The Gayatri mantra is a sacred Hindu mantra that is considered to be one of the most powerful and ancient mantras in Hinduism. It is believed to have spiritual and psychological benefits, and has been widely used for centuries for its ability to bring peace, prosperity, and spiritual enlightenment.
- What is the Gayatri Mantra?
- Meaning of Gayatri Mantra
- Greatness of the Gayatri Mantra
- References to Gayatri Mantra in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
- Reference to Gayatri Mantra in Srimad Bhagawad Gita
- Benefits of Gayatri Mantra
- 10 Health Benefits of Chanting Gayatri Mantra
- Additional Media References on the benefits of Gayatri Mantra
Gāyatri is the greatest of metres. It is called Gāyatri because, it protects the organs of those who recite it. Other metres do not have this power. The verse Gāyatri is identical with the vital force, which is called the Kṣatra on account of its protecting the body by healing its wounds. Hence the meditation on Gāyatrī is particularly enjoined in the scriptures.
The Gayatri Mantra has innumerable benefits. Although it’s said that chanting the mantra without any desires yields the highest fruit of moksha (liberation), it’s good to be aware of the worldly benefits that this mantra can shower. Numerous articles has been written regarding the physical and psychological benefits of Gayatri Mantra.
TheCowherd explores the benefits of this Mantra from a scriptural point of view.
If you would like to explore these benefits of the mantra, the following view would be of great help.
However, if you wish to stick to what the Rishis said about the mantra please continue reading. Let’s first understand the literal meaning of the mantra and then proceed to its merits and benefits.
What is the Gayatri Mantra?
The Gāyatrī mantra, composed by sage Vishwamitra, is dedicated to Savita, the Sun. It’s actually called the Sāvitri Mantra and appears in the Rig Veda (Mandala 3.62.10). Gayatri is the name of the metre, Chandas, and hence is popularly known by its metre-name. The Gayatri mantra is cited widely in Hindu texts, including the Bhagavad Gita, Harivamsa, and Manusmṛti. Gayatri Mantra is a Vedic mantra found in all three Vedas – Rigveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda.
Legend has it that it was Vishwamitra who showed the world the greatness of this mantra. He who is a Kshatriya is also the sage of this mantra. Any Mantra also needs a Rishi, Chandas and Devata. The sage of Gayatri Mantra practiced today is Vishwamitran, Chandas is Gayatri and Goddess is Savita.
According to the Indian Hindu faith, Gayatri mantra is given only via gurupadesa during Upanayana. It is believed that Gayatri mantra is the mother of all mantras, no mantra without Gayatri mantra is fruitful, and that a Sadhaka is eligible to perform other mantras only after properly chanting Gayatri doctrine. The purpose of this article is to trace the references back to scriptures and bring forward unknown benefits of this scared mantra, that’s often not part of popular discourse.
Meaning of Gayatri Mantra
It is often translated as “We meditate on that most excellent light of the divine, the remover of all sins, may it inspire and guide our understanding.”
There are several interpretations of the mantra. Let’s stick to what great masters have said about the mantra.
We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may She enlighten our minds.Swami Vivekananda’s interpretation of the Gayatri Mantra
We choose the Supreme Light of the divine Sun; we aspire that it may impel our minds.Sri Aurobindo’s translation of the Mantra
Greatness of the Gayatri Mantra
“Gayantam trayate yasmat Gayatri’ tyabhidhiyate.”
The above shloka can be loosely translated as “That which protects the one who chants it is called Gayatri.”
While talking about this mantra the Vedas use the following words:
“Gayatrim Chandasam mata”
The Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt website describes thus, “Chandas means the Vedas. So Gayatri is the mother of all Vedic mantras (that is the Vedas proclaim them so). It has twenty-four aksaras (letters or syllables) and three feet, each foot of eight syllables. That is why the mantra is called “Tripada Gayatri”. Each foot is the essence of a Veda. Thus Gayatri is the essence of Rgveda, Yajurveda and Samaveda. The Atharvaveda has its own Gayatri. To receive instruction in it you must have a second upanayana.”
