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Illustration by Raja Ravi Verma. In illustrations, the goddess often sits on a lotus flower and appears with five heads and five pairs of hands, representing the incarnations of the goddess as Parvati, Saraswati etc. She is especially identified with Saraswatī.
Illustration by Raja Ravi Verma. In illustrations, the goddess often sits on a lotus flower and appears with five heads and five pairs of hands, representing the incarnations of the goddess as Parvati, Saraswati etc. She is especially identified with Saraswatī.

Gayatri (Sanskrit: गायत्री, IAST: gāyatrī) is the feminine form of gāyatra, a Sanskrit word for a song or a hymn. It may refer to: In Hinduism, it is one mantra in particular, attributed to Vishwamitra, and a goddess as its personification, a representation of the Parabrahman The name of a Vedic poetic meter of 24 syllables (three lines of eight syllables each) Any hymn composed in this meter Gayatri Devi the GoddessPart of a series on Hinduism

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Originally the personification of the mantra, the goddess Gāyatrī is considered the veda mata, the mother of all Vedas and the consort of the God Brahma and also the personification of the all-pervading Parabrahman, the ultimate unchanging reality that lies behind all phenomena. Gayatri Veda Mata is seen by many Hindus to be not just a Goddess, but a portrayal of Brahman himself, in the feminine form.[citation needed] Essentially, the Goddess is seen to combine all the phenomenal attributes of Brahman, including Past, Present and Future as well as the three realms of existence.[citation needed] Goddess Gāyatrī is also worshipped as the Hindu Trimurti combined as one. In Hindu mythology, there is only one creation who can withstand the brilliance of Aditya and that is Gāyatrī. Some also consider her to be the mother of all Gods and the culmination of Lakshmi, Parvati and Sarasvati.[citation needed]

Gāyatrī is typically portrayed as seated on a red lotus, signifying wealth. She appears in either of these forms: Having five heads with the ten eyes looking in the eight directions plus the earth and sky, and ten arms holding all the weapons of Vishnu, symbolizing all her reincarnations. Accompanied by a white swan, holding a book to portray knowledge in one hand and a cure in the other, as the goddess of Education.


[edit] Mantra

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism, second only to the mantra Om. 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 mantra). Since all the other three Vedas contain much material rearranged from the Rig Veda, the Gayatri mantra is found in all the four Vedas. The deva invoked in this mantra is Savitr, and hence the mantra is also called Sāvitrī.

By many Hindus, the Gayatri is seen as a Divine awakening of the mind and soul, and within it a way to reach the most Supreme form of existence, and the way to Union with Brahman. Understanding, and purely loving the essence of the Gayatri Mantra is seen by many to be one, if not the most powerful ways to attain God.

[edit] Text

See Sanskrit for details of pronunciation. In Devanagari: ॐ भूर्भुव: स्वः ।
तत् सवितुर्वरेण्यं ।
भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि ।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥
In IAST oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
(a) tát savitúr váreniyaṃ
(b) bhárgo devásya dhīmahi
(c) dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt

[edit] Translation

Ralph T.H. Griffith (1896): (a, b) "May we attain that excellent glory of Savitr the God:" (c) "So may he stimulate our prayers."

Word-by-word explanation:-

  • om The sacred sound, see Om.
  • bhū 'earth'
  • bhuvas 'atmosphere'
  • svar 'light, heaven, space'
  • tat 'that'
  • savitúr of Savitr the god' (genitives of savitr-, 'stimulator, rouser; name of a sun-deity' and deva- 'god' or 'demi-god')
  • varenyam 'Fit to be worshipped' varenya- 'desirable, excellent'
  • bhargo 'Glory Effulgence' (radiance, lustre, splendour, glory)
  • devasya 'of God'
  • dhīmahi 'may we attain' (1st person plural middle optative of dhā- 'set, bring, fix' etc.)
  • dhíyaḥ naḥ 'our prayers' (accusative plural of dhi- 'thought, meditation, devotion, prayer' and naḥ enclitic personal pronoun)
  • yáḥ prachodáyāt 'who may stimulate' (nominative singular of relative pronoun yad-; causative 3rd person of pra-cud- 'set in motion, drive on, urge, impel')
  • Other translations, circumlocutions and interpretations:
  • Kavikratu Tattva Budh
  • "Almighty Supreme Sun impel us with your divine brilliance so we may attain a noble understanding of reality."
  • Gayatri Pariwar
  • "O God, Thou art the giver of life, the remover of pain and sorrow, the bestower of happiness; O Creator of the Universe, may we receive Thy supreme, sin destroying light; may Thou guide our intellect in the right direction."
  • William Quan Judge
  • "Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat."
  • Kurma Purana, "freely translated" by Swami Vivekananda
  • "'We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.' Om is joined to it at the beginning and the end."
  • A very easy and simple meaning of Gayatri.

[edit] See Also

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