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Gayatri Mantra - Mantra or Prayer?

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गायत्री मंत्र की व्याख्या

ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।











Summary of the Gayatri Mantra




Gayatri Mantra (the mother of the vedas), the foremost mantra in hinduism and hindu beliefs, inspires wisdom. Its meaning is that "May the Almighty God illuminate our intellect to lead us along the righteous path". The mantra is also a prayer to the "giver of light and life" - the sun (savitur).



Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,

Remover of pain and sorrow,

The Bestower of happiness,

Oh! Creator of the Universe,

May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,

May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.


Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit


<table title="gayatri mantra in sanskrit"> <tbody><tr> <td width="20%">

</td> <td width="50%" align="left"> gayatriP.gif</td> <td width="30%" align="right"> gayatrig2.jpg </td> </tr></tbody></table> Word for Word Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra





Aum = Brahma ;

bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ;

bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ;

swaha = embodiment of happiness ;

tat = that ;

savitur = bright like sun ;

varenyam = best choicest ;

bhargo = destroyer of sins ;

devasya = divine ;

dheemahi = may imbibe ;

dhiyo = intellect ;

yo = who ;

naha = our ;

prachodayat = may inspire!



<!-- end noprint --> Top of Page Origin, Benefits and Chanting of the Gayatri Mantra


The Vedas are widely considered to be the source of all true knowledge, the word "Veda" itself meaning "Knowledge". Gayatri Devi also gave to mankind the "Gayatri Mantra", also known as the "Guru Mantra" or the "Savitri Mantra". It is one of the oldest mantras, and generally thought of as being amongst the highest and most powerful mantras of all. This mantra is therefore often referred to as "the Mother of the Vedas". It appears in Yajur Veda - Chapter 36, Mantra (Verse) 3.

Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centres in the human body - hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important.

<!-- All the problems of a person are solved if he/she is endowed with the gift of righteous wisdom. Once endowed with far-sighted wisdom, a man is neither entangled in calamity nor does he tread the wrong path. A wise man finds solution to all outstanding problems. Only those persons who do not think correctly find difficulty and take wrong steps due to foolishness.

--> Chanting of Gayatri Mantra removes all obstacles in our path to increased wisdom and spiritual growth and development. The teachings and powers incorporated in the Gayatri Mantra fulfill this purpose. Righteous wisdom starts emerging soon after Jap(recitation) of the Gayatri Mantra is performed.

Top of Page References to the Gayatri Mantra in Scriptures


ॐ भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं । भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।





The Upanisads (secret texts) of Hinduism contain several references to the Gayatri Mantra.

Chandogya Upanisad 3.12.1,2,5 (Qualities of Gayatri)

  • 1. This entire creation is Gayatri. And the Gayatri is speech - for speech sings (gayati) and protects (trayati) this entire creation. Gayatri indeed is all this, whatever being exists. Speech indeed is Gayatri; for speech indeed sings and removes fear of all this that exists.
  • 2. That which is this Gayatri, even that is this earth; for on this earth are all the beings established and they do not transcend it.<!--
  • 3. That which is this earth (as Gayatri), even that is this, i.e. this body in respect of this person; for these senses are indeed established in this body and they do not transcend it.
  • 4. That which is the body in respect of a person, even that is identical with the heart within this body; for these senses are indeed established in it and they do not transcend it. -->
  • 5. This well-known Gayatri is four-footed and sixfold.<!--
  • 6. Such is the greatness of this (Brahman called Gayatri). The Person is even greater than this. All this world is a quarter of Him, the other three quarters of His constitute immortality in heaven. -->

<!-- Chandogya Upanisad 3.16.1


Man, truly, is the sacrifice. His (first) twenty-four years are the morning libation, for the metre Gayatri is made up of twenty-four syllables, and the morning libation is related to the Gayatri metre. With this the Vasus are connected. The Pranas indeed are the Vasus, for they make all this stable. --> Chandogya Upanisad 4.17.1-6 (Origin of Bhur Bhuvah Svah)

  • 1. Prajapati (the progenitor of the worlds) brooded on the three worlds. From them he extracted their essences; fire from the earth, air from the sky and the sun from heaven.
  • 2. He further brooded on these three deities. From them he extracted their essences: the Riks (Rg-veda) from fire, the Yajus-mantras (Yajur-veda) from air, and the Saman (Sama-veda) from the sun.
  • 3. He brooded on the three Vedas. From them he extracted their existences; Bhuh from the Riks, Bhuvah from the Yajus-mantras and Svah from the Samans.
  • 4-6. Therefore if the sacrifice is rendered defective on account of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), then with the Mantra ‘Bhuh Svaha’ (or 'Bhuvah Svaha' or 'Svah Svaha'), the Brahman priest should offer an oblation in the fire. Thus verily, through the essence of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), through the virility of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans), he makes good the injury of the sacrifice in respect of the Riks (or Yajus or Samans).<!--
  • And if the sacrifice is rendered defective on account of the Yajus, then with the Mantra ‘Bhuvah Svaha’, (the Brahman priest) should offer an oblation in the Daksinagni. Thus verily, through the essence of the Yajus-mantras, through the virility of the Yajus-mantras, he makes good the injury of the sacrifice in respect of the Yajus-mantras.
  • And if the sacrifice is rendered defective on account of the Samans, then with the Mantra ‘Svah Svaha’ (the Brahman priest) should offer an oblation to the Ahavaniya fire. Thus verily, through the essence of the Samans, through the virility of the Saman, he makes good the injury of the sacrifice in respect of the Samans. -->

Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.4 (Gayatri as the Protector)


The Gayatri Mantra is based on truth. For truth is based on strength. Strength is breath, and is based on breath. So, Gayatri protects (tra) the wealth (gaya) (the breath!) of those who speak it with earnestness and devotion. When one recites Gayatri on behalf of someone, it protects that person's breath too! Brahadaranyaka Upanisad 5.14.5 (Four 'foots' of the Gayatri)


This verse talks about the unbounded wealth contained within the four 'foots' of the Gayatri Mantra.