The Manusmriti also says, “Tribhya eva tu Vedebyhah padam padamaduduham”. It means that each pada of Gayatri is taken from one of the (three) Vedas.
References to Gayatri Mantra in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Chapter 14 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad extols the virtues of the Gayatri Mantra.
Here are some shlokas from chapter 14 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad with their English meaning, as obtained from “The Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad (with the Commentary of Śaṅkarācārya)” by Swāmī Mādhavānanda | 1950 | 272,359 words | ISBN-10: 8175051027
भूमिरन्तरिक्शं द्यौरित्यष्टावक्शराणि; अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्, एतदु हैवास्या एतत्; स यावदेषु त्रिषु लोकेषु तावद्ध जयति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेदVerse 5.14.1, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
‘Bhūmi’ (the earth), ‘Antarikṣa’ (sky) and ‘Dyaus’ (heaven) make eight syllables, and the first foot of the Gāyatri has eight syllables. So the above three worlds constitute the first foot of the Gāyatri. He who knows the first foot of the Gāyatri to be such wins as much as there is in those three worlds.
ऋचो यजूंषि सामानीत्यष्टावक्शराणि; अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्; एतदु हैवास्या एतत्; स यावतीयं त्रयी विद्या तावद्ध जयति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेदVerse 5.14.2, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
Similarly ‘Ṛcaḥ,’ ‘Yajūmṣi,’ and, ‘Sāmāni,’ the syllables of the names of that treasury of knowledge, the three Vedas, are also eight in number, and the second foot of the Gāyatri has likewise eight syllables. So the above three Vedas, Ṛc, Yajus and Sāman, constitute the second foot of the Gāyatrī, just because both have eight syllables. He who knows the second foot of the Gāyatrī to he such, consisting of the three Vedas, wins as much as that treasury of knowledge, the three Vedas, has to confer as result.
प्राणोऽपानो व्यान इत्यष्टावक्शराणि; अष्टाक्शरं ह वा एकं गायत्र्यै पदम्; एतदु हैवास्या एतत्; स यावदिदं प्राणि तावद्ध जयति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेद; अथास्या एतदेव तुरीयं दर्शतं पदं परोरजा य एष तपति; यद्वै चतुर्थं तत्तुरीयम्; दर्शतं पदमिति ददृश इव ह्येष; परोरजा इति सर्वमु ह्येवैष रज उपर्युपरि तपति; एवं हैव श्रिया यशसा तपति योऽस्या एतदेवं पदं वेदVerse 5.14.3, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
‘Prāṇa,’ ‘Apāna’ and ‘Vyāna’ make eight syllables, and the third foot of the Gāyatrī has eight syllables. So the above three forms of the vital force constitute the third foot of the Gāyatri. He who knows the third foot of the Gāyatrī to be such wins all the living beings that are in the universe. Now its Turīya, apparently visible, supramundane foot is indeed this—the sun that shines. ‘Turīya’ means the fourth. ‘Apparently visible foot,’ because he is seen, as it were. ‘Supramundane,’ because he shines on the whole universe as its overlord. He who knows the fourth foot of the Gāyatrī to be such shines in the same way with splendour and fame.
एतद्ध वै तज्जनको वैदेहो बुडिलमाश्वतराश्विमुवाच, यन्नु हो तद्गायत्रीविदब्रूथा अथ कथं हस्तीभूतो वहसीति; मुखं ह्यस्याः सम्राण्न विदांचकारेति होवाच; तस्या अग्निरेव मुखम्, यदि ह वा अपि बह्विवाग्नावभ्यादधति, सर्वमेव तत्संदहति; एवं हैवैवंविद्यद्यपि बह्विव पापं कुरुते, सर्वमेव तत्संप्साय शुद्धः पूतोऽजरोऽमृतः संभवति ॥ ८ ॥Verse 5.14.8, Brihadaranyaka Upanishad
इति चतुर्दशं ब्राह्मणम् ॥
On this Janaka, Emperor of Videha, is said to have told Buḍila, the son of Aśvatarāśva, ‘Well, you gave yourself out as a knower of the Gāyatrī; then why, alas, are you carrying (me) as an elephant?’ He replied, ‘Because I did not know its mouth, O Emperor.’ ‘Fire is its mouth. Even if they put a large quantity of fuel into the fire, it is all burnt up. Similarly, even if one who knows as above commits a great many sins, he consumes them all and becomes pure, cleansed, undecaying and immortal.
