Goddess Gayatri or the Mother of all the Vedas is adored and praised by chanting the powerful Gayatri mantra. The word ‘Gayatri’ itself explains the reason for the existence of this mantra. It has its origin in the Sanskrit phrase Gayantam Triyate iti, and refers to that mantra which rescues the chanter from all adverse situations that may lead to mortality.
The first line ‘Om bhur bhuvah svah’ is not actually part of a Gayatri mantra and it is a special utterance called ‘vyahriti’ that has been added to the beginning of the famous mantra.
The First word ‘OM’ is the prime subject around which the entire creation revolves and it is the permanent truth within which everything exists. It is an auspicious sound made at the beginning of many prayers.
The expression ‘bhur bhuvah’ and ‘svah’ is technical, but a simple way to think of it is as a “call to creation,” that the light of the sun (the light of God) shines on the earth (bhur), in the sky (bhuvah), and in space (svah), and therefore the implication is, “let that light also shine on me.”
The word-to-word breakdown of the Gayatri mantra that most Hindus know is:
tat– that (God)
savitur– of the sun
varenyam– the best
bhargo (bhargas)– light, illumination
dhimahi– let us meditate (a verb)
dhiyo (dhiyah)– thought(s)
nah –of us, our
prachodayat– May it push, inspire (a verb)
The most important word in the Gayatri mantra is the word, “tat” which is a neuter pronoun meaning “that.” It is a reference to “that One,” God.
The sun, which is the source of illumination, heat, food and so many other things in our life, can naturally be seen as the “representative” or symbol of God in this world.
There are two verbs in the Gayatri mantra, ‘dhimahi’ and ‘prachodayat’.
Dhimahi means, “let us meditate on the light (bhargo) of the sun which represents God.”
This is the basic meaning of the first part of the Gayatri Mantra.
Coming to the second part, the verb ‘prachodayat’ literally means, “it should push,” but in more poetic language we can translate it as “let it inspire.”
Dhiyah is “thoughts,” so dhiyo yo nah prachodayat means, “may our thoughts be inspired”
Thus the most literal meaning of the Gayatri mantra is:
“Let us meditate on the light of the sun which represents God, and may our thoughts be inspired by that divine light.”
Cleansing is a form of decluttering and getting your home rid of every extraneous useless object that is clogging up the energies in your basement, staircase, closets, box beds, drawers and kitchen almirahs. So there should be just two types of things in a house, one which has an aesthetic value and second which is useful. So as per vastu, clutter should be avoided to maintain the positive energies.
- Clutter in the north-east direction of the house will obstruct the flow of prosperity into your life. Keep the tops of tables, fridge and counters free from accumulation of objects.
- A cluttered environment reflects a perplexed mind; so by getting rid of useless and extra objects you are making way for a new, fresh and positive approach to life.
- The simple way of keeping the house neat and tidy is the key to enhance the energy of a space.
- Removing the cobwebs from dark, dingy, disused corners and airing them occasionally removes the negativity from the house.
- Enhancers like adding lampshades, torans, pictures and artefacts and the intention to improve the environment can bring magical effects in your home.
- Gayatri mantra or sacred chants of your faith can be played early morning in the house and has a purifying and calming effect. Sprinkling of rock salt and mopping the house daily with salt water, removes the evil energies.
- Vastu pujan and Vastu shanti havans can bring about positive changes in a house, office or factory. The medicinal herbs and shrubs used during havan act as an aura cleansing of the place.
Realizing the importance of transforming phase within one’s life, certain traditions and customs are still performed in the present era. The transition from child to a youngster and then adult are best explained through the “Upanayanam Samskara” or “Janeu ceremony”. Literally Upanayan consists of two words, ‘Upa’- near and ‘nayan’- eye or inner vision; so this is a process of gaining inner vision through the guidance and learning of Guru. Initially this process or sanskar began after realizing the importance of learning and cultivating the passion for gaining knowledge from the Guru.
Depending upon the varied religions and castes, different ages have been allotted for performing this ceremony yet the main motive behind this is to highlight the commitments made by one towards his studies or learning, by avoiding any kind of distractions.
Significance of Upanayanam:
It is believed that every being is born the same and they further create themselves through karmas, so this process is similar to a second birth i.e. ‘dvij’, where one realizes the importance of their life and attains a motive. It also marks the beginning of a new life for the child as he attains the first most important lesson from his father or Guru, learning to recite Gayatri mantra. So here the child is believed to grasp the meaning and crux of the mantra, rather than parrot learning, and imbibing the positive vibrations while chanting it.
Significance of thread:
The pious thread used in the sanskar ceremony is made up of nine fibres, which are Omkar, Agni (deity of fire), Nag (serpent), Som (moon), Pitar (ancestors), Prajapati (deity of procreation), Vayu (air), Yama (deity of death) and Vishvadevata (deity of the universe).
Usually the three strands thread is used, that holds varied relevance:
- Three strands refer to the ultimate Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh
- Also to the Tridevis- Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali
- Three states- wakefulness, dream and deep sleep
- Three qualities – sattva, rajas and tamas
- Related to past, present and future
- The three dimensions-Heaven, Earth and nether regions
- The debt of one’s teacher, parents and scholars
- Relation with ida, pingala and susumna nadi, through which the ‘kundalini’ (hidden) energy manifests as prana and consciousness
Relevance in present scenario:
“He who sees all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures, does not show abhorrence to any one; knowing all beings to be one’s own-self and seeing the unity of man-kind, how can there be for him delusions, sufferings and sorrows”. These lines from the Upanishads sums up all and provide a direction to the being in this material illusionary world.
This ceremony aims at providing the attributes of love, compassion, benevolence, discipline and valuing human relationships. In the modern education, the light of values and morals is diminishing so to preserve the brightness of moral values, it’s necessary. The wearer of this sacred thread also learns the main goal of his existence and keeps himself engrossed on the path of divinity, avoiding disturbances and turbulence.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja