Monday 16 December 2019

Gananam Tva & Prano Devi Sarasvati Word to Word Meanings And Commentary

@ Ulu Sawah ValMuni Temple, Negeri Sembilan

This gaNanaam tva mantra is recited at the start of Vedic recitation as a custom.

Introduction to Vedas 

The entire Universe is reverberating. When there is reverberation, there is sound. In other words, the entire cosmos is simply a manifestation of sound energy. The ancient Vedic sages through penance, were able to download cosmic data directly. They received cosmic truths in the form of sounds that they envisioned. These truths were recited as received, and passed on generation after generation.

Various truths downloaded by various Rishis gave rise to the ocean of Vedas. Veda Vyasa later compiled these Vedas and classified them. This is how the 4 Vedas came into existence. Each of these Vedas had many branches. Each branch had 4 components : 

(1) samhita
(2) brahmana
(3) aranyaka
(4) Upanishad

The gaṇanāṃ tvā mantra is actually is a small portion that finds place in brahmaṇaspati sūktam of the Rig Veda. This suktam actually describes Lord Indra. This Sukta is also referred to as the 'gaṇeśa suktam'.

Video: My student Shravanthi & I reciting the brahmaṇaspati sūktam of Rig Veda

gaṇanāṃ tvā is therefore, sometimes interpreted as a mantra attributed to Lord Bṛhaspati ( the teacher of the devas )

gaṇanāṃ tvā : ( taittirīya samhita & Rig Veda 2.23.1 )
ṛṣi who downloaded this from the cosmos, as mantras :  Saunako Gṛtsamada
gaNanaaM tvaa gaNapati(gm)
havaamahe kaviM
kaviinaamupama-shravastamam l

gaNaanaaM = of gaNas. GaNa refers to a group or collection of something
tvaa = you
gaNa-patim = pati means Lord. So, gaNapatim means the lord of the gaNas.
havaamahe = aahvaamahe. Hava means an oblation. Havaamahe means ' we offer our oblations.
kavim = poet / seer / wise one
kaviinaam = of the poet / seer / wise one
upama = comparable. In this context, it means incomparable
shravaHa = that which is famously heard as
tamam = of the highest quality


O Lord of groups, we offer our oblations ! We call upon you. You are the divine omniscient wise one, famously heard of as incomparable and the supreme.

This mantra speaks about the lord of a collection ( this can be seen as the collection of mantras which constitute the Vedas. In a shaivite perspective, it can be seen as the Lord of Shiva GaNa-s - the collection of divine beings who surround Sadashiva ). This Lord is well-heard of and is the inspirer and source, the very manifestation of intelligence, wisdom and creativity ( all represented as poetry ).

Here, the deity is seen as the One who graces creativity pregnant with wisdom.

* You find gaNapatim in the Rig veda and gaNapatigm in Yajur Veda. The sound 'GM' is not used in the recitation of Rig Veda. So by default, you find gaNapatim in the Ganesha Suktam*

jyeshhTha-raajaM bramhaNaaM
bramhaNaspata aa naH

jyeshhTha = eldest
raajam = raaj means to shine. Devata also means one who shines ( Devata comes from the root sound 'div' which means 'to shine' ) Raaj here refers to devatas.
bramhaNaam = that which is related to bramhan ( absolute reality )
bramhaNaha = Vedas and those who recite them.
pate = comes from patihi which means 'lord'
aa = come near !
naha = us
shR^iNvann = hearing 
uutibhihi = out of your grace
siida = sit
saadanam = dwelling

Meaning and commentary:

Senior-most among the devatas, the Lord of the Vedas and Veda reciters. Hear us, grace us and be present in the seat of the altar.

Prano Devi : (Taittiriya Samhita ; ; & Rig Veda 6.61.4)

Rishi who downloaded Prano Devi mantra : BaarhaspatyaH BharadvaajaH )

pra No devii sarasvatii

pra= pra-kaTitam = to manifest
naha = us
devii = the feminine form of devata ( one who shines )
sarasvatii = sarati rasena iva ; that which flows smooth like rasa or liquid ( flow of speech )
vaajebhihi = of energisers
vaajinii-vatii = source of all energising powers
dhiinaam = of the buddhi
avitri = feminine aspect of avataara - to descend
avatu = protect us ( our intellects )

Meaning and commentary: 

Manifest to us,Devii Sarasvatii, energiser of energies. Descend and protect our intellect ( buddhi ). If you notice, the sound 'eeee' is very much present in this mantra ( vaajiniivatii ). The sound 'eee' manifests energy. According to way we intonate this sound in a recitation, various manifestations of energy is experienced. If you look at shrii suuktam, the same 'eee' is largely present in the mantra, which invokes the grace of shrii devi ( lakshmi ).

This explains why all the beeja mantras related to Devi always end with 'eee'. To quote some examples,  'hreem', 'shreem' and 'kleem'.

* Here, vitryavatu is commonly mispronounced as vitrayavatu. It is actually pronounced as vitri-avatu, which becomes vitryavatu with sandhi ( grammar rule )

gaNeshaaya namaH

namaH comes from na ( not ) and maH ( me ). It means ' not me '. This word disidentifies our true nature ( of atma ) from all the illusions of mind and body. Namaha empties us. Then, we call upon the deity ( gaNesha in this verse ). We, in the state of an empty cup, get instantly filled by the grace of the deity called upon.

sarasvatyai namaH

na-maH  and calling upon Sarasvati devi.

shrii gurubhyo namaH l hariH OM

na-maH and calling upon Guru.
hariH = comes from the root word 'hṛ' which means to seize or take something away by force. It refers to God who forcefully removes our ignorance so that we attain enlightenment. HariH is commonly used to denote Lord Vishnu.
OM = the primordial sound of the universe. The sound that initiated Big Bang.

Note : 

GaNa means a group. It refers to a group of sound based knowledge - the Vedas . Brahma in the Vedas also mean the mantra or the potent word. The deity is the Lord of all mantras ( which are the Vedas )

courtesy: word to word meanings as taught by Shrii Maunish Vyas