Saturday, April 14, 2012

Gaayatri Mantra

Sharing the write up of the famous and ancient Gaayatri Mantra. This is a translation and write-up by Sri Koti Shreekrishna Tatachar who is also the author of English Translations of two significant and very relevant ancient works: the puruSHasUktam and Srimad Bhagavad Gita.
Gaayatri mantra (Rig Veda 3.62.10)
The mantra is attributed to Sage/Rishi Vishwamitra.

gaayantam traayate iti gaayati
Gaayatri is that which protects those who recite it

Arrangement of verses in a particular rhythmic or measured pattern is called a poetic meter. There are many such meters, and one among them is the gaayatri meter. This meter has 24 syllables (axara).

In the Bhagavad Gita, the Lord declares it as the best
gaayatri chhandasaam aham  
"Of meters, I am gaayatri": BG, Ch. 10 v.35

Gaayatri mantra has three functions:
  • First it wakes us up.
  • Next it stimulates us to connect with the path of Divinity.
  • Finally it surrenders us to Divinity; we are united with the Divine.
Om bhU-r-bhuva-s-suvaH ||
ta-thsa-vi-tu(r)-va-raE-Nyam | bha(r)gO-daE-va-sya-dhI-ma-hi|

Brahman, Earth, Space, and Heaven!
May He stimulate our intellect
We meditate on that adorable light of the divine sun

Om bhU-r-bhuva-s-suvaH ||
[Om = Brahman, bhUH=Earth, bhuvaH= Space, suvaH=Heaven]
Brahman, Earth, Space, and Heaven!

[We are immersed in our own little world. By invoking some of the great spheres of existence and the all-pervading Lord, we wake up to a greater reality of our existence. All the mundane things that used to haunt us become insignificant. This awakening is the first step in spiritual progression. This single stride itself brings about a lofty transformation in our life. 
Note: This line is the Gaayatri shiras or heading - the mantra starts with the next line].

ta-thsa-vi-tu(r)-va-raE-Nyam | bha(r)gO-daE-va-sya-dhI-ma-hi|

[tat=that, savituH=Sun, varaENyam= adorable, bhargO=light, daEvasya= of
divine, dhImahi= we meditate]

We meditate on that adorable light of the divine sun

[We are now aroused to connect with the divine. In this gaayatri mantra, the object of reverence is "solar brilliance" that sustains life. Thus, this mantra is also called the savitaa gaayatri mantra. We have gaayatri mantras for viSHNu, shiva, gaNEsha, subrahmaNya, laxmi, durga, sarasvati, hamsa, agni, narasimha, garuDa, brahma, pranava and so on. In fact gaayatri mantra can be tailor-made to any
deity, person or object of reverence.

As we progress, divinity becomes our habit. Once it is A HABIT, it is very hard to break. If we take A out, HABIT remains, if we take B out, ABIT remains, if we take A out BIT remains, if we take B out, IT remains. I is ego which is very hard to break, thus IT remains!]


[dhiyO=Intellect, yO=He, naH:= Our, pracOdayAt= Stimulate]
May He stimulate our intellect

[The final step is total surrender to the divine. Seeker unites with the sought. We become a habitat for divinity. A person with Brahman-consciousness is ever happy! He rejoices rejoices and rejoices (nandati nandati nandati eva) under all circumstances  (Adi Shankaracharya in Bhaja Govindam)].

-Koti Sreekrishna

Shree Koti Shreekrishna's works can be found at: - A New Bhagavad Gita Translation by Koti and Hari

Shree Koti has also written good articles and write-ups on Hinduism:

Note: Transliteration Scheme follows the Harvard-Kyoto method: convention

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