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Gayatri Mantra : Many Gayatri Mantra

Gayatri Mantra which is a prayer addressed to the Supreme God through the orb of the Sun is the first Mantra in Gayatri meter.  The word Gayatri indicates not only the meter of the Mantra but also the Mantra (Saavitri Mantra) itself. At the request of the Devtaa the meter Gayatri took the form of a bird (Suparn) and brought Som juice to the world - they say. This is to indicate that this prayer is capable of giving us Amritatwa (immortality). The word Gayatri has metamorphosed from the Vaidik meter to the Mantra and later to Ved Maataa (goddess).

Gayatri has three aspects:-
(1) Gayatri - feminine counterpart of Brahmaa (associated with the morning Sun) - Representing Rig Ved
(2) Saavitri - Feminine counterpart of Vishnu (associated with the mid day Sun) - Representing Yajur Ved
(3) Saraswatee - Feminine counterpart of Rudra Associated with the evening Sun) - Representing Saam Ved

The Dhyaan Shlok describes her with five faces, ten arms carrying lotuses, discuss, Shankh, Chakra, trident, skull cap, goad, rope and Ahbaya and Varad Mudraa, seated on a lotus (refer Devee Bhaagvat, 12.3). The Mantra has three parts - Vyaahriti, Mantra proper and the Gayatri Shiras.

Gayatri Mantra is known to be the greatest Mantra. The Rishi of the yore composed different Mantra on the same meter as that of Gayatri on different manifestations of God. There are Nava Graha Gayatri also devoted to all the nine planets. Mahaa Naaraayan Upanishad gives various Gayatri Mantra for Upaasanaa. The names of twenty of them are given below. These twenty Gayatri Mantra are apart from the Vaidik Gayatri Mantra - Aum Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayaat. Read all these 24 Gayatri Mantra here.

(1) Shiv Gayatri (2) Brahmaa Gayatri (3) Kaam Dev Gayatri
(4) Ganesh Gayatri (5) Hanumaan Gayatri (6) Yam Gayatri
(7) Narasinh Gayatri (8) Hansaa Gayatri (9) Soorya Gayatri
(10) Naaraayan Gayatri (11) Mahaalakshmee Gayatri (12) Agni Gayatri
(13) Vishnu Gayatri (14) Durgaa Gayatri (15) Varun Gayatri
(16) Raam Gayatri (17) Kaalee or Devee Gayatri (18) Indra Gayatri
(19) Krishn Gayatri (20) Pushan Gayatri* (21) Sarp Gayatri

20* Pushan, the wife of Ganapati, also called Vaidik Devee, nourishes living beings. She is also a Maatrikaa (Maarkandeya Puraan, xxii, 13). Pushti is also a title of the Devee (Lalitaa Sahastra Naam, verse 94). This Gayatri Mantra is called Brahm Vidyaa Gayatri Mantra.

** There is a Pashu Gayatri also - "Pashu Paashaaya Vidmahe, Vishwa Karmane Dheemahi, Tanno Jeevah Prachodayaat". This Mantra is used in Devee worship. (Mahaanirvaan Tantra, p 121)

Vaidik Gayatri Mantra
The [correct] name of this Mantra is Saavitree Mantra. That is how it is referred to in Rishi Nyaas, probably because the Devtaa's name we use in Dhyaan and Aavaahan.

Saavitryaa Rishi: Vishwaamitra:, Nichrit Gaayatree Chhanda:, Savitaa Devtaa

The Vaidik Gayatri Mantra derives its name from the meter in which it is written, the Gayatri, being a Vaidik poetic meter of 24 syllables which, as per tradition, is authored by the sage Vishwaamitra. The Mantra consists of three sections (Pad) having eight syllables each and has to be recited in a particular cadence. Since this Mantra has been written in this way, it has been famous with this name only - otherwise there are many other Mantra also which are written in this Mantra style (Gayatri type of meter, see above), but they are not called Gayatri Mantra. Therefore the Gayatri Mantra is not a magic formula nor is merely a logical sentence. It connects the objective and subjective aspects of Reality in a very special way. It is neither a mere sound nor sheer magic.

