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Gayatri Mantram


  • GAYATRI MANTRAM By Swami Paramarthananda

    Transcribed by Swamini Svatmabodhananda

    Published by :

    Arsha Avinash Foundation 104 Third Street, Tatabad, Coimbatore 641012

    Phone: 9487373635 E mail:

  • Gyatri mantram


    Swami Paramarthananda

    (based on the talks given in Chennai)

    An offering unto Gayatr mt


    Swamini Svatmabodhananda

  • rauta gyatr

    O bhrbhuva sva tat-savitur-vareya bhargo devasya dhmahi

    dhiyo yo na pracodayt ||

    Smrta gyatr

    yo deva savitsmka dhiyo dharmdi gocar |

    prerayet tasya yat bharga tat vareyam upsmahe ||

  • Gyatri mantram

    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 mantra.

    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

    purifying mantra.

    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

    like omkra.

    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.

    smnya artha

    The smnya artha is invocation of srya devata. According to the

    meaning is ya na dhiya pracodayt savitu devasya tat varey


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