Often used in the Upanishads, this is a Shanti Mantra. Sham is to quench, the sound that emanates when water is poured over burning wood, that is.
There are fires burning. Someone has misbehaved. I am unhappy. I can not forget the taunt, the disgrace, the insult. Every time I remember the incident, it rekindles the smoldering embers. Let us have a Shantih of this fire, burning inside.
I acted foolish. I now realize. I lost money due to my foolishness. I hurt someone, that someone may forget, but I don't. I will always remember. I can not forgive myself. The fire must be quenched for getting me back to normal.
There was an earthquake, a tsunami or a market turmoil. I lost all that was mine created with labor and love. Again a fire will remain and disturb me all the while.
We pray that the fires be quenched. Whom are we praying to? Who is the subject? Upanishads do not mention.
What is the process for this Shantih of the three fires? Who is going to quench?
The process of forgiving comes to mind. In Jain religion it has been woven as a practice, an annual ritual. Householders visit friends and relatives to ask, and seek forgiveness on a specific day. How about forgiving ourselves. It is tougher. It can be done. We are to, as a ritual do it, telling ourselves that we forgive past mistakes and be OK with ourselves. Similar to an adult ego state saying, "I am OK, you are OK.".
So, we pray that the three fires be quenched, meaning that we be successful in forgiving the Elements, the Society, and Ourselves. This should provide a healthy and peaceful environment within and without.
(Copied here from my blog at http://Sooham.blogspot.com)