What is the meaning of Gayatri Mantra?


The English translation of Rigveda 3.62.10 is as follows:

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि।
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥ ३.०६२.१०

May we attain that excellent glory of Savitar the God: So May he stimulate our prayers.

Knowing the literal meaning only would not help in understanding the Gayatri Mantra. So, some explanation for it would be useful. Actually the translation or commentary given by Acharyas would be the best source to understand. I think it would be worthy to quote the explanation from Gayatri Pariwara. You can read some articles on Gayatri and on Gayatri Mantra.

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्।

उस प्राणस्वरूप, दुःखनाशक, सुखस्वरूप, श्रेष्ठ, तेजस्वी, पापनाशक, देवस्वरूप परमात्मा को हम अन्तःकरण में धारण करें। वह परमात्मा हमारी बुद्धि को सन्मार्ग में प्रेरित करे।

  • Here is one explanation given by them:

    Om bhurbhuvah swah tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat

 Om              Brahma or Almighty God 
 Bhuh            embodiment of vital spiritual energy (Prana)
 bhuvah          destroyer of sufferings 
 swah            embodiment of happiness
 tat             that
 savituh         bright, luminous like the Sun  
 varenyam        best, most exalted
 bhargo          destroyer of sins  
 devasya         divine
 dhimahi         may imbibe
 dhiyo           intellect
 yo              who 
 nah             our
 prachodayat     may inspire

Here is a detailed explanation given for the purpose of meditation:

In short it is a prayer to the Almighty Supreme God, the Creator of entire cosmos, the essence of our life existence, who removes all our pains and sufferings and grants happiness beseeching His divine grace to imbibe within us His Divinity and Brilliance which may purify us and guide our righteous wisdom on the right path.

A man gets imbued with divine qualities contemplating and meditating on this meaning of Gayatri. One should contemplate on these feelings daily and regularly. Three prayer-filled meditations are given here which should be silently recited and projected on the mental screen through imagination.

  1. “The Almighty God, who is known as pranava pervades all the three Lokas, viz, Bhooh-loka, Bhuvah-loka and Swaha-loka. He is Omnipresent. The cosmos is physical manifestation of God who pervades its each and every particle. I am seeing Him everywhere. I would always refrain from evil thoughts and evil deeds and perform true worship of God by extending cooperation in promoting happiness, peace and beauty in this universe which is His creation”.

  2. “This (tat) God is extremely bright (savitur), most exalted (varenyam), devoid of sin (bhargo) and divine (devasya). I visualize this Divinity within me, in my soul. By such contemplation, I am becoming illumined, virtues are growing in all the layers of my being. I am being saturated with these virtues, these characteristics, of God.”

  3. “That God may inspire (prachodayat) our (naha) intellect, wisdom (dhiyo) and lead us on righteous path. May our intellect, the intellects of our family members and of all of us, be purified and may He lead us on the righteous path. On getting righteous wisdom, which is the greatest achievement and is the source of all the happiness in this world, we may be able to enjoy celestial bliss in this life and make our human life purposeful.”

We should contemplate and meditate on these three prayer-filled meditations slowly and pausing for a moment on each word and an imaginary picture of that word should be drawn in the mind.

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