Words have not only sound but also meaning which is not apparent to all those who simply hear the sound. Such living words have a power that can transcend the mental plane. To acquire this energy of the word one has to grasp not only its meaning but also its message, or its vibrations, as they are sometimes called in order. Therefore the phonetic quality of the Mantra demands that it be recited in a particular way. Faith, understanding and physical utterance as well as physical continuity (since the Mantra is supposed to be handed down by a master) are the essential requisites. Every word links up with the source of all words. The ultimate character of the Word (Shabd Brahm) is a fundamental concept in spirituality.

The Gayatri Mantra is written for Gayatri. It has a Vaidik meter of 24 syllables - 3 lines of 8 syllables each.  Surprisingly enough this Mantra is found in all the four Ved.

Om Bhoor Bhuvah Swah
Tat Savitur Varenyam,    Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi,   Dhiyo Yona: Prachodayaat

In this Mantra the first line is of Vyaahriti, and other three lines are of 8 syllables each making up 24 letters. This Mantra was constructed by Muni Vishwaamitra Jee. It is said in Shree Mad Bhaagvat Puraan that only the twice-born Braahman can do its Jaap or can recite it, but many people see it differently. They say that since this Mantra is to worship Soorya Dev (the Sun god), and anybody can worship Soorya Dev, so anybody can recite it.

The intrinsic message of the Gayatri Mantra engulfs a wide number of ideals such as what the Eesh Upanishad says:

Yastu sarvaani bhootanyatmanayay vamu
Pashyeti sarv bhooteshu cha aatmanam tato na
Vijugupsate yasiman sarvaani
Bhootanyaatmyvbhdi janatah tatra ko moh kah
Shoka: ekatwa manu pashytah

"He who sees all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures, does not show abhorrence to any one; knowing all beings to be one's own-self and seeing the unity of man-kind, how can there be for him delusions, sufferings and sorrows".

There is another version of the same Mantra in the traditional full Gayatri Chhand - by modifying Varenyam to Vareniyam. This version of Mantra which still has Gayatri Chhand is used only for Hom or Yagya.

Where It is Found
This Mantra is found in 3 out of 4 Ved, 4 times, although in different versions.
Rig Ved - 3-62-10 - Begins with "Tat Savitur Varenyam..."
Yajur Ved - 22-9 - Begins with "Aum Bhoor Bhuvah Swah:..."
Yajur Ved - 36-3 - Begins with "Bhoor Bhuvah Swah:..."
Saam Ved - 13-1462 Begins with "Tat Savitur Varenyam..."
Taittireeya Sanhitaa -
Taittireya Aranyakaa - 1.11.12
Vaajsaneyee Sanhitaa - 3.35;  22.9;  30.2;  36.3

Taittireeya Sanhitaa -
Aitareya Braahman - 13.25  to  13-28 --- extols the greatness of the meter

Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra
Bhoo - Prithvi
Bhuvah - Aakaash
Swah - Swarg
Tat - that
Savitar - the Sun
Varenyam - the adorable
Bhargo - effulgence
Devasya - God
Dheemahi - we meditate upon
Dhiyo - intellect
Yonah - our
Prachodayaat - enlightens

We meditate on the glory of the effulgent Sun God who enlightens our intellect.

Aum Bhoor Bhuvah Swa:,   Tat Savitur Varenyam
That splendid magnificence of Saavitree, the Cosmic Sun permeating the three worlds, the Earth, the Space and the Heavens is assuredly Saavitree; the inspirer, life giver, the stimulative force".
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
May we meditate on the life giving divinity, Saavitree assuredly is God, and therefore I meditate on his splendor.

Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayaat
May He himself illumine our intelligence. May He himself breath it into us".

From the meaning of this Mantra, it seems that it is the prayer for knowledge

Shankh Smriti says about Gayatri Mantra that - "Narrating about the importance of Gayatri Mantra, the Ved say - A chanter of Gayatri Mantra attains the desired world (Lok) and the desired object. "Gayatri" is the mother of the Ved and destroyer of the sin.

For chanting, Gayatri Mantra is considered to be the best and for performing a "Hom" or "Havan" (offerings made to the sacrificial fire), Vyaahriti Havan is the best. Chanting of Gayatri Mantra for 108 times eliminates the sins which are committed daily, knowingly or unknowingly. Chanting of the Gayatri Mantra for 1,100 times (11 Maalaa) eliminates all the sins and chanting it for 10,000 times (110 Maalaa) gives salvation.

