View Full Version : Gayatri Mahatmya

21 November 2010, 06:14 AM
I am opening this thread solely for the collection of information on the greatness of the Gayatri Mantra. Please, don't use this thread for debates. If you would like, you can use this thread to post shlokas on Gayatri or links to other material or contemplate on the material posted..

21 November 2010, 06:31 AM
गायत्री प्रकृतिर्ग़्येय ओङ्कारः पुरुष स्मृत
ताभ्यामुभाभ्यां संयोगाज्जगत्सर्व प्रवर्त्तते
gāyatrī prakṛtirġyeya oṅkāraḥ puruṣa smṛta
tābhyāmubhābhyāṁ saṁyogājjagatsarva pravarttate
"The gayatri is known as prakriti, omkara as purusha. When they come together, the entire universe is created."
(brihad yogi yajnavalkya samhita)

गयत्री साऽभवत् पत्नी प्रणवोऽभूत पतिस्तदा।
पुनरन्योन्दाम्पत्यादिति ताभ्यामभूज्जगत्॥
gayatrī sā'bhavat patnī praṇavo'bhūta patistadā|
punaranyondāmpatyāditi tābhyāmabhūjjagat||
"Gayatri became the wife and the pranava her husband, from both the universe came to existence." (brihad parashara smriti)

सर्ववेदसारभुता गयत्रयास्तु समर्चना।
ब्रह्मादयोपि सन्ध्यायां तां ध्यायन्ति जपन्ति च॥
sarvavedasārabhutā gayatrayāstu samarcanā|
brahmādayopi sandhyāyāṁ tāṁ dhyāyanti japanti ca||
"the worship of gayatri is the essence of the vedas. Even the gods like brahma meditate and do japa of her mantra during Sandhya.

Eastern Mind
21 November 2010, 07:50 AM
Vannakkam: There is a nice little teen reader book meant for American audiences titled 'Ganesh' . Bosse, I think was the author's name. The storyline is that this young chap is an American raised in India with his searching parents but they die and he has to return to live with his Grandmother. So he has an Indian Hindu subconscious and has to deal with the culture shock of America, yet nobody in his peer group knows it because of skin colour. One of the things he does is chant the Gayatri under his breath a lot when the culture shock is kind of overwhelming. Sahasranama, for some reason the thread made me remember this book. It was the most 'Hindu' children's book we had in our library, to be sure.


Aum Namasivaya

21 November 2010, 08:04 AM
The very first time that I visited the Ashram and heard the Gayatri Mantra I had the most amazing experience. It was so beautiful that I felt shivers up and down my spine in a way that I have never felt before.


21 November 2010, 08:43 AM
Nice to hear that there is a children's book with a positive look on Hinduism. Maybe I'll pick it up some day for curiousity's sake.

The very first time that I visited the Ashram and heard the Gayatri Mantra I had the most amazing experience. It was so beautiful that I felt shivers up and down my spine in a way that I have never felt before.

Good to hear, the gayatri is a very powerful mantra.


Harjas Kaur
21 November 2010, 10:40 AM
Very beautiful and informative thread!~

21 November 2010, 12:49 PM
hariḥ oṁ


gāyatrī - you will also see it as gāyatrá
hymn composed in the gāyatrī metre.
name of a sāman;
consisting in or connected with the gāyatrī e.g. in accordance with the number of syllables of a gāyatrī verse 3 x 8 = 24
A wealth of gāyatrī posts for those that adore this hymn:


http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1935&highlight=gayatri (http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=1935&highlight=gayatri)

All glory to Him that breathes out the ved ( brahmā); gāyatrī verse is also personified as goddess , the wife of brahmā and mother of the four vedas.


29 December 2010, 04:48 AM
Dear Friend,

I had posted the same reply in a different forum and as I found this informative thread here also, I would like to share the same information regarding the Gayatri Mantra here also...

In order to get some more information, lets quickly summarise the background information..
- The Vedas are in the language called "Samskrutha" or "Sanskrit"
- The Vedic Sanskrit(which differs slightly with the current Sanskrit based on rules of Panini and Patanjali) has the following rules or meters. These meters are called "chandas". "Chandas" is a rule or a protocol defined in the Sanskrit grammar, which specifies the way in which the hymns are actually written.

- A Chandas of any specific mantra or hymn specifies the "number of lines[Pada]" and "number of syllables per line"

The prominent "chandas" used to write the "Vedas" are

Name of the Chandas : Gayatri
Number of Lines : 3
Number of syllables per line : 8 + 8 + 8
Total syllables : 24

The other prominant Vedis chandas are

Lets not get into the details of Sanskrit grammar(or the controversies related with it) as that is not what we are discussing here.

Now, coming to the "mantra" under discussion, Bramha Rishi Vishwamitra composed a very powerful "mantra" addressing it to "Savita" in the "Gayatri chandas[8+8+8]" and hence the real name of this mantra is the "Savitur mantra" composed in "Gayatri chandas". The mantra which is present in the Rig Veda is as follows

"ta-t sa-vi-tu-rva-re-nyam"
"bhar-go de-va-sya dhe-ma-hi"
"dhi-yo yo-nah pra-cho-dha-yaat"

The first line "Om bhur bhuva svuah" is actually added(as a Vyahrti) according to the rules of "Taitareeya Aaranyaka" or "Taitareeya Upanishad" of "Yajur Veda".

Now, the question is who is "Savita" and why "Savitur mantra" and what makes it so powerful and what is the meaning of this mantra...

Answers are again very simple
- who is "Savita"
- Savita is yet another name of the "Sun". The Sun God has many names which include "Aditya, Savita, Surya, Anshuman, Pusha, Maartanda, Bhaskara, Ravi, etc....(please refer to Aditya Hrudaya for other names)"

- why "Savita"
- For us humans, who live on this planet called "Bhumi"[earth], Sun or Surya or Savitur is considered as the "Parabramha[Ultimate supreme soul]" swaroopa[form]. He is the one who is visible to us, He is the one who gives us energy[and that is the reason why people work during day time as there is constant energy supply from Him]. He is the food provider as photosynthesis is impossible without His energy. He is the one due to whom moon provides energy at a subtle level during night.He gives us energy[its due to the ultraviolet rays emitted by the Sun, the human body gets the natural Vitamin D ]He is the one who enlightens us as the energy from Him allows us to get up and do our daily work. He is Bramha, Vishnu and Parameshwara personified[as mentioned in the Aditya Hrudaya].

Now lets understand the meaning of the mantra...
The first line of this Savitur mantra which says

"Om Bhur Bhuva Suvah"

According to Vedas in our Sanathana dharma(which is purely scientific and logical), the entire Universe is divided into 14 regions or Lokas [Athala, Vithala,
Suthala, Talaatala, Rasatala, Mahaatala, Paathala, Bhu loka, Bhuvar loka, Suvar loka,
Mahar loka, Janar loka,Tapa loka, and Sathya loka]

The Puranic texts give beautiful yet scientific explanation of these lokas. Lets understand the three mentioned in this mantra.

The Bhu Loka: The planet earth where we live
The Bhuvar Loka: The Solar system
The Suvar Lokar: The region till the polar star(or the Dhruva Nakshatra). This is also near the Ursa Minor and Ursa Major[the Saptha Rishi mandala][almost the milky way galaxy]

The second line of the mantra says

"Tat Savitur Varenyam"

Combining the first two lines, we have

"Om Bhur Bhuva Suvah"
"Tat Savitur Varenyam"

To that "Sun" whose rays extend or reaches the earth, the solar system and till the point where the polar star is present, we pray
[It has been scientifically also discovered that Sun is among one of the brightest stars of Milky way galaxy and the rays reach as far as the polar star]

"bhargo devasya dheemahi"
"dheyo yonah prachodayat"

The term life which is materialistic is always made up of materialistic joy and sorrow. One is ever bound by the results of the duty and instead of giving up the results, we on the contrary are more attracted towards it. The result oriented approach is such a faulty one, because when we perform any action or duty, we start "hoping" for the "best". The term best already means we expect a fair amount of "success" from anything we do. The term hope leads to "anxiety" and "curiosity" regarding the result. Once we get to know about the result we fall into two categories
- if the result is success, then we feel "joy", and slowly this "joy" gives birth to the term "desire" and "lust" as the taste of success "motivates" one to desire for more "success"...and when "desire" sets in, it automatically gives birth to "pride"...and pride always comes along with "ego"...and with "ego" ruling the mind, one is sure to fall down as "ego" is the root cause for the term "competition"..and once "competition" exists, the terms "rank" and "status" begin to flourish and man, forgets everything, becomes selfish and starts hurting people, committing sins and falls down....
- if the result is failure, "frustration" starts to emerge as "hope" was persistent earlier... and this leads to "anger"...and when mind is slave of "anger", there is no control over anything..and due on "anger", the term "revenge" begins to creep in and with "revenge", all negative things flow in automatically and again man commits mistakes and falls down....

The reason for above explanation is that, all the above are experienced by us only when the mind, controlled by the senses starts to suppress the intellect in us. The cause for all this is the "lack of knowledge" as ignorance and knowledge cannot co-exist...and hence we pray to that "Savitur" to help us gain the true knowledge which helps us remove the darkness in us. This knowledge needs to be gained by our intellect or "budhi" or "dhe" and with real knowledge, the mind and the senses can be always controlled ... so the next question is what and where is this knowledge.

"Yat vid iti Veda"...Whatever that is knowledge is Veda...and Sri Gayatri Godess is knowledge personified, She is the term "Vidya" or knowledge, She is the Ultimate reality and Hence while chanting the "Savitur Gayatri" mantra, one needs to concentrate the mind, request the Sun to give us that energy to enlighten our intellect and surrender ourselves completely to Godess Gayatri and gain the real knowledge...

30 December 2010, 10:55 AM
hariḥ oṁ

namasté SanathanaDharma

The prominent "chandas" used to write the "Vedas" are

Name of the Chandas : Gayatri
Number of Lines : 3
Number of syllables per line : 8 + 8 + 8
Total syllables : 24

Please be aware that chandas ( which has several meanings¹) is meter. Meter is the instruction for how a hymn is to be sung or chanted. How a hymn is written-down is another story and gets into grammar ( which we can pursue if you wish).

You are correct that gāyatrī has 8 phonemes ( ~syllables~) per stanza, ~per line ~. Let me ask you why is 8 significant?

You were kind enough list out 7 types of meter ( chandas) e.g. gāyatrí and triṣṭúbh , etc. What is your opinion on an 8th meter virāj ?



chandas - is considered metrical science; yet other definitions are offered:
intention , purport
desire , longing for , will

08 January 2011, 12:42 PM
If I recall Swami Chinmayananda mentioned an added fourth line that is rarely heard. Where does that line come from?

08 January 2011, 12:43 PM
If I recall Swami Chinmayananda mentioned an added fourth line that is rarely heard. Where does that line come from?

The fourth line is called the turiya gayatri, this comes from the brihadaranyaka upanisad (paro rajase savadom).

08 January 2011, 02:54 PM
The fourth line is called the turiya gayatri, this comes from the brihadaranyaka upanisad (paro rajase savadom).

Thanks for the information.

What does the 4th line mean and why is the 3 line version the one most used?

11 January 2011, 11:10 AM
Namaste all,

I have found the Gayatri mantra to be the most powerful of all mantras.

This website has an abundance of information about the Gayatri and its importance.


