Sooryanarayanan: Dear Swamiji, Namesthe, I live in Malaysia and here we do not get many books on Gayathri mantra or the Vedas. I try to read whatever I get from the internet but am now thoroughly confused. I am hoping swamiji will help me. I have a lot of questions on the Gayathri Mantra. I hope Swamiji will be kind enough to answer all of them and please give me a detailed answer. I have listed them below:
Swami Ram Swarup: My blessings to you my son.
Sooryanarayanan: Is the Gayathri Mantra the most powerful mantra in the Vedas?
Swami Ram Swarup: Every mantra has its own unlimited power based on its subject matter. In Gayatri mantra, divine qualities of the God, prayer and worship exist. The main thing in this mantra is this that the devotee pray God to enlighten his intellect with the knowledge. So, where knowledge has been gained in the intellect then naturally our all deeds will be pious deed and there would be no any scope of doing sin. However, prayer has no any meaning/power until a devotee himself do hard work to purify his intellect because, you see God helps those who help themselves. That is why the Gayatri mantra has its own importance to pray God, to enlighten his intellect.
The Gayatri mantra is as follows —
OM BHURBHUVAHA SWAHA TATA SAVITUR VARENYAM BHARGODEVASYA
DHIMAHI DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODYAT
Meaning of Gayatri mantra stating each word is as follows. Its meaning is based on Vedas and Sanskrit grammar. Grammatical hints are in short please.
Om has three Hindi words. Aa, Uu AND Ma. Aa is meant for Aakaar from which three
names of God are built, Viraat, Agni, and Vishwadi. From Uu = uukar from which
Hirannyagarbha, Vayu and Tejas names occur and Ma = makaar from which Ishwar,
Aditya and Praajyan aadi, holy names of God occur. Rigved mantra 1/164/46 says
God is one but His names are several. But here OM the holy name of God is only being explained.
VIRAAT = Viraat word is made from dhatu ‘Rajrideeptau’ i.e., manifest. Therefore Viraat means He who manifests the universe. As God manifests the universe, thus
Viraat is the name of God. Rigved mandal 10, sukta 129 states that like potter makes pot from clay, similarly God creates universe from non-alive matter prakriti.
Prakriti is unseen matter. From unseen matter, the whole universe is created in the visible form. Science also says that matter is never destroyed but changes its form.
Suppose a paper is burnt, paper changes its form into ashes. Then ashes are crushed and thrown in air. At this moment, the paper changed into ashes becomes invisible but was never destroyed. Similarly the whole universe at the time of final destruction is turned into prakriti i.e., into unseen form.
AGNI = From dhatu, “ANCHU GATI POOJANAYOHO” the word “AGNI is made. Its meaning is: He who is a form of wisdom. “SARVAJAYEN” i.e., Omniscient. That is, knows each and every atom of universe and even beyond universe. He who is to be
known, to be gained and is worshipful. So Agni is the name of God.
VISHWA = Vishwa word is made from dhatu, “VISHPRAVESHANE”. Its meaning is He
in whom the universe is entering or He who is entering the universe. So being
omnipresent, Vishwa is the name of God.
HIRANNYAGARBHA = i.e., ” JYOTIRVAYIHIRANYAM”. Its meaning is, who is the base
of all sun, etc., luminous lokas or He who is the living place of all luminous lokas.
VAYU = from dhatu, “VA GATIGANDHANYOHO”, vayu word is made. Its meaning is
He who holds, gives life and destroys and is the mightiest amongst all. So the name
of God is Vayu.
TEJ = from dhatu, “TIJA NISHANE”, the word Tej is made meaning He who is self
made and self-enlightened and gives light to sun, moon, stars etc. God does not take
light from anywhere but gives light to sun, moon, stars, etc. so the unbroken,
unobstructed/unproduced and eternal form of light is Almighty God and not sun,
moon etc. So the name of God is Tej.
ISHWAR = from dhatu, “ISH ASHWERIYE”, the word Ishwar is made. Its meaning is
whose knowledge is thoughtful and true and He who has unlimited wealth, fortune
and glory etc. Therefore the name of God is Ishwar. Here it is not out of place to
mention that soul (man/woman) has limited qualities and are dependent whereas
God is independent and has unlimited qualities that is why He is God.
