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10) :
======== The Meaning And Glory Of Gayatri ========
The Gayatri Mantra forms a part of the Rig Ved Samhita, Mandala 3, Sukta 62, ver
se 10 :
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The complete mantra occurs in Yajur Ved 36.3. Gayatri is said to be "Ved Mata" (
mother of the Ved).The presiding deity of the Gayatri Mantra is Savitr (Sun).Thi
s mantra is sung in the Vedic-meter called Gayatri. This is considered to be the
most important mantra written out in Gayatri meter, and therefore, by tradition
, this mantra has come to be known as Gayatri. Gayatri is also personified as a
goddess, the consort of Lord Brahmaa (Sarasvati) in Purans.
AUM being the sound symbol of Parmatman (Supreme Reality), it is considered to b
e the first vibration as sound emanating at the beginning of creation. With Aum,
Brahmaa created this cosmos, and from Aum constituted of the three isolated let
ters A, U, M, the vyah?itis came forth: bhuh, bhuvah, svah. From these three vya
h?itis, the three padas of the Gayatri-Mantra emanated.
From A came out tat savitur varenyam which expanded itself into the Rg-Ved and t
he cosmic plane Bhuh.
From U came out bhargo devasya dhimahi, which expanded itself into Yajur Ved and
the plane of Bhuvah.
From M came out dhiyo yo nah prachodayat- which expanded itself into Sam Ved, an
d the plane of Svaha.
From the three padsas of the Gayatri-Mantra, the meaning of the three sections o
f the Puru?ha-Sukta emerged, and from the meaning of the Puru?ha-Sukta, the mean
ing of the entire Ved emanated, and from this vast meaning of the Ved, Brahmaa c
reated this whole cosmos, say the scriptures.
Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
Word by word meaning of Gayatri :
Aum the primeval sound
Bhur the physical world, this earth
Bhuva the mental world
Svaha the spiritual world
Thath That (the Paramatma)
Savitur The Sun, Creator
Varenyam the most adorable, highest
Bhargo Luster, Effulgence, tejas
Devasya - of the Supreme Lord
Dhimahi we meditae upon
Dhiyo intellect, understanding
Yo who
Naha our
Prachodhayat enlightens, guides
Complete Meaning :
" Aum, we meditate(dhimahi) on the spiritual effulgence(bhargas) of that adorabl
e Supreme Divine Reality (varenyam devasya), the source or projector (savitr) of
the three phenomenal world planes the gross or physical (bhuh) the subtle or ps
ychical (bhuvah) and the potential or causal (suvah), both macro cosmically or e
xternally and micro cosmically or internally. May the Supreme Divine Being (Tat)
stimulate (prachodayat) our(nah) intellect (dhiyah), so that we may realise the
Supreme Truth. "
Translation by Swami Vivekananda:
"We meditate on the glory of that Supreme Being who has produced this universe;
may He enlighten our minds."
Two interpretations by S. Radhakrishnan:
"We meditate on the effulgent glory of the divine Light; may he inspire our unde
"We meditate on the adorable glory of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intell
The Arya Samaj interpretation:
"O God ! Giver of life, Remover of all pain and sorrows, Bestower of happiness,
the Creator of the Universe, Thou art most luminous, adorable and destroyer of s
ins. We meditate upon thee. May thou inspire, enlighten and guide our intellect
in the right direction."
Full scientific interpretation of the Mantra: The earth (bhur), the planets (bhu
vah), and the galaxies (svaha) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound pr
oduced is Om, (the name of formless God).
The deeper philosophic meaning of Gayatri:
In our inner life, the sun represents the light-giver, the illuminator of all ex
periences, the ATMAN (Soul). This pure consciousness in us, the inner centre of
our personality around which the matter envelopments function with mathematical
precision- just as around the sun the entire solar system revolves- is being inv
oked to shine more and more in our intellect. Without the Atman ( the light that
is our consciousness), the bodily matters become inert and dead, just as withou
t the sun life would have been impossible.
Qualities of Gayatri described in Upanishads :
Chandogya Upanishad 3.12.1,2,5
1. This entire creation is Gayatri. And the Gayatri is speech - for speech sings
(gayati) and protects (trayati) this entire creation. Gayatri indeed is all thi
s, whatever being exists. Speech indeed is Gayatri; for speech indeed sings and
removes fear of all this that exists.
