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It is believed that trivaram satyam - that which is said thrice comes true. For emphasizing a point, we repeat a thing thrice. In the court of law also, one who takes the witness stand says, "I shall speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth".
Prayer is to get something for which we have an intense desire, like Shanti, which means "peace" or inner happiness.
There is only love in the universe. Hatred is withdrawal of love. It follows the same principle of light and darkness. There is no darkness in the universe; it is only absence of light.
Similarly, there is only peace in the natural environment (both external and internal). Peace naturally exists in a place until someone makes noise (external or internal).
Internally, peace underlies all agitations and negativity of the mind. When negative thoughts end, peace is the only happening as it was already there.
Peace is covered and controlled by kama, krodha, lobha, moha and ahankar. It can be earned by removing these five gateways to the hell.
To invoke peace, one meditates or chant prayers. By chanting prayers, one shifts one’s awareness from sympathetic to parasympathetic mode, a state of relaxation.
All prayers end by chanting Shanti thrice. Some interpret it as if chanting first time loudest addresses the unseen forces (Aadhidaivik, the natural disasters), second time, addresses the immediate surroundings (Aadhibhautika: external modifiable factors) and softest the last and third time addresses oneself (Aadhyaatmika).