“The Gayatri Mantra is said to be the oldest and most powerful of mantras, being thousands of years old. It purifies the person chanting it as well as the listener as it creates a tangible sense of well being in whoever comes across it. Translated, it means “May all beings on earth reach enlightenment,” but as with all mantras, the meaning of the Sanskrit words isn’t as important as the effect the vibrations of the words have on the body and energy centers” – Deva Premal
The Gayatri mantra is indeed one of the oldest mantras we have. It was originally shared in the Rig Veda (think 1700–1100 BC.) This mantra is known to impart wisdom, understanding, and enlightenment.
Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
These lines are ancient and powerful, but what do they mean? Like so many mantras, things get lost in translation. One of the best ways to translate mantras is to translate them concept by concept, rather than trying to make one coherent sentence.
Take a look:
Aum (or Om)- God/Brahma
Bhoor – Pranic energy
Bhuwah – Destroyer of sufferings
Swaha – Happiness bestowing
Tat – God or Spirit
Savitur – Bright Sun/God (Also the name of a specific deva, Savitur)
Varenyam – Greatest
Bhargo – Destroyer of misdeeds
Devasya – Supreme God
Dheemahi – Knowledge imparted/understood
Dhiyo – Intelligence
Yo – Who
Naha – Our
Prachodayat – Enlightenment
But if conceptual translation leaves you scratching your head, how about this translation from Swami Vivekananda? “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.” Even simpler, is Deva Premal’s translation “May all beings reach enlightenment.”
And mantras are like little formulas of energy. As we chant them, we launch vibrational patterns in a specific geometry into our field. Take a look at this chart to show you where the mantra vibrates in your body as you chant it:
Like any mantra, it has to be experienced to be understood. You might not feel enlightened, or get tingles in these points in your body, on your first chanting experience. Or you could light up from the very first moment. But get in the habit of relating to the mantra you choose to work with; bring it into your life and your practice and make it a part of you.
Chanting mantra, and specifically chanting the Gayatri Mantra, is a gift you can do both for yourself and for the whole world. This mantra lives through the people who chant it. Its energy for creating enlightenment lies dormant until you access it and give it the chance to flow through the Universe, bouncing off of molecules and leaving the world on a microcosmic level forever changed.
Oh, and it sounds really beautiful, too.
Take a listen to these: