Much has been written and said about the Gayatri Mantra, also referred to as the Savitri Mantra. This is because it is said to be the most powerful mantra in the Vedic tradition. The mantra is dedicated to the sun, which is the source of life. Repeatedly uttering this mantra properly is a potent prayer, a direct path to liberation. It dispels the Maya illusion. It opens one’s spiritual heart so that reality can be perceived as it is. In that way, the ultimate truth is illumined in the heart.
Gayatri is personified as a Devi, or goddess. As the Mother of the Vedas, Gayatri is depicted as having five heads and ten arms, riding a swan. From her comes all knowledge, and right perspective. Any mantra is only effective if one invokes intensely, with devotion and humility. If approached properly, the Gayatri enhances faculties of intuition. The faculties it enlivens are:
- Dhi – Spiritual heart
- Medha – Higher intellect
- Pragya – Higher awareness
- Dhriti – Higher will
- Smriti – Great memory
With this comes inner mental stability and open perception to the truth of reality. An additional, and quite important benefit is the removal of obstacles and impediments from one’s spiritual path. Chanting Gayatri Mantra develops Nada, or a vibration in the channels of the subtle body. It also balances one’s elements of air, fire, and water, ensuring health and purification. This is why the Gayatri Mantra is so powerful – bestowed by Gayatri Devi, the Mother of all mothers.
The mantra itself follows:
- Om – The sound symbol of Brahman
- Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah – Existence, consciousness, bliss / earth, mind, heaven
- Tat Savitur Varenyam – I bow down to that supreme light (of the sun)
- Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi – I meditate upon that effulgent deity
- Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat – May it illumine my intellect (thereby enabling supreme knowledge)
The optimal time to chant the Gayatri Mantra is at Brahma Muhurta (3:40 am) but dawn and dusk are also auspicious, when nature is quieter. It is recommended to chant the mantra 108 times but if time does not permit this, then it can also be chanted 36 times at dawn, noon, at dusk. It should be done with worshipful respect, in a meditative posture, and in a proper meter. We should remember that is it a prayer. It is sacred.
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