Om Namah Sivaya

13 January 2011, 08:18 PM
hariḥ oṁ


Per Sahasranama 's note above we know the gāyatrī is 3 footed ( 3 pada). Yet the bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad ( some write bṛhadaraṇyakopaniṣad ),gāyatrī brāhmaṇa says, that ( 3 footed gāyatrī) rests on the 4th. What of this 4th? it is not spokenš .



not spoken or it is anirukta, unuttered , not articulated , unspeakable

13 January 2011, 09:05 PM
hariḥ oṁ


we know the gāyatrī is 3 footed ( 3 pada). Yet the bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad ( some write bṛhadaraṇyakopaniṣad ),gāyatrī brāhmaṇa says, that ( 3 footed gāyatrī) rests on the 4th. What of this 4th? it is not spoken.

Lets go now to the chāndogya upaniṣad to finish our triangulation on this matter:

saiṣā catūṣpadā ṣaḍvidhā gāyatrī tad etad ṛcābhyanūktaṁ || 5

The śloka says, this gāyatrī is 4 footed (catūṣpadā) and 6 fold (ṣaḍvidhā).

So the chāndogya upaniṣad cooberates gāyatrī being 4 footed, but now what is this 6 folded-ness?


14 January 2011, 11:50 AM
hariḥ oṁ


The śloka says, this gāyatrī is 4 footed (catūṣpadā) and 6 fold (ṣaḍvidhā).&

Yet the bṛhadaraṇyaka upaniṣad ( some write bṛhadaraṇyakopaniṣad ),gāyatrī brāhmaṇa says, that ( 3 footed gāyatrī) rests on the 4th.

Is this something the HDF reader wishes to know about ? Something I sould pursue , or are we okay with where we are at?


15 January 2011, 11:21 AM
hariḥ oṁ


Since we are fine with the (catūṣpadā) and 6 fold (ṣaḍvidhā) of gāyatrī ,let me if I may ask this.

ओं तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं |
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Om̐ tat saviturvareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi |
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt ||

different translations ( my personal translation excluded):

This of Savitri, to be chosen; the splendor of the god we meditate on; who should stir up our thoughts.
We meditate on that adorable light of the divine Savitri who should rouse our thoughts.
We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds In each case the translation is plural i.e. 'we' and 'our'¹ is part of the mantra. Yet it is a singular person ( me ) that is using and exercising this mantra. What are your thoughts on why many translations offer a plural verson? That is, the grouping of us all into this hymn ?


many times you will see dhīmahi defined as "may we attain" ; If we look at the wording it says the following:

dhī - is religious thought , reflection , meditation , devotion , prayer ; splendor ; religious thought , reflection ,
dhīyate , to contain , hold
dhā - bring, take hold; ~ to attain~
mahī - great , strong , powerful mighty , abundant ; of a divine being;

13 August 2011, 12:49 AM
gAyatrI mantra: A comprehensive compilation
Here is a comprehensive--but not exhaustive--compilation of the text, meaning and mahiman--greatness/power of the gAyatrI mantra.

It should be remembered that from the time the gAyatrI was first listed in Rg veda 3.62.10, the mantra has evolved in a rich tradition of satsangha from our gurus, for specific requirements of japa homa dhyAna, and that no interpretation can fully express its potency, which is realized in varying degrees of spiritual advancement and benefits, by people who chant the mantra with shraddha--sincerity and faith.

Three popular invocations

The gAyatrI mantra has three popular invocations: gAyatrI proper, gAyatrI popular and gAyatrI in prANAyAma.

• The gAyatrI proper has the text:

तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

tat savitur vareNyaM bhargo devasya dhImahi |
dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt ||

• Chanted with the three mahA vyAhRutis--manifest worlds, the gAyatrI becomes (which is the popular version):

ॐ भूर् भुव सुवः ।
तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यम् ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥ ॐ ॥

oum bhUr bhuva suvaH |
tat savitur vareNyam |
bhargo devasya dhImahi |
dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt || oum ||
--Baraha transliteration

• Chanted with the sapta vyAhRutis--seven manifest worlds, the gAyatrI becomes (which is used in prANAyAma):

ॐ भूः । ॐ भुवः । ओँ सुवः । ॐ महः ।
ॐ जनः । ॐ तपः । ओँ सत्यम् ।
ॐ तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यम्
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो न प्रचोदयात् ॥
ओमापो-ज्योती-रसोऽमृतं-ब्रह्म भूर्भुवस्सुवरॊम् ॥

oum bhUH | oum bhuvaH | o~M suvaH | oum mahaH |
oum janaH | oum tapaH | o~M satyam |
oum tat savitur vareNyam
bhargo devasya dhImahi |
dhiyo yo na prachodayAt ||
omApo-jyotI-raso&mRutaM-brahma bhUrbhuvassuvarOm ||
--Baraha transliteration


Three popular interpretations

The three invocations of the gAyatrI are usually interpreted as follows:

• gAyatrI proper

tat savitur vareNyam:
That (tat or Brahmam) which creates and vivifies everything (savitur) is the best for worship (vareNyam).

bhargo devasya dhImahi:
light (bhargo) of the divine (devasya), let us meditate on (dhImahi).

dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt:
that which (yo) kindles and inspires (prachodayAt) our (na) intellect (dhiyo)

• gAyatrI popular

That which remains as AUM, the praNava mantra, and as the three worlds (bhuH, bhuvaH and suvaH), kindles our intellect (buddhi). It is the divine light (as of the sun) of tat (Brahmam) which creates and vivifies everything, and is the best for us to worship (vareNyam). Let us meditate (dhImahi) on this divine light.

• gAyatrI in prANAyAma

The seven worlds are only Brahman, denoted by AUM. We meditate on the excellent light of Ishvara who kindles from inside our intellectual actions, in order that the right wisdom arises in us. That same Brahman denoted by AUM is what appears as water, light, taste and nectar. The three words, namely this earth, astral world and the heavens are indeed Brahman, denoted by AUM.

• Agastya maharShi has given the common meaning of gAyatrI thus:

यो देवः सवितास्माकं धियो धर्मादिजोचराः ।
प्रेरयेत् तस्य यद्भर्गः तत्वरेण्यम् उपास्महे ॥

yo devaH savitAsmAkaM dhiyo dharmAdijocharAH |
prerayet tasya yadbhargaH tatvareNyam upAsmahe ||

We meditate on the excellent light of the deva called SavitA who directs our intellect towards the ways of dharma.


Chanting gAyatrI

1. The gAyatrI should be chanted as five parts, with four passes, thus:
AUM | bhUr bhuva suvaH | tat savitur vareNyam | bhargo devasya dhImahi | dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt AUM ||

2. Specific care should be taken to follow the svara marks in the Sanskrit version of the mantra. Here is an image of the mantra with the svara notations:
Here is an audio version of the mantra chanted with svaras:

3. When doing gAyatrI japam, the meaning of the mantra should be contemplated. The japam must be preceded by a saMkalpam and a count is always maintained, either using a japamAla or the knuckles of the right hand. The person in gAyatrI japam should sit erect and still and should not let the mind wander outside the scope of the mantra.

4. The gAyatrI proper should never be chanted in isolation in gAyatrI japam. It is ordained that the gAyatrI should be chanted with the praNavam and the vyAhRutis, and that the chanting should be done in nitya-karma--daily religious routine and in prAyashchittam--atonement.


13 August 2011, 12:49 AM
gAyatrI in our shAstras

With VishvAmitra maharShi as the mantra dRShTa--seer of the mantra, gAyatrI first occurs as below in Rg veda 3.62.10:

तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

tat savitur vareNyaM (1) bhargo devasya dhImahi | (2)
dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt || (3)

Prof.R.L.Kashyap in his translation of the Rg veda (SAKSI publication), offers the following translation and explanations about the gAyatrI here and in other Vedic texts.

3.62.10: We meditate on the divine splendour (bhargaH)(2), of SavitRu, who is supremely desirable (vareNya) and is That One (tat)(1). May he activate our thoughts towards wisdom (3).

• Mantras RV 3.62.10 to 3.62.12 are addressed to the deva SavitRu, the spiritual Sun: SavitRu is not the physical Sun seen in the sky, but the supreme Effulgence in the highest firmament above, beyond the lower triple creation.

• The physical Sun is taken as the image of the Truth-Sun, the Centre of all Knowledge and radiating Power. It is the radiance issuing from the Supreme Source in which is massed all the creative movement of the Uncreate that is the ultimate root of all movements in the creation. Let that light motivate and energize our thought-movements, says the RShi.


Variants of the gAyatrI mantra
a. The Savitar mantra in the Yajur veda: VS(36.3), KYTS(

While the last three lines of the mantra here are the same as those in the vishvAmitra gAyatrI of the Rg veda, the first line is:

भूर्भुवः स्वः

bhUrbhuvaH svaH

• With 27 syllables in the entire mantra here, the metre becomes uShNik, not gAyatrI.

• The meaning of the first (additional) line is:
"May we become aware of the three planes in us."

• The three worlds bhUH, bhuvaH and svaH in this line are the three worlds/planes of consciousness in each one of us: bhUH the plane of physical matter, bhuvaH the plane of life-energies or prANa and svar or svaH the plane of mental energies and the higher spiritual intelligence.

• One should become aware or conscious of these three plances in ourselves at first. Then the other three lines, beginning with tat savitur vareNyaM are chanted.


b. Variants of the main mantra

• Some persons of KRShNa Yajur veda school, replace the word svaH by suvaH, so the first line becomes:

ॐ भूर्भुवः सुवः

oum bhUrbhuvaH suvaH

• In some booklets, the word vareNyam is replaced by vareNiyam, to make, with that modification, the gAyatrI proper beginning with tat savitur to have exactly 24 syllables.

• But the Rg veda samhitA states that the metre is nichRut gAyatrI, that is, the gAyatrI metre with less than 24 syllables.

• But all the elaborate error-correcting methods of chanting the Rg veda (3.62.10), called aShTa-vikRtis declare that the correct word is vareNyam.


c. Extended mantra used in prANAyAmam

ॐ भूः । ॐ भुवः । ओँ सुवः । ॐ महः ।
ॐ जनः । ॐ तपः । ओँ सत्यम् ।
ॐ तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यम्
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो न प्रचोदयात् ॥
ओमापो-ज्योती-रसोऽमृतं-ब्रह्म भूर्भुवस्सुवरॊम् ॥

oum bhUH | oum bhuvaH | o~M suvaH | oum mahaH | (1)
oum janaH | oum tapaH | o~M satyam | (2)
oum tat savitur vareNyam
bhargo devasya dhImahi | (3)
dhiyo yo na prachodayAt || (4)
omApo-jyotI-raso&mRutaM-brahma bhUrbhuvassuvarOm || (5)
--Baraha transliteration

Om Earth, Om mid world, Om Heaven, Om the realm of supermind (1), Om Ananda world, Om the world of askesis, Om Truth (2). Om we meditate on the Adorable Light of that Divine Generator (3), who energizes our thoughts (4). Om, He is water, light, flavour, ambrosia and also the three worlds. He who is denoted by praNava is all these (5).

[This mantra is a prayer for activation of intelligence. How should the devotee use this power is the subject matter of the next two mantrAs.]

(to continue...)

14 August 2011, 08:04 AM
The greatness of the sUrya-savitRu: RV 5.81.1

Although the deity of the gAyatrI mantra in RV 3.62.10 is sUrya-savitri, this manDala does not gives more details on this deity.

