gayatri mantram sp
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GAYATRI MANTRAM By Swami Paramarthananda
Transcribed by Swamini Svatmabodhananda
Published by :
Arsha Avinash Foundation 104 Third Street, Tatabad, Coimbatore 641012
Phone: 9487373635 E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
(based on the talks given in Chennai)
An offering unto Gayatr mt
O bhrbhuva sva tat-savitur-vareya bhargo devasya dhmahi
dhiyo yo na pracodayt ||
yo deva savitsmka dhiyo dharmdi gocar |
prerayet tasya yat bharga tat vareyam upsmahe ||
gyatr mantra as a japa
In the second part uttargam of the sandhyvandanam we have seen
camanam, gaapati dhynam, pryma and gyatr japa. Then as a part
of this gyatr japa we have seen vhanam and nysa. Now we are
seeing the japa vidhi.
The first point to be noted is that gyatr is pacvasn, having five stops.
The first stop is after okra, the second stop is after bhrbhuva suva
vyhti, the third stop is after tatsaviturvareyam, the fourth after bhargo
devasya dhmahi and the final after dhiyo yo na pracodayt. Many people
pronounce wrongly with a long , dhyo yo na is wrong pronunciation.
The i should be short. It is dhiyo yo na pracodayt.
The second point we saw was, we had said in the beginning itself nichd
gyatrcchanda, it should have only 23 letters and not 24 letters.
Therefore tatsaviturvareyam should be chanted and not
tatsaviturvareyam. If yam are separated it is gyatri chanda and and
yam are combined yam it is nichd gyatrcchanda. Ekkara vihn tu
nichd gyatrcchandamucyate | This nichd gyatr is used for pryma
arghyam dnam and japa. The other gyatri with 24 letters is supposed to
be used for homa etc.
One more point with regard to japa is being pointed out. Japa is
supposed to be of three types
1. Ucca japa 2. Manda japa 3. Mnasa japa
Ucca japa is a chanting, which is loud and audible to the people around.
Sometimes it is audible and often times it is disturbing to others, if they
are engaged in some other vyvahra.
Manda or upu japa is chanting with the lip movement and which is
audible only to the chanting person. It is not audible to the people
around, like a murmur, murmuring chant with the lip and the tongue
Mnasa japa where lip movement, tongue movement and even throat
movement is not there. It is purely and totally mental chanting.
Of these three, which one is to be adopted? All the three can be adopted
but there is a gradation. The gradation is described in this manner
uttama mnasa japyam, upu madyama smta |
adhama vcika prhu sarva mantreu vai dvij ||
The best is mental japa, mediocre is murmuring, the lowest is said to be
loud japa, and this is is applicable to all forms of chanting.
It is not for Gytari mantra alone, sarva mantreu vai dvij, it is applicable
to all chanting. Of the three, mental chanting has got the greatest value.
In terms of puya if loud chanting has got one unit of puya, upu
japa, murmuring has got ten units and mnasa japa hundred times the
benefit. Of course mnasa japa is difficult, because you cannot be that
mechanical in mnasa japa, whereas in vcika japa mouth can go on
chanting and mind can go on worrying. Some people hold on to the
poonal/ yajopavtam(the sacred thread) and do all vyavahara! Gyatr
will be on but other thoughts like Who has come? What does he
want? What is the phone call? What is the message? Recently
I(Swamiji) read somewhere that one should not hold on to yajopavtam
while chanting. We are supposed to use the hand for counting. This is an
incidental point. We can become mechanical in the chanting if it is
louder whereas if it is mental one has to involve oneself. Therefore, it is
going to be difficult and hence the puyam is more. What is more
difficult will give more puyam and what is less difficult will give less
puyam. But if a person is not able to do mnasa japa, the only way out is
to start with ucca japa and gradually come to manda japa and gradually
proceed to mnasa japa. This is ideal for most of the people.
During the japa one cannot think of the deity(visualize) not only with
respect to gyatri, it is with respect to any japa. The imagination of the
deity is only before the mantra chanting during invocation. If during japa
one (visualizes) imagines the deity, either the japa will become
mechanical or imagination will become impossible. Therefore deity
visualization is only before the japa and later the concentration is only on
The concentration on the mantra is twofold either the mantra can be
abda pradhna or the mantra can be artha pradhna. In abda pradhna
japa, I dont think of the meaning I just visualize the sound.