ADITYA = from dhatu, “DO AVAKHANDANE”, Aditya word is made. Its meaning is the one who cannot be broken into pieces and thus cannot be destroyed. So God’s name
PRAJAYEN (PRAGYA) = from dhatu, “JYEN AVABODHANE”, Prajayen word is made meaning whose wisdom is totally without any misunderstanding and thus he who
knows every matter and behavior of whole universe without misunderstanding. So
God’s name is Prajayen. So here also it is not out of place to mention that illusion
can never attack on God and God is totally free from illusion.
BHUHU = “BHUHU ITI VAYEE PRANAHA” i.e., He who is the base of lives of universe,
is most beloved, even more than Prann i.e., breath. So Bhuhu is the name of God.
BHUVAHA= “BHUVAHA ITI APANAHA” i.e., He who is totally free from any sorrow,
and the soul removes his own all sorrows after coming in contact with Him. So the
name of God is Bhuvaha.
SWAHA = i.e., “SWAHA ITI VYANAHE” who is omnipresent in the universe and is
holding the same. So the name of God is Swaha.
SAVITUHU = He who creates the universe. So the name of God is Savituhu.
DEVSYA= who gives all pleasure/merriment, so the name of God is Dev.
VARENNYAM = He who is the most supreme and acceptable. God is most supreme
and acceptable for worship.
BHARGAHA = the purest entity (though God is formless, but finding no suitable
English word of Sanskrit word, “SHUDH SWARUPAM” the word entity has been used.)
TAT = i.e., the God i.e., of the purest entity.
DHIMAHI = i.e., we must hold (sort of meditation) because
YAHA = the God
NAHA = our,
DHIYAHA = mind(i.e., in our minds)
PRACHODYAT = by inspiration (fulfil the mind with wisdom)
“We meditate the God who is the base of lives’ of universe, totally free from any sorrow, omnipresent, creates the universe, gives all pleasure/merriment, most supreme and acceptable, purest entity; May the God enlighten our minds with wisdom by His inspiration”.
Here it is not out of place to mention that idea of a (one) Ved mantra is based on ideas of several Ved mantras. So in the above Gayatri mantra, there are three things —-
Bhuhu, Bhuvaha, Swaha, Savituhu, Bhargaha, Devsya are some qualities amongst unlimited qualities of God. These are called Stuti i.e., to say about God with His real qualities and not self made etc.
Secondly Dhimahi means meditation i.e., one should always sit in meditation and do hard and pious deeds for which he will have to study Vedas in full, while discharging moral duties towards family and nation.
Third and last is DHIYO YO NAHA PRACHODYAT. It is a prayer to God explanation of which is cited above.
HOW TO DO HAVAN
Please sit in the morning to perform havan. Havan must be in sunlight then it is more beneficial. Then half a bowl of fresh water with a tablespoon must be with you with small twigs especially of mango tree if possible, havan samagri, ghee, camphor and match box must be there with you. Please sit on sukh asan on four times folded blanket and blanket must be on mat.
Sukh asan i.e., sit on duly folded feet in comfortable position. Then first close your eyes and concentrate between two eyebrows and chant Gayatri mantra three times within heart and not by mouth. Then open your eyes.
Take one spoon of water in right palm. Chant this mantra, OM AMRITO UPASTRANMASI SWAHA and drink the water which you have put in your palm. Then again take the spoon of water in right palm then chant the next mantra, OM AMRITA APIDHANMASI SWAHA, and drink the water. Then again take the water in right palm and chant the mantra, OM SATYAM YASHAH SHRI MAYI SHRI SHRAYTAAM SWAHA, and drink the water. Then wash the right palm while sitting, with the same water kept in bowl.
Then put the twigs into havan kund with one piece of camphor and burn it. During this process chant the Gayatri mantra again and again till such time the fire is lighted sufficiently. Then chant the Gayatri mantra and at the last add the word Swaha and offer ghee with tablespoon, quantity equivalent to 4 to 5 drops. And if you are alone then also offer in fire pinch of havan samagri from your right hand’s finger and thumb avoiding forefinger. So this offering may be of 11 times, 21 times or 51 times as the time suits. It is the simplest way and I have not quoted the complete method of Yajna. The havan with Ved mantras are always offered as the best worship of God only please. Do havan daily and both times.
In the end of hawan, please pray to God to fulfill your desires. I hope God will sure listen to you.
