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Tuesday, 3 February 2015
The Meaning And Glory Of Gayatri ========
The Meaning And Glory Of Gayatri ========
The Gayatri Mantra forms a part of the Rig Ved Samhita, Mandala 3, Sukta 62, verse 10 :
तत सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि |
धियो यो नः परचोदयात ||
The complete mantra occurs in Yajur Ved 36.3. Gayatri is said to be "Ved Mata" (mother of the Ved).The presiding deity of the Gayatri Mantra is Savitr (Sun).This mantra is sung in the Vedic-meter called Gayatri. This is considered to be the most important mantra written out in Gayatri meter, and therefore, by tradition, this mantra has come to be known as Gayatri. Gayatri is also personified as a goddess, the consort of Lord Brahmaa (Sarasvati) in Purans.
AUM being the sound symbol of Parmatman (Supreme Reality), it is considered to be the first vibration as sound emanating at the beginning of creation. With Aum, Brahmaa created this cosmos, and from Aum constituted of the three isolated letters A, U, M, the vyāhṛitis came forth: bhūh, bhuvah, svah. From these three vyāhṛitis, the three pādas of the Gāyatri-Mantra emanated.
From A came out tat savitur varenyam which expanded itself into the Rg-Ved and the cosmic plane Bhuh.
From U came out bhargo devasya dhimahi, which expanded itself into Yajur Ved and the plane of Bhuvah.
From M came out dhiyo yo nah prachodayat- which expanded itself into Sam Ved, and the plane of Svaha.
From the three pādsas of the Gāyatri-Mantra, the meaning of the three sections of the Puruṣha-Sūkta emerged, and from the meaning of the Puruṣha-Sūkta, the meaning of the entire Ved emanated, and from this vast meaning of the Ved, Brahmaa created this whole cosmos, say the scriptures.
THE GAYATRI MANTRA :
Aum bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
Word by word meaning of Gayatri :
Aum – the primeval sound
Bhur – the physical world, this earth
Bhuva – the mental world
Svaha – the spiritual world
Thath – That (the Paramatma)
Savitur – The Sun, Creator
Varenyam – the most adorable, highest
Bhargo – Luster, Effulgence, tejas
Devasya - of the Supreme Lord
Dhimahi – we meditae upon
Dhiyo – intellect, understanding
Yo – who
Naha – our
Prachodhayat – enlightens, guides
Complete Meaning :
" Aum, we meditate(dhimahi) on the spiritual effulgence(bhargas) of that adorable Supreme Divine Reality (varenyam devasya), the source or projector (savitr) of the three phenomenal world planes the gross or physical (bhuh) the subtle or psychical (bhuvah) and the potential or causal (suvah), both macro cosmically or externally and micro cosmically or internally. May the Supreme Divine Being (Tat) stimulate (prachodayat) our(nah) intellect (dhiyah), so that we may realise the Supreme Truth. "
Translation by Swami Vivekananda:
"We meditate on the glory of that Supreme Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds."
Two interpretations by S. Radhakrishnan:
"We meditate on the effulgent glory of the divine Light; may he inspire our understanding."
"We meditate on the adorable glory of the radiant sun; may he inspire our intelligence."
The Arya Samaj interpretation:
"O God ! Giver of life, Remover of all pain and sorrows, Bestower of happiness, the Creator of the Universe, Thou art most luminous, adorable and destroyer of sins. We meditate upon thee. May thou inspire, enlighten and guide our intellect in the right direction."
Full scientific interpretation of the Mantra: The earth (bhur), the planets (bhuvah), and the galaxies (svaha) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound produced is Om, (the name of formless God).
The deeper philosophic meaning of Gayatri:
In our inner life, the sun represents the light-giver, the illuminator of all experiences, the ATMAN (Soul). This pure consciousness in us, the inner centre of our personality around which the matter envelopments function with mathematical precision- just as around the sun the entire solar system revolves- is being invoked to shine more and more in our intellect. Without the Atman ( the light that is our consciousness), the bodily matters become inert and dead, just as without the sun life would have been impossible.
Qualities of Gayatri described in Upanishads :
Chandogya Upanishad 3.12.1,2,5…
1. This entire creation is Gayatri. And the Gayatri is speech - for speech sings (gayati) and protects (trayati) this entire creation. Gayatri indeed is all this, whatever being exists. Speech indeed is Gayatri; for speech indeed sings and removes fear of all this that exists.