2. That which is this Gayatri, even that is this earth; for on this earth are al
l the beings established and they do not transcend it.
5. This well-known Gayatri is four-footed and sixfold.
Origin of Bhur Bhuvah Svah
Chandogya Upanishad 4.17.1-6
1. Prajapati (the progenitor of the worlds) brooded on the three worlds. From th
em he extracted their essences; fire from the earth, air from the sky and the su
n from space.
2. He further brooded on these three deities. From them he extracted their essen
ces: the Riks (Rg-ved) from fire, the Yajus-mantras (Yajur-ved) from air, and th
e Saman (Sama-ved) from the sun.
3. He brooded on the three Ved. From them he extracted their existences; Bhuh fr
om the Riks, Bhuvah from the Yajus-mantras and Svah from the Samans.
4-6. Therefore if the sacrifice is rendered defective on account of the Riks (or
Yajus or Samans), then with the Mantra Bhuh Svaha (or 'Bhuvah Svaha' or 'Svah Sva
ha'), the Brahman priest should offer an oblation in the fire. Thus verily, thro
ugh the essence of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), through the virility of the Ri
ks (or Yajus or Samans), he makes good the injury of the sacrifice in respect of
the Riks (or Yajus or Samans).
Gayatri as the Protector
Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.4
The Gayatri Mantra is based on truth. For truth is based on strength. Strength i
s breath, and is based on breath. So, Gayatri protects (tra) the wealth (gaya) (
the breath!) of those who speak it with earnestness and devotion. When one recit
es Gayatri on behalf of someone, it protects that person's breath too!
Four 'foots' of the Gayatri
Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.5
This verse talks about the unbounded wealth contained within the four 'foots' of
the Gayatri Mantra.
The first foot (aum bhur bhuvah svaha) is said to be equivalent to the wealth co
ntained in the three worlds put together.
The second foot (tat savitur varenyam) is said to be equivalent to the wealth co
ntained in the three Ved.
If one were to receive a gift extending as far as there are living beings, that
would equal the third foot (bhargo devasaya dheemahi).
The fourth foot (dheeyo yo nah prachodyaat) is based on the glory of the sun, wh
ose power and wealth remains unequaled and unrivaled. Hence, there is no amount
of wealth that can equal the fourth foot of the Gayatri!
Maithrayani Upanisad explains beautifully the meaning and significance of Gayatr
i mantra :
Aum represents Brahma Swaroopam which is all the three genders of male, female and
napumsaka. It represents the three luminaries of Agni, Vayu and Adityan. It rep
resents the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. It represents the three Agnis
of Garhapadhyam, Dakshinagni and Ahavaneeyam. It represents the three Vedas Rig,
Yajur and Sama; the three worlds, Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Suvarloka; the three
times, the present, past and future; the three heat sources, prana, agni and Sur
ya; the three sources of sustenance of the body food, water and moon; the three
ways of thinking buddhi, mind and ahankara; the three dwelling points of life pra
na, Apana and Vyana. It is also Aksharam, Parma and Aparam.
Tat Savitur Varenyam means Lord Surya who is the creator also called Savita is to
be prayed as the best representation of Atman.
Bargo Devasya Dheemahi means we meditate on the wonderful brilliance of Lord Surya
Dhiyoyonaha Prachodhayat In this na: and diya: are our buddhis and our shaktis. (We p
ray to) That Paramatma which residing in Lord Surya who excites or direct our bu
ddhis and shaktis.
Bharga is explained as the brilliance of Surya and the stars. Bharrjadhi means d
estroying by fire and hence Bharga represents Rudra. Or bhaga means ghacchati i.
e. all the life are from Paramatma and hence he is called bharga. The name Surya i
s from the word suyamanathvath meaning destroyer of all opponents. Savita means th
e creator. Since Surya attracts everything he is called Adityan from the word Adh
anath. This Aditya is the imperishable Atman.
Power and greatness of Gayatri :
Right from Brahmaa, the creator of this world down to the present era all the Ri
shis, saints, innumerable persons have realised and experienced the power of Gay
atri. No other mantra has been worshipped and practiced so much as this mantra.
Gayatri is praised as Maha Mantra Phalapradhayai which means she helps to realis
e the effectiveness of any mantra. To realise the benefits of any ritual or prac
tice of any mantra the Gayatri Japam is a must to be performed. A person who doe
s the Gayatri Japam regularly is able to realise the benefit of any studies or u
se of any mantra.
Many Rishis and learned persons have praised the Gayatri mantra and we produce h
ere an extract of such statement :
Sri Adi Shankaracharya said It is beyond human competence to describe the glory o
f Gayatri. Nothing is so important in the world as to have wisdom. This wisdom b
y which self realisation is attained through divine insight is inspired by Gayatr
i. Gayatri is the initial mantra. It is an incarnation to destroy sins and promo
te virtues.
Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa said I tell people that it is not necessary to get enga
ged in prolonged Sadhanas. Perform simple Gayatri Sadhana and see the result. Gr
eat Siddhis are attained by Gayatri Sadhana. This mantra is small, no doubt, but
it is extremely powerful.
Swami Vivekananda has said Gayatri is a mantra of righteous wisdom and therefore,
it has been called a be-jeweled crown of all the mantras.
Devi Bhagavatam states Sadhana of Gayatri mantra is the essence of Ved. Even Lord
Brahmaa meditates on and performs Gayatri japa at the time of twilight. A Brahm
in who performs only Gayatri japa regularly attains salvation. Daily worship of
Gayatri has been described in all the Ved. A Brahmin devoid of Gayatri is doomed
in all respects. A Brahmin who gives up Gayatri goes to hell although he may wo
rship Vishnu or Shiva.
In this context we have a statement of Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekerendra Sarasw
athi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, who has said that if Gayatri is not pra
cticed by three generation of Brahmins the Brahmin ceases to be a Brahmin.
Rishi Visvamitra says there is no other mantra like Gayatri in all the four Ved.
All the Ved, yagna, charity and tap are not equivalent even to a small portion
of Gayatri Mantra.
Yajnavalkya says Gayatri and all the Ved were weighted in a balance, Gayatri gai
ned an upper hand. Upanisads are the essence of Ved and Gayatri along with its V
iyahritis has been regarded as the essence of Upanisads. Gayatri is the mother o
f Ved, it destroys the sins as there is no other purifier than Gayatri on this e
arth or in the heaven. There is no mantra superior to Gayatri mantra. One who kn
ows Gayatri becomes a master of all knowledge and becomes Shroutriya. A Dvija wh
o is not devoted to Gayatri is like a Shudra, all though he may be well versed i
n Ved and all his labour is futile. He who does not know Gayatri gets deprived o
f his Braahamanatva .
Bharadwaj Rishi says that Even Lord Brahmaa performs Gayatri japa. It leads to go
d realisation. A vicious man gets rid of his vices by performing Gayatri japa. A
person devoid of Gayatri is lower than a shudra .
Maharshi Manu says that " Gayatri mantra having three phases was formed by Brahm
a as the essence of three Ved. There is no greater purifier mantra than Gayatri
mantra. Any person engaged in doing Gayatri Tapa regularly for three years reali
ses God. A Dvija who meditates on Gayatri mantra in the morning and evening twil
ights gets the benefit of reading Ved. Such a person can attain divine powers (s
iddhis) by Gayatri japa alone.Those who perform the japa thousand times daily ge
t rid of sins just as a snake casts off its slough. A Dvija who does not worship
Gayatri deserves to be condemned .
Rishi Vashishtha says persons who are dull, wayward and fickle minded reach a hi
gh position by Gayatri influence and their salvation is certain. Those who worsh
ip Gayatri firmly with piousness realise the self .
According to sage Parashar, Of all the sukthas and Ved mantras, Gayatri mantra is
most superior. As between the Ved and Gayatri, the latter has an upper hand . O
ne who performs Gayatri japa with devotion becomes pure and gets liberated. A pe
rson devoid of Gayatri cannot be considered to be a Brahmin, although he might h
ave read Ved, sastras and puranas.
Maharishi Vyasa says Just as honey is the essence of flower, ghee of milk, in the
same way Gayatri is the essence of all the Ved. Gayatri is like kamadhenu for o
ne who has acquired proficiency in it. Ganga purifies the sins committed by phys
ical body but Gayatri, the Brahma Ganga purifies the soul. A person resorting to
systems of worship other than Gayatri is like a fool who leaves delicious delic
acies and indulges in begging food. There is nothing superior to achieving desir
ed success and developing the power of devout austerity .
"Om Shanti Shanti Shanti"