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Gayatri Mantra - Meaning, Recitation, Counting and Importance

a). Mantra: (manki tarana ithi mantra)

Mantra is a cosmic word or sound vibration. It is the vibration of the self, the true speech of the self and when we immerse ourselves in it, it leads us to the place of self. (Aham cha Brahma, Brahmai vasmi). Mantras consist of letters which form words, sentences, and take us to their goal whether in mundane or spiritual life; all our work is thus carried out through mantras and words. Mantras bear their fruit very quickly. Mantra takes us to God. Mantra means that which redeems and protects the one who contemplates it. Mantra has the greatest power. Mantra is God (Mantra Maheshvara) and takes us to God. Mantra is great and redeems and protects the one who contemplates. In Bhagvad Gita Lord Krishna says Mantro’ham.


b. Meaning of Gayatri mantra (Gayantham thrayeth ithi Gayatri)

The Gayatri mantra taught, as Savitri mantra, illustrated above, is recited during japas after the jahnavi is worn while performing (thrikala sandhyavandanam) your morning and evening sandhyavandanas inclusive of madhyanika is as follows as per Indian mythology followed in South.

‘Ohm burbuvassuvah: tatsavithurvaranyam, bargo devasya dheemahi, dhiyo yo nah: prachodhayat’


The translation and meaning are as follows:


The flame which represents pranava mantra, vyahridhi and kindles our mind and knowledge, creating everything and to such a flame of light, I meditate and concentrate. In short we pray to Lord Suryanarayana who activates our internal mind.

(As per Indian mythology, followed in North, the Gayatri is recited and chanted as follows:

“Aum bhurbhuva: sva: tat savithurvaranyam bhargo devasya deemahi, dhiyo yo nah: prachodhayath”

The translation and meaning are as follows:

Sarvarakshaka parameshwara, pranmose bhi priya, dukka vinasaka, suka svaroopa evam sachhidanana hai, sakala jagatke utpaakat, divya gunom se yukta parameswara ke, usu, varan karne yogya sarvasreshta, papavinasaka suddha svaroopa ko, ham dharan karte hai, jo savita dev jagadeeswara, hamari, bhudiyomko, sanmargame prerith kare. In short the prayer is concentrating on Lord Parameswara.

You, yourself, can feel and identify the differences on the above followed in South and North i.e. in place of Ohm, Aum and in place of Suvah: Sva: are used).

2 - First pranava mantram, then detailed vyahritis represented by earth, pitruloka and devalokam depicting our bhutatama, mind or knowledge, life and thath prachodayat is savitri mantra. (Here Brahman embodied in the Vyahrtis as Hiranyagarbgha, is being presented for his inward meditation- Taittiriya Upanishad

(c) Recitation of Gayatri mantra:


Thus the collection of pranava, vyahriti and savitri mantras represent Gayatri.

Gayatri mantram is having five parts and we should recite by giving four pauses in between.

This Gayatri mantra should be recited kanamal, konamal, and kandu i.e. in the morning before we see sunrise, in the afternoon when the sun is above our head and in the evening when there is sunset and this is beneficial when recited 108 times to the minimum.

The number 108 is very much valued due to its relation to number 432 (108 x 4), which is numerologically significant in all myths and physics. 432 results when one divide, the 25920 years in one cycle of zodiac progression, by 60. A heart beating 60 times a minute beats 86,400 times a day (864 divided by 2 is 432 and by 8 is 108) and lungs breathe fifteen times a minute i.e. 21,600 times a day (216x2= 432 and 216 divided by 2 is 108). As per Surya siddhanta the said four yugas lasts for 43,20,000 years and there exists 21,600 births per day and out of which 7,200 (72 x 6 = 432 divided by 4 is 108) are humans.


d) The method of performing Gayatri japa

PANCHA PRANAVA SAMYUKTAAM JAPETHI ATHYAANU SASANAM

JAPA SANKYASHTA BHAAGANTE PAADHO JABYA STUREEYAKA


Gayatri should be recited in five parts as stated above giving breathing time at every part. Doing japa in hurry without normal breathing is of no use. It is better to recite 28 times instead of 108 times in hurry.


