Mantras and Sacred Phrases Often Used in the Dances of Universal Peace
These translations are offered as an aid to attunement to the Dances. Your own realization of a phrase may transcend any verbal description.
Om Mani Padme Hum - Hail to the Jewel in the Lotus. The sound of this mantra is said to be the vibration of compassion itself.
Gate Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha Gone, gone, gone beyond, everyone gone completely beyond, awake enlightened, so be it.
Metta, Karuna, Mudita, Upekkha - Loving kindness, Compassion, Sympathetic Joy, and Equanimity. These Four Immeasurables are states equated with being a skillful human being.
Om Tare, Tutare, Ture Soha - A tribute to the goddess Tara, the embodiment of wisdom and compassion.
Tat Tvam Asi - You are that.
Kwan Zeon Bosai - The Korean name for Kwan Yin, “she who witnesses the distress of beings in the world, who hears their cries, and accords them mercy.”
Om Sri ram Jai Ram Jai Jai Ram - God who at once is Truth and Power, impersonal and personal, victory to Thee, victory, victory to Thee.
Om Nama Shivaya - Homage to Shiva, Master Yogi and Dancer, Master of Change and Silence.
Hare Krishna - Praise to the God of Love and Divine Ecstasy.
Gopala, Gopala, Devakinandana Gopala -
“Gopala” is one of Krishna’s names. Devaki was Krishna’s mother. “Nandana” means rejoicing or son. A possible translation is “Krishna is the joy of his mother.”
Ganga Ki Jai Jai, Jumna Ki Jai Jai Sarasvati Trivayni Ki Jai Jai - Hail to the Ganges, hail to the Jumna, which form the three-veined Sarasvati. These are three of India’s holy rivers whose names are invoked in a prayer before bathing.
As-Salaam Aleikum, Wa-Aleikum As-Salaam - Peace be with you and with you be peace.
Bismillah ir-Rahman ir-Rahim - We begin in the name of God, who is mercy and compassion. All suras of the Koran begin with this phrase.
La ilaha il Allah - There is no God but God. There is no separation from the One Being. This is the most sacred phrase in the religion of Islam.
Muhammad is the Prophet , or messenger, of God.
Hu - Hu is the spirit of all sounds and of all words and is hidden under them all, as the spirit in the body.
Ishq Allah Mahbud Lillah - God is Love, Lover and Beloved; God is all aspects of Love.
Subhan Allah - Praise be to the Divine in all its purity.
Alhamdulillah - All praiseworthiness is in God
Allah Ho Akbar - In the One is all strength and power.
Estafurullah - I seek refuge in the purifying presence of Allah.
Allah Huma Salle Ala, Miftahi Darussalame - Oh, Allah, grant us the key to the door of peace.
Ya Hayy, Ya Haqq - Oh Life, Oh Truth.
Ya Fattah - Oh Opener of the Way.
Ya Shafee, Ya Khafee - Oh Healer, Oh Remedy.
Shalom Aleichem - Peace be with you.
Shabat Shalom - Greetings of peace to the Sabbath.
Shema Yisrael, Adonai Eloheynu, Adonai Echad - Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is One. Most sacred phrase in Judaism.
Hinay Ma Tov Uma Nayim, Shevet Achim Gam Yachad - How good and pleasant it is for brothers and sisters to dwell as one. From Psalm 133.
Ek Ong Kar Sat Nam Siri Wahe Guru - There is but one God, Truth is its name, great is its indescribable wisdom.
Ong Namo Gurudev Namo - I bow to the Subtle Divine Wisdom within. I bow to the Teacher within.
Ahura Mazda - Lord of Wisdom, Wise Creator.
Humata, Hukhata, Huvarshta, Svah - True thoughts, True words, True actions - Grow! Be nourished!
Ashem Vohu - The light of truth found in the heart of every being (Asha) is identified with the ultimate principle, the source of that light (Vohu).
What are the Dances?
The Dances of Universal Peace are simple, meditative, multi-cultural circle dances. They use movements, music, and sacred phrases from many traditions to help us touch and deepen the spiritual essence within ourselves and to experience spiritual harmony with others. Based on the work begun in the late 60s by American Sufi mystic Samuel L. Lewis, the dances promote peace and integration within individuals and groups worldwide. There are no performers nor audience. Prior experience is not necessary. Movements, words and melody for each dance are taught as if it is being danced for the first time. Particpants of all ages and physical abilities are welcome.
Invitation to the Dance
The Dances of Universal Peace history and interviews. Filmed at Canyonlands National Park. Produced by Sky Majida & Dennis Roshay. DVD of this program is available. Please contact the Peaceworks North America office at 760-922-2551 (California).
