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Light on Gayatri

 By Yogi Baba Prem

 The Vedic Gayatri mantra (Rg Veda 3.62.10) is one of most commonly chanted mantras globally.  While it would be true to say there are thousands upon thousands of mantras in the Rg Veda, it would be equally true to say, among the masses, that the Gayatri is among the most celebrated of the Vedic mantras. While there are numerous commentaries and thoughts regarding this mantra, does it have a deeper message? Is there more we can glean from this important mantra?

 

In my book, "From Earth to Heaven: Secrets of Yoga, Goddess, and Spirituality," I revealed many important aspects and tools associated with this mantra.  But there is another facet I would like to share about the mantra.  To understand and to bring this mantra more into the light, lets initially look to nature.  The Gayatri mantra is a mantra to the Sun, in particular, the sun Deva-Savitā.  Looking to nature and in particular the Sun, one can see a constantly changing relationship with the Sun and humanity. Most notable of this changing relationship can be witnessed by the beginning of the day and disappearance of the Sun on the western horizon indicating the movement of the day into the nightThe cycle of day and night is a metaphor for the spiritual journey that has many manifestations.  One valuable lesson is that each of us will have glimpses into our spiritual nature (illustrated in the natural world by seeing the Sun,) and moments of darkness, which are times of doubt, confusion, a sense of spiritual loss or disconnection or similar feelings (illustrated by the absence of the Sun.) The rotation of the earth indicates our spiritual movement between light (Day) and reduction of light (night,) and our journey between spiritual realization and the pursuit of more worldly qualities. 

 

The Gayatri and the Gunas

 

It is assumed that the reader has an understanding of the gunas.  

 The chanting of the Gayatri is a practice that immerses each of us deep into the gunas themselves.  The Earth, the dimension where each of us incarnates and our physical form, is associated with the tamas guna. The tamas guna gives the earth stability, firmness, and form.  It is the physical realm we incarnate into to complete the spiritual journey.  The earth is known as one of the three Vedic worlds.  The Sun is the dimension of light.  The Sun and the dimension of light are associated with the sattva guna.  This is the realm of light and consciousness; it is associated with the Vedic world known as dyauh or the heavens.  It is our act of chanting that forms the bridge between the two worlds of earth and heavens and tamas and sattva.  Therefore, the action of chanting is associated with the guna knows as rajas. (Note: This can be explored in more depth, and this is only one of many ways of interpreting the relationship with the gunas.)  The projection of voice and mental projection awakens our conscious mind to the third of the Vedic worlds--the atmosphere.  It would be true to say that our finite consciousness is in the realm of tamas and is calling out (the realm of rajas) to the realm of light (sattva.)  Throughout, yoga and Hinduism, this imagery is often represented by an upward-pointing triangle, as we, the finite, are projecting toward the light or infinite.  The other aspect of Gayatri is the meter itself.  The meter performs an important function, as it is the gayatri meter that brings the light down into the earthly realm.  Or, more simply facilitates our perception of light/consciousness while still in the body, form, or incarnation.  The concept above is beautifully illustrated in the final line of the Gayatri mantra--'...may it always inspire my thoughts.'  

 

Final Thoughts

 

We have briefly explored important concepts of the Gayatri mantra with the gunas and our conscious incarnation.  It is my hope that this brief article awakens a deeper understanding (the Sun) within the mind.  Of course, regardless of one’s technical understanding or lack, therefore, simply chanting the mantra is the key, as it is commonly understood that the Vedas reveals itself through our study.  Personally, I have found this to be true.  For many, if you can do nothing else, certainly chanting the Gayatri mantra would be a worthy endeavor and at a minimum can plant important spiritual seeds for this or a future lifetime.  

  Learn more about Gayatri in my book "From Earth to Heaven: Secrets of Yoga, Goddess and Spirituality"

Special thanks to Acharya Vamadeva Shastri (Dr. David Frawley) as his writings and teachings also inspired this article.

 

Copyright 2017. All Rights Reserved.  

 

 

Yogi Baba Prem

  • Yogi Baba Prem has two books published in India, and has written numerous other books published by Universal Yoga. 

 

  • His articles have appeared in several traditional magazines and a variety of e-magazines.