By: Bhanumathi Narasimhan
'Let my mind and the whole existence
be illumined and purified by your radiance'
Gayatri is the one who glides through the three states of consciousness joyfully, playfully, effortlessly and lightly, as though it were a song. When we 'sing through' something, it means it is not a burden for us. 'Gayanti traayate iti gayatri'. The Gayatri mantra affects all the three states of consciousness, jagrut(waking), sushupt (deep sleep), swapna (dream) and the three layers of existence adhyatmik, adidhaivik and adibhautik. Traya also refers to the taapatraya or the ailments(taapa) that adversely affect the body, mind and soul: the body by physical ailments, the mind by negativity and restlessness in the soul. The Gayatri Shakti (energy or field of vibration) enables one to transcend and be unaffected by the tapatraya's.
The Gayatri mantra sharpens the intellect and brightens the memory. A new mirror reflects clearly, but over time, dust gathers and it needs cleaning. Similarly our mind becomes tainted with time, the company that we keep, the knowledge we receive and our latent tendencies. When we chant the Gayatri mantra, it is like deep cleansing, so that the mirror (the mind) reflects in a better way. Through the mantra, the inner glow is kindled, the inner plane is kept alive. One gains brilliance in both the inner and outer worlds.
The Gayatri mantra has 24 letters corresponding to the 24 vertebrae of the spine. The backbone is what provides support and stability to our body. Similarly, the Gayatri mantra brings stability in our intellect.
The Gayatri Shakti is the energy field which is a culmination of three energies: Tejas (radiance), Yashas (victory) and Varchas (brilliance). When you chant the Gayatri mantra, these energies manifest in you and you also gain the power to bless. These same energies are transmitted to the one receiving the blessings also.
Tejasvi Bhuyasau - May you be radiant
Varchaswi Bhuyasau - May you be brilliant
Yashasvi Bhuyasau - May you be victorious
All seeds have the potential to become a tree. Some are cognised and are available to us like the bija mantras. Some are fully expressed, where the fruit is also expressed, like the Gayatri mantra. A seed contains all the development of a sprawling tree. Similarly, these syllables of the Gayatri mantra contain within a nutshell all the possibilities of creation.
Before thought becomes a word, it is a subtle vibration, unexpressed, beyond the cognition of the mind. When the mind is unable to cognise, it dissolves and moves into the meditative space. This is how mantras enable one to transcend the mind and move into meditation. It is not necessary to understand the meaning of the mantras to experience its benefits. For e.g, even the sounds of laughter or crying can cause a shift in our consciousness. Similarly, the energy field created by the sound vibrations of the mantras elevate our consciousness and allow us to be established in that serene, pure, infinite state of our Being.
In the Vedic tradition, a child is first initiated to the highest knowledge - the Gayatri mantra. After that, all other forms of education are given. It is said in the scriptures that women are also eligible to learn the vedas and chant the Gayatri mantra. The ideal time to chant is the the transitory hours of dawn and dusk. The times when the sun has set but it is neither dark nor light and when the night has passed and the day is yet to begin. In these moments, the mind also enters an altered state of consciousness. The moments belong neither to the previous state nor the next. It is the right time to be focussed on the Self instead of being caught up in changes or movement. In these hours, the mind can easily be confused and slip into inertia, lethargy, negativity and so on or be elevated and move into a meditative state radiating positivity. Chanting the Gayatri mantra rejuvenates the mind and maintains it in an elevated and energized state.
Energizing from the source of radiance - that is the Gayatri mantra. The scintillating lively energy - that is the Gayatri Shakti.
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