Gayatri Mantra - A Universal Prayer
Gayatri Mantra is a mantra that is said to contain the essence of all mantras. It is directed towards enlightening us - purifying our mind and calling onto our inner light to awaken our consciousness. This mantra is a prayer to Goddess Gayatri who has has the form of resplendent light and represents one who has infinite knowledge and is able to illuminate all forms of darkness and ignorance. She is also considered the Mother of all the Mantras and the Mother of the Vedas. So, chanting this mantra gives us the complete benefit of chanting all the Vedas.
This mantra is part of the Rig Veda, an early Vedic text written between 1800 and 1500 BCE. Many other Hindu scriptures such as Upanishads as well as Bhagwad Gita underscore the importance of this mantra, Since this mantra addresses the supreme reality in the form of light, it is universal in nature and not associated to a specific deity as maybe commonly misunderstood. In fact, it is highly revered in other Eastern religions such as Buddhism.
In the scriptures, Gayatri mantra is described as miraculous and most effective mantra and its chanting can get good fruit very quickly. There is so much energy in this mantra that chanting this great mantra three times regularly destroys all negative powers or all problems.
ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात्।।
Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ Tat-savitur Vareñyaṃ Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt
AH-OH-MM BHOOR BHU-WAH SWA-HA,
TAT SAVI-tur va RENI-yam
bhar-GO DE-vasya DHEE-mahi
dhiYO YO nuh pra-CHO-dayat
Translation of the mantra:
"We meditate on that most adored Supreme Lod, the Creator; Who has created the Universe; Who is worthy of Worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance; May this divine light enlighten our Intellect. destroy our ignorance and guide us in the direction of enlightenment by purifying our inner hearts.”
Meaning of the mantra:
The mantra starts with the primordial sound of ‘Om’. The three worlds of Bhur, Bhuva and Suva (earth, sky and heaven) are nourished by the resplendent light of that Savitur (Sun god). I meditate upon that eternal light so that it illumines my intellect too.
Gayatri Mantra uttering serves three Purposes:
First, to give back to the sun – The Sun gives but never receives, “This mantra is gift back to the life-giving sun and divine, an offering of gratitude to the sun for sharing with us its energy. We are aware of the importance of the sun, and the life it drives on the earth.
Second, to seek enlightenment and wisdom – By meditating on the sun and be illuminated of our understanding of the world and gain wisdom. ? (Consider that the sun offers its gift of illumination and energy to all beings, without judgment and without attachment to the outcome of the gift.)
Third, an expression of gratitude – We are living in this world at a good time. It is so much easier to live at a time like this. We should be grateful to mother nature, and accept the sensibility the Gayatri mantra instils in us.
Guidelines for practicing this mantra
Gayatri mantra can be chanted at all times whether you working, travelling or resting. It is best to chant it in the morning in rounds of 108 (if possible) and then continue chanting it in-and-out during the day. The Vedic scriptures suggest a bath i.e. sanctifying oneself before beginning the chant in the morning. Make Gayatri mantra a part of you with constant chanting so that you keep chanting it unconsciously all the time. This mantra can be also chanted before or after meditation and yoga exercises as it aligns the chakras in your body thus aiding other spiritual practices.
1) Reduces depression and anxiety:
This mantra soothes and calms the mind, works gently with dark states of mind uplifting you and bringing clarity and clear-headedness. The vibrations created by this mantra in the brain stimulate the vagus nerve which is associated with treating depression as published in research studies. In addition to that, chanting of this mantra helps release endorphins and other hormones associated with relaxation and feeling well. When you are focused, you see clearly. The clarity lifts all of your tension. The diseases are kept at bay and you feel more healthy and fit. Gayatri mantra chanting activates the hypothalamus which is responsible for keeping immunity in the body.
2) Improves concentration and learning:
This mantra actively works directly on the top three chakras, These three chakras help improve concentration as they directly relate to the brain and penial gland (crown chakra), eyes, sinuses, lower head, the pituitary gland (third eye chakra) and thyroid gland (throat chakra).
3) Spiritual progress:
Gayatri Mantra contributes to one’s spiritual maturity and helps the individual ascend in the ladder of spiritual progress through enlightenment. The Mantra helps people attain Moksha by liberating them from their Karmas.
4) Prosperity and development:
According to Hindu mythology, Goddess Gayatri is a form of Annapoorna, who is the goddess of food. Reciting the Gayatri mantra therefore allows you to bring prosperity, wealth, food, shelter, and over all development of your life. Your life could steer towards happiness, and positivity with the recitation of the Gayatri mantra.
The chant of this mantra is considered to be very beneficial for dealing with any kind of problems faced by business, job or life. The pronunciation of this mantra destroys all the negative energies around the surroundings according to Vastu. Gayatri Mantra removes all fears and diseases and enhances happiness, wealth and prosperity.
5) Successful marriage:
Reciting the Gayatri mantra can help you to keep your relationship going strong. Astrology suggests that marriages are doomed due to inauspicious positioning of the stars. This can be altered with the help of Goddess Gayatri.
All in all, it is important to understand that the Gayatri mantra is a true reflection of spirituality, and it is sure to help an individual in achieving everlasting peace and fulfilment.
References in other texts
"O man, let us with devotion worship that great Brahman, who is the support of the Sun of all such luminous bodies, who as unprecedented lord of all that was and is all that shall be, existed before creation of the universe and who has created the worlds from the earth to the sun" - Rig Veda X.121.1
"He who practices the Japa of Gayatri regularly for three years assumes the form of air after death and becoming all-pervasive like ether attains the Supreme formless Brahman" - Manu Smriti 11.82
"The learned Brahmana who worships the Sun at the time of rising and setting attains all forms of auspiciousness" - Taittariya Aranyaka P2.A2
Among the mantras, know me in the Gayatri” - Bhagavad Gita X. 35