Friday, February 4, 2011

Gayatri Mantra and Sun God

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism. Written in Sanskrit, it consists of the prefix :oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ ॐ भूर्भुवस्वः, a formula taken from the Yajurveda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rigveda (which is an example of the Gayatri metre, whence the mantra's name). Since the other three Vedas contain material from the Rigveda, the Gayatri mantra is found in all four Vedas. The deva invoked in this mantra is Savitr, so the mantra is also called Sāvitrī. A personification of this mantra has come to be worshiped as a goddess in her own right, Gayatri. The Gayatri Mantra is praised in several other Hindu scriptures, including Manusmṛti, Atharvaveda, and the Bhagavad Gita.
The Gayatri Mantra is an important part of the upanayanam (sacred thread) ceremony for Brahmins, and was traditionally chanted only by Brahmin males, generally as part of their daily rituals. In modern times, chanting of the Gayatri Mantra is more widespread, such as at cultural celebrations, and its use has spread to include non-Brahmins and women.

The Gayatri Mantra

Om bhūr bhuvah svah
  1. tat savitur varenyam
  2. bhargo devasya dhīmahi
  3. dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt


May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar (Sun God):
"So may he stimulate our prayers."

Word for word explanation

  • om The mystical Om syllable
  • bhū "earth"prithvi
  • bhuvas "atmosphere"antariksha
  • svar "light, heaven"beyond antariksha
  • tat "that"
  • savitur devasya "of Savitr, the god" (genitives of savitr-, 'stimulator, rouser; name of Sun-God' or 'Spiritual Light')
  • varenyam accusative of varenya- "desirable, excellent, fit to be adopted"
  • bhargo "radiance, lustre, splendour, glory"
  • devasya "divine"
  • dhīmahi "may we attain" (1st person plural middle optative of dhā- 'set, bring, fix' etc.)
  • dhiyaḥ naḥ "our prayers" (accusative plural of dhi- 'thought, meditation, devotion, prayer' and naḥ enclitic personal pronoun)
  • yaḥ pracodayāt "who may stimulate" (nominative singular of relative pronoun yad-; causative 3rd person of pra-cud- 'set in motion, drive on, urge, impel')
Gayatri Mantra appears in all Vedas. Vedas are said to be breath of God and is existing from time immemorial. It doesnt have any human author (unlike other religions). Gayatri Mantra is said to be most revered & center mantra of Vedas as it indicates medidation on the Supreme God. Here Savitr - Sun God is indicated as deity for meditation. Sun God can be viewed in two angles - as a spiritual guru and as a spiritual light. Sun God is said to one of the Vedic preachers to his followers. He preaches the way to attain the Supreme to its followers. Sun God was teacher to Lord Hanuman, Lord Brahma, Samba - Lord Krishna's son, Sage Yagyavalya etc.. 
Once Sage Yagyavalya was attending his class of his Guru. At that time, due to some incident his Guru got some dosha (sin). He asked his pupils to share his sin so that he will be get rid of his sin. But Sage Yagyavalya didnt agreed to share his guru's sin. So his guru got angry and ask him to return the vedic knowledge taught by him. Immediately Sage Yagyavalya vomitted the vedas and other disciples took the form of crows took it. Then Sage Yagyavalya left the hermitage of his Guru and decided to make penance on Lord Surya Narayana (Sun God). Due to result of his penance Lord Surya Narayana appeared to him in form of a horse and taught him the vedas and also additionally "Sukla Yagur Veda" (which was not even know to Sage Yagyavalya's guru). Since Suryadeva taught to him in form of a white (Sukla) horse , the veda is known to be "Sukla Yagur Veda".  
[Note : We "sourashtrians" are suppose to follow the "Sukla Yagur Veda" of Sun God].
When Lord Hanuman approached Lord Surya Narayana to accept him as his disciple, Suryadeva put forth one condition that Hanumanji should follow his revolution (as Sun is continously spinning, whereas other planets are revolving around it) while he teaches as he cant remain static in one-place. Lord Hanuman Agreed and followed Surya-deva on his path during his gurukula vasa.
Thus we see that Lord Suryadeva is a preacher of Supreme Vedic Truth to his followers. (Note : SunGod was preached by Lord Narayana himself. Its told by Lord Krishna in Bhagavath Gita).
Also Sun is said to be eye of Supreme God Narayana. Through Sun only Lord Narayana watches us and makes the world flourish. 
Sun-God also symbolises Atman (the soul), the spiritual light (ie., knowledge).
Thats why Sun-God is placed as object of meditation in Holy Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Mantra was even uttered by Lord Vamana (Lord Vishnu's present manvanthra avatar. ie., 5th avatar). and was also uttered by Lord Rama (as Lord Rama wanted to be a role model of entire humans). Lord Krishna tells in Bhagavath Gita that "Among Mantras he is the Gayatri Mantra". So we can see the greatness of Gayatri Mantra.

Om Namo Narayana

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