1. Ohm

Bhurbhuvasuva:

Tatsavithurvaranyam

Bhargodevasyadhimahi

Dhiyo yo nah prachodayath



By knowing the meaning of Gayatri only one should do japa; and also by bringing before you imaginatively (manaseekam) Gayatridevi in Shakthi roopam, Lord Sun & the Antaryami Sri Narayana, performing Gayatri japa with politeness increases your Brahma tejas leading to success in all aspects of your life.


-3-



e) The method of counting the Gayatri mantra during japa:



ANAMIKA MADHYATE SAATH ATHO VAMAKRAMENACHA

DARJANEEMULA PARYANTHAM JAGASYAIVAM KRAMAHA KARE

–Devi bhaghavatham 29/18-19


With the tip of the right hand thumb, starting from center line of the ring finger going down and going up through the small finger, touching all the top lines of the other fingers and coming down through pointing finger gives a total 10 and by returning back to the start for further counting.

f) Fame of Gayatri mantra:( by Sages like Vedavyasa and other puranas)

i) The Gayatri mantra takes care of the human beings who recite the same as illustrated above and are saved from all obstacles and bestowed goodness.

ii) Veda states, when Sri Narayanan decided to start creation, from his blissful face came out AGNI as deva, GAYATRI as mantra, RATANTRA as samas, GOAT in pasu variety and BRAHMANAS in varnas and hence they are considered pure.


iii) Gayatri is the eldest sister of Brahmanas and, therefore, it is the moral duty of brahmanas to take care of the eldest sister and in return She takes care of us and there is no doubt about it.

iv) Gayatri chandasam mata: Gayatri is the mother of all mantras (manki tarana mantra)

v) In Gita it is stated that Gayatri Chandasam Aham: meaning- in chandas vedamantras she is Gayatri. Thus by reciting Gayatri you get powerful Atma sakthi, the Manobhavam to win enemies, good internal health followed by Supreme Bliss, attracting power etc. as per Veda.

vi) Gayatri mantra is fitted with twenty-four letters (aksharas) too small to look at, but most powerful.

vii) The one who performs and recites Gayatri mantra daily is getting rid off his sins of his past birth as pariharam, and also the sins performed knowingly and unknowingly in day-to-day life are washed away. The sin of darkness is removed and enlightened life starts. This could be experienced only and cannot be expressed in words.

viii) The sage Visvamitra who was a Kshtriya by reciting and doing tapas of Gayatri mantra attained Siddhi and titled as Brahma Rishi by none other than Rishi Vashista on account of the Sakthi of Gayatri mantra only.

ix) Gayatri removes the doshas:


PRATHIGRAHANNA DOSHASCHA PADHAKA DUPAPATHAKAT​

GAYATRI CHOCHYATE TASMATH GAYANTHAM THRAYATHE YATH:


-4- Gayatri mantra recitation takes care of the person and washes the sins afflicted by his acceptance of alms of food (recipients of annadhanam) and eating the same thereby and also the padahaka & utpadahaka doshas.



x) Rishyasringar says:



SARVATMA SI YA SARVABUTHESHU SAMSTHITHA GAYATRI

MOKSHA HETHUR VAI MOKSHA STHANAKA LAKSHANAM:


Gayatri stays always in all living beings and she is the basic step to attain moksha

As she is Moksha embodiment

xi) Manu-Yama-Vridhavashisthas says:

OMKARA POORVAKAS THISRO MAHAVYAHIRUDAYA STHATHA


THRIPADHA SAIVA GAYATRI VIGYEYAM BRAHMANAMUGAM​

The Ohmkaram, the three vyahridhigal, and the three padas of Gayatri, all these represent the faces of Brahma.

xii) Yoga Yagyavalkayar says:

