacha (Uncle) Nehru called it Unity in Diversity. Yes, our morning assembly also had announcements but they were after the prayers and daily specials.

      Best wishes.


  5. Isn’t it strange, I don’t really remember routines to start the day? I’ll have to think more about this. I know we always started with the Pledge, after that I don’t really know

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