Volume 11 - Issue 06
June 2013
Other Articles

 

DISCOURSE QUIZ

ON THE GAYATRI MANTRA

 

Right answer on your 1st attempt
3 Points
Right answer on your 2nd attempt
2 Points
Right answer on your 3rd attempt
1 Point

 

 

 

J. B. S. Haldane was a British-born geneticist and evolutionary biologist who is known for his contribution to human genetics. While intellectually he was a thorough scientist who strongly advocated quantitative study of biology, at heart he was a socialist. In fact at one point he got so disappointed with the imperialistic ways of the British Government that he left that country, came to India and even became an Indian citizen. And what he has said about a facet of Indian culture is very interesting. "The Gayatri Mantra,” he wrote, “should be carved on the doors of every laboratory of the world.”

Bhagawan Baba in a discourse on February 25, 1965 said, “One prayer that promotes the acquisition of Divine Power is the Gayatri Mantra.” And in another discourse on August 23, 1995, Baba said, “If you chant the Gayatri Mantra you do not need to chant any other devotional or vedic hymn... it will bestow on you all power and talents.”

Given the tremendous importance this mantra has for all mankind, here is a quiz based on what Baba said on this sacred hymn over the years.

 

1. During an Upanayanam (sacred-thread wearing) ceremony on young boys, Swami explained that Upanayanam means ‘nearness to God’, and that the sacred thread that is tied around the boys, has three strands tied in one knot - representing The Trinity of Godhead (Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshvara) and also signifying the past, the present and the future.

During a Divine Discourse given during one such Upanayanam
ceremony in the Poornachandra Auditorium in 1983, Swami explained the importance of the initiation of the Gayatri Mantra at a young age during this ceremony: “To recognise the Brahman principle, one has to understand one's own true nature... An unmarried girl acquires the right to a half-share in a man's property after she is married to him and he ties the mangalasuthra (the auspicious marriage thread) around her neck. It is this sacred thread that confers the right on her. Likewise, one remains remote from God as long as one has not acquired the thread of 'surrender to the Divine' (Sharanaagathi-thathwa). The moment one wears the suthra (thread) of Sharanaagathi (total surrender), one acquires the right to a half-share in the energy and authority of the Divine. We must strive earnestly to pursue the path of submission to the Divine Will and offering everything to the Divine. The attitude of surrender will grow in us as we recite regularly the Gayatri mantra.”

Swami then said: “After one receives the Gayatri initiation, he is born again and becomes a Dwija (the twice-born).” According to Swami after a young boy gets initiated into this ceremony he enters into a sacred third stage. What stage is that?


2. In His Dharma Vahini, Swami elaborates on the real meaning of the Gayatri Mantra: “What is the real meaning of the word Gayatri? Does anyone try to know it today? The word is taken to mean either a Goddess or a formula. Gayatri is that which protects (thra) the life breaths (gayas or pranas) or the senses (indriyas), beginning with speech. Besides, it is said, that which saves those who sing it, revere it, repeat it, or meditate on it is called Gayatri.

...What exactly is sandhya? San means ‘well’ and dhya is derived from dhyana, so sandhya refers to proper or intense meditation (dhyana) on the Lord. It means concentration on the Godhead. The Gayatri mantra has to be recited three times a day - in the morning, at sunrise, at noon, and at sunset. These are called "Sandhyaa Kaalam" - the time of coming together of night and day, of morning and evening, and of day and night.”

According to Swami, “To fix the mind on God, ................ have to be controlled.”

 

3. During a Divine Discourse given in 1998, Swami shares with us some more benefits of chanting this powerful mantra: “Gayatri Mantra consists of three parts. One is praise, the second is prayer and the third is meditation. The first nine words of Gayatri Mantra (Om, Bhur, Bhuvaha, Suvaha, Tat, Savitur, Varenyam, Bhargo, Devasya) correspond to the description (praise) of Gayatri. Dheemahi pertains to meditation. Dhiyoyonah Prachodayat is the prayer to God to confer the steady and pure intellect. The mantra as a whole thus contains three aspects - praise, meditation and prayer.

The Divine is first praised and meditated upon. Then an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken and strengthen the intellect (buddhi). So, first and foremost, you should extol God. But in what way? You should extol Him with a feeling of intimacy. The son will never shower lavish praises on his father when he asks for a new dress. Instead he demands rightfully. A devotee has a similar right to demand from God.”

According to Swami what kind of an appeal should be made to the intellect (buddhi) while chanting the Gayatri Mantra?