GAYATRI VEDAJANANI, GAYATRI PAPANASANI,

GAYATRAYAASTHU PARAM NASTHI DHIVI CHEHA CHA BHAVANAM


Gayatri is the mother of Vedas, destroyer of bhavas i.e. ego and mayas, and nothing is greater than Gayatri in Bhulokam and Devalokam

xiii) Manu says:

TATRA YATH BRAHMAJANMASYA MOUNJI BANDHANA SIHNITHAM

TATRASYA MAADHA SAVITRI PHITHA SACHARYA USEEYATHE


Mounji recognizes the brahmana janmam, in that birth, Gayatri is mother, and the person who introduces and teaches is Acharya or Father.

xiv) Kurma Puranam says:

GAYATRI VEDAJANANI GAYATRI LOKAPAVANI

NA: GAYATHRYA: PARAM JAPYAM ETHATH VIGAYANAMUCHYATE


Gayatri is the mother of Vedas, Gayatri purifies the universe, and there is no mantra greater than Gayatri to be recited. The Gayatri mantra is considered Vigyanam (natural science)

xv) Agni Puranam says:

GAYATREEM JAPATHE YASTHU DVOWKALOV BRAHMANAHA: SADHA​

ASTH PREETHI GREEHEETHAPI SA YATHI PARAMAM GATHIM

The Brahmana who recites Gayatri before sunrise and during sunset and althroughout reaches the top spot though he is the receiver of items, through charity, which are not to be received.


xvi) GAYATHRIYA PARO MANTRA: NA MATHU: PARA DEVADEVATHA


There is no mantra greater than Gayatri, just like, there is no devatha greater than Mother.



Conclusion:

The Gayatri (Surya) mantra is meant only for Rishis/Seers/Priests-their descendants Brahmanas who follows the path of janana and this mantra is always performed in water. Since Gayatri is the power of sun and the Suryanadi alone works more strongly when it is repeated and since it is not healthy for only one nadi to function continuously, water, which is ruled by the moon, is recommended in order to encourage the Chandra Nadi to counteract any ill effects of excess solar influence. Surya Gayatri was chanted by standing in four to five feet of water by our forefathers and ancestors, under the said circumstances, in good old days.

Now-a-days there are people who claim to have repeated Gayatri mantra and obtained all manner of believable and unbelievable benefits and they also babble how a man who achieves success with Gayatri mantra attains supreme realization. Please note the mantra we are reciting as Gayatri, is not really the Surya Gayatri Mantra and that the form, which they visualize and doing their japa, is not the Surya Gayatri. Gayatri is certainly one of the most ancient and powerful of our mantras but the mantra, which is printed in the books, is not the Surya Gayatri, but it is the Savitri as stated above.

Though mantra recitation in general has vibration, we get 100% vibration of Gayatri mantra only, while performing the japa after the upadesa is done through upanayanam, anushtanam through thrikala sandyavandanas and upakarmam by puracharanam. i.e. the timely/untimely recitation through cassettes/cds etc. will have surely less vibration only.

The concerned Scholars/Pundits, Research Institutes on Vedic studies who contributed, Authors/Publishers of the books stated in the Bibliography and particularly Dr. Svoboda on his invaluable contribution for the people of India followed by Ramakrishna Mutt, and ANNA for his detailed meanings are thanked through these lines for publishing such useful books on Indian mythology, to bring before you this write-up. For more detailed study, the books shown in the bibliography could be referred to.

Trusting that the above write-up clearly explains, the manner and circumstances, which compelled the Brahmin/priestly class in Kali Yuga, to wear the yagyopavidha by undergoing various processes and the meaning of Gayatri mantra, the method of performing the japa of Gayatri and the consequences thereof. It is hoped that these will be taken in the right spirit for the betterment and peace in our day-to-day life.


SARVE JANA: SUKHINO BHAVANTHU, LOKAA SAMASTHA SUKHINO BHAVANTHU

AUM SHANTI: SHANTI: SHANTI:
 
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