• However, Rg veda has 8 complete sUkatas dedicated to SavitRu:
1.35, 4.53, 4.54, 5,81, 5.82, 6.71, 7.45, 10.139 and 10.149. One can use the epithets in these sUktas for meditating on the deity SavitRu.

• SUrya--Sun, is closely reltated to SavitRu. Whereas SUrya represents the static elements of creation, SavitRu represents the dynamical elements. About 65 mantras in RV are dedicated to SUrya. Among them are complete sUktas, namely, 1.50, 1.115, 10.37, 10.139, 10.158 and 10.170. Other manDalas have some mantras. In the 3rd manDala (where the gAyatri mantra occurs) there are no mantras to SUrya.

• Seer VashiShTha maharShi in RV 7.45.1 says:

आ देवो यातु सविता सुरत्नोऽन्तरिक्षप्रा वहमानो अश्वैः ।
हस्ते दधानो नर्या पुरूणि निवेशयञ्च प्रसुवञ्च भूम ॥ ७.०४५.०१ ॥

A devo yAtu savitA suratno&ntarikShaprA vahamAno ashvaiH |
haste dadhAno naryA purUNi niveshaya~jcha prasuva~jcha bhUma || 7.045.01 ||

7.045.01: SavitRu comes holding in his hand many human fulfilments, brings forth and establishes here the fullness of being.

• In RV 7.45.4 he says:

इमा गिरः सवितारं सुजिह्वं पूर्णगभस्तिमीळते सुपाणिम् ।
चित्रं वयो बृहदस्मे दधातु यूयं पात स्वस्तिभिः सदा नः ॥ ७.०४५.०४ ॥

imA giraH savitAraM sujihvaM pUrNagabhastimILate supANim |
chitraM vayo bRuhadasme dadhAtu yUyaM pAta svastibhiH sadA naH || 7.045.04 ||

7.045.04: May he establish for us a vast manifestation of being rich in content. May he always protect us with happy states of being.

• In RV 7.038.02 he says:

उदु तिष्ठ सवितः श्रुध्यस्य हिरण्यपाणे प्रभृतावृतस्य ।
व्युर्वीं पृथ्वीममतिं सृजान आ नृभ्यो मर्तभोजनं सुवानः ॥ ७.०३८.०२ ॥

udu tiShTha savitaH shrudhyasya hiraNyapANe prabhRutAvRutasya |
vyurvIM pRuthvImamatiM sRujAna A nRubhyo martabhojanaM suvAnaH || 7.038.02 ||

7.038.02: Rise up, O SavitRu, you are releasing the splendour over the wide earth. May you grant mortal enjoyments in men.

• The seer of RV 5.081.01 is RShi ShyAvAkShva Atraya, a son of the well known RShi Atri. This mantra is in jagati metre with 4 lines of 12 letters each. This mantra is quoted by shvetAshvatara upaniShad 2.2.

युञ्जते मन उत युञ्जते धियो विप्रा विप्रस्य बृहतो विपश्चितः ।
वि होत्रा दधे वयुनाविदेक इन्मही देवस्य सवितुः परिष्टुतिः ॥ ५.०८१.०१ ॥

yu~jjate mana uta yu~jjate dhiyo viprA (1) viprasya bRuhato vipashchitaH | (2)
vi hotrA dadhe vayunAvideka (3) inmahI devasya savituH pariShTutiH || 5.081.01 || (4)

[b]The illumined yoke their mind and they yoke their thoughts (1), to the the illumined godhead, to the vast, to the luminous consciousness (2).

• SUrya, with illuminations of Truth, enlightens the human mind, since he is vipra--the illumined.

• He delivers human mind from its limited consciousness of self and world, and enlarges the limited movement imposed thereby. So he is bRhat--the Large.

• It is not a vague light--his illumination. Nor does his largeness is realized by any confused and dissolved view of self and object. His illumination holds in itself a clear discernment of things, parts and relations in totality. So he is viprashchit--clear in the perception.

• Soon after they begin to receive something of this solar illlumination, men strive to yoke their mentality and thoughts to the conscious existence of the divine SUrya in them. In other words, they apply their obscure mind and erring thoughts to the light of their inner Sun, which clears the obscurity and puts truths in perspective. This yoking (yunjate) becomes their Yoga.

• [b]Knowing all phenomena (vayunAvit) he orders, sole, the Energies of the sacrifice (3). Great is the praise of Savitri, the creating Godhead (4).

• The Lord of the Truth then orders all human energies offered to him and becomes in man a sole and sovereign Power that governs all knowledge and action.

• With no conflicting agencies to interfere, he governs perfectly, for he knows all manifestations, comprehends their Causes, contains their law and process and compels their right result.

• Seven are the sacrificial energies (hotras) in the human being, with one to one correspondence to the seven constituents of his psychological existence: body, life, mind, supermind, bliss, will and essential being.

• Their erring actions and wrong relations caused by a Mind with obscured knowledge, is the source of all stumbling and unhappiness. SUrya puts each of them in its right place in the Sacrifice. 'Knower of the phenomena, sole, he arranges the sacrificial energies.'

Man thus arrives at a vast and all-embracing affirmation in himself of this divine Creator, which in turn, brings about a right and happy creation.

[For more information on SavitRu, check Essentials of Rig Veda (SAKSi).]

(to continue...)

16 August 2011, 08:18 AM
Meditation using the gAyatrI mantra: Hints of Brh.U.5.14

The gAyatrI mantra as given in RV 3.62.10 is the most popular in Vedic literature, which people often want to use in dhyAna--meditation.

• dhyAna is the investment of thought or intelligence (dhI). The anuvAka in bRhadAraNyaka upaniShad (5.14) gives some hints:

• Recalling the three pAdas--feet, of the gAyatrI, the first pAda is: tat savitur vareNyaM--That-one-SavitRu-adorable. Brh.U.5.14.1 states (Translations from the book published by Sri Ramakrishna Math]:

भूमिरन्तरिक्षं द्यौरित्यष्टावक्षराणि;
अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्,
एतदु हैवास्या एतत्;
स यावदेषु त्रिषु लोकेषु
तावद्ध जयति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद ॥ ५.१४.१ ॥

bhUmirantarikShaM dyaurityaShTAvakSharANi;
aShTAksharaM ha vA ekaM gAyatryai padam,
etadu haivAsyA etat;
sa yAvadeShu triShu lokeShu
tAvaddha jayati yo&syA etadevaM padaM veda || 5.14.1 ||

5.14.1: bhUmi--earth, antarikSha--sky/mid-world, and dhyaus--heaven together make eight syllables. The first foot of the gAyatrI (also) has verily eight syllables. Hence the first foot of the gAyatrI consists of these three worlds. He who knows the first foot of the gAyatrI as above wins whatever there is in these three worlds.

• As to why the triplet bhUH--earth, antarikSha--mid-world and dyauH--heaven, together have 8 syllables like the first pAda:

A part of the reason is in Brh.U.5.5.3. Imagine tat--That-one as the being in the solar orb, the spiritual Sun as we call it. Imagine bhUH as his head, bhuvar as the two arms, and svar as his feet.

Note that in the Brh.U. bhuvaH is the same as mid-world, and dyauH is the same as svar. Such an image can be sustained in mind for a very long time.

Brh.U.5.14.1 declares that this meditation wins all the three worlds because you are invoking simultaneously the spiritual Sun.

• The second pAda is: bhargo devasya dhImahi--we meditate on the splendour of the deity of SavitRu. Brh.U.5.14.2 states:

ऋचो यजूंषि सामानीत्यष्टावक्षराणि;
अष्टाक्षरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम् ।
एतदु हैवास्या एतत्
स यावतीयं त्रयी विद्या
तावद्ध जयति
योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद ॥ ५.१४.२ ॥

Rucho yajUMShi sAmAnItyaShTAvakSharANi;
aShTAkSharaM ha vA ekaM gAyatryai padam |
etadu haivAsyA etat
sa yAvatIyaM trayI vidyA
tAvaddha jayati
yo&syA etadevaM padaM veda || 5.14.2 ||

5.14.2: RuchaH, yajUMShi and sAmAni*--these together make eight syllables. The second foot of the gAyatrI (also) has verily eight syllables. Hence this foot of the gAyatrI consists of those three Vedas. He who knows this foot of the gAyatrI as above wins as far as the knowledge represented by the three Vedas extends.
[*plural forms of the names of the three Vedas.]

• This mantra effectively states: 'meditate on the sound and meanings of the epithets of SavitRu given in the Rik mantras, Yajus mantras and SAma mantras'. We can pick up any epithet or a combination that we like.

• The third pAda states: dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt--May the deity SavitRu impel our thoughts towards the Supreme. We can imagine the thoughts coming out of the spiritual Sun having all light and power. Brh.U.5.14.2 states:

प्राणोऽपानो व्यान इत्यष्टावक्षराणि;
अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्;
एतदु हैवास्या एतत्;
स यावदिदं प्राणि
तावद्ध जयति
योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद;
अथास्या एतदेव तुरीयं दर्शतं पदं परोरजा य एष तपति;
यद्वै चतुर्थं तत्तुरीयम्;
दर्शतं पदमिति
ददृश इव ह्येषः;
परोरजा इति
सर्वमु ह्येवैष रज उपर्युपरि तपति
एवं हैव श्रिया यशसा तपति
योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद ॥ ५.१४.३ ॥

prANo&pAno vyAna ityaShTAvakSharANi;
aShTAksharaM ha vA ekaM gAyatryai padam;
etadu haivAsyA etat;
sa yAvadidaM prANi
tAvaddha jayati
yo&syA etadevaM padaM veda;
athAsyA etadeva turIyaM darshataM padaM parorajA ya eSha tapati;
yadvai chaturthaM tatturIyam;
darshataM padamiti
dadRusha iva hyeShaH;
parorajA iti
sarvamu hyevaiSha raja uparyupari tapati
evaM haiva shriyA yashasA tapati
yo&syA etadevaM padaM veda || 5.14.3 ||

5.14.3: [i]prANa, apAna and vyAna*1--these together make eight syllables. The third foot of the gAyatrI (also) has verily eight syllables. Hence the third foot of the gAyatrI consists of these three forms of the vital force. He who knows the third foot of the gAyatrI as above wins all creatures that exist in the universe. Now its quaternary, (seemingly) visible, supermundane foot is indeed this--this (sun) that shines. That which is fourth is called turIya--quaternary. (Seemingly) 'visible foot' because the solar being is visualized, as it were, (by Yogins). 'Supermundane' because he alone verily shines on the entire universe*2 from on high*3. He who knows this foot of the gAyatrI as above shines just like that with magnificence and fame.

[Notes: 1. The word vyAna should be read three syllables to make up the number.
2. Called 'rajas' in the text, because it is the product of activity.
3. That is, as its lord.]

• This mantra effectively states, 'relate the third pAda to the three aspects of the life energy, prANa, apAna and vyAna'.

• Thoughts are intimately connected with the life energy. prANa refers to all positive qualities which takes us to higher and higher states, the all-round perfection. apAna is that which takes us down, i.e., apAna takes away all negative forces and ideas from us. vyAna means that which pervades around our body and all bodies. The UpaniShad declares that by this meditation with the third pAda, the person wins all creatures that exist in the universe.

(to continue...)

