THE GAYATRI MANTRA : THE HIGHEST MEDITATION
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba has declared as follows:
“There are many who argue that the Pranava can be repeated only by a few, and that others are not entitled to it. This is wrong. This false conclusion has been arrived at since they do not know the Truth. It springs from a mistaken belief. The Gita does not mention this group or that group. Krishna declares ‘whoever’ (Gita VIII – 12, 13) without any qualifying words limiting it to one class or caste or sex.” GEETHA VAHINI – 143
“The Gayathri Mantra is the elaboration of the Pranava Sabda or OM. It (the Gayathri Mantra) is now held so venerable and so valuable that initiation into the Adhyatmic life is achieved by its contemplation.”
The Gayatri Mantra is the Universal Prayer enshrined in the Vedas, the most ancient Scriptures of man. (SATHYA SAI SPEAKS – X –109)
The Gayatri Mantra is a Prayer that can well be spoken with yearning by men and women of all creeds and climes in all centuries. Repetition of the Mantra will develop the Intelligence. (SATHYA SAI SPEAKS – V – 58)
The Gayatri Mantra is as follows:
BHUR BHUVA SVAHA
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI
DHI YO YONAH PRACHODAYAT
OM – Para Brahman BHUR – Bhu loka (Physical plane). It also refers to the physical body made up of the 5 Pancha Bhutas (5 elements). These 5 elements constitute Prakriti (Nature). BHUVA – Bhuva loka – the middle world. Bhuva is also Prana Sakti. However it is the presence of Prajnana that enables the Prana Sakti to animate the body. It is on this account that the Vedas have declared “Prajnanam Brahma” (Constant integrated awareness is Brahman). SVAHA – Swarga loka (Heaven – the region of the Gods) SS9/95 – 234 TAT – Paramatma, God or Brahman SAVITUR – That from which all this is born VARENYAM – Fit to be worshipped BHARGO – The Radiance, the Spiritual Effulgence, the Light that bestows Wisdom DEVASYA – Divine Reality DHEEMAHI – We meditate DHI YO – Buddhi, Intellect YO – Which NAH – Our PRACHODAYAT – Enlighten.
The Gayatri Mantra may be translated in many ways. One such translation is as follows:
(OM) OM (Dheemahi) we meditate (Bhargo) upon the Spiritual Effulgence (Varenyam Devasya) of THAT adorable Supreme Divine Reality (Savitur) the Source (Bhur, Bhuva, Svaha) of the Physical, the Astral, and the Heavenly spheres of Existence (TAT) May THAT Supreme Divine Being (Prachodayat) enlighten (Yo) which (Nah) our (Dhi Yo) intellect (so that we may realise the Supreme Truth).
Also Dhi Yo YoNah Prachodayat = Awaken my Discrimination,
O Lord and guide me. (Geetha Vahini –page 4)
Sage Viswamitra discovered the Gayatri Mantra. It was the same Sage Viswamitra who initiated Sri Rama into the mysteries of Sun worship, through the Mantra Aaditiya Hrdayam. (Sathya Sai Vahini – 183, 184)
Aaditiya Hrdayam is recited by many people as part of their Sadhana. Booklets on the Aaditiya Hrdayam have been published by the Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai 4 and by the Central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai 72
The Gayatri Mantra enabled Sage Viswamitra to use rare weapons which bowed to his will when the Mantra was repeated with faith. Through the powers he attained in this way, Viswamitra was able to create a counterpart of the Cosmos. (Sathya Sai Vahini – 184)
The Gayatri Mantra is addressed to the energy of the Sun, Surya. (Sathya Sai Vahini – 183)
( Bhagawan is Surya Naaraayana )
The Gayatri Mantra has infinite potentialities.
It is a vibrant formula. It has immense powers, powers that are truly amazing, for the Sun is its presiding Deity. (Sathya Sai Vahini – 184)
The Gayatri Mantra is enshrined in the Vedas, the most ancient Scriptures of man. (Rg Veda III 62,10)
Who is Gayatri?
Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas.
Gayatri Chandasaam Maathaa.
Gayatri redeems the reciter of the Mantra.
Gaayantham Thraayathe Ithi Gayatri.
Gayatri is present wherever the Mantra is recited. (SS 9/95 – 235)
Gayatri has three Names – Gayatri, Saavitri and Saraswathi. These three are present in each one of us. Gayatri is the master of the Senses. Saavitri is the master of Prana (Life force). Saavitri signifies Truth. Saraswathi is the presiding deity of Speech (Vaak). These three represent Purity in Thought, Word and Deed (Trikarana Suddhi) (SS 9/95 – 235)
One who practises purity and harmony of Thought, Word and Deed will have Gayatri, Saavitri and Saraswathi residing in him.
