Om Sarve vai Sukhinas Santu
Sarve Santu niraamayaah
Sarve Bhadraani pashyantu
Ma Kaschid dukkhamaapnuyaat
Om Shantih Shantih Shantih
May all be happy, May all be healthy (free from disease). May all see auspiciousness. May none suffer. Peace for self, peace for neighbours, peace for all over the world.
Story related to the prayer
Yudhishthira was well known as Dharmaja and was very virtuous and righteous man. His life was full of pure, holy and divine actions. Since he had not committed any sins in his life he had earned a lot of merit. But alas! There was a tiny little spot upon his pure meritorious life.
During the Kurushetra war, Pandavas fought against the Kauravas and also their Guru Dronacharya. Krishna new it was difficult to defeat Dronocharya. If only Drona would keep known his weapons and refuse to fight, then alone it could be possible to defeat him. But how would Drona keep down his weapons? He loved his only son Ashwathama very dearly. If at all Drona would get news that Ashwatthama was dead, then he would keep his weapons down in dejection. But Drona would not believe in the rumors. He would confirm the truth from Yudhishthira, as Yudhishthira spoke nothing but truth. How to convince Yudhishthira to speak a life?
Lord Krishna thought of a plan. An elephant named Ashwatthama was killed. Krishna then told Yudhishthitra, if Drona asked him "Was Ashwattham dead?" he should say loudly "Yes" and then in murmuring voice ujks ok dq.tjks ok say whether it is an elephant or a man, I do not know. According to the plan everything was done and, as Lord Krishna had expected Drona went to Yudhishthira to confirm the truth. Yudhishthira replied in the words that he had learnt by heart. Now, though Yudhishthira did not speak a lie, yet it was partly a lie, because Yudhishthira knew that it was not a man Ashwatthama, but an elephant that had died. This little act made a small spot of sin on his life.
At the end of Yudhishthira's life, he had to account for his actions. As a result of this little act, he had to spend just a few moments in the hell first and then he could go to heaven to enjoy for all his merits. Yudhishthira readily agreed to it. When he entered hell, those who were there suffering and undergoing a torture suddenly experienced calmness, coolness and joy, due to Dharmaja's presence. They began to experience such great joy, which they had never experienced before. Dharmaja noticed the change in hell. He was so loving, compassionate and merciful; that he always felt that other's joy was his own. He pleaded to Lord Yama and said "Oh Lord, what is the use of the human life, if one does not understand the brotherhood of mankind? I think these people in the hell need my presence. Therefore, I offer all my merits to them. I am willing to stay in the hell for the sake of their happiness. Let all be happy. Let not any one suffer, let all seek peace. "What a great sacrifice! Lord Yama was very pleased; he at once released all the people from the hell. Do you know what reward Yudhishthira got? By offering his merits to others, he earned thousand folded merits than what he had before.
One should pray like Yudhisthira, for the universal good, for the happiness and joy of all mankind; we pray for our own self. We may pray for our relatives, friends or neighbors. But Yudhishthira prayed for those whom he did not know, who were neither his friends nor relatives. He had realized the brotherhood of man.