18 August 2011, 01:00 AM
gAyatrI mantra and rejuvenation: Brh.U.6.3.6

bRhadAraNyaka upaniShad 6.3.6 suggests a chant interspersing the three pAdas--feet, of the gAyatrI mantra in RV 3.62.10 with the three madhu mantrAs (1.90.6-8) and the three vyAhRtis bhUH, bhuvaH, svaH.

तत् सवितुर् वरेण्यं (१),
मधु वाता ऋतायते मधु क्षरन्ति सिन्धवः ।
माध्वीर्नः सन्त्वोषधीः ॥ (२)
भुवः स्वाहा (३), भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि (४),
मधु नक्तमुतोषसो मधुमत्पार्थिवं रजः ।
मधु द्यौरस्तु नः पिता ॥ (५)
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् (७)
मधुमान्नो वनस्पतिर् मधुमान् अस्तु सूर्यः ।,
माध्वीः गावो भवन्तु नः ॥ (८)
स्वः स्वाहा (९)

tat savitur vareNyaM (1),
madhu vAtA RutAyate madhu kSharanti sindhavaH |
mAdhvIrnaH santvoShadhIH || (2)
bhuvaH svAhA (3), bhargo devasya dhImahi (4),
madhu naktamutoShaso madhumatpArthivaM rajaH |
madhu dyaurastu naH pitA || (5)
dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt (7)
madhumAnno vanaspatir madhumAn astu sUryaH |,
mAdhvIH gAvo bhavantu naH || (8)
svaH svAhA (9)

Rg Veda 1.90.6 states:

मधु वाता ऋतायते मधु क्षरन्ति सिन्धवः ।
माध्वीर्नः सन्त्वोषधीः ॥ १.०९०.०६ ॥

madhu vAtA RutAyate madhu kSharanti sindhavaH |
mAdhvIrnaH santvoShadhIH || 1.090.06 ||

RV 1.90.6: Sweetness in the winds of life to the truth-seeker,
Sweet flow for him the rivers of being,
Sweet for us be its growths (or plants).

[Winds of life: actual actions of prANa in us, which controls our emotions, sentiments, loves and hates, our interpersonal interactions, and many other things. All of them are designed by the creator to be harmonious. The truth-seeker recognises this bliss and harmony in all aspects of prANa.

Rivers of being: currents of energies flowing in us, maintaining our health and providing us with energy for our actions. We should also recognise the bliss inherent in all Nature--the trees, bushes, flowers, ferns, hills, anthills, sandhills, etc.]

Rg Veda 1.90.7 states:

मधु नक्तमुतोषसो मधुमत्पार्थिवं रजः ।
मधु द्यौरस्तु नः पिता ॥ १.०९०.०७ ॥

madhu naktamutoShaso madhumatpArthivaM rajaH |
madhu dyaurastu naH pitA || 1.090.07 ||

RV 1.90.7: May the nights be sweet for us and also the dawns;
may the Earth and its associated regions be sweet;
May the Father-Heaven be sweet.

[Dawn: all uplifting experiences. Nights: periods in our life when we digest the experiences. Earth: all activities connected with matter, and most of our daily activities. Heaven: all our mental activities. The prayer is that we recognise the bliss while performing all actions, physical or mental and also during the periods of rest and repose.
uShaH--dawn, the beginning of spiritual life; rajaH--a synonym of loka--world. pArthivaM rajaH--the collectivity of the physical world, vital world, mental world, etc.]

Rg Veda 1.90.8 states:

मधुमान्नो वनस्पतिर् मधुमान् अस्तु सूर्यः ।
माध्वीः गावो भवन्तु नः ॥ १.०९०.०८ ॥

madhumAnno vanaspatir madhumAn astu sUryaH |
mAdhvIH gAvo bhavantu naH ||

RV 1.90.8: Full of sweetness to us be the lord of bliss;
full of sweetness be SUrya, the luminous;
Sweet become to us the herds of his rays.

[Lord of bliss: Soma, symbolised by the creeper of his name. Just us the Soma juice is released by crushing the creeper, the Soma delight is released by the effort involved in all actions. By recognising that the release of bliss--Ananda is not caused by us but is part of the Divine plan, we feel the bliss, although we are too busy to notice it in our daily work. SUrya, the physical Sun, gives the bliss by his rays. The spiritual Sun creates new illuminations in us.]

The three vyAhRtis, bhUH, bhuva, svaH are already explained above. The UpaniShad mantra 6.3.6 suggests the following ritual with the chant:

a. Perform Achamanam: sip the water, symbolising the divine dynamical energies.
b. Perform the interspersed chant of the 9 lines.
c. Then repeat the gAyatrI mantra and the madhu mantras (1.90.6-8).

d. Declare:
अहमेव इदम् सर्वं भूयासम्, भूर्भुवः स्वः स्वाहा ।
ahameva idam sarvaM bhUyAsam, bhUrbhuvaH svaH svAhA |
'May I myself be all this; This is the earth, mid-world and heven, svAhA.'

• The symbolic intake of prANa indicated by the mantra is said to rejuvenate the person. This is the prANa vidyA:

अपि य एनं शुष्के स्थानौ निषिञ्चेत्, जयेरञ् शाखाः;
प्ररोहेयुः पलाशानि इति ॥

api ya enaM shuShke sthAnau niShi~jchet, jayera~j shAkhAH;
praroheyuH palAshAni iti ||--Brh.U.3.6.7 (part)

3.6.7: ...Even if any one sprinkles it on a dry stump, branches would grow and leaves spring forth.

• In this practice, prANa vidyA, prANa does not mean merely the life-energy. It means the force of consciousness--chit-shakti. If one were to come into contact with the chit-shakti, one would indeed get the power of rejuvenation.

• The line of teachers is: UddAlaka, YAjnavalkya, Madhuka, Chuta, JAnaki, SatyakAma.

[For more on prANa vidyA, see the Lights on the UpaniShads pp.47-66, by T.V.KapAli SAstri (SAKSI).]

(to continue...)

22 August 2011, 08:44 AM
gAyatrI mantra for bhaga Savitri (5.82.1)

"The goal of the journey in the Veda is the illimitable joy of the truth, of the infinity of our being. Bhaga is the godhead who brings this joy and supreme felicity into the human consciousness. He is the divine enjoyer in man."
--The Secret of the Veda by Sri Aurobindo

• Bhaga is one of the four guardians of light in RV, the other three being Mitra, VaruNa and AryamaN.

• All enjoyment, mortal and divine, comes from Bhaga. The Vedic ideal is the inclusion of all life and joy, divine and human, the wideness and plenty of earth, the vastness and abundance of heaven, the treasures of mental, vital (or prAnic) and physical existence purified and perfected in the divine truth. It is this all-including felicity that is the gift of the Bhaga as stated in RV 5.82.3.

• Note that bhagavantaH, the popular word for the supreme god in purANa, occurs in RV (7.41.4,5) meaning possessor of divine enjoyment: उत इदानीम् भगवन्तः स्याम--uta idAnIm bhagavantaH syAma.

• The RV mantra 5.82.1 is also known as the gAyatrI mantra in the anuShTubh metre. The RV mantra 3.62.10 is known as the gAyatrI mantra in the gAyatrI metre.

तत्सवितुर्वृणीमहे (१), वयं देवस्य भोजनम् (२)।
श्रेष्ठं सर्वधातमं (३), तुरं भगस्य धीमहि (४)॥ ५.८२.१ ॥

tatsaviturvRuNImahe (1), vayaM devasya bhojanam (2)|
shreShThaM sarvadhAtamaM (3), turaM bhagasya dhImahi (4)|| 5.82.1 ||

5.82.1: O Savitri divine (1), we embrace that (tat) enjoying (2), that which is the best, rightly disposes all (3), and which reaches the goal, of Bhaga, we hold that by the thought (4).

[bhojanam--enjoying, dhImahi--hold by thought, meditate; vRuNImahe--embrace.]

• This human capacity for the divine and the right enjoyment belongs to Bhaga whose name and form represent the divine creator. When he is embraced by the human mind, heart and vital forces and physical being, when this divine form is received into himself by man, then the Ananda of the world manifests itself.

• By this Ananda we can arrive at the right and truth of all things. Thus this Ananda carries man to his goal. See also RV 5.82.6, which mentions, 'holding all the things of delight (vAmAni) by thought': सर्वे विश्वा वामानि धीमहि--sarve vishvA vAmAni dhImahi

• According to the anukramaNi, there are no sUkta completely dedicated to Bhaga. However, the sUkta RV 5.82.1 due to SavitRu also deals with Bhaga.

For more information on Bhaga, see the entire sUkta with the translation and commentary given in the SAKSI book, Divinizing Life: The Path of Atri RiShi; translation of all 727 mantras of RV maNDala 5.

• The mantra in RV 5.82.is is mentioned in the ChAndogya upaniShad 5.2.7. It is next to the famous prayer in prose (5.2.6), giving support to it. Both of these mantras are given as a part of the famous upAsana called prANa vidyA.

• The prayer (5.2.6) mentions the Supreme One who is most senior and excellent. The devotee prays for the share and enjoyment in His supremacy and overlordship. All existence is for the enjoyment of the Supreme One. The devotee prays for a share in this enjoyment. This verse should put to rest the false notion that 'enjoyment' has no place in the UpaniShad thought.

(to continue...)

25 August 2011, 12:10 AM
gAyatrI mahimA: greatness of the gAyatrI mantra
by shrI Abhinava VidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL,
35th jagadguru of the dakShiNAmnaya shringagiri shri shAradA pITham

Here is a paraphrase about the greatness of the gAyatrI mantra from the teachings of shrI Abhinava VidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL, in the Tamizh book on sandhyAvandanam, published shrI VidyAtIrtha Foundation, Chennai.

• Everyone born in this world lives with a certain desire. Even the one who has no desire on objects loves the Atman very much. Therefore, NIlakaNTha dIkShitar says:

भुक्ता बहवो दारा लब्धाः पुत्राश्च पौत्राश्च ।
नीतं शतम् अपि आयुः सत्यम् वद मर्तुम् अस्ति मनः ॥

bhuktA bahavo dArA labdhAH putrAScha pautrAScha |
nItaM shatam api AyuH satyam vada martum asti manaH ||

"After enjoying many wives, having lots of children and grand children,
having lived over hundred years-–tell me the truth: are you now ready to die?"

• The desires that arises in people can be classified into those for the shreyas--supreme benefit, and those for the preyas--worldly pleasures. Everyone is bound to one of these in some way or other. The kaThopaniShad explains:

अन्यच्छ्रेयोऽन्यदुतैव प्रेयस्ते उभे नानार्थे पुरुषँ सिनीतः ।
तयोः श्रेय आददानस्य साधु भवति हीयतेऽर्थाद्य उ प्रेयो वॄणीते ॥ १.२.१ ॥

anyachChreyo&nyadutaiva preyaste ubhe nAnArthe puruSha~M sinItaH |
tayoH shreya aadadaanasya saadhu bhavati hIyate&rthAdya u preyo vRUNIte || 1.2.1 ||

"There are two things in this world, and people pursue either this or that. These two may be regarded as the path of the pleasant, and the path of the good. Most people choose the former, and not the good. The pleasant is pleasing, but passing, and ends in pain. It is different from the good. But while the good need not necessarily be pleasant, the pleasant is not good."--tr. svAmi KRShNAnanda

• The pAmara--ignorant populace, since they are attached to laukika vastus--worldly objects, live bound by them. Those who obtained shAstra jnAnam--scriptural knowledge, by sampradAyika AchAra--traditional regulations, and guru upadesha--teachings of a guru, although they have laukika AshAs--worldly desires, since they also desire the paraloka sukha--pleasures of the other world, remain bound by both types of desires.

