Gayatri Mantra – The Mantra From Vedas

INTRODUCTION TO THE MOST ANCIENT MANTRA

Gayatri is part of Rigveda in which mantras are in poetic meter (contains total three lines and each line contains 8 syllable). Definition of mantra in Sanskrit is “Mananat trayate iti mantra” which means “that which protects your mind or that which liberates on contemplating on itself” is mantra. Hence Gayatri mantra is singing poetry by recitation of which mind can be protected from all types of evil. Gayatri mantra is found in third mandala of Rigveda which comprises of total 62 hymns out of which 10th is Gayatri mantra thus Gayatri mantra is the Vedic Mantra. Other names for Gayatri mantra are ‘Savitri Mantra’ and ‘Brahma Mantra’.

IMPORTANCE OF GAYATRI MANTRA

When the God Brahma created the world then after sometime the war was started between the Devi “durga” and two demons named as “madhu” & “kaitabh”. The war was so fierce that to protect himself, creator of this world chanted gayatri mantra for the protecting his prana. Hence from this, we can understand the importance of Gayatri.

HISTORY AND ORIGIN OF GAYATRI

There is a story behind origin of this Gayatri mantra.

Kaamdhenu – The wish granter Cow

There was king Vishwaratha, marching with his army. Due to long journey, he and his soldiers were tired and hungry. They saw an ashram (it is place in which saints resides) in jungle. He moved towards ashram and asked for food for himself and his army. The ashram was of Maharishi Vashishtha and he has a special cow, Kamdhenu (Kamdhenu is the cow of gods which fulfils all desires). Maharishi Vashishtha fed the large army with the help of kamdhenu.

Fight for her & the defeat

On seeing this that a saint is capable of feeding large amount of people by the cow, king got highly attracted towards kamdhenu. He wished for the cow and told his wish to maharishi but Maharishi Vashishtha refused. King got angry and said if you do not allow me to take cow, I will take away kamdhenu cow by myself. He ordered his army to attack on vashishtha to snatch cow. But Maharishi Vashishtha was a sage, he chanted a mantra and by virtue of the mantra the army of the king could not harm him and his cow. Vishwaratha astonished and he realised that his power is very little and now he is urging for that power by which maharishi has defeated him.

Penance, Fight & Again Defeated

After this king went to jungle and done hard perseverance. He attained siddhis (it is a stage of perfection) in all types of tantra and mantra. Vishwaratha also achieved all types of powerful weapons and he again went to fight with maharishi Vashishtha. He started using his weapons on Maharishi one by one but maharishi has all replies of his weapons. At the end when maharishi Vashishtha took weapon in his hand, Lord Brahma appeared in front of him and requested to forgive Vishwaratha for his bad karmas (action).

Hard penance and The Gayatri Mantra

Again the king was astonished and think “what type of rishi (seer of mantra) he is that devta is coming and requesting him to forgive. I want this type of power”. Then again he went and done very hard austerities and came back. But he found Narada rishi on his way. Narada Muni said that his austerities will not work and he has to do more work on that. After listening to Narad Ji words he performed more hard to attain success. But while doing tapa (austerity) he saw a mantra in his experience which is “GAYATRI MANTRA”. As this mantra creates environment of friendliness in this world, the king Vishwaratha was named as “VISHWAMITRA” (friend of whole world).

MEANING AND SIGNIFICANCE OF MANTRA

The Gayatri mantra is (Sanskrit)

ॐ भूर् भुवः सुवः ।
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं।
भर्गो॑ देवस्यधीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Om bhūr bhuvaḥ suvaḥ
tatsaviturvareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasyadhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt

– Rigveda 3.62.10

The meaning of above mantra is : “We meditate on almighty who resides in all three planes of life i.e. physical, mental and real self. He is the one who has given birth to everything in this world, we take him inside. O Lord, let your effulgence shine within us and let our intellect directed by you.” Om.

Gayatri mantra is very sacred mantra which can be understood in four parts.

