Sunday 5 July 2020

Gayatri Mantra - Word to Word Meaning and Commentary

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, could download cosmic data directly. They received cosmic truths in the form of sounds which they envisioned. These truths were recited as received, and passed on generations after generations.

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

(1) samhita
(2) brāhmaṇa
(3) āraṇyaka
(4) upaniṣat

The Sāvitri portion of the Gāyatri Mantra finds a place in the 3rd Maṇḍala, 62th Sūkta, and 10th Rik of the ṛg Veda Samhita. The ṛṣi who downloaded it is the revered Sage Viśvāmitra

(1) Om 

OM : 

The primordial sound. The very sound form of the absolute consciousness. Every sound is rooted in the basic syllables of OM - A U M. The only sounds your oral cavity can produce without the alteration of the tongue is A , U and M. All other sounds are just the manipulation of OM using tongue.

This is a reflection of the universe. We are the microcosm to the macrocosm. The very existence is made up of sound frequencies which the expansions of OM ( A, U and M )

(2) Bhūḥu Bhuvaḥa Svāḥa

Bhūḥu : 

Bhūḥu refers to materialisation. This is the gross plane. Materialisation refers to the gross form of the absolute reality- the planet, the body, mountains etc

Absolute reality ( God ) condensed after big bang, forming the 5 elements. The subtlest form of the 5 elements, is ākāśa ( ether ). Ether can be only perceived through sound energy. The Vedas were downloaded in the form of sounds ( mantras ) which vibrate as ākāśa ( ether ). The Ether element is the cosmic archive which houses all data about the universe.

As per Vedas, ether condensed to form wind ( v
āyu ). Wind can be experienced through touch and sound. It is a little more gross. Wind then condensed to fire - which can be perceived through touch, sound and form. Fire condenses to water - which can be perceived through touch, sound, form and taste. Finally, water condenses to form earth - which can be perceived with touch, sound, form, taste and smell. This is why earth is synonymous to Bhū - for it represents the most gross plane.

Bhuvaḥa :

Bhuvaḥa refers to vibration. It is more subtle than Bhūḥu. Vibration is sound energy. Sound is the underlying principle for the hologram of creation to take place. Every sound ( vibration ) has a form. Every sound produces a geometry. This geometry is what we see as the universe. The solar system, the planets, the alignment of the heavenly bodies, the symmetry of our bodies etc is governed by the underlying vibration. Bhūḥu is only a hologram projected by the plane of Bhuvaḥa.

Video: Illustration on how sound creates geometry which creates forms we perceive. 
Video courtesy : Youtube: Inner Worlds, Outer Worlds - Part 1 - Akasha

As mentioned earlier, the Vedas themselves were downloaded as sound vibrations; mantras.

Svāḥa :

Svāḥa refers to radiation. Radiation is like light - pure waveform. Consciousness is wave. It is all pervasive. We can find various forms of shadows in accordance to the size of objects and bodies. Despite these varieties ( in creation, so as to say ) , the underlying principle behind these varieties is a common consciousness - the sunlight. The 
ātma - God is the underlying wave which threads the entire creation. It is the string which joins every individual bead in a bangle.

As we recite bhūrbhuvassvāḥa , we are realising the three fundamental dimensions of the cosmos. All these dimensions are non-different. They are just moving from the grossest to the subtlest.

The same apple you eat becomes gross by forming flesh and faeces. The subtler aspect becomes the mind. The even subtler aspect becomes the life force within which sustains the body.

The Mantra as per the Vedic text begin only from 'tat savituḥu ..'.This is termed the Sāvitri. The first 4 words ' Om bhūr bhuvas svāḥa' are called the vyāhṛti-s.

Image: The shadow is bhūḥu. The geometry of the hand is bhuvaḥa. The light source which is common to all shadows is svāḥa.

Vyāhṛti + Sāvitri = Gāyatri Mantra

(3) tat savitur vareṇyam

tat :

That ! In reference to absolute consciousness / God. We use 'that' because we cannot describe 'that' in any possible word. We can only give a reference point, not definition for it is something to be realised, not intellectually dissected.

sa vituḥu :

Sa= with
Vit = treasure of knowledge

Savituḥu refers to the treasure-house of the Vedas, the absolute reality. Savita is in reference to Lord Sūrya. This is why this G
āyatri Mantra is part of the Sūrya Upaniṣad. He is the presiding deity of Gāyatri Mantra.

vareṇyam :

Vara means a superlative degree. Vareṇyam means superior-most.

(4) bhargo devasya dhīmahi

bhargaḥa :

Comes from two roots - bhaḥa and gaḥa. Bhaḥa means brightness. Gaḥa means gamanam or going.

So it means 'going towards brightness': The journey towards enlightenment.

devasya : 

Of the deva. Deva comes from the root sound 'div' which means to shine. Deva means, 'one who shines'. It represents any entity which embodies the state of enlightenment or divinity.

dhīmahi :

to meditate upon.

(5) dhiyo yo naha pracodayaat

a :

the root sound 'dhi' indicates buddhi. It refers to intellect

( This is also why Tibetan monks meditate upon the syllable 'dhi' by uttering it as a japa, as a means to fertilize their intellect to grasp the higher truths of the cosmos propounded by their scriptures )

a :


a :


āt :

pra means prakaṭita = manifest.
suffix codayāt means 'propel from inside'

So it means to manifest enlightenment - Self realisation that the self is verily atma / god / absolute consciousness.

Dhiyo yo naḥa pracodayāt means ' let my intellect be nurtured so that it leads to my enlightenment.


(1) Benefits of Gayatri Mantra Recitation and the correct way to recite it

(2) Exploring Vedic Sounds - linking macrocosm to the microcosm

(3) Origin of the 5 elements and their interrelation as Per Vedas

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