• Since these two types of people desire preyas, they must be called saMsAris--worldly people.

अन्नं धान्यं वसु वसुमतीत्युत्तरेणोत्तरेण
व्याकृष्यन्ते परमकृपणाः पामरा यद्वदित्थम् ।
भूमिः स्वं द्यौर्द्रुहिणगृहमित्युत्तरेणोत्तरेण
व्यामुह्यन्ते विमलमतयोऽप्यस्थिरेणैव धाम्ना ॥

annaM dhAnyaM vasu vasumatItyuttareNottareNa
vyAkRuShyante paramakRupaNAH pAmarA yadvadittham |
bhUmiH svaM dyaurdruhiNagRuhamityuttareNottareNa
vyAmuhyante vimalamatayo&pyasthireNaiva dhAmnA ||

"In the same way the lowly people who deserve utter compassion, have much attachment towards AhAram--food, dhAnyam--grains, danam--wealth, and bhUmi--land, the people with shuddha manas--pure mind, attain mokSha--liberation, in kramam--stages, through the finite world, AkAsha--space, svargam--heaven and brahmalokam--BrahmA's world."

• We also come across those who are desireless and call them saMnyAsis--ascetics. Since we see them in this way, it should occur to us that the abhiprAyam--opinion, "everyone has some desire or other" should be wrong. The bRuhadAranyaka upaniShad calls saMnyAsis, 'those who have renounced desires.'

एतद्ध स्म वै तत्पूर्वे विद्वांसः प्रजां न कामयन्ते
किं प्रजया करिष्यामो येषां नोऽयमात्माऽयं लोक इति ।
ते ह स्म पुत्रैषणायाश्च वित्तैषणायाश्च लोकैषणायाश्च
व्युत्थायाऽथ भिक्षाचर्यं चरन्ति ।

etaddha sma vai tatpUrve vidvAMsaH prajAM na kAmayante
kiM prajayA kariShyAmo yeShAM no&yamAtmA&yaM loka iti |
te ha sma putraiShaNAyAshcha vittaiShaNAyAshcha lokaiShaNAyAshcha
vyutthAyA&tha bhikShAcharyaM charanti | (4.4.22)

"Our ancestors who knew the Atman and have attained the Atmalokam--world of Brahman, considering that they don't need to attain anything through the prajA--family, did not aspire for prajA; renouncing the desires of having putrA--children, wealth and heaven, they go about their lives of saMnAysam--asceticism."

• It would seem thus, if looked at in-sAmAynam--ordinarily. Let us consider it with a little sUkShma--subtle, look. Why did they observe vratas--vows, that were kaShTa--severe/difficult? There must have been some prayojanam--use, for the vratas. What does the shAstram referred to earlier say? It says, "our balam--strength, is the Atmalokam". From this it is known clearly that they had desire for Atma darshanam--realization of the Self.

• This same shruti--upaniShad, earlier said:

एतमेव प्रव्राजिनो लोकमिच्छन्तः प्रव्रजन्ति

etameva pravrAjino lokamichChantaH pravrajanti (4.4.22)

"Only desiring this Atman do the saMnyAsis renounce their home."

Therfore, we do-nirNayam--come to a decision, that every man lives with a certain desire.

(to continue...)

26 August 2011, 08:43 AM
gAyatrI upadesha: shrI abhinava vidyAtIrtha (cont.)
pages 23-25

Man uses his body, mind and life to get the desired. The fulfilment of laukika AshAs can only be through the parIkShas--examinations, of anvaya and vyatireka.

• When there is a kAraNam--cause, behind a kAryam, it is anvaya. For example, the clay is the cause for its effect in the form of a pot.

• When there is no kAraNam, there would be no kAryam: this is vyatireka. There would be no pot if there were no clay.

• When there is no relationship of anvaya-vyatireka, one thing cannot be said as the cause of another. Thus, the thread cannot be the cause of a pot.

• Worldly desires would be removed if the things related to them are obtained. But then there should be the laukika anvaya-vyatireka (relationship between the cause and effect) of those things.

• But then it cannot be said that the anvaya-vyatireka are enough for all desires. These laukika parikShas are not useful for (the desires related to) the viShaya--subjects, of svarga--heaven and Atman--Self. Since we cannot know about the svarga and Atman by our senses, how can we do the laukika anvaya vyatireka parikShas for them?


Vedas came out of Ishvara, in order to give Ananda--happiness, to man and let him get immersed in the sea of happiness. We can have all our desires fulfilled through the karmopAsana--worship by rites and rituals, and jnAnam--knowledge, prescribed in the Vedas.

प्रत्यक्षेणानुमित्या वा यस्तूपायो न बुध्यते ।
एनं विदन्ति वेदेन तस्माद्वेदस्य वेदता ॥

pratyakSheNAnumityA vA yastUpAyo na budhyate |
enaM vidanti vedena tasmAdvedasya vedatA ||
--Adi Shankara, in his commentary on bRuhadAraNyaka Upanishad

"That sAdhanam--goal/truth, which cannot be understood by pratyakSham--direct vision, or anumAnam--inference, is known through the Vedas. This is why the Veda has the sthAnam--supreme position, as 'veda'."

• The Veda which has ordained as 'He who desires good dRShTa--vision, let him do-upAsana-of--worship with, the sUrya mantra. He who desires svarga--heaven, let him perform the darshapUrNamAsa yajnas'--thus ordaining karmas--ritual actions, yajnas and upAsanas for the phalas--fruits, we desire,

that very Veda has done us the upadesha--teaching, of the gAyatrI mantra, which is capable of destroying pApas--sins, sAdhana--means, for the worldly desires of svargam--heaven, and gives the phala of saguNa-nirguNa upAsana.

Explanation of the term 'mantra'

The meaning of the (Sanskrit) term mantra is

मन्तारं त्रायत इति मन्त्रः

mantAraM trAyata iti mantraH
"That which protects the one who chants or contemplates it is mantra."

• It is sahaja--normal/traditional to say that there are seven crore mantras. If the mahA-mantras themselves are in the order of seven crores, it is not sAdhyam--possible to get to know the count of upa-mantras--secondary mantras, and bAShA--language mantras.

• Of these mantras, some are for worldly uses, some for svarga lAbha--attaining heaven, and some for brahma upAsana--worshipping/contemplating Brahman.

• The mantras are divided into veda mantras and tantra mantras. Those taught by the Vedas are Veda mantras. An example for this is the saura-aShTAkSharI mantra. Mantras taught in the tantra-granthas--tantra texts, are tantra mantras.

• Every word is a mantra in itself.

अमन्त्रमक्षरं नास्ति, नास्ति मूलम् अनौषधम् ।
अयुक्तः पुरुषो नास्ति, योजकस्तत्र दुर्लभः ॥

amantramakSharaM nAsti, nAsti mUlam anauShadham |
ayuktaH puruSho nAsti, yojakastatra durlabhaH ||

"There is no syllable from which a mantra cannot be made. There is no herb from which a medicine cannot be made. There is no person who is incapable. Who is rare is the one who can organize them."

This is why it is difficult to get the man who knows the RShi, chandas and devatas of mantras.

• The reason our mantras are not effective is our ajnAnam--ignorance about them. There is absolutely no shortfall in the devata--deity, or the mantra. It is taught:

नो देवतासु जडिमा जडिमा मनुष्ये

no devatAsu jaDimA jaDimA manuShye
The inertness is not in the deities, only in man.

(to continue...)

29 August 2011, 11:20 PM
pages 25-28
gAyatrI mahima

Of the countless mantras, the one that remains as the most distinguished is the gAyatrI mantra.

Through this shAstra upadesham--scriptural teaching

भिद्यते हृदयग्रन्थिश्छिद्यन्ते सर्वसंशयाः ।
क्षीयन्ते चास्य कर्माणि तस्मिन्दृष्टे परावरे ॥

bhidyate hRudayagranthishChidyante sarvasaMshayAH |
kShIyante chAsya karmANi tasmindRuShTe parAvare ||
--muNDaka upaniShad 2.2.8

[2.2.8: When that Self, which is both the high and the low, is realized, the knot of the heart gets united, all doubts become solved, and all one’s actions become dissipated.]

"When that (Self which is paramporuL--(tam)supreme entity) which remains as the param--supreme, through its kAraNa-rUpam--form of cause, and (also) as aparam--of lower/later status, through its kArya-rUpam--form of effect, is seen/realized, the knots of the heart (of the seer) are sundered. All doubts become solved; and the puNya-pAma-karmas--positive and negative karmas, too are destroyed."

and by the gItOpadesham--teaching of the GItA

मामुपेत्य पुनर्जन्म दुःखालयमशास्वतम् ।
नाप्नुवन्ति महात्मानः संसिद्धिं परमां गताः ॥ ८.१५ ॥

mAmupetya punarjanma duHkhAlayamashAsvatam |
nApnuvanti mahAtmAnaH saMsiddhiM paramAM gatAH || 8.15 ||

[8.15: The great-souled ones who have reached the highest complete accomplishment, having come to me, do not undergo rebirth, which is the transient abode of suffering.]

"The mahAtma who have attained me get parama siddhi. They are not reborn in this place (world) which is the abode of suffering."

it is known that

only when the jIvAtma--individual soul, attains Atma-sAkShAtkAram--Self-realization and gets to know the Atman,--only then--he completes his efforts of getting his saMsAra--worldly life, destroyed to its root, and receiving the Ananda--bliss, and release from rebirth.

The veda-vAkya--Vedic statement

तं त्वौपनिषदं पुरुषं पृच्छामि

taM tvaupaniShadaM puruShaM pRuchChAmi--bRuhadAraNyaka upaniShad 3.9.26

"I ask you about the (parama) puruSha, who is sung in the upaniShads..."

informs with certainty that the Atman could only be known through the upaniShads.

• In order to know the meaning of the upadesha--teaching, of the Vedas, it is very necessary to do-adhyayanam--study the Vedas.

• It is not necessary to state that he who has no yajnopavItam--sacred thread, since he gets no eligibility to do veda-adhyayanam, there is no adhikAram--authority/privilege, for him to do adhyayanam of the Vedanta (which are the upaniShads).

The smRtis--texts of memory, written by the munivaras--sages, do-upadesham--teach, that the upanayanam--sacred-thread investiture ceremony, should only be done with the sAvitrI mantropadesham (that is the gAyatrI).

• (Thus the abhiprAyam--opinion, is that there will be upanayanam only if there is sAvitrI upadesham; only after the upanayanam can the teachings of the Vedanta be studied; and only if the parampoRuL--Brahman, taught in them is known, would there be release from the samsAram--worldly life.)

• gautama dharma sUtram says:

प्रागुपनयनात् कामाचारकामवादकामभक्षः ।
न ब्रह्माभिव्याहरेत्

prAgupanayanAt kAmAchArakAmavAdakAmabhakShaH |
na brahmAbhivyAharet--gautama dharma sUtra 1.2.1

"Before the upanayanam, one can do what he likes, talk what he likes and eat what he likes. At that time, he should not recite the Vedas."

• Manu says that only upon the sAvitrI upadesham a different birth ensues.