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.
5. This well-known Gayatri is four-footed and sixfold.
Origin of Bhur Bhuvah Svah
Chandogya Upanishad 4.17.1-6 …
1. Prajapati (the progenitor of the worlds) brooded on the three worlds. From them he extracted their essences; fire from the earth, air from the sky and the sun from space.
2. He further brooded on these three deities. From them he extracted their essences: the Riks (Rg-ved) from fire, the Yajus-mantras (Yajur-ved) from air, and the Saman (Sama-ved) from the sun.
3. He brooded on the three Ved. From them he extracted their existences; Bhuh from the Riks, Bhuvah from the Yajus-mantras and Svah from the Samans.
4-6. Therefore if the sacrifice is rendered defective on account of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), then with the Mantra ‘Bhuh Svaha’ (or 'Bhuvah Svaha' or 'Svah Svaha'), the Brahman priest should offer an oblation in the fire. Thus verily, through the essence of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), through the virility of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), he makes good the injury of the sacrifice in respect of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans).
Gayatri as the Protector
Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.4 …
The Gayatri Mantra is based on truth. For truth is based on strength. Strength is breath, and is based on breath. So, Gayatri protects (tra) the wealth (gaya) (the breath!) of those who speak it with earnestness and devotion. When one recites Gayatri on behalf of someone, it protects that person's breath too!
Four 'foots' of the Gayatri
Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.5 …
This verse talks about the unbounded wealth contained within the four 'foots' of the Gayatri Mantra.
The first foot (aum bhur bhuvah svaha) is said to be equivalent to the wealth contained in the three worlds put together.
The second foot (tat savitur varenyam) is said to be equivalent to the wealth contained in the three Ved.
If one were to receive a gift extending as far as there are living beings, that would equal the third foot (bhargo devasaya dheemahi).
The fourth foot (dheeyo yo nah prachodyaat) is based on the glory of the sun, whose power and wealth remains unequaled and unrivaled. Hence, there is no amount of wealth that can equal the fourth foot of the Gayatri!
Maithrayani Upanisad explains beautifully the meaning and significance of Gayatri mantra :
‘Aum’ represents Brahma Swaroopam which is all the three genders of male, female and napumsaka. It represents the three luminaries of Agni, Vayu and Adityan. It represents the three Gods, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. It represents the three Agnis of Garhapadhyam, Dakshinagni and Ahavaneeyam. It represents the three Vedas Rig, Yajur and Sama; the three worlds, Bhuloka, Bhuvarloka and Suvarloka; the three times, the present, past and future; the three heat sources, prana, agni and Surya; the three sources of sustenance of the body – food, water and moon; the three ways of thinking – buddhi, mind and ahankara; the three dwelling points of life –prana, Apana and Vyana. It is also Aksharam, Parma and Aparam.
‘Tat Savitur Varenyam’ means Lord Surya who is the creator also called Savita is to be prayed as the best representation of Atman.
‘Bargo Devasya Dheemahi’ means we meditate on the wonderful brilliance of Lord Surya.
‘Dhiyoyonaha Prachodhayat’ – In this ‘na:’ and ‘diya: are our buddhis and our shaktis. (We pray to) That Paramatma which residing in Lord Surya who excites or direct our buddhis and shaktis.
Bharga is explained as the brilliance of Surya and the stars. Bharrjadhi means destroying by fire and hence Bharga represents Rudra. Or bhaga means ghacchati i.e. all the life are from Paramatma and hence he is called ‘bharga’. The name Surya is from the word “suyamanathvath” meaning destroyer of all opponents. Savita means the creator. Since Surya attracts everything he is called Adityan from the word ‘Adhanath’. This Aditya is the imperishable Atman.
Power and greatness of Gayatri :
Right from Brahmaa, the creator of this world down to the present era all the Rishis, saints, innumerable persons have realised and experienced the power of Gayatri. No other mantra has been worshipped and practiced so much as this mantra. Gayatri is praised as Maha Mantra Phalapradhayai which means she helps to realise the effectiveness of any mantra. To realise the benefits of any ritual or practice of any mantra the Gayatri Japam is a must to be performed. A person who does the Gayatri Japam regularly is able to realise the benefit of any studies or use of any mantra.
