Those who practice the devotional japa of Gayatri Mantra, and adopt its inspirations receive immense peace in life
Dr Ashish Barua
The ‘Gayatri Mantra’ is a highly revered mantra in Hinduism. Written in Sanskrit, it consists of the prefix : oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ ॐ भूर्भुवस्वः, a formula taken from the Yajur Veda, and the verse 3.62.10 of the Rig Veda. Since the other three Vedas
contain material from the Rig Veda, the Gayatri Mantra is found in all four Vedas. The Deva invoked in this mantra is Savitr, so the mantra is also called Sāvitrī. A personification of this mantra has come to be
worshiped as a Goddess in her own right, Gayatri. The Gayatri Mantra has been praised in several other Hindu
scriptures, including Manusmṛiti, Atharva Veda, and the Bhagavad Gita.The Gayatri Mantra plays an important part during upanayanam (sacred thread) ceremony for Brahmins, and was traditionally chanted only by Brahmin males, generally as part of their daily rituals. In modern times, chanting of the Gayatri Mantra is more widespread, such as at cultura
celebrations, and its use has spread to include non-Brahmins and women.
Historic evidences show the greatness of the Gayatri Mantra. All the yogis and the rishis in Bharat have taken the shelter of Gayatri sadhana since the Vedic times. They were endowed with supramental powers and were the true winners of immortal glory on every front of life. When Alexander the Great came to conquer India; he had a curiosity to meet the spiritual masters of this land. On his way towards the northwest, he found a Himalayan yogi lying on the ground, blocking the march of his army. Alexander was unable to push this avadhuta (one who has shaken off
himself from the worldly attachments and obligations) off the path and asked him to demand whatever he wanted.
The avadhuta calmly asked whether Alexander could shift sunrise (from the East) to the West? If not, the avadhuta continued, “Then don’t disturb me; let me enjoy the Sunlight from the East”. This was the inner strength, the divine courage induced by the Gayatri Mantra by which a mendicant saint could so easily put to shame the conqueror of the world. When the divine force of the Gayatri Mantra fills the heart (the
emotional core) of a person it clears all shadows of darkness and illuminates the inner self with divine light. It
transforms the personality completely.
What does that lead to? It is this transmutation, which metamorphosed the royal dancer Amrapali into a
devoted disciple of Lord Buddha. When Amrapali went to Lord Buddha she prayed and asked whether an impure, debauched and depraved
person like her could also get shelter under his divine grace and enlighten her life. The Buddha asked her to devotedly start the sadhana of a
specific mantra. Amrapali, who was a luxury-intoxicated beauty queen of her age, followed the instruction with
confidence and determination inspired by Gautam Buddha. This purified her mind and emotions and transformed her into a great disciple of the Buddha. She donated all her wealth and belongings for altruist service through dhamma, renounced all worldly
comforts and became a bhikshuni.
She spread the divine message of Bhuddham Sharanam Gacchami, Sangham Sharanam Gacchami, Dhammam Sharanam Gacchami amongst millions of people across the globe and was instrumental in uplifting their lives. This is the grace of the divine force of the Gayatri Mantra that
transforms an ordinary mortal being into a great, enlightened, angelic saint. The mantra enjoins us as to what should be our devotional sentiments, our prayers through the heart while performing the japa of this mantra. It says, “Oh Almighty, Omni eminent, Omniscient, Omnipresent God! May Thy supreme radiance be embodied in our souls. May it inspire our intellect towards the enlightened, righteous path.” Since the time, this cosmic mantra, the boon of Lord Brahma, was beatified in the Vedic Age, there awakened the dawn of the divine culture on this earth. Those who practice the devotional japa of Gyatri Mantra, and adopt its inspirations in life receive immense peace, blissful
contentment, moral dignity, selfless love and amicable cooperation in every phase of life. Even today, everyone including those deprived of everything, living in the filth of immorality, those shrouded by ignorance, infirmity or the challenges of circumstances rise
gracefully out of the clutches of misery with the grace of the Gayatri Mantra.
Indeed many are doing so and marching towards noble and righteous living. Sure, there could be and will be a variation in the time and degree of
manifestation of its marvelous effects depending upon our present level of consciousness, but the elevation begins right from the first day. Mantras can’t instantly and magically grow trees on palms. However there is nothing illusive or unscientific about their effects; there should be no doubt whatever about this. The spiritual evolution induced by the Gayatri Mantra progresses gradually and steadily—but certainly, with the progress in sadhana. Many live
examples of the past and present evince and illustrate this fact.
Madhavacharya was a saint living in Vrandavan. He performed the upasana of Gayatri for twelve years but lost patience thereafter, as he did not get the desired divine benefits. He was quite distressed at that time. He left the sadhana of the Gayatri Mantra and began worshiping Bhairav on the advice of a tantrik. In less than a year’s time he succeeded in the
sadhana of Bhairav. The celestial body of Bhairav appeared but stood at his back and asked him to demand what he wanted to be blessed with. Madhavacharya said, “If you are the real Bhairav, please appear before my eyes”. Bhairav said, “I can’t appear in front of you, because the brilliance of Gayatri- Shakti infused in you will burn me.” The devotee was surprised and inquired that if Gayatri sadhana was so powerful, why couldn’t he get the desired benefits for such a long time? Then Bhairav explained to him how his Gayatri sadhana up till then had destroyed his sins and burnt out the evils accumulated during his past lives and that it was only after this
purification that he would have deserved realisation and attainment of the divine boons of the mantra. Now there was no doubt left in Madhava’s mind. He restarted the sadhana of the Gayatri Mantra and was soon blessed with divine boons. With the awakening of inner intelligence and acumen, he wrote the Madhav Nidan, which remains till date, a crucial treatise for the education and expert practice of the Ayurvedic system of medicine.