आचार्यस्त्वस्य यां जातिं विधिवद्वेदपारगः । २.१४८ ।
तत्रास्य माता सावित्री पिता त्वाचार्य उच्यते ॥ २.१७० ।

AchAryastvasya yAM jAtiM vidhivadvedapAragaH | 2.148 |
tatrAsya mAtA sAvitrI pitA tvAchArya uchyate || 2.170 |

It is mentioned (in the manu smRti), "What birth the guru who knows the Vedas well, causes (his shiShya--pupil), in that birth (for that pupil) only SAvitrI is the mother and the guru is the father."

This is why the trivarNikas--men of the three classes (viz. brAhmaNa, kShatriya, vaishya) are called dvijas--twice-born.

• The Veda itself proclaims that GAyatrI is the vedamAtA--mother of the Vedas.

गायत्रीं चन्दसां माता

gAyatrIM chandasAM mAtA

"Only GAyatrI is the mother of the Vedas (or Chandas)." [Chandas means the Vedas here.--KAnchi ParamAchArya]

• In the Puranas (kAshI khaNDam of skanda purANam?) it is stated:

गायत्री वेदजननी गायत्रि ब्रह्मणः प्रसूः ।
गायन्तं त्रायते यस्माद्गायत्रीति प्रगीयते ॥

gAyatrI vedajananI gAyatri brahmaNaH prasUH |
gAyantaM trAyate yasmAdgAyatrIti pragIyate ||

"GAyatrI is the mother of the Vedas. GAyatrI is one who gives birth to a brAhmaNa. Since she protects the man who does japam of the mantra, she has the name GAyatrI."

• Manu (about the gAyatrI mahimA) says:

सहस्रकृत्वस्त्वभ्यस्य बहिरेतत्त्रिकं द्विजः ।
महतोऽप्येनसो मासात्त्वचैवाहिर्विमुच्यते ॥

sahasrakRutvastvabhyasya bahiretattrikaM dvijaH |
mahato&pyenaso maasAttvachaivAhirvimuchyate ||
--manu smRti 2.79

"If a man does japam--litany of the gAyatrI mantra for a month at one thousand times per day (in places such as the river banks or jungles), with the praNava (AUM) and the vyAhRtutis (bhUrbhuvasvaH), he will be freed from his great sins, like a snake from its slough."

(to coninue...)

31 August 2011, 11:00 PM
pages 28-30
Structure of the gAyatrI

All speech is either in the form of verse or prose. The assembly of akSharas--syllables with niyama--order, is called verse. Of the Chandas--metres, of verse, gAyatrI is one.

• In the laukika gAyatrI Chandas there are six akSharas for every pAdam--foot/quarter. So, if we add up all the four pAdas, there are 24 akSharas.

• KAtyAyana has mentioned that in the vaidika gAyatrI Chandas, there are eight akSharas in each pAdam, and three pAdas in total. Therefore, there too there are 24 akSharas in the gAyatrI Chandas. The Vedas too have explained

त्रिपदा गायत्री
tripadA gAyatrI*

There might arise a saMdeham--doubt here. The Vedas that explain the niyama of the gAyatrI Chandas say

गायत्री चतुर्विंशत्यक्षरा

gAyatrI chaturviMshatyakSharA*
"There are 24 syllables in the GAyatrI."

but then in the sAmAnya--popular, gAyatrI mantra, we see only 23 akSharas. How to reconcile this with the veda-vAk?

By the explanation

अर्घ्यकाले वरेण्यं स्याज्जपकाले वरेणियम्

arghyakAle vareNyaM syAjjapakAle vareNiyam*

"At the time arghyam is given, it is vareNyam (three akSharas); when doing japam it is vareNiyam (four akSharas).

The padam--word, vareNyam in the gAyatrI mantra should be considered as one having four akSharas, but it should not be pronounced (as vareNiyam) as having four akSharas. In this way, if we include the fourth akShara, the count can be reconciled, isn't it?

About the saura aShTAkShara mantram, the Veda teaches

घृणिरिति द्वे अक्षरे, सूर्य इति त्रीणि, आदित्य इति त्रीणि

ghRuNiriti dve akShare, sUrya iti trINi, Aditya iti trINi*

"It should be considered as two akSharas in the padam 'ghRuNi'--a ray of light, three akSharas (not two) in the padam sUrya, and three akSharas in the padam Aditya."

Thus, although this sUrya mantram has only seven syllables instead of eight, in the same way that we consider the term sUrya as having three syllables and adjust the count, we should adjust the count of syllables in the gAyatrI mantra (as 24 syllables), considering vareNyam to have four (instead of three) syllables.

(to continue...)

Note: I am unable to find the source of the verses marked with '*'; any help is appreciated.--sd

04 September 2011, 08:29 AM
pages 30-33
Meaning of the gAyatrI mantra

The meaning of the mantra is given as below in the sandhyA bhAShyam.

दीव्यतीति देवः, अखण्डानन्दैकरसः, तत् तस्य ब्रह्मणः
’ओं तत् सदिति निर्देशो ब्रह्मणः त्रिविधः स्मृतः’
इति जीतावचनेन तत् तच्छब्दस्य ब्रह्मपरता, सवितुः
नानारूपकर्मफलप्रसोष्टुः, जगत्स्त्रष्टुर्वा, वरेण्यं मुमुक्षुभिः
आकाडक्षयं, भर्गः अविध्यादिभर्जकं तेजः यद्यपि
ब्रह्मतेजसोरभिन्नत्वेन तस्येति षष्ठया अनुपपत्तिः
तथापि ’एषोऽस्य परमानन्दः’, ’राहोस्शिरः’ इत्यादाविव
काल्पनिकभेदमादायोपपत्तिः, धीमहि ध्यायेमहि सोऽहमित्यभेदेन उपास्महे ।
यः प्रत्यक्, नः अस्माकं, धियः अन्तःकरणवृत्तिः प्रचोदयात् प्रेरयति ।

dIvyatIti devaH, akhaNDAnandaikarasaH, tat tasya brahmaNaH
'oM tat saditi nirdesho brahmaNaH trividhaH smRutaH'
iti jItAvachanena tat tachChabdasya brahmaparatA, savituH
nAnArUpakarmaphalaprasoShTuH, jagatstraShTurvA, vareNyaM mumukShubhiH
AkADakShayaM, bhargaH avidhyAdibharjakaM tejaH yadyapi
brahmatejasorabhinnatvena tasyeti ShaShThayA anupapattiH
tathApi 'eSho&sya paramAnandaH', 'rAhosshiraH' ityAdAviva
kAlpanikabhedamAdAyopapattiH, dhImahi dhyAyemahi so&hamityabhedena upAsmahe |
yaH pratyak, naH asmAkaM, dhiyaH antaHkaraNavRuttiH prachodayAt prerayati |

[It would be nice if someone can give us the meaning of this passage.--sd]

gAyatrI mantra (by itself) is in this way:

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्
tatsaviturvareNyaM bhargo devasya dhImahi dhiyo yo naH prachodayAt

तत् tat--parabrahmam. From the gItopadesham--GItA teaching, that the three, AUM, tat, sat, are the names of brahmam, it is known that for the word tat here, the meaning is Brahman.

सवितुः savituH--One who gives the phalas--fruits, of actions; or one who created the world.

वरेण्यं vareNyam--desired by those who desire mokSham--liberation.

भर्गः bhargaH--The light that removes ajjnAnam--ignorance. Brahmam and its light are not two different things. Still, according to the upadeshas--teachings given in the shAstras--scripures, imagining differences, such as (although Brahmam itself is Anandam) 'This is the Ananda of paramporuL--(tam)Brahmam' and 'RAhu's head', (such is the case) here too. (Although Brahmam is its light, it is mentioned as Brahmam's light).

देवस्य devasya--One who is in the form of light (This Deva is in the form of Ananda).

धीमहि dhImahi--We do-dhyAna--meditate on. That meditation is one that seeks no differences and contemplates 'I am that Brahman'.

धियः dhiyaH--The kAryas--actions, of antaHkaraNa (which comprises chitta, manas, buddhi and ahaMkAra).

यः yaH--He, that is, one who resides inside us.
नः naH--our.
प्रचोदयात् prachodayAt--kindles, incites.

Therefore the meaning of the gAyatrI mantra is:
"We meditate on the light that removes ignorance, and is desired by those who desire liberation, (that light being) of one who incites our inner faculties, one who created the world, and one who remains Supreme being, remaining as the form of bliss."

• According to the words of Agastya maharShi, the sAmAnya--common meaning of the gAyatrI is:

यो देवः सवितास्माकं धियो धर्मादिजोचराः ।
प्रेरयेत् तस्य यद्भर्गः तत्वरेण्यम् उपास्महे ॥

yo devaH savitAsmAkaM dhiyo dharmAdijocharAH |
prerayet tasya yadbhargaH tatvareNyam upAsmahe ||

"We meditate on the excellent light of the deva called SavitA who directs our intellect towards the ways of dharma."

The need to know the meaning

When we do japam of the gAyatrI mantra, we should contemplate its meaning. Having known the meaning, we should not let our mind wander elsewhere. If we do the japam, winding a japamAlA--rosary on our wrists, rolling our tongue in the mouth and letting our mind wander in the ten directions, it would not amount to any japam at all.

• When there is no knowing of the meaning, our shraddhA--sincerity in the task we are at would lessen. There would be no tRupti--satisfaction in the mind too.

• This is why it is mentioned in the very first page of the book titled gAyatrI mahimA

यथा पशुर्भारवाही न तस्य फलमश्नुते ।
द्विजस्तथार्थानभिज्ञो न वेदफलमश्रुते ॥

yathA pashurbhAravAhI na tasya phalamashnute |
dvijastathArthAnabhij~jo na vedaphalamashrute ||

"Just as an animal does not enjoy the fruits of the burden it carries, the dvija--twice-born (who chants without knowing the meaning), does not attain the fruits mentioned in the Vedas."

• The author of the niruktam (YAska), which is an angga--limb, of the Vedas has acclaimed the knowledge about meaning as

स्थाणुरयं भारहारः किलाभूत्, अधीत्य वेदं न विजानाति योऽर्थ ।
योऽर्थज्ञ इत्सकलं भद्रमश्रुते नाकमेति ज्ञानविधूतपाप्मा ॥

sthANurayaM bhArahAraH kilAbhUt, adhItya vedaM na vijAnAti yo&rtha |
yo&rthaj~ja itsakalaM bhadramashrute nAkameti j~jAnavidhUtapApmA ||
--nirukta 1.18

"He who does not (get to) know the meaning although he does-adhyayana-of--study the Vedas, he is like a jaDam--lifeless matter, that carries a bhAram--burden. He who does it knowing the meaning, attains all the good things. He who is released of his pApas--sins, through jnAnam--knowledge, attains the svargam--heaven."

• Veda too appreciates the knowledge of meaning with the statement

यो अश्वमेधेन यजते य उ चैनं येवं वेद
yo ashvamedhena yajate ya u chainaM yevaM veda*

"He who does the ashvamedha yajna attains its specific fruits. Similarly, he who knows the meaning of the yajna, he too attains (those fruits)."

Note: I am unable to find the source of the verses marked with '*'; any help is appreciated.--sd

(to continue...)

06 September 2011, 12:37 AM
pages 33-36

From what has been said above, it does not mean that the japam done without knowing the meaning (of the mantras involved) will not at all give any fruits; only that the fruits will be less.