PROCEDURE OF CHANTING
Please, start the day by chanting Gayatri mantra in the early morning sitting on suitable asan like Sukhasan, Siddhasan or Padmasan etc. concentrate on the point between two eyebrows which is called “Agyachakra”. The Gayatri mantra should be chanted along with its meaning both times. Also, please try to perform daily hawan even with Gayatri mantra. Then try to study any of my books daily and put up question if any.
After 15 days chant the Gayatri mantra only thrice thereafter do the name jaap of Almighty God-“Om”. The jaap must be done daily by heart and not orally.
Sooryanarayanan: 2. Is there any other mantra in the Vedas which is greater than the Gayathri Mantra?
Swami Ram Swarup: As I have told above, every mantra emanates direct from God in the beginning of every creation. So, every mantra has its own unlimited power, like Gayatri mantra. Suppose, the intellect is enlightened with the knowledge but the devotee has no knowledge of other Ved mantras, which preach about divine deeds to do, above spiritual and other knowledge about all worldly matters of science, and above the real worship of the God then only the enlightenment would do nothing. So, as God has preached the human being accordingly we must study all the Ved mantras, who have different kind of the knowledge, which is required to be gained in our intellect.
Sooryanarayanan: 3 Some gurus say the Gayathri mantra is different from savitri mantra, which is more powerful. So what is the Gayathri mantra?
Swami Ram Swarup: Here is the point to understand that some Gurus say that whatever they have gained and other Gurus say whatever they have gained but the question is that who is the Guru who traditionally studied Vedas, did practice of ashtang yog philosophy, performed daily Yajyen from Ved mantras and thus he has attained the Samadhi, that is has realized God. Such type of Guru only will only say the unchangeable, eternal meaning of all Ved mantras, including Gayatri. He would never say about the difference within any Vedic mantras because all mantras have its own unlimited divine knowledge. People have taken only Gayatri mantra from the Vedas, which is against the fundamental law of the Vedas because Atharvaved kand 12 clearly state that the knowledge of the Vedas in full is required to be gained and its cut-portion of the Vedas is not permitted, being sin. So, if we only take Ved mantras and would start saying that this mantra has more power than the other it means that we are against the said Atharvaved mantras.
For example, Garbhadaan Sanskaar, Punsvan Sanskaar, Chudakram Sanskaar, Naamkaran Sanskaar and Vivaah Sanskaar, etc. are to be performed as said in the Vedas. And the moral duties, which are mentioned in the Vedas, like services towards parents and learned Acharya and nursing properly for the family, pious deeds etc. etc. would be ignored or will be done without knowledge, and without proper order. So here what Gayatri mantra alone will do?
Sooryanarayanan: 4. Will we get the same results by chanting other mantras like Om namo narayaan,sri ram jai ram jai jai ram, hare rama hare Krishna instead of the Gayathri mantra.
Swami Ram Swarup: No please. The shlokas which you have written do not exist in the Vedas, so its chanting, according to the Vedas, will be of no use because it will not give fruitful result, being against the Vedas.
Sooryanarayanan: 5. Many say the Gayathri Mantra is addressed to the 5 faced goddess Gayathri while some others say it is addressed to the sun god savitur and others say savitur is a greater God
Swami Ram Swarup: Savitur is not a correct pronunciation when it is pronounced alone. Its correct pronunciation is ‘Savitooh’ and the meaning of ‘Savitooh’ is the God who creates the universe, so naturally God is the great. However, if we pronounce the other names of God, like Om, which means He protects us. So, Om, being the name of God, naturally God is great. So every name of the God, which are mentioned in the Vedas only, have its own meaning but all names are divine names of God only, so every name of God is great, and not great but the greatest that is on the universe, there is no other God, and no other name of God (mentioned in Vedas), which are more powerful or more great than the only God who creates, nurses and destroys the universe. So, according to the Vedas, man-made names of the God are not chanted. We have to chant only the name of the God which are mentioned by the God himself in the eternal knowledge of the Vedas.
Sooryanarayanan: 6. Many gurus say that the Gayathri Mantra has 4 lines or foots or Paadas, They call it the Turiya paada of Gayatri in Brihadaranya Upanishad. Some say the fourth line is paro rajas ya tapat, while others say it is paro rajase savad om. Which is correct and which one should I chant?
Swami Ram Swarup:. As I have already told above, the idea of the Gurus have different type of knowledge but the Guru who has learned the Vedas traditionally have only one idea.