A History of the Dances
The Dances of Universal Peace initially came to, and through, Ameican Sufi mystic and Zen master Samuel L. Lewis (1896-1971) in the late 1960s. In bringing forth the Dances, Lewis was deeply influenced by his contact and spiritual apprenticeship with Hazrat Inayat Kahn, who in 1910 first brought the message of Universal Sufism from India to the West, and by his affiliation with Ruth St. Denis, a pioneer in the modern dance movement and founder of the Church of the Divine Dance. Lewis was also very learned in the mystical traditions of Hinduism, Judaism, and Christianity, He was deeply commited to the cause of world peace.. His message found a rapt audience in the counter-culture of San Francisco in the late 1960s, where he first introduced the Dances of Universal Peace. It is said that while recovering from a heart attack in 1967, Murshid Sam heard the voice of God say "I make you the spiritual leader of the hippies."
From Murshid Sam's original body of about 50 dances, the collection has grown to more than 500 dances which celebrate the sacred heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, Sikhism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Aramaic, Native American, Native Middle Eastern, Celtic, Native African, and Goddess traditions. The Dances have spread throughout the world, touching more than a half million people in North and South America, Europe, the former Soviet Union, Japan, India, Pakistan, Australia, and New Zealand. New grassroots Dance circles are springing up around the world, as people all over the globe resonate with Mushid Sam's message to "eat, dance, and pray together" to create peace within and without.
Murshid Sam's followers eventually organized into what is now the Sufi Ruhaniat International, one of several "Inayati" Sufi orders that emerged to spread Hazrat Inayat Khan's universal message of love, harmony, and beauty. Whie SRI is the most closely associated with the Dances of Universal Peace, the Inayati orders of the Sufi Order International and the International Sufi Movement have also embraced the Dances of Universal Peace as a compelling form of spiritual fellowship.
How to Dance
(From How to Dance: 11 Keys, by Murshid Wali Ali Meyer, 1988. Found in Spiritual Dance and Walk: An Introduction to the Dances of Universal Peace and Walking Meditations of Murshid Samuel L. Lewis)
Here are some keys which will help the dancing be more meaningful for you.
Listen — Don't simply recite the sacred phrase. Listen to the other voices. Listen to the person directing the dance. When you listen, your voice automatically begin to harmonize. Find the center of the sound.
Feel — The dances are designed to take us more and more into the universe of feeling. Stay with your feeling. If you go off into the world of thoughts, don't judge yourself; simply bring your concentration back to feeling. The heart center, found in the middle of the chest, is the natural place to begin.
Concentrate on the Sacred Phrase — The sacred phrase, sometimes referred to as Wazifa or Mantra, centers the dance. We all say this together. The Grace of Allah/God can operate through the sacred phrase if we are willing to receive it, to let it be. With each repetition, feel the phrase touching your being in a deeper and deeper way.
Move Together — Restrain the exuberant impulse to make an individual expression. You will be amazed how much higher/deeper the dances are when you use that same energy to harmonize with the others in the circle. Feel your body fully. Then gradually, or suddenly, become the whole circle.
Watch your Breath — Breath is life. Breath is movement. Voice is breath. Let breath breathe. Return to awareness of breath in silence between dances. Notice the subtle changes in breath with each dance.
Ecstasy — These dances can lead to states of ecstasy. Joyously invigorating! In dances where you are brought to the center of the circle, especially soar. But soar with your whole being. Taste all planes at the same time. If your feet are grounded on the earth, then your head can be in the heavens.
Devotion — This is a grace. To willingly submit ourselves to Allah/God in Whom we live, and move, and have our being. Hypocrisy may be the only sin. How wonderful it is when we actually feel like bowing in humility before the eternal truth. These dances can be worship: the celebration of the Divine Presence.
Amin (ah-meen) — This means "so be it". We say this at the conclusion of many dances. (Other phrases such as the Sanskrit Svaha, or the Native American Ho, are also used. The important thing is not to say it, but to mean it, to affirm with one's whole being.
Silence — There may be a silent meditation before the dance starts... As the sound and music of the dance stop, enter the Silence. This is your opportunity to hear what has been created. In this silence one can absorb the qualities evoked during the dance. This is the most important part of the dance. It becomes all-encompassing.
For More Information
To learn more about the Dances of Universal Peace, visit the site of Dances of Universal Peace International, the coordinating hub that links and supports the many Dance circles around the world.
Some of the information on this page was adapted from www.dancesofuniversalpeace.org.