• This is clarified by the following vAkyam--statement from the ChAndogya upaniShad:

यदेव विद्यया करोति श्रद्धयोपनिषदा तदेव वीर्यवत्तरं भवति इति ।

yadeva vidyayA karoti shraddhayopaniShadA tadeva vIryavattaraM bhavati iti |
--ChAndogya upaniShad 1.1.10

"What is done with knowledge, sincerity, and contemplation, only that is capable of giving much more fruits than what is done without knowledge."

• Similarly, at the appropriate places, the Veda says:

यद्विद्वाँसो यदविद्वाँसो मुग्धाः कुर्वन्त्यृत्विजः ।

yadvidvA~Mso yadavidvA~Mso mugdhAH kurvantyRutvijaH |

"That which is done with knowledge is different from that done by those who perform their yajna in bhrama--just by its motions, without knowledge."



"That is which is done with knowledge, and that which is done without knowledge, are different."

• Thus, even the one who has no knowledge of the meaning has the qualification to do karma--Vedic rituals. The conclusion by our investigation is that if one has the knowledge of the mantras, the results will be much better.

Practice of the dhyAnam--contemplation/meditation

As said before, when doing japam, we must contemplate the meaning (of the mantras involved).

• In the same way, we should do dhyAnam on the devatA--deity, who is related to the mantra.

• Although the gAyatrI as BrahmA's shakti is the same deity, she must be meditated on in different forms depending on the time. In the pArAshara mAdhavIyam it is mentioned

गायत्री नाम पूर्वाह्णे सावित्री मध्यमे दिने ।
सरस्वती च सायाह्ने सैव सन्ध्या त्रिधा मता ॥

gAyatrI nAma pUrvAhNe sAvitrI madhyame dine |
sarasvatI cha sAyAhne saiva sandhyA tridhA matA ||

"Her name in the morning is GAyatrI, in the afternoon SAvitrI, and in the evening SarasvatI. Thus, SandhyA is contemplated in three forms."

• Our ancestors have shown the reasons for calling the same devatA by three names.

गायत्री प्रोच्यते तस्माद्गायन्तम् त्रायते यतः ॥
सवितृद्योतनात्सैव सावित्री परिकीर्तिता ॥
जगतः प्रसवित्री वा वाग्रूपत्वात्सरस्वती ॥

gAyatrI prochyate tasmAdgAyantam trAyate yataH ||
savitRudyotanAtsaiva sAvitrI parikIrtitA ||
jagataH prasavitrI vA vAgrUpatvAtsarasvatI ||

"Since she protects those who do japam on her, she is called GAyatrI. Since she shines like sUrya--sun, she is herself called SAvitrI. Since she creates the world or stays in the form of language, her name is SarasvatI."

• In the tantra texts, her forms that differ according to the time are prescribed for doing meditation. Since it is difficult for people to know these forms and meditate, we meditate on a single form as shown in the shAradA tilakam.

युक्तामिन्दुनिबद्धरत्नमकुटां तत्त्वार्थवर्णामिकाम् ।
गायत्रीं वरदाभयाङ्कुशकशाः शुभ्रं कपालं गदां
शङ्खं चक्रमथारविन्दयुगलं हस्तैर्वहन्तीं भजे ॥

yuktAmindunibaddharatnamakuTAM tattvArthavarNAmikAm |
gAyatrIM varadAbhayA~gkushakashAH shubhraM kapAlaM gadAM
sha~gkhaM chakramathAravindayugalaM hastairvahantIM bhaje ||

"I do-bhajanam--worship GAyatrI
• who has five faces with the complexions of pearl, coral, gold, sapphire and dazzling white (as of camphor);

• has three eyes in each face; has the crescent moon as her crown jewel;

• has the form of akSharas--syllables, that teach the tattvas--divine principles;

• has in her hands, the varada-mudrA--sign of giving a boon (fingers pointing downward) and the abhaya-mudrA--sign of protection (fingers pointing upwards);

• has the goad and whip that control an elephant; a clean alms-bowl and a mace/sceptre;

• has the conch, the chakra--disc;
• and has a pair of lotus feet."

[This beautiful sandhyA-vandana mantra, published in the nyAsam part of the gAyatrI japa vidhi in the LIFCO Tamil book, is usually omitted by the performers of the spiritual rite. Now that we know the meaning clearly, let us hope we would include it and let our young boys chant it as part of their sandhyA-vandanam.--sd]

(to continue...)

10 September 2011, 12:07 AM
pages 36-38

In the tantra texts, different kinds of dhyAnas--meditations and akShara nyAsas (preludes and postludes to a japam) are explained.

• Although those who have tAtparyam--interest (towards the purport), should perform it, those who have much interest in the karmas--rituals denoted in the Vedas are not required to it.

• This is why it is mentioned in the gRuhya parishiShTam

एषोऽङ्गन्यासः एतमेके नेच्छन्ति स हि विधिरवैदिकः
eSho&~gganyAsaH etameke nechChanti sa hi vidhiravaidikaH

"Some do not like performing this angga-nyAsa (done before and after a japam). There is no injunction in the Vedas that these must be done."

• In the Vedas, the gAyatrI-dhyAnam is taught by mantras such as

ओजोऽसि सहोऽअसि बलमसि भ्राजोऽसि देवानां धामनामसि
विश्वमसि विश्वायुः सर्वमसि सर्वायुः अभिभूरों ।
गायत्रीमावायामि सावित्रीमावाहयामि सरस्वतीमावाहायामि ॥

ojo&si saho&asi balamasi bhrAjo&si devAnAM dhAmanAmasi
vishvamasi vishvAyuH sarvamasi sarvAyuH abhibhUroM |
gAyatrImAvAyAmi sAvitrImAvAhayAmi sarasvatImAvAhAyAmi ||
--taittirIya AraNyaka 10th prapAThaka, 26th anuvAka.

"Hey GAyatrI! You are the eight dhAtus--constituents that are the reason for strength. You are the power that conquers enemies. You are in the form of sAmarthya--efficacy that enables the vyavahAra--action, of this sharIram--body. You are the resplendent one. You are the tejas--shine of the devas. You are the form of all creations. You are the lifetime of all beings. And you are everything. You are the Supreme One denoted by the praNava AUM that can remove all pApas. Therefore, I do-AvAhanam--invoke such great GAyatrI in my mind. I invoke you as SAvitrI; and as SarasvatI."

So, one should do-dhyAnam--contemplate in this way and start his (gAyatrI) japam--litany.

The need to know the [b]RShi, Chandas and devata

RShi--seer, Chandas--metre, devata--deity, viniyogam--corelation, brAhmaNam--explanatory text, are the five parts of a mantra. One should know them; and if they are remembered when doing japam, the japam will give visheSha phalas--distinct results.

• It is mentioned in the sarvAnugraha maNika parishiShTam that adverse effects might arise if these five parts are not known and remembered.

यो ह वा अविदितार्षेयच्छन्दोदैवतब्राह्मणेन मन्त्रेण याजयति
वा अध्यायति वा स्थाणुं वच्छर्ति गर्तिं वा प्रतिपद्यते ।
तस्मादेतानि मन्त्रे मन्त्रे विद्यात्

yo ha vA aviditArSheyachChandodaivatabrAhmaNena mantreNa yAjayati
vA adhyAyati vA sthANuM vachCharti gartiM vA pratipadyate |
tasmAdetAni mantre mantre vidyAt

"He who performs a yajna without knowing the RShi, Chandas, devata, viniyogam, brAhmaNam or teaches the mantras, will be either born as a jaDam--dunce, or will fall in the narakam--hell."

• In the yoga yAjnavalkyam

यस्तु जानाति तत्त्वेन ऋषिं छन्दश्च दैवतम् ।
विनियोगं ब्राह्मणश्च मन्त्रार्थज्ञानकर्म च ॥

yastu jAnAti tattvena RuShiM Chandashcha daivatam |
viniyogaM brAhmaNashcha mantrArthaj~jAnakarma cha ||

"He who truthfully knows the RShi, Chandas, devata, viniyogam, brAhmaNam as well as the meaning and karma--rite of the mantra..." Starting with these words, he who knows them is praised.

• Those who have practised and attained the fruits of specific mantras, although they all came from Ishvara, as they brought them out for the (welfare of the) people, they are known as the RShis--seers of those specific mantras.

• In the yoga yAjnavalkyam

येन यदृषिणा दृष्टं सिद्धिः प्राप्ता च येन च...

yena yadRuShiNA dRuShTaM siddhiH prAptA cha yena cha...

"That sage who has discovered a mantra and by which he attained siddhi--spiritual powers, he is the RShi--seer of that mantra."

• Chandas is (metre,) the way to control the akSharas--syllables in a mantra. The deity made known through the mantra is the devata. The way to make use of the mantra in japam, pArAyaNam is viniyogam. The book that explains it is brAhmaNa.

• For the gAyatrI mantra, VishvAmitra is the RShi; savitA the devata; gAyatrI the Chandas; upanayanam, japam, arghyam are the viniyogam. Knowing these things, one should do the japam.

(to continue...)

15 September 2011, 12:37 AM
pages 38-40 (concluding part)
The method of doing japam

japam is repeating a mantra. It is of three kinds.

उत्तमं मानसं जप्यमुपांशुर्मध्यमः स्मृतः ।
अधमं वाचिकं प्राहुः सर्वमन्त्रेषु वै द्विजाः ॥

uttamaM mAnasaM japyamupAMshurmadhyamaH smRutaH |
adhamaM vAchikaM prAhuH sarvamantreShu vai dvijAH ||

"The superior way is to chant (the mantra) in mind. To chant it with lip movement but not producing any sound is intermediate. To read it aloud is inferior. The twice-born thus say it of all mantras."

• Some mantras must be recited when there is desire towards its results. Some mantras can be recited only certain people. If some are not recited, pApa--sin, will arise. But then the gAyatrI can be recited by people of all Ashramas--stages of life (bachelor, householder, abstainers and renunciates).

• About the count of chanting

ब्रह्मचारी गृहस्थाश्च शतमष्टोत्तरं जपेत् ।
वानप्रस्थो यतिश्चैव जपेदष्टसहस्रकम् ॥

brahmachArI gRuhasthAshcha shatamaShTottaraM japet |
vAnaprastho yatishchaiva japedaShTasahasrakam ||

"The bachelor and the householder should chant it (the GAyatrI mantra) 108 times (a day). The abstainer remaining in the household and the wandering renunciate should chant it 1008 times (a day)."

• About doing the japam itself

असंख्यातं तु यज्जप्तं तत्सर्वं स्यात्रिरर्थकम् ।
पर्वभिस्तु जपः कार्यो नाङ्गुलीनां निपातनैः ॥

asaMkhyAtaM tu yajjaptaM tatsarvaM syAtrirarthakam |
parvabhistu japaH kAryo nA~ggulInAM nipAtanaiH ||

"There is no prayojanam--use, for the japam done without a count. Instead of shaking the fingers, the japam should be done using the knuckles of the fingers."

• Since it is prescribed in this way, the japam should be done either using the finger knuckles or a japamAlA--rosary.

• The prescription that saMnyAsis--renunciates can chant the gAyatrI mantra is indicated to apply only to the three kinds of saMnyAsis: kuTIchaka--hut-dwelling mendicants, bahUdaka--mendicant who begs for his food, and haMsa--wandering mendicants; and not for the parahaMsa saMnyAsis who meditate only on the Atman and do no saguNa upAsana--attributive worship.

