THE GAYATRI MANTRA

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  • ‘Mantra’ means “that which delivers the mind” and denotes a prayer or phrase consisting of sacred words. Mantras are usually in Sanskrit and are often recited repetitively.
  • There are numerous Gayatri mantras but the main one, of twenty-four syllables, is sometimes called ‘Savitri’.
  • Many Hindus recite the mantra as part of their daily worship (traditionally by the twice-born, three times daily at dawn, noon and dusk). It is first received from the guru who murmurs it in the disciple’s left ear at the time of initiation (upanayana – the sacred thread ceremony). The mantra is usually recited with the sacred thread wrapped around the thumb of the right hand.
  • The mantra reads:
    Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat (Rig-Veda 3.62.10).
  • There are many translations, according to tradition and depth of realisation. One is as follows:

    “Let us meditate on that worshipful effulgence of the divine sun who enthuses our meditation.”

  • To chant the Gayatri properly the practitioner should be perfectly situated in the quality of goodness (sattva-guna). The chanting helps one gain liberation (moksha).
  • The Gayatri is said to have emanated from the mouth of Lord Brahma (the creator) as he heard the sound of Lord Krishna’s flute. It is therefore considered the sound incarnation of Brahman (the Absolute). Gayatri is personified as a goddess (Gayatri Ma), one of the consorts of Lord Brahma.