Here’s the link to another useful document titled “Essence of Gayatri” that one can refer: https://www.kamakoti.org/kamakoti/books/Essence-of-Gayatri.pdf
Reference to Gayatri Mantra in Srimad Bhagawad Gita
बृहत्साम तथा साम्नां गायत्री छन्दसामहम् |Chapter X, Verse 35
मासानां मार्गशीर्षोऽहमृतूनां कुसुमाकर: || 35||
Amongst the hymns in the Samaveda know me to be the Brihatsama; amongst poetic meters I am the Gayatri. Of the twelve months of the Hindu calendar I am Margsheersh, and of seasons I am spring, which brings forth flowers.
Benefits of Gayatri Mantra
- Nishkamya japa (chanting without any desires) gives all siddhis and moksha.
- Performing Gayatri Homam with 1008 red flowers will help one attain royal status.
- Chanting by standing in a flowing river 1008 times removes all sins.
- By chanting 1008 chants daily for one year, one will attain trikalajnanam (knowledge of past, present and future).
- If one chants for two years, one will get Ashtasiddhis.
- If one chants for three years, one will have the siddhi to enter Parakaya (other body).
- If one chants for four years, one will get a deva birth.
- If one chants for five years, one will become Indra.
- If one chants for six years, one will get Brahmalokavasa (residence in Brahma loka).
- It is believed that by chanting for seven years, one can unite with Goddess Gayatri in Surya Mandala.
- Lord Narayana says in the Devi Bhagavatam that whichever Brāhmin repeats the Gāyatrī three thousand times and offers Arghya to the Sun in the three Sandhyā times, the Devas worship him. Whether he practises Nyāsa or not, if anybody sincerely repeats the Gāyatrī Devī, Whose Nature is Existence, Intelligence, and Bliss and meditates on Her, even if he attains siddhi in one syllable even, then as a result of that, he can vie with the best of the Brāhmaṇas, the Moon, and the Sun; nay, with Brahmā, Viṣṇu, and Maheśvara even!
10 Health Benefits of Chanting Gayatri Mantra
Here are 10 health benefits of chanting the Gayatri Mantra:
- Reduces stress and anxiety: The repetitive nature of the chant can help to relax the mind and body, which can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Improves mental and emotional health: The act of chanting can help to create a deeper connection to one’s spirituality, which can lead to a greater sense of self-awareness and a better understanding of one’s place in the world. This can help to improve overall mental and emotional health.
- Increases immunity and reduces inflammation: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to increase blood flow and oxygenation to the body, which can be beneficial for overall physical health. It can also help to reduce inflammation and improve the functioning of the immune system.
- Improves respiratory function: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to improve respiratory function by increasing the flow of oxygen to the lungs and strengthening the muscles of the respiratory system.
- Improves cardiovascular health: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to improve cardiovascular health by reducing stress on the heart and improving blood flow.
- Improves sleep: The repetitive nature of the chant can help to relax the mind and body, which can lead to a better sleep.
- Improves digestion: The act of chanting can help to stimulate the digestive system, which can lead to improved digestion.
- Improves cognitive function: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and strengthening neural connections.
- Increases energy levels: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to increase energy levels by improving blood flow and oxygenation to the body.
- Improves overall well-being: Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can help to increase feelings of well-being and contentment, which can be beneficial for overall physical and mental health.
It is important to note that the benefits of chanting may vary for each individual and can depend on factors such as frequency and intensity of practice, as well as one’s personal beliefs and intentions. However, Chanting the Gayatri Mantra can be a powerful tool for improving overall health and well-being.