This article will explore the basics of Gayatri Mantra, its origin, benefits, and the word by word meaning of the Gayatri mantra.
There are many forms of Gayatri, but one particular form is called Savitur Gayatri, which is derived from the word Savitri, the name of Mother Divine, radiant and effulgent. Bear in mind that while Mother Divine, like our solar system, engenders light; until we invoke the light within, the world around us is dark. And there is little hope for the person who remains dark inside.
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I. The Vedas talk about four states of mind:
Sushupta, when you are sleeping; jagrita, when you are awake; swapana, when you are dreaming, and turiya, when you are beyond. There are also seven planes of existence, of which three are key: bhu, this material plane; bhuvah, the plane of consciousness and svah, our true self, something that is even beyond consciousness. The experience you might go through when you are unconscious is an experience that is beyond consciousness.
Consciousness itself is vital for the mantra sadhana. It is essential to remember while chanting any mantra, and certainly the Gayatri mantra, that it’s not about becoming a parrot and keep on chanting without any feeling.
Some people just want to get through the mantra as if it’s a task they have taken upon themselves: “Good lord, do I want to sit and chant this mantra again? As if I don’t have enough to do in my life, and I have taken upon myself one more thing?”
If you are going to chant the mantra with this sentiment, you will not get any results from it – you may understand, but not benefit from the mantra. This is the most important, qualitative aspect of mantra science, and it simply cannot be ignored. In that sense, it’s not a traditional science – it requires faith.
Another important aspect of mantra science is learning its proper use.
When you chant mantras, and when the grace of Mother Divine is fully bestowed upon you, you will realize when and how to use it. That discretion, that sense of discerning wisdom, comes after a long time of mantra sadhana.
Initially when you gain power and sharpened intuition, or when you feel you can bless somebody and make a difference in somebody’s life, you will be tempted to say, “Yes, granted, okay, so be it,” because you want to make others happy. Or worse, you may simply want to impress people. But let’s assume your intention is simply to make others happy.
To say, “Oh, this person is bothered by this, let me make him happy.” Or you’ll say, “Oh, granted, you’ll win a million dollars tomorrow,” and so on. If you do that, you will lose the power very quickly indeed – in a matter of weeks, or even days, if you’re not lucky. There is a saying in Hindi, Bandar ke haath ustra lag gaya hai.
The monkey’s got a razor in his hands, and it’s now just running it over everything it sees. That’s why when you chant a mantra, it takes time for the energy to come to you: Nature is preparing you, so you are ready to provide a real benefit to society.
II. Gayatri mantra?
Gayatri mantra is considered the seed of all Vedic mantras in the sense that on the path of mantra yoga, no mantra can be invoked until we first perform the invocation of Vedmata Gayatri, which is done by chanting the Gayatri mantra a night before starting any purushcharana. It is the method of seeking her permission. Savitur or Savitri, the presiding deity of the Gayatri mantra, is called ‘Vedmata’, the Mother of all Vedas.
The structure of this mantra is referred to as Chatushpadi:
Chatush means four and padi mean limbs, which corresponds to the four Vedas and four pauses in the mantra. Of the four pauses in the Gayatri mantra, the one in the Vedas starts with “Tat-savitur-varenyama bhargo…” But the sages of yore invoked it with the three prefixes of bhu, bhuvah, svah.
So the complete mantra becomes:
“Om Bhurbhuvah Svah,” first pause,
“Tatsaviturvarenyama,” second pause,
“Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi,” third pause,
“Dhiyo Yo Nah, Pracodayata,” fourth pause.
Bhur-bhuvah Svah is three planes of existence, three types of consciousness, three modes of material nature: sattva, rajas, and tamas – the modes of goodness, passion, and ignorance. Tat is that, savitur means something that’s radiant; it is also the name of the sun, and radiant, divine energy. Varenyam is something that is of the color saffron or something fit to be worshipped.
All kinds of energies may be invoked from all kinds of prayers or mantras, but not every deity is fit to be worshipped. You are going to derive your strength, inspiration, energy, and radiance from your object of faith; from whomever, you invest your faith in.
You see many tantric, for example, who starts to look like the deities they worship. I have heard that after many years of marriage, husbands and wives begin to look like brother and sister. The similarities become so pronounced that they even start to sound the same.
Bhargo means radiant, effulgent; devasya is divine; dhimahi is to meditate upon. Dhiyo means intellect; yo means which; na means our, and pracodayata is to put in motion.
This mantra means we are now meditating upon the one who alone is fit to be worshipped. May that divine radiance, that divine energy which is full of light, guide our intellects. May it put our intellects in motion, so we have a certain wealth of wisdom to put to use. This is the basis of the Gayatri mantra.
In the beginning, when you chant this Gayatri mantra, you follow strict discipline, so to speak. You might only sit down and then chant. But as you progress, the chanting becomes a part of your life, and you can chant 24/7.
