In Hinduism, the Mother of creation is called Gayatri (Sanskrit: गायत्री, Gāyatrī). It is the name of one of the most important Vedic hymns consisting of twenty-four syllables. One of the sacred texts says, “The Gayatri is Brahma, Gayatri is Vishnu, Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas.”
Gayatri later came to be personified as a Goddess. She represents the combined essence of wisdom from the trinity Maha Kali, Maha Lakshmi, and Maha Saraswati. She is another consort of Lord Brahma.
Gayatri is a Goddess who represents a divine attitude: the incessant and relentless pursuit of wisdom. In Vedic literature, She is known as the female expression of the light of the Sun, the Light of Wisdom.
She is shown as having five heads and is usually seated within a lotus. Four heads of Gayatri represent the four Vedas and the fifth one represents almighty God. Having five heads (Mukta, Vidruma, Hema, Neela, Dhavala) with the ten eyes looking in eight directions plus the earth and sky, and ten arms holding all the weapons of Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma. The weapons are: a shankha, chakra, varada, kamala, kasha, abhaya, ujjwala patra (utensil), ankusha and rudraksha mala.
She is the human form of the Gayatri writings of the Vedas. She is an aspect of Mata Saraswati, Mata Lakshmi and Mata Parvati, all three in one form, hence called Gayatri – meaning ‘Gaya’ to sing and ‘tri’ referring to the three Goddess. She is a form of Adi Shakti, and thus the source of Brahma’s power. Without her, Brahma remains dormant or unable to create. It’s said that if one were to worship anyone, Gayatri, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga or Radha devi, it is equal to worshiping all the pancha (5) matha.
Thus the five heads also represent the pancha vayu or pancha prana – Samana, Udana, Prana, Apana and Vyana. Alternatively, the pancha tatwas – Prithvi (earth), Vayu (air), Jala (water), Aakasha (sky/ether) and Teja (fire).
According to the myth, one day Brahma was to perform his sacrifices to gods. But to do so it was important for Brahma to be married. His consort’s presence was indispensable to complete the ceremonies. Brahma asked the priest to fetch him any woman and wed him to her at the spot. Nearby was found a very lovely girl mostly seen near the Mt. Kailash Manasarovar region during that time. In reality, she was no other person than this Vedic hymn of Gayatri incarnated in the shape of that beautiful girl. Brahma immediately married that girl and kept her as his wife.
The five heads of Gayatri represent the four Vedas of ancient Indians, and the remaining one represents the Almighty Lord himself. In her ten hands she holds all the symbols of Lord Vishnu including mace, lotus, axe, conch, sudarshan chakra, lotus, etc. One of the sacred texts explicitly reads, ‘The Gayatri is Brahma, the Gayatri is Vishnu, the Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas”.
All sects of Hindus accept the importance of this hymn. Even the Arya Samajists, who do not believe in the worship of images and idols, proclaim this hymn as the most sacred one and in every prayer of theirs repeat the holy mantra to achieve success as well as salvation.
The Gayatri Mantra is first recorded in the Rig Veda (iii, 62, 10) which was written in Sanskrit about 2500 to 3500 years ago, and by some reports, the mantra may have been chanted for many generations before that. Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism, second only to the mantra Om. 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 Savitri.
The Gayatri Mantra is the mula mantra (root mantra), or the primary knowledge of Hindu Dharma, or Sanatana Dharma, which is called the Eternal Ideal of Perfection. Gayatri is also a meter, 24 syllables to the verse.
The continuous prayer of the Gayatri Mantra grants greater wisdom in every circumstance. The highest excellence to which man can aspire is this prayer for greater wisdom in every circumstance of life. There is no circumstance in life in which it is inappropriate to pray for greater wisdom.
Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha,
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat.
AUM bhUH, AUM bhuvaH, AUM svaH, AUM mahaH
AUM janaH, AUM tapaH, AUM satyam
AUM tatsaviturvarenyM bhargo devasya dhImahi
dhIyo yo nH prachodayAt.h.
Oh God! Thou art the Giver of Life,
Remover of pain and sorrow,
The Bestower of happiness,
Oh! Creator of the Universe,
May we receive thy supreme sin-destroying light,
May Thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
Word for Word Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra
Aum = Brahma ;
bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ;
bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ;
swaha = embodiment of happiness ;
tat = that ;
savitur = bright like sun ;
varenyam = best choicest ;
bhargo = destroyer of sins ;
devasya = divine ;
These first nine words describe the glory of God
dheemahi = may imbibe ; pertains to meditation
dhiyo = intellect ;
yo = who ;
naha = our ;
prachodayat = may inspire!
“dhiyo yo na prachodayat” is a prayer to God
AUM, the primordial sound, resides in all elements of the universe. It permeates the earth (-bhUH), water (-bhuvaH), fire (-svaH), air (-mahaH), ether (-janaH), intelligence (-tapaH) and consciousness (-satyam). We pay homage to Gayatri, the one who shines like the sun (tat savitur), the one who destroys all our sins through her everlasting and effulgent light. Dear Goddess Gayatri, please illuminate our path towards our higher consciousness and lead us to our true purpose in life.
Gayatri, the five-faced Goddess, is said to have domain over the five senses or pranas, and protects these five life-forces of those who chant the Gayatri Mantra. In her role as the protector, Gayatri is referred to as Savitri.
Hence the Gayatri is unique in that it embodies the three concepts of stotra (singing the praise and glory of God), dhyaana (meditation) and praarthana (prayer).
The prayer form of the Gayatri be used to pray to Lord Shiva is called Rudra Gayatri. Similarly, one may sing Ganesha Gayatri for Lord Ganesha, Hanuman Gayatri for Lord Hanuman, and Saraswati Gayatri for Goddess Saraswati.
- See for puja: https://www.boldsky .com/yoga-spirituality/faith-mysticism/2017/significance-of-goddess-gayatri-and-the-gayatri-mantra-110516.html