  • The first foot (aum bhur bhuvah svaha) is said to be equivalent to the wealth contained in the three worlds put together.
  • The second foot (tat savitur varenyam) is said to be equivalent to the wealth contained in the three main vedas.
  • If one were to receive a gift extending as far as there are living beings, that would equal the third foot (bhargo devasaya dheemahi).
  • The fourth foot (dheeyo yo nah prachodyaat) is based on the glory of the sun, whose power and wealth remains unequaled and unrivaled. Hence, there is no amount of wealth that can equal the fourth foot of the Gayatri!

Top of Page Gayatri Mantra - Long Form and Praanayama


The complete form (or long form) of the Gayatri Mantra contains an invocation to the seven spheres, followed by the traditional 24-syllable mantra that is most commonly chanted (Details of each syllable can be found in the Gayatri by Words article). The final part of the mantra is an invocation to the Goddess of light to illuminate our path as we move towards higher consciousness.





ॐभू: ॐभुव: ॐस्व: ॐमह: ॐजन: ॐतप: ॐसत्यम, ॐतत्सवितुर्वरेन्यं, भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि, धीयो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।।


AUM bhUH, AUM bhuvaH, AUM svaH, AUM mahaH

AUM janaH, AUM tapaH, AUM satyam

AUM tatsaviturvarenyM bhargo devasya dhImahi

dhIyo yo nH prachodayAt.h.

AUM Apo jyotiH rasomRRitaM

brahma bhUR bhuvaH svar AUM..



<!-- Gayatri Mantra Praanayama Detailed Meaning


--> AUM, the primordial sound, resides in all elements of the universe. It permeates the earth (-bhUH), water (-bhuvaH), fire (-svaH), air (-mahaH), ether (-janaH), intelligence (-tapaH) and consciousness (-satyam). We pay homage to Gayatri, the one who shines like the sun (tat savitur), the one who destroys all our sins through her everlasting and effulgent light. Dear Goddess Gayatri, please illuminate our path towards our higher consciousness and lead us to our true purpose in life. Please shine your light (-jyotiH) in our path so we may partake of the everlasting nectar (rasomRRitaM) of brahman while chanting the primordial sound, AUM!

<dl class="noprint"><dt> Listen to the Gayatri Mantra Praanayama (mp3 extract, 30sec, 220K)</dt><dd> <!-- gayatri_sharma120.jpg

-->The Gayatri Mantra CD by Pandit Jasraaj and Rattan Mohan Sharma includes a 40+ minute rendition of repeated chants of the Gayatri Mantra. It is perfect to play in the background for your meditations.<!-- US surfers can download the album (6 tracks including 108-times chant of Gayatri) by using the link to the right ($). --> </dd></dl> Top of Page Gayatri Mantra - Mantra or Prayer?


The Gayatri Mantra occupies a unique place in that it has both the power of mantra and of prarthana (prayer). It is important then in considering the Gayatri Mantra to distinguish the difference between these two deceptively similar words.

A mantra may be articulate or inarticulate, or a combination of them, as with AUM. It has an inherent power, known as "Mantra shakti", which has a positive influence not due to any philosophical meaning behind the mantra, but simply due to its utterance alone (of course, "utterance" may or may not be vocal or heard - it can be silent, expressed only in the mind, or at the deepest level, heard only by the soul itself). As explained, a pure mantra may or may not have any actual meaning or philosophical significance, its power being intrinsic to the mantra itself, and not instrumental to any meaning.


<!-- end noprint --> A prarthana on the other hand does have a philosophical meaning behind it, and it is generally through this meaning that the prarthana has its power. Since the mantra is devoid of any kind of actual meaning, it cannot be conceptualised or visualised. This makes its understanding extremely difficult to the normal human mind, thus rendering its correct enunciation almost impossible to the untrained person. A prarthana however, having a meaning that can be comprehended through purely intellectual means, is far easier to be understood, since rational thought, unlike spiritual meditation, is much more in the reach of the ordinary person. Thus, the method of prarthana is generally the form of worship used today.

The Gayatri, or Guru, Mantra possesses both the power of mantra and the power of prarthana, and thus has both an intrinsic power (ie "mantra shakti"), through its mere utterance alone, and also an instrumental power (ie "prarthana shakti"), which is derived from the exposition and understanding of its meaning and philosophical significance. The repeated and correct chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, with proper understanding of its meaning, is believed to be of the greatest good to the individual.

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hi guys so in response, i understand that Gayatri is powerful and that wishes can fulfilled and we can reap the benefits if done with faith and concentration. when doing gayatri japa how do we concentrate on the mantra? do we focus on the mantra itself or do we focus on mataji? or both? the reason why i ask this that I'm having difficulty concentrating and i was just looking for some advice please

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