Who Can Chant Gayatri Mantra?

Gayatri is a universal symbol, it is for everybody. It can be chanted by anybody. It is best chanted with Praanaayaam, in the morning during sunrise, and in the evening during sunset with an empty stomach. The Sandhyaa Vandan routine is the best for Gayatri Jap since it obeys many injunctions like paying obeisance to various Rishi to whom this Mantra was revealed.

Shruti (Ved) says "na Gaayatreeya Paramo Mantrah" (there is no other Mantra greater than Gayatri) , "Gaayatrischhandasam Mate idam Brahm" (Gayatri is the Mother of all Mantra).

Gayatri has to be chanted with Vyaahriti(s) - Bhooh, Bhvah, Swah - where
Bhooh - from which emerged Rig Ved and the Devtaa - for Bhuh is Agni
Bhuvah - from which Yajur Ved emerged and the respective Devtaa (Vaayu)
SwaH - from which Saam Ved emerged and the respective Devtaa (Aaditya)
(this is as per Taitteeryopanishad - First Prashn)
OM precedes Vyaahriti(s).

Three Pad of Gayatri represent Rig, Yajur and Saam Ved in that order.

Now, if some one asks what is the logic behind Bhooh, Bhuvah, Swah, representing a branch of Ved or the Devtaa, we have to tell that person there is no proof in theory but exists when practiced. This is similar to as one who has never known Laddoo, nor heard of it, on making an inquiry based on logic will never understand or it is impossible to prove the sweetness of Laddoo accurately; here the only way to prove is to make this person eat Laddoo to understand its taste, form and sweetness.

Like wise Om represents Brahm and from Om all Charaachar (living and non-living beings) have emerged. If one ridicules by logic that sound cannot create an object, the only way to prove is to ask that person to meditate on Om to find oneself; or the Vyaahriti when meditated only can be proved not otherwise; while Gayatri, the whole Mantra, representing the Brahm Shakti (here it is awareness of its existence) cannot be proved in theory by logic, for this one has to be experienced. Even a million times of repeating the meaning of Gayatri cannot make one understand Gayatri but when Gayatri is meditated (Upaasanaa) upon, one will understand whatever is told by Ved about Gayatri is very right.

Therefore, Mantra are experiential and are not mere words. No Rishi has ever claimed that he is the author of a Mantra or will; while they were in deep contemplation Mantra existing in Aakaash flashed to them. Again if one wants a proof (for flash of Mantra) or logic or theoretical proof, it is not possible but one can experience it in Saadhanaa.

Why this lacuna? because Mantra are beyond mental comprehension, like the sweetness of Laddoo, but can be experienced. Proof of pudding is in the eating and not in logic theory. But is God experiential? the answer is No. God is not an object but is the subject and no duality is possible. The seeming duality is its power of Awareness manifested for us, the un-realized, as Maayaa which cannot be said either existing nor non-existing. It is like this: when we pass out a degree course primary school is not necessary for us while primary school still exists for the sake of future boys. So for a PhD holder, primary school is non existing while for the future students a primary school is still existing to go towards PhD degree. Similarly for those who are aware of the Self as Aatmaa, world doesn't exist and is a dream, but while for those who are not in that level world still exists.

In case of experiential proof no theoretical proof is possible and those who search for logical proof will miserably fail. They are ignorant and not to be taken seriously as they do not practice for experiential as proof. Sa-Gun Upaasanaa, Nir-Gun Upaasanaa, Bhakti, Karm and Gyaan all are in-built in Sandhyaa Vandan and this is the reason nothing will work without Sandhyaa worship. The State of Brahm is in Sandhi (like morning, noon and evening) aptly explained in Taitteerya Upanishad first Prashn.

Let us seek and NOT research; seeking is practical and experiencing fruits while research is partly beneficial up to the point of conviction; and once practiced at a certain point research will automatically cease and seeking alone will remain. That is the reason Krishn said about the Karm Yog in Geetaa, with fruits surrendered to Him and Bhakti for no benefits, will automatically lift one to Gyaan Yog like we leave the primary school automatically when we are done with it, while it is still required for others.


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Created on Oct 14, 2000 and Updated on Tuesday, August 27, 2013
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