Many Rishis and learned persons have praised the Gayatri mantra and we produce here an extract of such statement :
Sri Adi Shankaracharya said “It is beyond human competence to describe the glory of Gayatri. Nothing is so important in the world as to have wisdom. This wisdom by which self –realisation is attained through divine insight is inspired by Gayatri. Gayatri is the initial mantra. It is an incarnation to destroy sins and promote virtues”.
Sri Ramkrishna Paramhamsa said “I tell people that it is not necessary to get engaged in prolonged Sadhanas. Perform simple Gayatri Sadhana and see the result. Great Siddhis are attained by Gayatri Sadhana. This mantra is small, no doubt, but it is extremely powerful”.
Swami Vivekananda has said “Gayatri is a mantra of righteous wisdom and therefore, it has been called a be-jeweled crown of all the mantras”.
Devi Bhagavatam states “Sadhana of Gayatri mantra is the essence of Ved. Even Lord Brahmaa meditates on and performs Gayatri japa at the time of twilight. A Brahmin who performs only Gayatri japa regularly attains salvation. Daily worship of Gayatri has been described in all the Ved. A Brahmin devoid of Gayatri is doomed in all respects. A Brahmin who gives up Gayatri goes to hell although he may worship Vishnu or Shiva”.
In this context we have a statement of Paramacharya Sri Chandrasekerendra Saraswathi Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam, who has said that if Gayatri is not practiced by three generation of Brahmins the Brahmin ceases to be a Brahmin.
Rishi Visvamitra says there is no other mantra like Gayatri in all the four Ved. All the Ved, yagna, charity and tap are not equivalent even to a small portion of Gayatri Mantra.
Yajnavalkya says “ Gayatri and all the Ved were weighted in a balance, Gayatri gained an upper hand. Upanisads are the essence of Ved and Gayatri along with its Viyahritis has been regarded as the essence of Upanisads. Gayatri is the mother of Ved, it destroys the sins as there is no other purifier than Gayatri on this earth or in the heaven. There is no mantra superior to Gayatri mantra. One who knows Gayatri becomes a master of all knowledge and becomes Shroutriya. A Dvija who is not devoted to Gayatri is like a Shudra, all though he may be well versed in Ved and all his labour is futile. He who does not know Gayatri gets deprived of his Braahamanatva ”.
Bharadwaj Rishi says that “Even Lord Brahmaa performs Gayatri japa. It leads to god realisation. A vicious man gets rid of his vices by performing Gayatri japa. A person devoid of Gayatri is lower than a shudra ”.
Maharshi Manu says that " Gayatri mantra having three phases was formed by Brahma as the essence of three Ved. There is no greater purifier mantra than Gayatri mantra. Any person engaged in doing Gayatri Tapa regularly for three years realises God. A Dvija who meditates on Gayatri mantra in the morning and evening twilights gets the benefit of reading Ved. Such a person can attain divine powers (siddhis) by Gayatri japa alone.Those who perform the japa thousand times daily get rid of sins just as a snake casts off its slough. A Dvija who does not worship Gayatri deserves to be condemned ”.
Rishi Vashishtha says “ persons who are dull, wayward and fickle minded reach a high position by Gayatri influence and their salvation is certain. Those who worship Gayatri firmly with piousness realise the self ”.
According to sage Parashar, “Of all the sukthas and Ved mantras, Gayatri mantra is most superior. As between the Ved and Gayatri, the latter has an upper hand . One who performs Gayatri japa with devotion becomes pure and gets liberated. A person devoid of Gayatri cannot be considered to be a Brahmin, although he might have read Ved, sastras and puranas”.
Maharishi Vyasa says “Just as honey is the essence of flower, ghee of milk, in the same way Gayatri is the essence of all the Ved. Gayatri is like kamadhenu for one who has acquired proficiency in it. Ganga purifies the sins committed by physical body but Gayatri, the Brahma Ganga purifies the soul. A person resorting to systems of worship other than Gayatri is like a fool who leaves delicious delicacies and indulges in begging food. There is nothing superior to achieving desired success and developing the power of devout austerity ”.