 

4. During a Divine Discourse given in 1998, Swami described the different forms of Gayatri: “The people of Bharat have worshipped Gayatri in several ways and have redeemed their lives. Gayatri has been worshipped in four forms: (1) Sathyavathi, (2) Angavathi (3) Anyavathi, and (4) Nidhanavathi. All the four are equally sacred, and elicit limitless Grace of the Divine.

The first one, Sathyavathi, signifies the existence of Atma in every being, just as butter is present in every drop of milk. It proclaims, Ekatma sarvabhutantaratma (One Atma is present in all beings). There is one Sath (truth), which is spoken of in many ways by the wise.

The second one is Angavathi, which signifies the five elements present in all beings and also the five senses of hearing, touch, vision, taste, and smell. There is nothing in this world that is not composed of the five elements. This Angavathi is pancha bhuta swarupa (the embodiment of the five basic elements).

The third one, Anyavathi, refers to the attributes of the different forms of the Divine. For example, Lord Shiva is associated with trident, three eyes, etc. Vishnu is always described as having conch, discus, mace, and so on... Nidhanavathi, the fourth, teaches the nine types of worship...

The world is symbolised by these four forms of Gayatri. That is why it is described as Nature (Prakriti), a female form (Sthri). That is why we refer to our native country as motherland.”

According to Swami, “Gayatri protects those who ................This is the inner meaning.”


 

5. During a Divine Discourse given in 2000, Swami stressed on the beneficial effects on the youth of chanting the Gayatri Mantra: “Chanting of the Gayatri mantra purifies the mind and confers devotion, detachment and wisdom. Young men must necessarily chant the Gayatri mantra. Today we find that they get initiated into the Gayatri mantra at an advanced stage of their youth. Intellect will blossom and shine in all its splendour after initiation into the Gayatri mantra. That is why it is essential that Upanayanam be done at the age of eight. One who is initiated into the Gayatri mantra at an early age will become highly intelligent. Man’s life will be sanctified by chanting this mantra.”

According to Swami: “It is because man does not think of God with devotion and sincerity that ....................... have become the order of the day.”


6. In a Divine Discourse delivered during Summer Course in 1974, Swami narrated a story to stress on the point that it is the parents’ responsibility to ensure character development: “At one time, there was an individual who had great respect for our traditions. He had one son. This father who was tradition-bound, performed the Upanayanam of his son. While putting the sacred thread, he told his son that he must chant the Gayatri mantra at least one hundred and eight times every day. Unable to bear the pressure that the father was bringing on him, the son was repeating the Gayatri mantra under compulsion.

As time went on, the son wanted to decrease the number of times he had to repeat the Gayatri mantra. One day the father remarked, 'It looks as if you have not been repeating the Gayatri properly. Let me see how you do it today.' At first he did repeat the Gayatri mantra properly and thereafter he simply said 'Ditto, ditto'. Not knowing what this means, the father asked him what 'Ditto, ditto' meant. The son said that it refers to the fact that the same was being said several times...The father was very much upset at this and lamented, “Oh what a son have I got! He is not able to repeat even the Gayatri mantra.” He thought that he should somehow bring him back to the old traditions. This boy passed out of the college and even while he was in college he corresponded with institutions abroad and arranged to go abroad.

The father wanted the son to return from foreign countries with good qualities. Hence, he took the son to the Devi temple and asked him to pray to the Devi so that he may return with noble qualities. Although unwilling, the son prayed to the Devi because he thought that if he prayed to Devi his father would let him go abroad. Eventually he went abroad. After living for three years outside, he changed his mind and did not want to return to India. However, because of the father’s pressure, he reluctantly came back to his motherland.”

According to Swami, “One who forgets ............................, his mother and father and his divine and noble traditions cannot in fact be called a human being.”


7. During a Divine Discourse given in 1995, Swami talked about the five faces of Gayatri: “Gayatri is said to have five faces and hence is called Panchamukhi. Is there anybody in the world with five faces? No. In the Ramayana, Ravana is said to have ten heads. If he really had ten heads how would he be able to lie on his bed or move about? This is not the inner meaning of this description. He is said to be ten-headed because he was the master of the four Vedas and the six Shaasthras (holy texts).

Likewise, Gayatri is described as five-faced. Om (the Pranava) is the first face. The Pranava Principle represents the Ashta-Aishvarya (eight different forms of wealth). The second face is: Bhur Bhuva Suvah. The third is: Thath-Savithur-varenyam. The fourth is: Bhargo Dhevasya dheemahi. The fifth face is: Dhiyo yo nah prachodayaath. When the Gayatri mantra is understood in this way, it will be realised that all the five aspects of Gayatri are within each of us.

