The Gāyatrī Mantra, also known as the Sāvitri Mantra, is a highly revered mantra from the Rig Veda (Mandala 3.62.10), dedicated to Savitri, the deity of five elements. Gāyatrī is the name of the Goddess of the Vedic Mantra in which the verse is composed. Its recitation is traditionally preceded by oṃ and the formula bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, known as the mahāvyāhṛti, or “great (mystical) utterance”. Maharshi Vishvamitra had created the Gayatri mantra. The Gayatri mantra is cited widely in Vedic and post-Vedic texts, such as the mantra listings of the Śrauta liturgy, and classical Hindu texts such as the Bhagavad Gita, Harivamsa, and Manusmṛti.The mantra and its associated metric form was known by the Buddha, and in one sutra the Buddha is described as “expressing their appreciation” for the mantra. The mantra is an important part of the upanayana ceremony for young males in Hinduism, and has long been recited by dvija men as part of their daily rituals. Modern Hindu reform movements spread the practice of the mantra to include women and all castes and its use is now very widespread.
The main mantra appears in the hymn RV 3.62.10. During its recitation, the hymn is preceded by oṃ (ॐ) and the formula bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ (भूर् भुवः स्वः). This prefixing of the mantra is properly described in the Taittiriya Aranyaka (2.11.1-8), which states that it should be chanted with the syllable oṃ, followed by the three Vyahrtis and the Gayatri verse. Whereas in principle the gāyatrī mantra specifies three pādas of eight syllables each, the text of the verse as preserved in the Samhita is one short, seven instead of eight. Metrical restoration would emend the attested tri-syllabic vareṇyaṃ with a tetra-syllabic vareṇiyaṃ
What is the Gayatri Mantra?
The Gayatri is a universal prayer enshrined in the Vedas. It is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divine which has been given the name ‘Savita,’ meaning ‘that from which all this is born.’ The Gayatri may be considered as having three parts – (i) Adoration (ii) Meditation (iii) 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.
The Gayatri is considered as 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 core-declarations enshrined in the four Vedas are implied in this Gayatri mantra.
The Gayatri Mantra is a sacred chant that demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation. It is through the recognition of this unity that we can understand the multiplicity. Clay is one and the same thing, though pots of different shapes and sizes can be made from it. Gold is one, though gold ornaments can be multifarious. The Atma is one, though the embodied forms in which it resides may be many. Whatever the colour of the cow, the milk is always white.
Who is Mother Gayatri?
Gayatri is the Mother of all scriptures (Vedas). She is present, wherever Her name is chanted. She is very powerful. The One who nourishes the individual being is Gayatri. She bestows pure thoughts on anyone who worships Her. She is the embodiment of all Goddesses. Our very breath is Gayatri, our faith in existence is Gayatri. Gayatri has five faces, they are the five life principles. She has nine descriptions, they are ‘Om, Bhur, Bhuvah, Swah, Tat, Savitur, Varese, Bhargo, Devasya’. Mother Gayatri nourishes and protects every being and she channelizes our senses in the proper direction. ‘Dhīmahi’ means meditation. We pray to her to inspire us with good intelligence. ‘Dhīyo Yonah Prachodayāt’ – We beseech her to bestow on us everything we need. Thus Gayatri is a complete prayer for protection, nourishment and finally, liberation.
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. Savitri 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. Savitri 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).
Universality of Gayatri Mantra
For every kind of power, proofs may be sought by direct perception or by the process of inference. Men sought to find out by what direct proof they could experience this transcendental power. They found the proof in the Sun. Without the Sun there will be no light at all. Nor is that all. All activities will come to a standstill. In this world hydrogen is essential for the growth of plants and of living beings. The Sun’s primary components are hydrogen and helium. Without hydrogen and helium, the world cannot survive. Hence, the ancients concluded that the Sun was the visible proof (of a transcendental power). They also found some subtle secrets about the Sun. Hence, they adored the Sun as the principal deity in the Gayatri mantra. “Dhiyo yonah Prachodayāt” – May the Sun illumine our intellects in the same way he sheds his effulgence. This is the prayer addressed to the Sun in the Gayatri mantra. In this way, they came to regard the Gayatri mantra as the mother of the Vedas.
The earliest finding of the seekers was that the Sun was the most important factor in determining the daily life of man and providing the basic requirements for living. Life would be impossible without the Sun for man, beast, bird or plant. The Sun was regarded as the source of all energy and responsible for birth, growth and destruction of all things in creation. It was for this reason that Sage Viswamitra glorified the Sun God (Savitr) in the Gayatri mantra.
Repeat the Gayatri – it is a universal prayer. It has three parts, meditation on the glory of God as the illumination immanent in the three worlds – upper, middle and lower (Om Bhur Bhuva Swah; Tat Savitur Vareñyam); it has smaraña or picturisation of the Grace (Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi) and prārthanā, prayer for compassion for the sake of liberation, through awakening of intelligence that pervades entire universe, not to any particular name or form of that intelligence; and so, all can use it and be saved by it. There can be no fanaticism, no hatred, no rivalry, if the Gayatri is adhered to, its pious repetition will clarify the passions and promote love.
Benefits of chanting Gayatri Mantra
Through meditation on the Gayatri, one can become aware of the inner motivating principle of the five elements, the five vital airs in the human body and the five sheaths which encase the Atma. Just as there are three basic energies that govern man—the physical, the metaphysical and the psychical, the ādhi-bhoutik, the ādhi-daivik and the ādhi-atmic, Gayatri has three facets, Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati. Gayatri fosters the metaphysical, Savitri, the physical, and Saraswati, the psychical. These three karañas or instruments have to be cleansed and sublimated so that man can realise the goal of life. Through the recital of Gayatri mantra and meditation thereon, this great task can be achieved.
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 Brahma-prakāsha, the Divine Effulgence, will descend on you and illumine your intellect and light your path when this mantra is chanted. Also repeat shanti thrice at the end, for that repetition will give shanti or peace to three entities in you –body, mind, and soul.
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 theGayatri mantra.
“Sarva roga nivaarini Gayatri” (Gayatri is the reliever of all diseases). “Sarva dhukha parivaarini Gayatri” (Gayatri wards off all misery). “Sarva vaancha phalashri Gayatri” (Gayatri is the fulfiller of all desires). Gayatri is the bestower of all that is beneficial. If the mantra is chanted, various kinds of powers will emerge in one