[More details about the four kinds of saMnyAsis are found in the bhikShuka upaniShad, whose translation is given here:
http://www.advaita.it/library/bhikshuka.htm --sd]

The paramahaMsa saMnyAsam is the highest of the four kinds. The paramahaMsa saMnyAsis don't wear the sacred thread or the tuft of hair, and they carry one only staff--daNDa. The paramahaMsa saMnyAsis, since they have only the terms relating to the Atman for meditation and do no saguNa upAsana, how can they be included (in the group that can chant the GAyatrI)?

• The gAyatrI proper should never be chanted in isolation. It is mentioned

प्रणवस्याहृतियुतां गायत्री वै जपेत्ततः ।
praNavasyAhRutiyutAM gAyatrI vai japettataH |

"The gAyatrI should be chanted with the praNava--AUM and the vyAhRutis--sacred utterances related to manifest worlds."

• The gAyatrI is prescribed to be chanted as nitya-karma--daily religious routine and in prAyashchittam--atonement.

• Besides, the gAyatrI mantra is there for us to attain all that we desire. The sUta-saMhitA says

बहुनोक्तन किं विप्राः जपेनास्याश्च होमतः ।
अभीष्टं सर्वमाप्नोति नात्र सन्देहकारणम् ॥

bahunoktana kiM viprAH japenAsyAshcha homataH |
abhIShTaM sarvamApnoti nAtra sandehakAraNam ||

"Hey brAhmaNas! What is there to accomplish with so much explanation? If the homam is done by the gAyatrI mantram, one will get whatever he desieres. There is no doubt about it."

[The English translation of the Tamizh-translated publication of the essay blessed to us by the Jagadguru shrI Abhinava VidyAtIrtha mahAsvAmigaL--sd)

*** *** ***
(to continue...)

29 September 2011, 10:57 PM
Paraphrased from the book shrI gAyatrI mahA mantra sAram
by S.S.RAghavAchAryAr
pages 1-14

जन्मना जायते सूद्रः संस्काराद् भवेद् द्विजः ।
वेदपाठाद् भवेद् विप्र ब्रह्म जनातिति ब्राह्मणः ॥

janmanA jAyate sUdraH saMskArAd bhaved dvijaH |
vedapAThAd bhaved vipra brahma janAtiti brAhmaNaH ||
--mahAbhArata, shAnti parva, section 188

"By birth, one is a sUdra. By training of saMskAra, one will become twice-born. By study of the Vedas, one becomes a learned man, and one who knows brahman is a brahmana."

This shloka highlights the importance of the upanayana saMskAram--investiture of the sacred thread, to the men of the trivarNa--three classes, viz. brAhmaNa, kShatriya, vaishya.

• The adhikAram--authority, to enter the adhyAtmika mArgam--path of Self-Realization is obtained only after this ceremony. The twice-born also gets elibigle to chant, learn and study the Vedas and do puja to the deities.

• The second adhyAtmika birth is obtained after the bhUta--physical birth by the men of the three classes only after they are given upadesham--instructions, on the mahA mantram gAyatrI.

• SAyaNAcharya explains the meaning of the gAyatrI mantra as below:

"SavitA kindles the intellect in us. She is the one who is prasiddha--well know, in the shruti. She is the one who imbues the prakAsha--brightness in us. We do dhyAnam--meditation of that celebrated divine light of Parameshvara who creates the world."

• The svarUpas--forms, the gAyatrI mantra takes are: ekapAda, dvipAda, tripAda and chatushpAda.

The chatushpAda gAyatrI is also known as turIya gAyatrI. The normal gAyatrI mantra with 24 akSharas--syllables, that we chant is called tripAda--3-footed gAyatrI.

More about the other forms in these links--sd:

• The agnipurANam throws light on the explanation of SAvitrI as:

सर्वलोक प्रसवनात्सवितास तु कीर्त्यते ।
यतस्तत् देवता देवी सावित्री द्युच्यते ततः ॥
वेदप्रवसनाच् चापि सावित्री प्रोच्यते पुतैः ॥

sarvaloka prasavanAtsavitAsa tu kIrtyate |
yatastat devatA devI sAvitrI dyuchyate tataH ||
vedapravasanAch chApi sAvitrI prochyate putaiH ||

"Since she creates the world, it is known as savitA and she, its devI--deity, is known as SAvitrI. Or it can be said that as she gives the birth necessary to chant the Vedas, she is called SAvitrI."

(to continue...)

03 October 2011, 09:14 AM
page 15
gAyatrI mahiman: greatness of the gAyatrI

01. ChAndogya upaniShad says:

गायत्री वा इदँ सर्वं भूतं यदिदं किञ्च वाग्वै गायत्री वाग्वा
इदँ सर्वं भूतं गायति च त्रायते च ॥३.१२.१॥

या वै सा गायत्रीयं वाव सा येयं पृथिव्यस्याँ
हीदँ सर्वं भूतं प्रतिष्ठतमेतामेव नातिशीयते ॥३.१२.२॥

या वै सा पृथिवीयं वाव सा यदिदमस्मिन्पुरुषे
शरीरमस्मिन्हीमे प्राणाः प्रतिष्ठिता एतदेव नातिशीयन्ते ॥३.१२.३॥

यद्वै तत्पुरुषे शरीरमिदं वाव तद्यदिदमस्मिन्नन्तः
पुरुषे हृदयमस्मिन्हीमे प्राणाः प्रतिष्ठिता एतदेव नातिशीयन्ते ॥३.१२.४॥

सैषा चतुष्पदा षड्विधा गायत्री तदेतदृचाभ्यनूक्तम् ॥३.१२.५॥

तावानस्य महिमा ततो ज्यायाँश्च पूरुषः ।
पादोऽस्य सर्वा भूतानि त्रिपादस्यामृतं दिविइति ॥३.१२.६॥

gAyatrI vA ida~M sarvaM bhUtaM yadidaM ki~jcha vAgvai gAyatrI vAgvA
ida~M sarvaM bhUtaM gAyati cha trAyate cha ||3.12.1||

yA vai sA gAyatrIyaM vAva sA yeyaM pRuthivyasyA~M
hIda~M sarvaM bhUtaM pratiShThatametAmeva nAtishIyate ||3.12.2||

yA vai sA pRuthivIyaM vAva sA yadidamasminpuruShe
sharIramasminhIme prANAH pratiShThitA etadeva nAtishIyante ||3.12.3||

yadvai tatpuruShe sharIramidaM vAva tadyadidamasminnantaH
puruShe hRudayamasminhIme prANAH pratiShThitA etadeva nAtishIyante ||3.12.4||

saiShA chatuShpadA ShaDvidhA gAyatrI tadetadRuchAbhyanUktam ||3.12.5||

tAvAnasya mahimA tato jyAyA~Mshcha pUruShaH |
pAdo&sya sarvA bhUtAni tripAdasyAmRutaM diviiti ||3.12.6||

Tr: svAmi SvAhAnanda (RK Mission publication):
3.12.1: gAyatrI indeed is all this, whatever being exists. Speech indeed is gAyatrI, for speech indeed sings and removes fear of all this that exists.

3.12.2: That which is this gAyatrI, even that is this earth; for on this earth are all the beings established and they do not transcend it.

3.12.3: That which is this earth (as gAyatrI), even that is this, i.e., this body in respect of this person; for these senses are indeed established in this body and they do not transcend it.

3.12.4: That which is the body in respect of a person, even that is (identical with) the heart within the body; for these senses are indeed established in it and they do not transcend it.

3.12.5: This well-known gAyatrI is four-footed and sixfold. This gAyatrI Brahman is thus expressed in the following Rk.

[The gAyatrI is sixfold in the shape of speech, beings, earth, body, heart and prANa. Though speech and prANa are mentioned to show the relation of gAyatrI and the heart with all beings, it is taken as a form of the gAyatrI. The four feet of the gAyatrI are beings, earth, body and heart. This also is stated for the purpose of meditation.]

3.12.6: Such is the greatness of this (Brahman called gAyatrI). The PuruSha--Person, is even greater than this. All this world is a quarter in Him, the other three quarters of His (constitute) immortality in heaven.

[There is no division in Brahman; but to make it clear that compared to the phenomenal world Brahman is infinite, the parts are assumed and it is said that Brahman emanates only in only one part whereas in the other parts It is immortal or unchangeable.]


02. Shankara bhAShya of sage VyAsa's brahma-sUtra says:

Tr: svAmi SivAnanda:
1.1.25: If it be said that Brahman is not denoted on account of the metre gAyatrI being denoted, we reply not so, because thus i.e. by means of the metre the application of the mind on Brahman is declared; because thus it is seen (in other passages also).

Brahman is meditated upon as gAyatrI. By this explanation all become consistent. If gAyatrI meant metre then it would be impossible to say of it that "gAyatrI is everything whatsoever here exists" because certainly the metre is not everything. Therefore the Sutra says "tatha hi darshnam"-—so we see. By such an explanation only the above passage gives a consistent meaning.

The direction of the mind is declared in the text 'gAyatrI is all this'. The passage instructs that by means of the metre gAyatrI the mind is to be directed on Brahman which is connected with that metre.


03. manusmRti says:

ओंकारपूर्विकास्तिस्रो महाव्याहृतयोऽव्ययाः ।
त्रिपदा चैव सावित्री विज्ञेयं ब्रह्मणो मुखम् ॥२.८१॥

यो अधीते अहन्यहन्येतां त्रीणि वर्षाण्यतन्द्रितः ।
स ब्रह्म परमभ्येति वायुभूतः खमूर्तिमान् ॥२.८२॥

oMkArapUrvikAstisro mahAvyaahRutayo&vyayAH |
tripadA chaiva sAvitrI vij~jeyaM brahmaNo mukham ||2.81||

yo adhIte ahanyahanyetAM trINi varShANyatandritaH |
sa brahma paramabhyeti vaayubhUtaH khamUrtimAn ||2.82||

2.81: Know that three imperishable mahAvyAhRutis, preceded by the syllable AUM, and (followed) by the three-footed SAvitrI are the portal of the Veda and the gate leading to (union with) Brahman.

2.82: He who daily recites that (verse), untired, during three years, will enter (after death) the highest Brahman, move as free as air, and assume an ethereal form.
• Manu (about the gAyatrI mahimA) says:

manuSmRti also says:

सहस्रकृत्वस्त्वभ्यस्य बहिरेतत्त्रिकं द्विजः ।
महतोऽप्येनसो मासात्त्वचैवाहिर्विमुच्यते ॥

sahasrakRutvastvabhyasya bahiretattrikaM dvijaH |
mahato&pyenaso maasAttvachaivAhirvimuchyate ||2.79||

"If a man does japam--litany of the gAyatrI mantra for a month at one thousand times per day (in places such as the river banks or jungles), with the praNava (AUM) and the vyAhRtutis (bhUrbhuvasvaH), he will be freed from his great sins, like a snake from its slough."


04. shrI KRShNa says in his bhagavad gItA:

बृहत्साम तथा साम्नां गायत्री छन्दसामहम् ।
मासानां मार्गशीर्षोऽहमृतूनां कुसुमाकरः ॥१०.३५॥

bRuhatsAma tathA sAmnAM gAyatrI ChandasAmaham |
mAsAnAM mArgashIrSho&hamRutUnAM kusumAkaraH ||10.35||

10.35: Further, I am BRhatsAma, the Great Chant, of the chants. I am gAyatrI of the metres. I am mArgashIrSha of the months. I am spring of the seasons.

(to continue...)