Swami then said: “The Vedas declare that ‘wherever the mind wanders, there the three worlds will be perceived’. These three worlds are represented in the Gayatri Mantra.” Which ones are they?



8. During a Divine Discourse given in 1991, Swami reveals in depth the reason behind why the Sun is the presiding deity worshipped in the Gayatri Mantra: “For every kind of power, proofs may be sought by Pratyaksha (direct perception) or by the Anumaana (process of inference). Men sought to find out by what direct proof they could experience this transcendental power. They found the proof in the Sun. Without the Sun there will be no light at all. All activities will come to a standstill. In this world hydrogen is essential for the growth of plants and of living beings. The Sun's primary components are hydrogen and helium. Without these elements, the world cannot survive. Hence, the ancients concluded that the Sun was the visible proof (of a transcendental power).They also found some subtle secrets about the Sun. Hence, they adored the Sun as the principal deity in the Gayatri mantra.

Dheeyo yo nah prachodayaath (May the Sun illumine our intellects in the same way he sheds his effulgence). This is the prayer addressed to the Sun in the Gayatri mantra.

This Gayatri mantra is not related to any particular time, place or person. Bhur Bhuva-Suvah (occurring in the mantra) indicates that it relates to the three aspects of Time - the past, the present and the future. Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dheeyo yo nah Prachodayath (Light dispels darkness). Without light darkness will not go. Bhargo devasya signifies that the Sun is the dispeller of darkness. In this manner, the ancients believed that there was a supreme power and looked upon it as God.

According to Swami, “The effulgence of the Sun has to be drawn, to reinforce the inner effulgence in the form of .........................”


9. During a Divine Summer Showers Discourse given in 1977, Swami gave us more insight into the Gayatri Mantra: “Amongst the lessons which Vishwamithra gave to the world, Gayatri mantra is an important one. This mantra teaches that there is equal opportunity of spiritual achievement for all religions, for people of all countries and for people of all communities and places.

This mantra has something to do only with intelligence. It has nothing to do with religious activity. We say Dhiyo yonah prachodayath and this portion of Gayatri means, 'Blossom my intelligence, give importance to my intelligence, remove the darkness of ignorance and let the Pragnana (higher knowledge) in me blossom out.' It prays to the Lord who is present at all time (past, present and future) and who is present at every place, to come and burn away the darkness of ignorance and give the brightness of knowledge.

Pragnana enables you to stand out only as a witness and experience everything around you. We say, this is my hand, this is my head, this is my tongue, and we begin to claim all this, but who is this claimant? For every one of these things, Veda has been telling us the answer by saying: ‘That is you’, ‘Thou art that’, ‘I am Pragnana’ and ‘I am Brahman’; in that way it makes you stand out as a witness and not become identical with your body or hand.”

Swami then reinforced once again : “Every human being is inherently Divine, but owing to his ................................ he considers himself a mere man.”


10. During a Divine Discourse given in 1995, Swami revealed more: “Sarva roga nivaarini Gayatri (Gayatri is the reliever of all diseases). Sarva dhukha parivaarini Gayatri (Gayatri wards off all misery). Sarva vaancha phalashri Gayatri (Gayatri is the fulfiller of all desires). Gayatri is the bestower of all that is beneficial. If the mantra is chanted, various kinds of powers will emerge in one. Hence the Gayatri mantra should not be treated casually.”

In our respiration process the sound of Gayatri is embedded. That sound is a reminder of our true form. In the breathing process, there is inhalation and exhalation. In the Yoga-Shaasthra, inhalation is termed Puurakam and the exhalation is called Rechakam. Holding the breath is called Kumbhakam. When air is inhaled, the sound that is produced is 'So-o-o.' When it is exhaled, the sound is 'Ham-m-m.' 'So-ham, So- ham.' (Bhagawan demonstrated how this happens while breathing in and out). 'So' is 'that'. 'Ham' is 'I'. 'I am that', 'I am Divine'. Every breath proclaims this. The Vedas declared the same thing in the pronouncements: Thath thvam Asi (That thou art), Aham Brahmaasmi (I am Brahman), and Ayam Aathma Brahma (This Self is Brahman).

Stressing on the benefits of chanting the Gayatri Mantra, Swami once asked: “What is a mantra? Ma means manana (ruminating) and thra means ...............”


Courtesy: Anita P, (Radio Sai Volunteer)


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- Radio Sai Team

 

 

 
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