The Meaning of Om Swastiastu
Hi and hello are both common words that are used when meeting and greeting one another. I think it is safe to assume that most of you are familiar with the greetings; Bonjour, Good Morning, Assalamualaikum, Ohayou Gozaimasu, amongst the many other greeting words from different countries and cultures around the world. Here, we are going to talk about how we greet one another on the island of Bali, also known as The Last Paradise, The Land of a Thousand Temples, and The Morning of the World. When you first arrive on the island, almost all Balinese people will put their palms together in front of their chest with their fingertips pointing up. In doing this, Balinese people will say “Om Swastiastu”. Every place in Bali will most likely welcome you by this sentence. This sentence comes from Sanskrit, an ancient Indo-European language of India, used in Hindu scriptures, and is thus commonly used in daily communication, as well as in Hindu prayers on Bali. The word anatomy of Om Swastiastu is broken down into its meanings below;
Om means God, who goes by the name of Sang Hyang Widhi in Bali.
Su (written as Swa) means good, well, nice, great, or right.
Asti means there, and Astu means hope.
The overall meaning of Om Swastiatu resides within peacefulness. Om Swastiastu essentially means good luck with God’s grace, and it is with this greeting that we channel positive energy to one another here in Bali. When said to another person, this sentence expresses a prayer for protection by God, and harmonious co-habitation with all living beings. This is because in Hinduism, respect is highly important when it comes to maintaining good relationships, and reducing disputes between humans as well as other living creatures. Most ways of greeting in Bali are given in the form of prayers.
If you are wondering what the appropriate response might be to Om Swasiastu, it is common to reply also with Om Swasiastu, although it is not mandatory. It is a peaceful beginning to an exchange of ideas, and one of the many tranquilities found on the island of Bali.
Hindus are always taught to say good words and to bless others with good things. Thus, brings us to talk about the meaning of Om Santih Santih Santih Om. Every beginning has an ending. In this context, Om Swastiastu begins a connection between people, and is therefore ended with the words; Om Santih Santih Santih Om. This phrase is explained below;
Om means God, as mentioned above.
Santih means peace.
This closing sentence essentially means; may you be safe and may peace be in your heart, may peace be on earth, and may peace be always. Another simple way of expressing this particular intention is to say; God bless you!
Now, you already know two common sentences that are often heard in Bali. Every sentence that we say will always bring peaceful intentions.
– Triana Ardi