First one is “Om bhur bhuva suvah”

OM : The symbol of god
BHUR :
the material world
BHUVA :
the mental world
SUVAH :
real self

This is the starting phase of this mantra known as ‘vyahrati’. This means lord who resides in all three levels i.e. physical, mental and cosmic level we praise him. This part of mantra can also be considered as adoration part of mantra as it says “O Lord you are the form of pleasure, you are the destroyer of sorrows we praise your glory, have your blessing on us”. So chanting this part increases the devotion of an individual. Let’s experience the divine power.

Next is tatsaviturvareṇyaṃ

TAT : that
SAVITUR : 
means savita (the one who has given birth to everything)
VARENYAM :  we take him inside

This is the second phase of Gayatri mantra which means the one who has created all things of the world or who has created this whole universe, we take him inside in our all three planes of life i.e. subtle, gross and cosmic. Here we meditate on the supreme lord who has created this universe and we take him in our lives. These three words of Gayatri mantra help in improving one pointedness and concentration level of our mind.

The Third One – bhargo devasyadhīmahi

BHARGO : effulgent power
DEVASYA : deity
DHIMAHI : 
according to my capacity

This is the third part of Gayatri mantra which means ‘Oh Almighty God let your effulgence enlighten within us according to our capacity’. Here the word “dhimahi” is the most important as it means we request god to give only that much which we can store in ourself or request god to increase the capacity in us.

The last – dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt

DHIYO : intelligence
YO NAH : 
may this almighty god
PRACHODAYAT : 
direct our

This is the ending phase of mantra in which we request the almighty to direct our intelligence in right direction. This is the prayer part of Gayatri mantra which has much significance in our daily life. As one’s current life is totally what he/she had taken decision in his/her past life and in the same way an individual’s future will depend on decisions he/she takes in present. So if our intellect follow the guidance of almighty then all types of decision which we will take will be in right direction. And further these decision will sort out all problems from our life.

DEFINITION And Meaning Of Gayatri Mantra

According to Yaskar Rishi
  • “Gayatri gayate stuti karmnah” 
    That which sings or praise in form of hymn is known as Gayatri.  
  • The word Gayatri is originated from the verbal root ‘gayi’, which means to praise or pray. Now we will see the ‘Vyuthapatti’ (formation of word) of word Gayatri. It is combination of different words, first word is ‘gayi’ which means in Sanskrit “Giyante istuyante devtah anyah” i.e. singing, praising the creator of all and other deities.  Other three suffix are ‘at’, ‘ie’, and ‘nib’. They all form the word “Gayatri” in combination.
According to Sathapatha brahmana (14.8.157)
  • “Saa Haisha gayaanstatre pranaa va gayah, Tat praananstatre tad gayaanstatre tasmad gaayatre namah”
  • Gayatri protects our prana and gaya also means prana hence Gayatri mantra is the protection to our pranas, the life force.

MEANING BY GREAT SAINTS

According to Swami Vivekananda

We meditate on the glory of That Being who has produced this universe; may He enlightens our minds.

According to Satya Sai

We meditate on that most adored Supreme Lord, the creator, whose effulgence (divine light) illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.

According to Sri Aurobindo

We choose the Supreme Light of the divine Sun; we aspire that it may impel our minds.

According to Shri Ram Sharma Acharya    

Om the Brahman, the Universal Divine Energy, vital spiritual energy (Prana), the essence of our life existence, Positivity, destroyer of sufferings, the happiness, that is bright, luminous like the Sun, best, destroyer of evil thoughts, the divinity who grants happiness may imbibe its Divinity and Brilliance within us which may purify us and guide our righteous wisdom on the right path.

According to Swami Sivananda

Let us meditate on Ishvara and His Glory. He who has created the Universe, who is to be worshipped, who is the remover of all sins and ignorance. May he enlightens our intellect.

According to Swami Dayananda saraswati

Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life, Remover of pain and sorrow, the bestower of happiness. Oh! Creator of the Universe, May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light, May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.

According to Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan

We meditate on the effulgent glory of the divine Light; may he inspire our understanding.

METHOD OF CHANTING GAYATRI MANTRA

One should chant OM in beginning as well as in the end of chanting gayatri mantra.                                                 

The mantra should be chanted 3 times a day. Once in brahma muhurat which means one should start chanting gayatri mantra before rising of sun. In noon time that is before taking the lunch in noon and at the end of the day that is before going to sleep.

