Gayatri Mantra & Meanings

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Gayatri (gaayatree) mantra is the most important and popular verse (shloka) of the Vedas (ved/s). Hindus love to chant this sacred religious shloka (shlok) as mantra (maNtra). It is sometimes called 'Maha Mantra'. Maha (mahaa) means 'great'.

The Gayatri Mantra is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism. Written in Sanskrit, it consists of the prefix :oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ ॐ भूर्भुवस्वः, a formula taken from the Yajurveda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rigveda (which is an example of the Gayatri metre, whence the mantra's name). Since the other three Vedas contain material from the Rigveda, the Gayatri mantra is found in all four Vedas. The deva invoked in this mantra is Savitr, so the mantra is also called Sāvitrī. A personification of this mantra has come to be worshiped as a goddess in her own right, Gayatri. The Gayatri Mantra is praised in several other Hindu scriptures, including Manusmṛti, Atharvaveda, and the Bhagavad Gita.

The Gayatri Mantra is an important part of the upanayanam (sacred thread) ceremony for Brahmins, and was traditionally chanted only by Brahmin males, generally as part of their daily rituals. In modern times, chanting of the Gayatri Mantra is more widespread, such as at cultural celebrations, and its use has spread to include non-Brahmins and women.

The Gayatri Mantra

Om bhūr bhuvah svah

tat savitur varenyam

bhargo devasya dhīmahi

dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt


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

Word for word explanation

om The mystical Om syllable

bhū "earth"prithvi

bhuvas "atmosphere"antariksha

svar "light, heaven"beyond antariksha

tat "that"

savitur devasya "of Savitr, the god" (genitives of savitr-, 'stimulator, rouser; name of a sun-deity' and deva- 'god' or 'demi-god')

varenyam accusative of varenya- "desirable, excellent, fit to be adopted"

bhargo "radiance, lustre, splendour, glory"

devasya "divine"

dhīmahi "may we attain" (1st person plural middle optative of dhā- 'set, bring, fix' etc.)

dhiyaḥ naḥ "our prayers" (accusative plural of dhi- 'thought, meditation, devotion, prayer' and naḥ enclitic personal pronoun)

yaḥ pracodayāt "who may stimulate" (nominative singular of relative pronoun yad-; causative 3rd person of pra-cud- 'set in motion, drive on, urge, impel').

Gayatri Mantra

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