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Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra from the Vedas. Like all Vedic mantras, the Gayatri mantra is considered not to have an author, and like all other Vedic mantras, is believed to have been revealed to Brahmarshi Vishvamitra. It is a verse from a sukta of the Rigveda (Mandala 3.62.10). Gayatri is the name of the Vedic meter in which the verse is composed. As the verse can be interpreted to invoke Savitr, it is also called the Savitri mantra. Its recitation is traditionally preceded by oṃ and the formula bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ, known as the mahavyahṛti, or "great (mystical) utterance".

 

For ages, this beautiful prayer has seemed mysterious to the Western mind and was out of reach even for most Hindus. It was a well guarded secret, withheld from women and from those outside the Hindu Brahmin community.

Today, it is chanted, meditated to, and sung around the world with reverence and love.  It is often compared to The Lord’s Prayer in significance and impact. 

The beautiful and soothing ancient sounds, the flowing rhythmic patterns, and the powerful intent make the Gayatri Mantra a wonderful part of one’s daily spiritual practice. Because it is an earnest and heartfelt appeal to the Supreme Being for enlightenment, it can be universally applied.  It really doesn’t matter what your religion, your color or your ethnicity is – what matters is your intent, and your authenticity, and your willingness to be moved.

The ancient Hindu scriptures describe how the sage Vishwamitra was given the Gayatri mantra by the Supreme Being as a reward for his many years of deep penance and meditation.  This was to be a gift for all humanity.

It is said that this sacred prayer spirals through the entire universe from the heart of the chanter, appealing for peace and divine wisdom for all.

The Gayatri Mantra inspires wisdom in us.  In very basic but beautiful language, it says "May the divine light of the Supreme Being illuminate our intellect, to lead us along a path of righteousness". 

The Vedas say:

To chant the Gayatri Mantra

purifies the chanter.

To listen to the Gayatri Mantra

purifies the listener.

But the mantra does more, as I found out. It opens up your heart. And how well we know, when both our minds and our hearts open, we open ourselves up for new possibilities.

 

For many devout Hindus, the Gayatri is seen as a Divine awakening of the individual mind and the individual soul – Atman -- and within it, a way to Union with the collective consciousness - Brahman. Understanding and simply loving the essence of the Gayatri Mantra is considered by many to be one of the most powerful ways to touching God.

One interpretation is that the word Gayatri is derived from the words:

gaya, meaning “vital energies” and

trâyate, meaning “preserves, protects, gives deliverance, grants liberation”.

So, the two words "Gayatri Mantra" might be translated as “a prayer of praise that awakens the vital energies and gives liberation and deliverance from ignorance”.

The shorter form of the Gayatri is practiced far more commonly:

“OM BUHR, BHUVA, SWAHA

OM TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM

BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI

DHIYO YONAHA PRACHODAYAT”

We meditate on the glory of the Creator;

Who has created the Universe;

Who is worthy of Worship;

Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light;

Who is the remover of Sin and Ignorance;

May He open our hearts and enlighten our Intellect.

The longer version is more profound.

“OM BHUR, OM BHUVAHA, OM SWAHA, OM MAHAHA, OM JANAHA, OM TAPAHA, OM SATYAM

OM TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM

BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI

DHIYO YONAHA PRACHODAYAT”

According to the Vedas, there are seven realms or spheres or planes of existence, each more spiritually advanced than the previous one.  It is written that through spiritual awareness and development, we can progressively move through these realms and ultimately merge with the Supreme Being. Many Buddhist teachings have also referred to these seven realms.

 

By chanting this mantra, Divine spiritual light and power is infused in each of our seven chakras and connects them to these seven great spiritual realms of existence.

Benefits to chanting the Gayatri (Excerpts from the CD and grateful acknowledgements to Pandit Shri Ram Sharma Acharya)

The sages of ancient times selected the words of the Gayatri carefully and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create very specific vibrations and powers of righteous wisdom through their utterance.  Hindu Vedic scriptures describe how many of these sages accumulated tremendous spiritual powers through years of deep meditation and the chanting of the Gayatri – these spiritual powers are called Siddhi.

It is said that these Gayatri Sadhaka (spiritual seeker) begin to feel the presence of divine power in the inner self which induces immense strength and peace of mind.

The rishis and sages of the Vedic Age had experienced and experimented on the enormous extrasensory energy pools – the chakras, upachakras, granthis, koshas, matakas, upayatikas and nadis, hidden in the subtle cores in the endocrine glands, nerve bundles and ganglions. It is said that the activation of these rekindles rare virtuous talents and supernormal potential. 

Scientists, meta-physicists, spiritual practitioners and others are studying and rediscovering these ancient approaches towards self-realization.

The secret of the supernatural impact of Gayatri Mantra in the physical domains of life lies in the unique configuration of the specific syllables of the mantra. The cyclic enunciation of this mantra stimulates the subliminal power centers in the subtle body. The pressure on tongue, lips, vocal cord, palate and the connecting regions in the brain generated by continuous enunciation of the twenty-four special syllables of the Gayatri Mantra creates a resonance (or a vibration) in the nerves and the ‘threads’ of the subtle body. The musical flow thus induced titillates the extrasensory energy centers. The latter begin to stimulate and a sublime magnetic force arouses in the Sadhaka that attracts the vital currents of Gayatri Shakti immanent in the infinite domains. This magnetic charge induced by the continuous repetition of the Gayatri Mantra ‘attunes’ the seeker’s mind to link with these supernatural power-currents."

It is significant that the prolonged repetition of the Gayatri has a cumulative effect on our bodies and our minds.  Our minds are sharper, our immune system is stronger, and our hearts are open.  When our energy centers, including our main Chakras, are activated by the vibrations of the Gayatri mantra, this has a positive and healing effect on our life force energy – on our Prana.

The Gayatri can be listened to, chanted, or even thought. There is power and potency in all three approaches.  Choose the approach that you are most comfortable with.

 

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