Gayatri Mantra Meditation

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Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.

The Gayatri Mantra Translated:

The eternal, earth, air, heaven
That glory, that resplendence of the sun
May we contemplate the brilliance of that light
May the sun inspire our minds.

*Translation by Douglas Brooks

History and Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri mantra first appeared in the Rig Veda, an early Vedic text written between 1800 and 1500 BCE. It is mentioned in the Upanishads as an important ritual and in the Bhagavad Gita as the poem of the Divine. 

According to Douglas Brooks, PhD, a professor of religion at the University of Rochester and a teacher in the Rajanaka yoga tradition, the Gayatri is the most sacred phrase uttered in the Vedas. 

“It doesn’t get more ancient, more sacred, than this,” says Brooks. “It’s an ecstatic poetic moment.”

The mantra is a hymn to Savitur, the sun god. According to Brooks, the sun in the mantra represents both the physical sun and the Divine in all things. 

“The Vedic mind doesn’t separate the physical presence of the sun from its spiritual or symbolic meaning,” he says.

Why and How To Use the Gayatri Mantra

Chanting the mantra serves three purposes, Brooks explains. 

The first is to give back to the sun. “My teacher used to say the sun gives but never receives,” he says. “The mantra is a gift back to the sun, an offering of gratitude to refuel the sun’s gracious offering.” 

The second purpose is to seek wisdom and enlightenment. The mantra is a request to the sun: May we meditate upon your form and be illumined by who you are? (Consider that the sun offers its gift of illumination and energy to all beings, without judgment and without attachment to the outcome of the gift.)

Finally, the mantra is an expression of gratitude, to both the life-giving sun and the Divine. Brooks encourages taking a heart-centered approach to the mantra. 

“The sensibility it evokes is more important than the literal meaning,” says Brooks. “It’s an offering, a way to open to grace, to inspire oneself to connect to the ancient vision of India. Its effect is to inspire modern yogis to participate in the most ancient aspiration of illumination that connects modern yoga to the Vedic tradition.”

Benefits of Gayatri Mantra Chanting

1. Improves Concentration and Learning:

The vibrations created when chanting this mantra directly activates the last three chakras – the throat chakra, the 3rd eye chakra, and the crown chakra. These chakras deal with providing focus and removing distractions. Hence, the concentration is increased.

2. Removes Toxins from Body: 

The vibrations created activate certain points on the face to further oxygenate the skin. The breathing involved provides more oxygen to the blood vessels which travel throughout your skin. This flushes out the toxins and gives a glow to your skin.

3. Improves Breathing:

It is advised to practice Pranayam before chanting to open up the breathing airways. And while chanting, further controlled deep breathing expands your lungs fully to improve breathing and also oxygenate the body.

4. Keeps Your Heart Healthy:

The synchronized breathing while chanting also syncs the pumping of blood to the heart. Thus the blood pressure is kept in check and the heart stays healthy. It is definitely one of the better reasons why you should meditate more. 

5. Removes Negativity:

By continuously chanting and focusing on the mantra, you stimulate your brain to be focused. This level of concentration helps with keeping the mind calm and positive.

6. Improves Functioning of Nervous System:

When you start chanting, you put pressure on your tongue, throat, mouth, and lips. The combined pressure creates different vibrations. This, in turn, induces your brain to release neurotransmitters for proper stimulus of these vibrations. The nerves perform better and functions healthily.

7. Helps reduce Asthma Symptoms:

While breathing, a short hold of your breath helps in strengthening your lungs. The asthma symptoms slowly dissipate when you practice chanting regularly. 

8. Calms the Mind:

When you are concentrated, you see clearly. The clarity lifts all of your tension. The repeating of chants also release many good hormones like serotonin and others. So, you feel happy and calm.

9. Improves Overall Immunity:

Gayatri mantra chanting activates the hypothalamus which is responsible for keeping immunity in the body. The diseases are kept at bay and you feel more healthy and fit.

10. Reduces Stress and Anxiety:

Along with all the other benefits and the explanation given for each of them, the chanting of this mantra also removes depression, anxiety, and stress. This is so important. With the growing economy, people are becoming more prone to anxiety and chanting is a very natural way to keep your anxiety in check.

How Should You Chant this Mantra?

The Gayatri mantra has a very soothing effect when chanted. It creates vibrations which aligns the chakras in your body allowing the flow of energy from the chakras.

The mantra is best chanted in a soft voice with a calm mind in a calm surrounding. The importance should be given to understanding the meaning of the words and the pronunciation of each word correctly. By meditating on this mantra, you will connect with mother nature and feel the universe as one with your body and soul.

Chant this mantra after doing breathing exercises – Pranayama. Practice alternate nostril breathing five times. It should be done preferably facing the sun (east in the morning and west in the evening.)

When Should You Chant this Mantra?

It is best to chant the Gayatri Mantra in the morning around the time from 3:30 to 4:30 am. However, it can be chanted at any given time of the day. Among all the days, chanting this mantra on Friday’s will be most auspicious.

It is recommended to repeat the Gayatri mantra at least 3 times. And it can be repeated a multiple number of times.

The benefits can be reaped by practicing this mantra regularly. It’s with only time that the benefits will be observed. Do put in the effort to pronounce the mantra properly and just breathe.

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