[Advaita-l] Gayatri is a Mantra

sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org sidha at omkarananda-ashram.org
Fri Feb 11 11:46:37 CST 2005

Gayatri is a Mantra

If by Gayatri you mean the Mantra "om tat savitur...", then I can give so
many reasons why it should be called a Mantra.
The word "Gayatri" is in fact a technical term that is used for a
particular meter of Vedic poetry. This meter is only used in the Veda and
most of the Vedic Mantras are in Gayatri Chanda, as is also the famous
Gayatri Mantra. It is called "Gayatri Mantra" because it is constructed in
Gayatri Chanda (having three paadas, not four paadas like in an Anushtup
This Gayatri Mantra is also called "Saavitri", because the Devataa, which
has been glorified in this Mantra is Savitaa, by the word "savituh". So,
since it is related to "Savitaa", (Sun, literally -- The Creator) it is
also called Saavitri.

So, some proofs why Gayatri is a Mantra.

1. There are two meanings of the word "Mantra". mananaat traayate yasmaat
tasmaan mantrah prakiirtitah, a verse that protects us if we contemplate
on its meaning (i.e. meaning of its words and also the objects which has
been described, as "artha" in Sanskrit means both) is called a Mantra. If
one contemplates the meaning of the Gayatri Mantra and if one meditates
upon the object which has been described in the Gayatri Mantra, the Divine
Radiance of the Sun, (radiance which destroys all our impurities and
motivates our mind) he would be protected/saved from this cycle of birth
and death. Therefore Gayatri is a Mantra.

2. The root "matri" from which the word Mantra is derived, means to
describe something hidden. All the Vedic Mantras, including Gayatri
Mantra, describe the hidden truths of Spirituality. They are "niNyaa
vacaamsi", hidden voices, as described by the Rig-veda itself.
All the Devas live in the Mantras, as is clearly said in the Rig-veda
(1-40-5), "The protector (pati) of the Divine Voice pronounces the
Mantras. Indeed, in these Mantras Indra, Varuna, Mitra, Aryama and all
other Devas have made their place to live". So all these Divine Beings
live in these Mantras of the Rig-veda, including in the Gayatri Mantra.
Therefore, it is a Mantra.

3. While writing his Bhaashyam on the Gayatri Mantra, Bhagavan Shri
Shankaracarya calls this Gayatri "MAHA MANTRA", i.e. the greatest Mantra.
Therefore, Gayatri is not only just a Mantra, it is Maha Mantra. The
Greatest Mantra from the Veda.

4. The verses from the Samhita portion, as opposed to the Brahmana portion
are called Mantras. Since this Gayatri Mantra comes from the Rig-veda
Samhita and the seer of it is Bhagavan Vishvamitra, may his blessings be
always with all of us, it is a Mantra.

Just for you kind information, this is one of those few Mantras that
occurs in more then three Vedas. It occurs in Rigveda, Samaveda, Shukla
Yajurveda and KrishnaYajurveda. In the last two, I think it even occurs
Love and Respect,
Siddhartha Krishna

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