HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Gayatri_Mantra>"

Word

Gayatri_Mantra

Sanskrit

गायत्री मन्त्र

IAST

gāyatrī mantra

In General

भूर्भुवः स्वः

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।

भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि

धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

Aum

Bhuh Bhuvah Svah

Tat Savitur Varenyam

Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi

Dhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat

Swami Vivekananda translate the mantra as, "We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds”

Surya-Savitri mantra or simply Gayatri is the most important Mantra of Hindu faith. It is so much important that Adi Sankara wrote a commentary on it and said categorically as the essence of Vedas. Gayatri is primarily a meditation mantra for Sandhya ritual. It is first revealed to Rishi Viswamitra Gathinah who composed it in Gayatri Chandas (meter) in Rigveda(3.62.10). It is also found in Yajurveda-Taittiriya Samhita(1.5.6.4), Yajurveda Vajasaneyi Samhita(3.35; 22.9; 30.2 and 36.3) and Sama Veda(1462).

Initiation into Gayatri mantra form major part of upanayana (the sacred thread ceremony) of a Brahmin child. Silent recitation of Gayatri at early morning and evening is a strict daily ritual for a Brahmin male. The reform movement by Swami Vivekanand, Dayananda Saraswati spread the practice of this reserved mantra to all cast, creed and gender.

The method of all the Vedic mantras is to invoke a deity and shower all the attribute of infinite absolute on him. The deity will thus open a door for the desired experience of infinite reality. The main deity invoked in Gayatri is Savitir. Savitir is the centre of all knowledge and radiating power and it is issuing from the supreme source, the creator. The Sun used in mantra is not physical Sun but a symbolic representation. The other deity invoked are Sandhya, Gayatri and saraswati. By reciting the mantra the sadaka is bestowed with wisdom and enlightenment. The Gayatri Mantra is repeated and cited widely in vedic literature, and praised in several Hindu texts such as in Smṛtis, Puranas, various Upanishads and in other text like Bhagavad Gita. The method of recitation is said and repeated in many Brahmanas, Aranyakas, Srauta sutra and Grihasutras.

Gayatri is recited more inwardly as a japa. The recitation of Gayatri is always preceded by OM, the pranava mantra, which represent the ultimate reality, the Brahman. Om is the primordial fundamental sound, symbolic of the Universal Absolute. It is followed by Vyahrities: Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, which represent the plane of body, prana and mind or existence, consciousness and bliss or everything that is created (Earth and seven Patal loka, Intervening Space, Heaven and its extention). According to Hindu faith there are seven world spread over from earth to Brahmaloka. All the seven namely Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and satyam were counted during pranayama. So the sadaka should remember the remaining four worlds which are implicit said in the mantra.

Only the next three lines of mantra is found in Rig veda. But Taitiriya Samhita give full mantra except AUM.

tatsavitur varenyam

bhargo devasya dhimahi

dhiyo yo nah pracodayat

Savitr, who is supremely desirable (Varenya) and is that one (tat);

We meditate on the excellent splendor(bhargo) of the devine;

May he activate our thoughts towards wisdom.

One more part remains in Gayatri mantra which is not uttered in chanting but is considered for the purpose of initial pranayama; so considered as implicitly said in mantra. This part is called gayatrisiras. With these mantras the full gayatri come like the below

Om bhuh om bhuvah om suvah om mahah

Om janah om tapah om satyam

Om tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi

Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

Om apo jyoti raso amrtam brahma bhurbhuvas suvarom.

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