Bhrbhuvassuva tat saviturvareyam the abda alone I visualize. The
abda itself is sacred and it is capable of giving the phalam. In fact, if it is
japa it is abda pradhna only. The meaning can be visualized before the
beginning of the japa or after the end of japa but not during japa. The
artha pradhna japa is - I see the meaning of the mantra and I dont give
that importance to the abda. So in gyatr also, when it used as a daily
ritual it is abda pradhna, the sound portion only.
The artha, meaning of gyatr mantra
When we chant the gyatr, we are adding two portions, the praava and
the vyhti. Om is called praava mantra which is not a part of gyatr.
Bhrbhuva suva is vyhti mantra which is also not a part of gyatr.
They are appended. Then what is actual gyatr? The three lines -
tatsaviturvareyam, bhargo devasya dhmahi, dhiyo yo na pracodayt | We
will see the meaning part by part.
The first part is Praava Omkra
Omkra is very much glorified in the scriptures and it is said that
irrespective of the meaning of the omkra, the very sound Om is a
omkrca atha abdaca dvvetau brahmaa pur |
kaa bhitv vinirytau tasmt mgalikau ubhau ||
It is said that Brahmaji initiated this creation after uttering the two words
om and atha, therefore they are magalam because of the sound and
whatever be the meaning.
Omkra is supposed to be the best name of the Lord. Lord has got so
many names but the best name of the Lord is supposed to be Om. It is
said in the Gt om tatsaditi nirdea brahmaastrividha smta (17.23).
Om tat and sat these three are the names of Brahma or the Lord.
Because of this alone Omkra is known by the name praava. Praava
means a name which is ideal for the Lord. prakarea nyate brahma
abhidhyate anena iti praava om- by which word Brahman is well
understood and that name is called praavam. Why Omkra is the ideal
name? Many reasons can be given but we will point out two reasons.
One is Omkra is ekkaram. It is one syllable word and Lord is also one
- Omkra eka brahma ekam. Omkra is akara, syllable and Brahman is
akaram, the imperishable one. In addition to this there are philosophical
significances which we find in Mkya Upaniad. Omkra is the ideal
name for the Lord and therefore by uttering this we remember the Lord.
The word Omkra is derived from the root av rakae avati rakati iti
om. The one who protects is called om. It is applicable to the mantra
and also to the Lord. padam api rakati padrtha vara api rakati.
The second part is Vyhti mantra
Vyhti mantra is also supposed to be auspicious irrespective of its
meaning and because of the sound it is supposed to be very sacred. By
the very uccraam, the sound purifies and that is why it is called
vyhti. There are different definitions given for vyhti.
1. Bhrbhuvastath prva svayameva svyambhuv vyht jna dehena
tena vyhtaya smt ||
These three mantras have been uttered by Brahmaji Himself.
brahma vyht iti vyhti
It has been uttered in the beginning itself therefore it is auspicious
2. vieea samantt harati ppni iti vyhti | ppn apaharati that
which removes all the ppas when it is uttered. It is a purifier so it
is uttered before beginning the rituals.
Meaning wise bh bhuva and suva represent the three lokas which are
the manifestations of the Lord. The simple meaning is I remember om
the Lord who manifests in the form of the three lokas.
trolika rpea paridyamnam okra abhidheyamvara smarmi.
This is the meaning of o bhr bhuva suva.
From Vednta standpoint om-kra represents the nirgua turyam. bhr
bhuva suva represent the sagua viva taijasa prja. Therefore o bhr
bhuva suva represent catupd brahma.
I remember the nirgua brahma who alone is manifesting in the form of
sagua brahma - sagua viva virt, sagua taijasa hirayagarbha, sagua
prja svara that Lord I remember. This is the philosophical meaning of
the praava and the vyhti.
The third part is gyatr mantra
The smnya artha is explained first for the general public. Then the
viea vednta artha is being explained.
The smnya artha is invocation of srya devata. According to the
meaning is ya na dhiya pracodayt savitu devasya tat varey