Gayatri Mantra Sadhana
Om bhur bhuvah swaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.
Introduction & History
The Gayatri Mantra has been recorded in the Rig Veda, which was written in Sanskrit according to historians about 2500 to 3500 years ago or possibly even earlier. The mantra itself may have been chanted for many centuries or millennia before that. It is said to be the Mother of the Vedas, or the essence of the Vedas.
For ages, this beautiful prayer has been mysterious to the Western mind and was out of reach even for most Hindus. It was a well-guarded secret, withheld from women and from those outside the Hindu Brahmin community until relatively recent times.
The Gayatri Mantra has been chanted unbroken for over 1,000 years at one ashram in India. When we chant the Gayatri we enter into that great river of devotion that has been flowing through thousands of years.
Today, the Gayatri is chanted, meditated to, and sung around the world with reverence and love. It is often compared to The Lord’s Prayer in significance and impact and it is considered to be a deity in its own right – Mother Gayatri – the mother of All.
The Vedas say the Gayatri mantra purifies both the one who chants and the one who listens. It is said that this sacred prayer spirals through the entire universe from the heart of the chanter, appealing for peace and divine wisdom for all. And that is why it is chanted as part of our within the Heart Of Living Yoga tradition and perhaps why it has a special affinity with our lineage.
Om bhur bhuvah swaha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
There is no real absolute word for word translation, but here are a few ideas of its intention.
1. The eternal, earth, air, heaven That glory, that resplendence of the sun May we contemplate the brilliance of that light May that light inspire our minds.
2. May the divine light of the Supreme Being illuminate our intellect, to lead us along a path of righteousness.
3. We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the Universe; Who is worthy of worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; Who is the remover of sin and ignorance; May You open our hearts and enlighten our intellect.
4. O Self-effulgent Light that has given birth to all the lokas [spheres of consciousness], who is worthy of worship and appears through the orbit of the Sun, illumine our intellect.
There is a longer version of the Gayatri Mantra with an Invocation which is more profound and which you can hear on the recording of 108 Gayatri Mantra Sadhana which is available in our online Shop.
Here is the invocation -
OM TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHIMAHI
DHIYO YONAH PRACHODAYAT
According to the Vedas, there are 7 realms or planes of existence, each more spiritually advanced than the previous one. This invocation begins by harmonising with each of them.
They say that through spiritual awareness and development, we can progressively move through these realms and ultimately merge with the Supreme Being.
Many Buddhist teachings also refer to these 7 realms. By chanting this beautiful mantra, Divine spiritual light and energy is infused in each of our 7 main chakras and connects us through them to these 7 great spiritual realms of existence.
When and How to offer Gayatri Mantra Sadhana
The twilight hours—morning and evening—call us to become still and make the journey back to our inner selves. That is why the Vedas sing: “O pair of divine powers, Night and Dawn, come near…like two boats, take us across.” In ancient times spiritual seekers rose early, bathed, performed their rituals, recited mantras, and sat in meditation. Then in the evening they washed away the day’s fatigue with another period of meditation. Even today, among yoga practitioners, the morning and evening transitions are still the traditional meditation hours.
We can also perceive a moment of stillness at noon, when the sun is high overhead and if we watch we will notice that nature seems to pause and become still – this is also a good time for us to pause, become still and invite meditation to arise.
Meditation that is performed at these junctures of day and night is called sandhya meditation (in Sanskrit, the word sandhya indicates a juncture or a doorway). Sandhya meditations infuse the daily lives of millions with a sense of devotion and introspection. Like the early morning light sweeping away the darkness as it illumines the landscape, sandhya meditation purifies, enlightens, and nourishes the mind.
For this reason, we invite you to enjoy the 108 Gayatri Sadhana meditation at the beginning or end of the day. It takes about 1 hour to chant the whole mala (108) with the invocation and closing peace chants.
As you sit to begin your Gayatri Sadhana, let all awareness draw to your heart centre, feeling expansion and ease there, invite mind to drop into this space and feel it arrive as consciousness unites in the heart and a smile flows to your face.
Resting in the blessing of the infinite heart, connect with the inner Sun, the golden sun of the heart, the Divine Light within – and now begin to chant the Gayatri.
Please feel free to use the recording download for as long as it is helpful, or use your own mala for counting 108.
40 Day Gayatri Sadhana
After a while of chanting Gayatri, you begin to feel a great benefit from chanting this beautiful ancient mantra, and so if you would like to, we invite you to join us in the 40 Day Gayatri Sadhana practice.
This is a very traditional practice, which can be started at any time of the year – but you can also begin it to coincide with special times in your life or anniversaries of special events.
A large number of our sangha are supporting each other (by text, phone or together in person) in this 40 day experience. It should be chanted out loud for 40 days without a break – and if you do have a break, you will know what you need to do!
The transformational benefits of this 40 Day Gayatri Sadhana are beyond words … so we invite you to discover them for yourself – and those around you, who will probably notice its effects first.
The Blessing of Gayatri
When we chant this way, we are not chanting for ourselves, but for all beings everywhere, in all times.
When we chant mantra, we are in the quantum foam, the place of all possibility, we are beyond time and space - we are in the heart of God.
May all blessings flow through you, through your own divinity - to us all.
Om Shanthi Shanthi Shanthii