The effects of the Gayatri sadhana are indeed miraculous. Once the emperor Akbar called his Prime Minister Mansingh and told him to look for some extraordinary means to
protect the construction of his fort in Prayag, which, despite the best
of efforts and all precautionary
measures, had mysteriously collapsed eighteen times in the initial stages of construction. Mansingh also was
puzzled about this mishap. He went to Prayag and stayed there with little hope of getting some clue from
somewhere. One day when he was strolling in the forests by the banks of the River Ganga, he saw a saintly yogi engrossed in meditation.
Suddenly he noticed a boa around the yogi which was trying to entrap the latter into its fold and gulp him. Amazingly, the dragon-folds of the boa were not able to tighten around the yogi, nor his poisonous breath able to have any effect. He stood stunned for a few minutes. Meanwhile, the yogi opened his eyes and effortlessly threw off the python by the power of his yoga. Mansingh could not believe his own eyes; he had vividly and concretely
witnessed the supernatural strength of spirituality. His head was on the feet of the seer. This saint was known as Devmurari Baba. Mansingh narrated the mysterious riddle of the fort before the Baba. He said, “We don’t know what kind of a curse it is that the construction of the fort has been ruined eighteen times.” The yogi went into deep meditation for some time and then kept a dry flower (manjari) of basil on Mansingh’s hand. The yogi said, “Put this beneath the foundation of the fort then there will be no problem”. Devmurari Baba was a siddha sadhaka of Gayatri and was renowned and revered for his supramental powers. He used to give a manjari, empowered by his spiritual energy, to everyone who would come to him seeking some help. That used to have miraculous effects. The manjari given to Mansingh also proved the invisible, indefinable, omnipotence of the Gayatri Mantra by providing stout foundation and support to the mighty fort.
The power of mantra is indeed real and immense. That of the Gayatri Mantra is indeed supreme, astonishing and infinite. The sublime force
generated by its japa sadhana can vibrate in the subtle as well as the external world. Nothing remains unattained or unaccomplished after the beatitude of its divine powers. Its immediate benefit of purification and enlightenment of the intellect is the key to spiritual refinement and evolution of personality. Its sadhana can transform an ordinary man or woman into a great saint, yogi or rishi, having angelic potentials.
Cleansing of our inner cores is essential so that the new, virtuous tendencies can be cultivated there. One should adopt the japa sadhadna of Gayatri Mantra as an integral part of his daily life. It is the mantra for the welfare of every being. One should also inspire our friends, acquaintances and family members to perform the japa of this universal mantra and spread this light to the people in your neighbourhood, colony, city and so on. Its collective sadhana can arouse collective consciousness and bestow all-round happiness and progress in the world together with the spiritual upliftment of mankind. The Puranas describe so many instances of global well being through such efforts. It was rare in the ancient times that the Indian land suffered a calamitous famine.
Once due to a near total drought across the country all the ponds and wells dried up. Cattle, birds and even humans began to die of starvation. Panicked savants went to Rishi Gautam for support and relief. Rishi Gautam was a great, accomplished sadhaka of Gayatri those days. He was moved after hearing the agony of the masses; he gave them the akshaya patra (a
celestial pot that offers food and water without any limit and is never emptied), which was a boon the divine force of Gayatri had blessed him with. Yes, the siddhas of Gayatri Mantra do have such miraculous powers, but they use them judiciously and only for deserving cases. Don’t be under the delusive impression that, doing the japa, austhana, havan, etc will magically endow one with extraordinary powers. Nothing can be achieved without
developing the necessary abilities and eligibility. It is all the more essential for the invaluable attainment of divine blessings.
Spiritual development can’t begin without purifying the body, the mind, the sentiments, and adopting a moral
conduct. The gamut of ascetic
disciplines, penance and yoga
sadhanas, etc, were devised and
practiced by the rishis for this noble
purpose. They had accomplished
absolute self-refinement and moral
elevation through Gayatri Sadhana. They had conquered the ego and desires. They just wanted to serve the society for the welfare of all beings. A seed cannot germinate and grow into a fructifying tree without dissolving itself in the soil and water; it is only after breaking and softening that it can absorb the fertilising substances. Blossoming of divine realisation also is not possible without the immersion of the identity of the individual self in the cosmic self.
How could our personality sparkle unless we remove the mist of vices, blemishes and smog of ignorance? The kinds of sadhana courses you are to undergo here from time to time are meant to help you in this essential
process of self-refinement. You all know that no crop could grow on barren land; ploughing it is a sheer wastage of effort. The same is true of heartless practice of devotion. If your mind and heart are filled with ego, selfish attachments,
jealousy, hatred and similar filth, where and how will the serene sentiments of devotion find place? How would you attain the nectar of devotion of the Gayatri Mantra without paving the way for its descent? The guru, the noble spiritual master, alone can diagnose the inner ailments and help in the cleansing, curing and refinement of the disciple’s life. Guru means the source of light. There can be no darkness once the light is switched on. We know how Virjanand had elevated his deserving disciple Dayanand, Samarth Guru Ramdas had empowered Shivaji, Ramkrishana had beatified Vivekanand with such
remarkable siddhis. One should empty his accumulated vices and weaknesses here in this world and make place to do something worthy. This will make one a better and a stronger person. May God bless us in our efforts towards self- improvement and support the progress of your sadhana.
(The writer is former Professor/Director of IIRM)