|The Gayatri Mantra:
Om Bhur Buvaha Suvaha
Thath Savithur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yonaha Prachodayath
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Vareenyum
Bhargo Deevasya Deemahi
Di Yo Yo Nah
Meaning of the individual words
Om: The primeval sound
Bhur: the physical world
Bhuvah: the mental world
Suvah: the celestial, spiritual world
Thath: That; God; transcendental Paramatma
Savithur: the Sun, Creator, Preserver
Varenyam: most adorable, enchanting
Bhargo: luster, effulgence
Devasya: resplendent,supreme Lord
Dheemahi: we meditate upon
Dhiyo: the intellect,understanding
Yo: May this light
What it consists of
The Gayatri may be considered as having three parts: (1) praise, (2) meditation, and (3) prayer. First the Divine is praised, then It is meditated upon in reverence,
and finally an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen the intellect, the discriminating faculty of man.
This mantra is the embodiment of all deities. It is not related to any particular sect, caste, idol, or institution. It is said to embody nine "colours": (1) Om (2) Bhuh (3)
Bhuvah (4) Suvah (5) Thath (6) Savithur (powers) (7) Varenyam (8) Bhargah (9) Dhevasya.
"Dheemahi" is related to the meditative aspect. "Dhiyo-yo-nah prachodayaath" relates to the aspect of prayer. The mantra as a whole thus contains three aspects:
descriptive, meditational, and prayer.
Aspects of Gayatri
Who is Gayatri? Gayatri is not a goddess.Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas (Gayatri Chandhasam matha) Gayatri, however, has three names: Gayatri, Savitri, and
Saraswathi. These three are present in everyone. Gayatri represents the senses; it is the master of the senses. Savithri is the master of Prana (Life Force). Many
Indians are familiar with the story of Savitri, who brought back to life her dead husband, Sathyavan. Savithri signifies truth. Saraswathi is the presiding deity of
speech (vaak). The three represent purity in thought, word, and deed (thrikarana shuddhi). Although Gayatri has three names, all three are in each of us as the
senses (Gayatri), the power of speech (Saraswathi), and the life force (Savitri).
When one's intelligence and intuition are developed by recitation of the mantra, the activating deity is Gayatri. When the life-forces are protected, the guardian deity
is called Savitri. When one's speech is protected, the deity is called Saraswathi. Because of the protective roles of Savitri, Saraswathi, and Gayatri in relation to life,
speech, and the intellect, Gayatri is described as "the embodiment of all goddesses (Sarvadhevathaa-swaruupini)".
Gayatri pervades everywhere. It consists of three deities, Gayatri, Savitri, and Saraswathi. Of these, the first one is master of the sense, the second is the teacher of
truth, and the third is the master of speech. Hence it is a Trinity of the senses, the mind, and speech.[6-5-1995]
The five faces of Gayatri
Gayatri is said to have five faces and hence is called Panchamukhi. Is there anybody in the world with five faces? No. In the Ramayana, Ravana is said to have ten
heads. If really he had ten heads, how would he be able to lie in his bed or move about? This is not the inner meaning of this description. He is said to be
ten-headed because he was the master of the four Vedas and the six Sastras.
Likewise, Gayatri is described as five-faced. The five faces are as follows.
Om (the Pranava). The Pranava Principle represents the eight different forms of wealth (ashta-aishvarya).
Bhur Bhuvas Suvah.
The third is: Thath-Savithur-varenyam.
Bhargo Dhevasya dheemahi.
Dheyo yo hah prachodayaath.
When the Gayatri mantra is understood in this way, it will be realised that all the five aspects of Gayatri are within each of us.
Gayatri represents in these five faces the five pranas (life forces). Gayatri is the protector of the five pranas in man.
"Gayantham thrayathe ithi Gaytri (Because it protects the one who recites it, it is called Gayatri." When Gayatri acts as protector of the life-forces, she is known as
Savitri. Savitri is known in the puranic story as the devoted wife who brought back to life her husband, Sathyavan. Savitri is the presiding deity of the five pranas. She
protects those who lead a life of Truth.
Gayatri has five faces and is the embodiment of all deities --Sarva devatha Swarupam.
The meaning of the Gayatri
In the Gayatri Mantra, the unity of body, mind and soul is depicted in the first line,"Bhur-Bhuvah-Suvaha." The next line, "Bhargo Dhevasya Dheemahi", means
"Throw away the darkness." "Dheeyo yonah Pracho-dhayaath" means "Let the effulgence of the Divine dispel the darkness of ignorance."
Gayatri means 'that which saves, when repeated'! It is the torch of spiritual wisdom (jnana)
This is the prayer addressed to the Sun in the Gayatri mantra
Dheeyo yo nah prachodayaath. (May the Sun illumine our intellects in the same way he sheds his effulgence).
In this way, they came to regard the Gayatri mantra as Veda Matha (the Mother of the Vedas).
This Gayatri mantra is not related to any particular time, place, or person. The following indicates that it relates to the three aspect of Time --past, present, and
Bhur Bhuva Suvah
The following says that light dispels darkness --without light, darkness will not go.
Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dheeyo yo nah Prachodayaath
The following signifies that the Sun is the dispeller of darkness.
In this manner, the ancients believed that there was a supreme power and looked upon it as God.
Stotra (description of the glory), dhyana (meditation), and prarthana (prayer) are all contained in the Gayatri Mantra. When does a prayer become meaningful? It is
only when you stabilise your mind and turn it toward God. The basis for this is to meditate, pray, and experience. It is essential to achieve harmony in thought, word,
and deed. Gayatri is teaching this great lesson.
The Gayatri mantra has all three elements that figure in the adoration of God: description, meditation, and prayer. The first nine words of the mantra
--Om-Bhur-Bhuvas-Suvah-Thath-Savithur-Varenyam-Bhargo-Dhevasya-- represent the attributes of the Divine.
Dheemahi pertains to dhyana (meditation).
Dheyo yo nah Prachodayath is the prayer to the Lord.
The mantra is thus a prayer to God to confer all powers and talents.
What the Gayatri does for you
The Gayatri is considered as Vedasara --"the essence of the Vedas." Veda means knowledge, and this prayer fosters and sharpens the knowledge-yielding faculty.
As a matter of fact, the four mahavakyas or 'core-declarations' enshrined in the four Vedas are implied in this Gayathri mantra. So the Gayatri mantra has been
given to you as a third eye to reveal to you that inner vision by which you may realise Brahman.
It will protect you from harm wherever you are --traveling, working, or at home. Westerners have investigated the vibrations produced by this mantra and have found
that when it is recited with the correct accent as laid down in the Vedas, the atmosphere around becomes visibly illumined. So Brahmaprakasha, the effulgence of
the Divine, will descend on you and illumine your intellect and light your path when this mantra is chanted. Also repeat santhi thrice at the end, for that repetition will
give santhi or peace to three entities in you --body, mind, and soul.
Gayatri will protect your body, make your intellect shine and improve your power of speech. That is why Gayatri is considered to be very important for this second
stage of your life, which you are entering today. Editor: This discourse was given in connection with Upanayam, the sacred thread ceremony for boys.
It is essential to recite the Gayatri mantra at least three times during morning, noon, and evening. This will serve to reduce the effects of the wrong acts one does
every day. It is like buying goods for cash, instead of getting them on credit. There is no accumulation of karmic (result of action) debt, since each day's karma
(action) is atoned for that day itself by reciting the
Brahmaprakasha, the effulgence of the Divine, will descend on you and illumine your intellect and light your path when this mantra is chanted.
Gayatri is the reliever of all diseases (Sarva roga nivaarini Gayatri).
Gayatri wards off all misery (Sarva dhukha parivarini Gayatri).
Gayathri is the fulfiller of all desires (Sarva vancha phalashri Gayatri).
Gayatri is the bestower of all that is beneficial.
If the mantra is chanted, various kinds of powers will emerge in one. Hence the Gayatri mantra should not be treated casually.
The attitude of surrender will grow in us as we recite regularly the Gayatri mantra.
Like sunrise after the night, the Gayatri mantra dispels the darkness of ignorance: Dhiyoyonah prachodayaath. The rays of the Gayatri mantra illumine the mind and
intelligence and promote knowledge, wisdom and discrimination.
This Gayatri has the subtle power of removing evil tendencies and implanting virtuous habits
The Gayatri promotes the acquisition of Daivasakthi (God-power)
When you should say the Gayatri (return to top of page)
Never give up the Gayatri; you may give up or ignore any other mantra but you should recite the Gayatri at least a few times a day.
Do not sing cheap and defiling film songs. Instead, recite the Gayatri. When you bathe, the body is being cleansed; let your mind and intellect also be cleansed.
Make it a point to repeat it when you bathe as well as before every meal, when you wake from sleep, and when you go to bed. And also repeat santhi thrice at the
end, for that repetition will give santhi or peace to three entities in you --body, mind, and soul.
Chant the Gayatri morning, noon, and evening. You do so many things. Why don't you chant this Gayatri? I bless all of you that you may sanctify your life in this way,
making it useful and meaningful.
It is essential to recite the Gayatri mantra at least three times during morning, noon, and evening.
Gayatri is a treasure you must guard throughout your lives.
The Gayatri can be recited even when one is taking a bath. It will mean also offering ablutions to the goddess.
At noon, if the Gayatri is recited before taking one's meal, the food will get sanctified and become an offering to the deity.
Supplying the calories for the spirit is as necessary a process for happy living as supplying calories for the body. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, morning worship,
noon worship, and evening worship --all six are equally essential. You miss any one of the six at your peril.
The Gayatri mantra has to be recited three times a day: in the morning at sunrise, at noon, and at sunset. These are called "sandhya kalam" --the time of coming
together of night and day, of morning and evening, and of day and night.
Time, like man, has three qualities: sathwa, rajas, and thamas (poised or pure or serenity, passion, and inertia). The day is divided into three parts:
4am to 8am and 4pm to 8pm have the sathwic (equanimous) quality.
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