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Gayatri Mantra and Upanayan Sanskaar
By Sushma Gupta
[Taken from "US Brahmins" Group, Apr 8, 2012]

Gayatri is a Vaidik Chhand (meter) like other meters - Ushnik, Anushtabh, Brihatee, Trishtubh etc.,
The famous Saavitree Mantra revealed to sage Vishwaamitra was the first Mantra in the Gayatri meter. Thus Gayatri not only denotes the meter, but also the Mantra. It also denotes the deity or the goddess of that Mantra. Gayatri Mantra is a prayer addressed to the supreme God through the Sun god.

The goddess has three aspects - Gayatri, Saavitree and Saraswatee - feminine counterparts of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Rudra - associated with the Sun in the morning, midday and evening.

The Dhyaan Shlok describes Gayatri in a different way sitting on a lotus - with five faces, ten arms carrying lotuses, discuss, Shankh, Chakra, Trident, skull cap, goad, rope and Ahbaya and Varad Mudraa.

The Gayatri Mantra has three parts - Vyaahriti, Mantra proper and the Gayatri Shiras.
The actual meaning of the mantra is this: "We meditate upon the effulgence of God, the Creator. May He guide our intellects." Later many Gayatri Mantra have been created for several Deities, like Raam, Krishn, Shiv, Ganapati etc etc. See them here. Reference may also be mentioned to Mahaa Naaraayan Upanishad wherein various Gayatri Mantra for Upaasanaa are mentioned.

According to Ashwalaayan, Parabrahm converted Nature as a rope with three strands and occupied it as Brahmaa, Vishnu and Maheshwar based on their jobs of creation, sustenance and destruction.

He wore the thread himself too and so, the three Lok, the three Ved, the three Agni (Gaarhapatya, Aavaahaneeya and Daakshnaatya), the three Varn (Braahman, Kshatriya and Vaishya) all of them took it.

The knot (Granthi) was taken by Pranava (OM) with its tip being the seat of Saavitree, the Ved Maataa.

It is also called Janivaara (jani praadurbhaavam, vaarayati-nivaarayati- it avoids Punar-janma)

Wearing the sacred thread is to obtain brilliance, memory and celibacy. (Tejas, Ojas, Medhaa and Brahmacharya).

The thread which has three strands given with the proper Mantra hangs from the left shoulder.
It indicates purity of body, speech and mind and represents Deekshaa to perform Vaidik rituals.

Gaayatri Mantra (actually it is Saavitree Mantra) in the Vaidik Meter known as Gayatri is addressed to Savitra or Savitaa (God) identified with Sun.
It protects the one who chants it (Gaayakam Traayate).
Teaching this Mantra is the heart of the whole of Upanayan Sanskaar.

Gayatri Mantra is the most universal, non personal holy prayer which can be used by any person belonging to any country irrespective of race, religion or sex.
It is known by its vibrations.
It is a friend that helps the mind become one pointed and slowly it leads us to a deeper state of silence, to the centre of consciousness within.
It is a spiritual seed sown in the soil of the self.
As a therapeutic guide, it leads us through the various levels of being and finally to the unity between individual and the cosmic consciousness.
Mental recitation of the Mantra (Jap) awakens energy vibrations in the mind field.


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