HOW MUCH TIME OR COUNTING?

One should recite this at least 108 times at a time. He or she should chant gayatri mantra for minimum 15 minutes at a stretch which approximately is 108 times.

SITTING POSITION

An individual should sit in cross leg position or any meditative pose i.e. sukhasana, padmasana, swastikasana, ardha padmasana(Half Lotus), vajrasana and siddhasana. The purpose is to keep the spine erect and no movement while chanting the mantra. So choose posture which is comfortable and correct.

PLACE AND DIRECTION

One should sit in an empty room or a room in which you have placed your deity. One should face towards the east or north direction while chanting of the mantra. Empty room or the Pooja room is recommended because it gives positive vibes and will help in creating the ambience for chanting and meditation.

PRE-PREPARATION

Before chanting the mantra one should surrender all his worries, desires, problems, miseries, happiness, and even relations in the feet of guru, almighty lord, great saints, deity or anyone in which one has faith and reverence. Unburden Yourself!!!

WHAT TO BECOME WHILE CHANTING 

However when one starts chanting one should become nobody. One should forget all his relations and posts which one is having in his worldly life. That means while chanting you are neither husband/wife, parents/children, nor you are boss/labour, teacher/student. You are just nobody.

WHY TO BECOME NOBODY?

Because if I become husband I will get thoughts relating to wife and vice versa, if I become student I will get thoughts relating to teacher and vice versa. But if I sit as nobody I will emerge in nothingness and void. And eventually one may experience the oneness with mantra. Therefore one should sit as nobody.

BENEFITS OF CHANTING GAYATRI MANTRA

Gayatri mantra is one of the most important, powerful and ancient mantra along with the maha mrityunjaya mantra. It has a great impact on human life. Moreover it is the major mantra of yogis, tantric, rishis, and great saints for spiritual development and upliftment of human life. When an individual starts chanting gayatri mantra, he/she can feel number of benefits and can have different experience in his/her life. Few are given below:

Sarva roga nivarana

By continuous chanting of gayatri mantra every disease from body can be erased. It also cures many complicated diseases from life.

Sarva dukha parivaarini Gayatri

Three types of dukhas (miseries) are mentioned in scriptures i.e. Adi Bhautik, Adhidaivika and Adhyatmik. The powerful Gayatri mantra single handedly has potential to remove these miseries from life.

Sarva vacan phalshri gayatri

When an individual sits for chanting gayatri mantra with desires in mind, his desires while chanting mantra gets fulfilled with great ease.

Mental peace

There is a method of chanting the gayatri mantra with breath. According to this one has to inhale deeply and while exhaling chant the mantra. By adopting this method the breath becomes more deeper & smoother. And once breath becomes deep our parasympathetic system activates which decreases the metabolic system and finally results in quieting of mind.

Effulgence on face

Regular chanting of gayatri mantra results in collection of prana (vital energy) in our body which further results in glowing skin and effulgence on face.

Improvement in sense ability

Regular and devoted chanting of gayatri mantra results in one pointedness of mind and concentrated mind results in improved sense ability.

Feeling of happiness

The main reason of sadness in life is collision of number of thoughts in mind at a time. If an individual is able to focus his mind on one thought then one can achieve goals and stay happy. While chanting gayatri mantra one contemplate on essence of mantra hence staying on single thought can be made possible resulting in feeling of happiness and peace. 

Decreased anger

Generally anger is the result of unfulfilled desire. By chanting gayatri mantra desires can be fulfilled and hence anger decreases. Also the mind calms down which automatically lowers the adrenaline rush which cause anger.

Improved intelligence

Research has been conducted by scientist of All India Institute of Medical sciences in which they have proven that by regular chanting of gayatri mantra intelligence of an individual rises.

Last but not the least – Medicine to stress

Stress, anxiety and depression are the few mental health disorders. Meditation or Chanting Gayatri mantra is the perfect medicine to these problems. Not only it reduces stress and anxiety but also gives wisdom to manage the mind. Along with filling mind with peace gayatri mantra illuminates the intellect.

So chant the mantra daily, experience the meditation on gayatri and share the peace & love with everyone.

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