Gayatri Mantra in Sanskrit
Gayatri, the five-faced Goddess is said to have domain over the five senses or pranas, and protects these five life-forces of those who chant the Gayatri Mantra. In her role as the protector, Gayatri is referred to as Savitri.
Word for Word Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra
Aum = Brahma ;
bhoor = embodiment of vital spiritual energy(pran) ;
bhuwah = destroyer of sufferings ;
swaha = embodiment of happiness ;
tat = that ;
savitur = bright like sun ;
varenyam = best choicest ;
bhargo = destroyer of sins ;
devasya = divine ;
these first nine words describe the glory of God
dheemahi = may imbibe ; pertains to meditation
dhiyo = intellect ;
yo = who ;
naha = our ;
prachodayat = may inspire!
"dhiyo yo na prachodayat" is a prayer to God
Hence the Gayatri is unique in that it embodies the three concepts of stotra (singing the praise and glory of God), dhyaana (meditation) and praarthana (prayer).
The prayer form of the Gayatri be used to pray to Lord Shiva is called Rudra Gayatri. Similarly, one may sing Ganesha Gayatri for Lord Ganesha, Hanuman Gayatri for Lord Hanuman, and Saraswati Gayatri for Goddess Saraswati.
Origin, Benefits and Chanting of the Gayatri Mantra
The Vedas are widely considered to be the source of all true knowledge, the word "Veda" itself meaning "Knowledge". Gayatri Devi also gave to mankind the "Gayatri Mantra", also known as the "Guru Mantra" or the "Savitri Mantra". It is one of the oldest mantras, and generally thought of as being amongst the highest and most powerful mantras of all. This mantra is therefore often referred to as "the Mother of the Vedas". In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna had proclaimed to Arjuna - "Among all the mantras, I am the Gayatri".
Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centres in the human body - hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important.
Chanting of Gayatri Mantra removes all obstacles in our path to increased wisdom and spiritual growth and development. The teachings and powers incorporated in the Gayatri Mantra fulfill this purpose. Righteous wisdom starts emerging soon after Jap(recitation) of the Gayatri Mantra is performed. Sathya Sai Baba teaches that the Gayatri Mantra "will protect you from harm wherever you are, make your intellect shine, improve your power of speech, and dispel the darkness of ignorance (Dhiyoyonah prachodayaath)"