Sooryanarayanan: 7. Which is better to chant the long version with the 7 Vyahritis or the short version?
Swami Ram Swarup: The process to chant the Gayatri mantra or other mantra, or to chant the holy name of God is learnt personally from a learned Acharya of Vedas and ashtang yog philosophy. So you are advised to make contact with the nearest Arya Samaj Mandir to learn Vedic philosophy. In the meantime, I would advise you to sit on a proper asan and then with closed eyes, in khechri mudra, should chant the Gayatri mantra by heart, and not by uttering, with its meaning. And you should also do daily agnihotra from the Gayatri mantra.
Sooryanarayanan: 8. What is the minimum number to chant at any sitting?
Swami Ram Swarup: You can chant the Gayatri mantra as per your suitability. It may be 21, 31, 51, 101, etc.
Sooryanarayanan: 9. Must it be chanted at the 3 times only trikala sandya.
Swami Ram Swarup: No please. The Gayatri mantra, or any other mantra, or performance of Agnihotra can be done in any numbers like thrice, fourth, fifth, as suits but you see Samved state that two times worship that is morning and evening, is enough. Yet any devotee has more time, he can devote accordingly.
Sooryanarayanan: 10. Can chanting the Gayathri mantra clear all our karmas and destroys all our sins?
Swami Ram Swarup: No please. Mere chanting of Gayatri mantra will do nothing as I have explained above. Review the statement that mere prayer will do nothing until we do the hard work to achieve the motto, which is being chanted in the mantras.
Sooryanarayanan: 11. Can chanting the Gayathri mantra grant liberation to the chanter?
Swami Ram Swarup: No please. Only Gayatri mantra will not give final liberation to the chanter being against the philosophy of the Vedas. In Vedas there are three types of education – knowledge, deeds and worship.
There are three educations/preach about
(i) knowledge – science etc(Gyan) in Rigved,
At the time of every creation, knowledge of four Vedas emanates direct from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis in non-sexual creation. In the said process, first of all, the knowledge of Rigved advents and originates in the heart of Rishi Agni. In this Veda though the description of every worldly matter right from straw to God has been mentioned but it speaks especially about matters concerning science of the world. God has described qualities/nature of all materialistic articles of the universe. Therefore, the entire mankind must get the benefit of eternal knowledge of Vedas by knowing about right from straw to Brahma i.e., God. The meaning of “Ric” is that wherein the qualities and nature of all matters have been described and the meaning of Veda is knowledge i.e., true knowledge. These words are used in making the pious word “Rigved”.
(ii) In Yajurved, the form of true, pious deeds have been preached. So, in the absence of listening of Yajurved, we can’t know about real moral duties of students, married persons, vanprasthis and sanyasis. Even the moral and social obligations of King, parents, children etc., can’t be known.
(iii) In Samved there is preach about eternal true worship of God like Yajyen, name jaap, practice of Ashtang yoga by following which an aspirant realises God/attains salvation.
(iv) Shubh karma
(v) contains comprehensive knowledge of medical science.
So, Almighty God who is formless, creates, nurses, destroys and again creates universe. This process is eternal and everlasting. So, at the time of beginning of each non-sexual, the knowledge of above four Vedas emanates direct from God and is originated in the heart of four Rishis. The knowledge is given by the God to the human-beings for their welfare/benefit because until the knowledge is given by somebody, no one can attain the knowledge. In the beginning of the creation, no preacher, guru, acharya, teacher is present there to teach. So, God gives the knowledge.
So, the full knowledge has to be gained and not only chanting of Gayatri mantra.
Sooryanarayanan: 12. Can I chant the Gayathri mentally while going to work in the train, bus or walking even though we are wearing shoes or slippers?
Swami Ram Swarup: Yes, you can, or any devotee can chant the Gayatri mantra as you said. You see, the God also resides in every atom of our shoes, being Omnipresent. So it makes no difference that we chant the Gayatri mantra while going in bus, train, car, wearing shoes, etc. but not on bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, etc.
Ranuka: Pranam Pithaji, HAPPY GURU POURNAMI GURUJI. How is your health pithaji? With Ishwar and your blessings we all are doing well pithaji. with your blessings.
Swami Ram Swarup: Renuka beti, my heartiest blessings to you all. Hope you all are in the best of your health.