Indian Arts and Culture Hinduism The Gayatri Mantra Inner Meaning and Analysis of the Most Popular Hindu Hymn Share Flipboard Email Print Marco Brivio/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images Hinduism Indian Arts and Culture India Past and Present Important Texts Temples and Organizations Hindu Gods Hindu Gurus and Saints By Shri Gyan Rajhans is a widely published author of religious and spiritual books, including an English translation of the Bhagavad Gita for the younger generation. our editorial process Shri Gyan Rajhans Updated March 23, 2018 The Gayatri mantra is one of the oldest and most powerful of Sanskrit mantras. It is believed that by chanting the Gayatri mantra and firmly establishing it in the mind, if you carry on your life and do the work that is ordained for you, your life will be full of happiness. The word "Gayatri" itself explains the reason for the existence of this mantra. It has its origin in the Sanskrit phrase Gayantam Triyate iti, and refers to that mantra which rescues the chanter from all adverse situations that may lead to mortality. Goddess Gayatri is also called "Veda-Mata" or the Mother of the Vedas - Rig, Yajur, Saam and Atharva - because it is the very basis of the Vedas. It is the basis, the reality behind the experienced and the cognized universe. The Gayatri mantra is composed of a metre consisting of 24 syllables - generally arranged in a triplet of eight syllables each. Therefore, this particular meter (tripadhi) is also known as the Gayatri Meter or "Gayatri Chhanda." The Mantra AumBhuh Bhuvah SvahTat Savitur VarenyamBhargo Devasya DheemahiDhiyo Yo nah Prachodayat~ The Rig Veda (10:16:3) Listen to the Gayatri Mantra The Meaning "O thou existence Absolute, Creator of the three dimensions, we contemplate upon thy divine light. May He stimulate our intellect and bestow upon us true knowledge." Or simply, "O Divine mother, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please make this darkness distant from us and promote illumination within us." Let us take each word of the Gayatri Mantra and try to understand its inherent meaning. The First Word Om (Aum) It is also called Pranav because its sound emanates from the Prana (vital vibration), which feels the Universe. The scripture says "Aum Iti Ek Akshara Brahman" (Aum that one syllable is Brahman). When you pronounce AUM:A - emerges from the throat, originating in the region of the navelU - rolls over the tongueM - ends on the lipsA - waking, U - dreaming, M - sleepingIt is the sum and substance of all the words that can emanate from the human throat. It is the primordial fundamental sound symbolic of the Universal Absolute. The "Vyahrities": Bhuh, Bhuvah, and Svah The above three words of the Gayatri, which literally means "past," "present," and "future," are called Vyahrities. Vyahriti is that which gives knowledge of entire cosmos or "ahriti". The scripture says: "Visheshenh Aahritih sarva viraat, praahlaanam prakashokaranh vyahritih". Thus, by uttering these three words, the chanter contemplates the Glory of God that illumines the three worlds or the regions of experience. The Remaining Words Tat simply means "that" because it defies description through speech or language, the "Ultimate Reality."Savitur means "Divine Sun" (the ultimate light of wisdom) not to be confused with the ordinary sun.Varenium means "adore"Bhargo means "illumination"Devasya means "Divine Grace"Dheemahi means "we contemplate"Dhi means intellectYo means "who"Nah means "ours"Prachodayat means "requesting / urging / praying" The last five words constitute the prayer for final liberation through the awakening of our true intelligence. Finally, it needs to be mentioned that there are a number of meanings of the three main words of this mantra given in the scriptures: Various meanings of the words used in the Gayatri Mantra Bhuh Bhuvah Svah Earth Atmosphere Beyond Atmosphere Past Present Future Morning Noon Evening Tamas Rajas Sattwa Gross Subtle Causal The Power of Mantra Chanting Om is the Hindu Symbol of the Absolute What is Puja? The Ramayana: Summary by Stephen Knapp Major Hindu Symbols What Your Dreams Mean in Hindu Symbolism Blessings of a Hindu Wedding Symbolism of Hindu Deities Explained What are Samskaras? What Is Vedic Hindu Astrology? The Real Reason for the Hindu Raksha Bandhan Celebration Sanskrit Words beginning with A Holi the Hindu Festival of Colors Namkaran: the Hindu Naming Ceremony Bengali Hindu Wedding Rituals Quotes from 'The Hindus: An Alternative History'