The Gayatri Mantra is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divinity.
The Immanent and Transcendent Divinity has been given the name ‘SAVITHA’.
SAVITHA means “that from which all this is born”.
The Gayatri Mantra may be considered to have three parts.
The Mantra has all the three elements that figure in the adoration of God: Praise, Meditation and Prayer.
The first nine words represent the attributes of the Divine.
“OM BHUR BHUVA SVAHA
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
“DHEEMAHI” pertains to Meditation.
“DHI YO YONAH PRACHODAYAT”
is the Prayer to God to confer on us all powers and talents. (SS 9/95 – 236)
The three parts may also be described as:
(1) Praise to Savitha. The Divine is first praised.
(2) Meditation on Savitha. The Divine is then meditated upon with reverence.
(3) Prayer to Savitha.
An appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen our Intellect, the discriminating faculty (Buddhi) in us.
The Gayatri Mantra is considered to be the Essence of the teaching of the Vedas – the Veda Sara.
Reciting the Gayatri Mantra fosters and sharpens – The Knowledge-yielding faculty in man.
To one who does Japa of the Gayatri Mantra regularly and with faith – The Gayatri Mantra is the reliever of diseases Sarva roga nivaarini Gayatri
The Gayatri Mantra wards off all misery
Sarva duhkha parivaarini Gayatri
The Gayatri Mantra is the fulfiller of all desires
Sarva Vancha phalasri Gayatri.
(SS 9/95 – 236)
The Gayatri Mantra is the bestower of all that is beneficial to the person who recites it with faith.
(SS 9/95 – 236)
If the Gayatri Mantra is recited with faith, various kinds of powers will emerge in one. Hence the Gayatri Mantra should not be treated casually. (SS 9/95 – 236) See also Q 30
What is Truth?
Truth is that which is valid at all times :Past, Present and Future.
That Truth is the Gayatri Mantra.
(SS 9/95 – 236)
The Gayatri Mantra implies the four Mahavakyas or the four core Declarations enshrined in the four Vedas.
The Four Mahavakyas are:
1. PRAJNANAM BRAHMA
Consciousness is Brahman (Aitareya Upanishad of the Rg Veda)
2. AHAM BRAHMA ASMI
I am Brahman. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of the Yajur Veda)
3. TAT TVAM ASI
That thou art. (Chandogya Upanishad of the Sama Veda)
4. AYAM ATMA BRAHMA
This Self is Brahman. (Mandukya Upanishad of the
The Gayatri Mantra should be recited at dawn, noon and dusk.
These times are also known as Sandhya Kaalam, that is to say, the meeting point between night and day, morning and evening, day and night.
These times are beneficial for spiritual practices.
The Gayatri Mantra can be recited at any time and anywhere.
The person who recites the Gayatri Mantra should ensure that his heart is pure at all times.
We should repeat “Shanthi” three times after we complete reciting the Gayatri Mantra.
We should repeat “Shanthi” because it will give “Shanthi” or peace of mind to the three entities in us – Body, Mind and Soul.
Bhagawan’s Teachings to Sri Fanibunda are given in his Book “Vision of the Divine” (pages 79 to 88). The main points are:
1. If the Gayatri Mantra is not recited correctly, it has the opposite effect of enveloping the person in darkness. But, if we recite it with Love, God will accept it.
2. Each word should be pronounced clearly and distinctly, without undue haste or hurry.
3. The Gayatri Mantra is at the very basis of the Vedas, and merits the name Veda Mata or the Mother of the Vedas.
The Gayatri Mantra is all pervasive throughout the manifest Cosmos.
4. Gayatri is “That which preserves, protects and rescues the chanter from mortality”.
5. The Gayatri is a Universal Prayer which asks for a clear Intellect so that the Truth may be reflected therein without distortion.
6. Bhagawan has said that the Gayatri Mantra can be recited by men and women of all climes and creeds.
7. It calls upon the Glorious Power that pervades the Sun and the Three Worlds to arouse, awaken and strengthen the Intelligence, so that it may lead us through intense Sadhana to success. (See also SATHYA SAI SPEAKS Vol III – 242)
8. The heart needs to be cleansed thrice a day – dawn, noon and dusk. Besides these times, Bhagawan has said that the Gayatri Mantra can be repeated anywhere at any time, including nighttime.
