Liberal Arts Blog — Gayatri Mantra
Liberal Arts Blog — Thursday is Joy of Music Day
Today’s Topic: Keys to the Hearts of Seven Billion People XII: the Gayatri Mantra — chanted
The Gayatri mantra is the most sacred of Hindu mantras. In theory, a devout Hindu says the mantra 108X per day. It is written in Sanskrit. And is the one mantra that is common to Hindus from all parts of India. It is the most powerful mantra and is the equivalent of the Our Father of Christians and Al Fatihah of Islam. The mantra is usually chanted — making it both a prayer and, to me, a song. Many yoga practices around the world incorporate this “song of gratitude” into their daily routine. Experts — please chime in. Correct, elaborate, elucidate.
THE TEXT — the equivalent of the Our Father for Christians and Al Fatihah for Muslims
1. Aum bhur bhuvah svah Aum tat savitur varenyam, Bhargo devasya dimahi, dhiyoprachodayat aum”
2. Rough translation: “We meditate on that most adored Supreme Lord, the creator, whose effulgence (divine light) illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.”
3. “Om: The primeval sound; Bhur: the physical body/physical realm; Bhuvah: the life force/the mental realm Suvah: the soul/spiritual realm; Tat: That (God); Savitur: the Sun, Creator (source of all life); Vareñyam: adore; Bhargo: effulgence (divine light); Devasya: supreme Lord; Dhīmahi: meditate; Dhiyo: the intellect; Yo: May this light; Nah: our; Prachodayāt: illumine/inspire.” (from final link)
NB: If you have a favorite translation, please share.
TEXTUAL ORIGIN, DEDICATION, TWO GODDESSES AND THE SOLAR DEITY
1. Rig Veda (Mandala 3.62.10.)
2. Dedicated to Savitri, also known as Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom, and learning.
3. Gayatri herself is the personification of the mantra and is “associated with Savitr, a solar deity in the Vedas.”
NB: Saraswati (above) is “a part of the trinity (Tridevi of Saraswati, Laskshmi, and Parvati). All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva to create, maintain, and regenerate the Universe, respectively.”
THE SACRED THREAD CEREMONY (Upanayana) AND THE EXTENSION TO WOMEN AND TO ALL CASTES
1. Originally, the mantra was part of the rite of passage of boys in the upper three castes (brahmans, kshatriyas, and vaishyas). The equivalent, roughly, of the bar mitzvah or a Catholic Confirmation.
2. In the last century, it has been extended to both women and to all castes.
3. Traditionally, at age 8 for Brahmins (priests), 11 for Kshatriyas (warriors), 12 for Vaishyas (merchants). The other caste was the Shudras (manual laborers). Below all the castes were the “Untouchables” (called Dalits by Ambedkar, Harijans by Gandhi).
Time to share the coolest thing you learned in the last week related to music. Or the coolest thing you learned in your life related to music. Say your favorite song or songs. Or your favorite tips for breathing, posture, or relaxation. Or some insight into the history of music….Or just something random about music… like a joke about drummers. jazz, rock….or share an episode or chapter in your musical autobiography.
This is your chance to make someone else’s day. And perhaps to cement in your memory something important you would otherwise forget. Or to think more deeply than you otherwise would about something that matters to you.