III. Gayatri Mantra Chanting
Gayatri Mantra Chanting in Raga 1 by the All World Gayatri Pariwar, Shantikunj
IV. Mantra Definition and Mantra Meaning?
You can use mantras to help you with any issue and to change your life for the better. Mantra is a Sanskrit word with many shades of meaning: “tool of the mind,” “divine speech,” and “language of the human spiritual physiology” are just a few of these.
A mantra is a tool for healing problems that we all face in life. As the mystic Sufi master Vilayat Inayat Khan states, “The practice of mantra kneads the flesh of the body with sound. The delicate cells of the elaborate bundles of nerves are subjected to a constant hammering, a seizure of the flesh by the vibrations of divine sound.”
Mantra can help you feel more peaceful or more energized. It can help you cope with illness, and it can sometimes help effect physical healing. It can help you deal with difficult or unpleasant circumstances, by helping you to see a course of action, or it can give you the patience and perspective to just “wait it out.” It can help you bring your wishes to fruition and create reality from your dreams.
Mantra is a dynamic, individual, nonviolent way to approach conditions you wish to change. They are ancient formulas of divine sounds recorded by the ancient sages of India and held in trust and secret for ages in both India and Tibet.
But the mantra is not a panacea.
It is not usually the only way or even the best way to solve human problems. Your life and your karma—the accumulated effect of all your thoughts and actions over many lives— are far too complex to be completely mastered by several weeks of work with spiritual formulas, no matter how powerful they might be. But mantra can completely solve many of the problems we face, and it can considerably soften others.
V. Gayatri mantra lyrics in English
The Gayatri Mantra can be translated in many ways; some are as follows:
- We meditate on the Spiritual Splendor of that supreme and Divine reality, the source of the physical, astral and celestial spheres of existence. Allow that divine being supreme to illuminate our intellect so that we can realize the supreme Truth.
- Oh, Divine Mother, our hearts are full of darkness, please move this darkness away from us and illuminate with the effulgence of Your grace our inner being.
- We meditate on the glory of that Ishvara (God Almighty) who created the universe, who is just to worship, who is an embodiment of Knowledge and Light, and who is the destroyer of all sins and ignorance. Hopefully, he illuminates our intellects.
The Gayatri mantra is a universal prayer held as a relic in the Vedas, the oldest writings of man. It can be recited with devotion for one’s material or spiritual benefit, in any era and anywhere in the world.
Gayatri Mantra has immense power, can be sung at any time and any place, and redeems whoever sings it. It is directly addressed to our Divine Mother, love, and reverence for the mantra and faith in the results – promises are much more important than mere mechanical repetition while the mind wanders in other subjects.
VI. Benefits of Chanting the Gayatri Mantra
- It sharpens the power to acquire knowledge
- Relieve diseases
- Avoid all the miseries
- Fulfill all wishes
- It protects us from all danger
- Provides mental satisfaction
- Ensures a bright and auspicious future
- It provides you with inexhaustible strength to overcome all obstacles
- Free from the wheel of birth and death
- Cleans the mind
- It is the key that opens the door of cosmic consciousness
- It confers wisdom, prosperity, purity, and liberation
- Removes all fear
- Destroys karma
VII. Word by Word Meaning of Gayatri Mantra
Meaning of Individual Words:
ॐ – OM – The Primitive Sound
भूर् – BHUR – the physical world
भुवः – BHUVA – the mental world
स्वः – SVAHA – the celestial, the spiritual world
तत् – TAT – That, God; Transcendental Paramatma
सवितुर – SAVITUR – the Sun, the Creator, Preserver
वरेण्यं – VARENYAM – more adorable, lovely
भर्गो – BHARGO – shine, effulgence
देवस्य – DEVASYA – resplendent, supreme Lord
धीमहि – DEEMAHI – we meditate on
धियो यो – DHI YO – intelligence, understanding, Intellect
नः – NAH – Nah: our
प्रचोदयात् – PRACHODAYAT – enlighten, guide, inspire
VIII. Gayatri mantra: How to Chant?
One amazing thing about performing the Gayatri sadhana is that you notice a general rise in your body temperature within the first few days of starting your purushcharana. Don’t be alarmed if that happens. Chanting the Gayatri mantra stimulates the solar channel in our body.
Savitur Gayatri, the mantra we are concerned about within this article, has since times immemorial been chanted while standing in the river. For, savitur also means sun. Offering libations towards the sun while standing in water is an age-old practice.
Gayatri worshippers would chant this mantra while standing in a river, lake, or ocean, with water sometimes up to their knees, waists, or even up to their chests, depending on which lineage they belonged to. This is not just physical but psychical heat. The Tibetans call it tummo. I have found that what they do with a set of yogic practices to stimulate tummo, Gayatri mantra accomplishes a nearly similar outcome plus more.
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