9. The Gayatri Mantra is synonymous with Divinity and has therefore to be approached with humility, reverence, faith and love towards the Mantra.
10.The Vedas are the very breath of God, and the Gayatri Mantra is at the very basis of the Vedas.
11. Bhagawan is the Vedapurusha and is therefore the Supreme Authority on the Vedas.
12. Love and reverence for the Mantra and faith in its promised results are far more important than mere mechanical repetition while the mind wanders.
13. This Prayer is directed to the Divine Mother – “O Divine Mother, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please make this darkness distant from us and promote Illumination within us”.
14. Full faith in the power and potency of the Gayatri Mantra will be generated only when the seeker has developed the requisite degree of enthusiasm, reverence and love towards this Mantra.
15. The more one recites the Gayatri Mantra, the greater the benefit to the one who recites it.
The Gayatri Mantra has been given to us as the Third eye (the Ajna Chakra) to reveal the inner vision to us. By developing this inner vision, we may realise Brahman.
The Gayatri Mantra is a treasure and we must therefore guard it throughout our lives. We must learn to pronounce and recite the Gayatri Mantra correctly and exactly as taught by Bhagawan.
We should never give up the Gayatri Mantra. That is to say, we must recite the Gayatri Mantra at least a few times every day with a pure heart.
We may give up or ignore any other Mantra, but we should never give up reciting the Gayatri Mantra throughout our lives.
Bhagawan tells us: “The Sound of a Mantra is as valuable as its meaning.” SADHANA – Inward Path – 90
The effulgence of Brahma – Brahma-prakasa, will descend on us, illumine our intellect and light our Spiritual Path when we recite the Gayatri Mantra correctly as taught by Bhagawan.
While reciting the Gayatri Mantra, we may be well-advised to follow the Instruction that Lord Krishna gave to Arjuna in the Bhagawad Gita V-27: “Shutting out all sense perceptions and fixing the gaze between the eye-brows.”
Bhagawan has said that we should recite the Gayatri Mantra as often as possible. (SS 9/95 – 238)
“The more one recites the Gayatri Mantra, the greater the benefit to the one who recites it.”
We should recite the Gayatri Mantra at least 108 times (One Mala) every morning. This will take only 15 minutes.
Those who take up the reciting of the Gayatri Mantra as a Sadhana by itself may recite 3 or preferably 5 Malas every morning, and an equal or lesser number of Malas in the evening. Reciting 10 Malas (2 1/4 to 2 1/2 hours) every Sunday morning and on holidays is not beyond the capacity of an earnest Sadhaka.
Gayatri Purascharana consists in reciting 10 Malas each morning for 24 or 40 days without a break.
To absorb the Mantric Power, purity of life and an abstemious diet are essential.
If we recite the Gayatri Mantra while taking a bath, our bath gets sanctified. If we recite it before taking our food, our food becomes an offering to the Divine. We should develop heart-felt Devotion to God. (SS9/95 – 238)
Who is Gayatri?
Gayatri is Annapurna, the Divine Mother, the Divine Force that animates all Life.
Gayatri is described as five-Faced. What are they?
The five Faces of Gayatri are:
1. “OM”, the Pranava is the first Face.
2. “Bhur Bhuva Svaha” is the second Face
3. “Tat Savitur Varenyam” is the third Face
4. “Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi” is the fourth Face
5. “Dhi Yo YoNah Prachodayat” is the fifth Face
All these five aspects of the Gayatri Mantra are in each one of us (SS 9/95 – 235) See also Q 12
We should recite the Gayatri Mantra unceasingly, because
(1) The Gayatri Mantra will protect us from harm wherever we are,
(2) Brahma-prakasam, the effulgence of Brahman, will descend on us and illumine our Spiritual Path when we recite the Gayatri Mantra.
The Gayatri Mantra protects us because Gayatri is Annapurna,
the Mother, the Force that animates all Life.
We do not therefore have to wail for food, or for shelter when we are under the protection of Annapurna, the Divine Mother.
The Gayatri Mantra is enough to protect the person who recites it. (SS 9/95 – 237)
The Gayatri Mantra embodies all the Divine Potencies.
By continuously chanting the Gayatri Mantra you yourself will reach the state of fulfilment, a sense of feeling that you have achieved something.
“The Gayatri Mantra is an essential requisite for the young, because it ensures a bright and auspicious future for them.”
SATHYA SAI SPEAKS Vol X pages 109 and 110 and SANATHANA SARATHI September 1995 pages 233 to 238.