Gayatri Mantra

The Gayatri is one of the hymns of the Rig-Veda, the literal translation of it is: We meditate on the glory of the Creator; Who has created the Universe; Who is worthy of Worship; Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light; Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance; May He enlighten our Intellect. The Gayatri Mantra is a way to splendour, mercy and selflessness but also a means to subservience to this world. Initiation means: to get going, a new beginning, progressing, and also conveys receiving indications. This prayer appeals to the highest wisdom, to the radiance of the cosmos and helps to enlighten the understanding of our true nature.

To open the doors to this dimension we are required to be subtle and receptive to the divine wisdom, which penetrates everyday life’s experience and which in essence is our true nature. In earlier times the Gayatri was passed on orally from master to student. This intimate contact was imperative because when the master had fully evolved this mantra within himself he had to pass it on and make the new seed grow to full prosperity. But times have changed, and our present time requires other methods. For in the west not everyone has a master next door that will whisper this beautiful mantra in your ear. Of course, it is still possible to pack your bags and leave for an Indian Ashram to learn the trick from a true master. But fortunately, there are still other ways. Hein Braat is a living example of this ‘modern’ way. He approached the art of chanting mantras with the typical western view of ‘first seeing, then believing’. For more than twenty years he has been deeply involved with chanting mantras, thus experiencing and expressing his own unique vision of the Gayatri. 




Translation 1  Translation 2
Let us realize inside ourselves 
that Supreme Life force, 
who removes sorrow, 
who leads to happiness, 
who is enlightening, 
who removes sins. 
May that Supreme Soul 
lead our intellect 
to the path of righteousness 
Throughout all of existence 
"That" essential nature 
illuminating existence 
is the Adorable One. 
May all beings perceive 
with subtle intellect 
the magnificent brilliance 
of enlightened awareness. 

Word-by-word explanation: 

om The sacred sound, see Om. 
bhûr 'earth' 
bhuvas 'atmosphere' 
svar 'light, heaven, space' 
tat 'that' 
savitur of Savitr the god' (genitives of savitr-, 'stimulator, rouser; name of a sun-deity' and deva- 'god' or 'demi-god') 
varenyam 'Fit to be worshipped' varenya- 'desirable, excellent' 
bhargo 'Glory Effulgence' (radiance, lustre, splendour, glory) 
devasya 'of God' 
dhîmahi 'may we attain' (1st person plural middle optative of dhâ- 'set, bring, fix' etc.) 
dhiyaḥnaḥ'our prayers' (accusative plural of dhi- 'thought, meditation, devotion, prayer' and naḥenclitic personal pronoun) 
yaḥprachodayât 'who may stimulate' (nominative singular of relative pronoun yad-; causative 3rd person of pra-cud- 'set in motion, drive on, urge, impel') 

Remembering what we really are: Light  
Hein Braat compares mantra chanting with ejecting a line to a higher dimension to connect with that energy and subsequently bring down these higher qualities by means of ones voice to the mundane sphere. Since the Gayatri Mantra is one of the oldest prayers known to mankind, which has been invoked by numerous people with inspiration throughout the centuries, one could say that this has generated a universal pattern. Anyone who connects himself through his voice with the soul of the mantra and attunes his heart to it, can contact this collective energy and reap the fruits of it. Viewed in this light, it is therefore more effective if the mantra is sung in the original language, Sanskrit. 
If, however, you don’t have much of a connection with Sanskrit or Hindu symbolism and prefer to recite the mantra in your native language, you don’t need to fear that this would lead to a lesser result. Like Hein Braat, other masters state that eventually Love is the basis of all religions. If you recite this mantra in your own language, that is to say in a clear voice, with distinction, gently and above all with love, you will find your way to God just as well. So from this perspective it is not about the rituals itself, but the soul with which they are performed. So with mantras the truth lies in the middle. If you prefer to sing a more recognizable text you can use the English translation below. But after you have grasped the soul of the mantra you can render your own version which may bring you to even deeper states. 

We meditate upon the Divine Radiance,
that One Light which deserves our worship,
the One whose noble thought energizes and directs our awakening.
The balanced quality of the Gayatri Mantra  
The Gayatri Mantra is completely in balance — yin and yang. The essence of the text of the mantra is feminine, and its message or statement is masculine. Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas, thus the mother of all knowledge. She invokes the masculine ‘Savitur’, which is also referred to as the enligtening radiance of understanding and intelligence. This radiance, which is everywhere and in every experience, is like the radiance of the sun in our solar system. In other words: all knowledge of our complex existence is represented in the syllables of the Mantra, including the means to go beyond wordly knowledge.   

The influence on the physical body 
Thinking, reciting or chanting the Gayatri Mantra influences the physical body, purifies the emotional body and makes you connect with the feelings of the heart. The Gayatri stimulates and cultivates our observation and helps to awaken us to the truth that lies in all of us. Our energy centers, levels and rhythms are activated by means of our breath, which is inhaled through the nostrils and exhaled while reciting the mantra — even during a silent repetition. This brings the electromagnetic rhythm and energy currents in the body into balance with prana or chi. During recitation all elements of the Mantra are used; even the breath is a precision-instrument. It all works together, just like an orchestra with its director. The breath, voice, meditation and intention work efficiently and without effort — just like the sun shines efficiently and strainlessly.

Gayatri teaches her secrets to the singer  
Singing the Gayatri allows the message of the mantra to unfold within yourself. . Hein Braat compares this recitation with throwing a stone in the water which causes a ripple. The bigger the stone, the stronger the pattern and the bigger and wider the circle expands. This applies both to external and internal recitation. But in his experience the vibration of internal recitation has a deeper impact. That is why he recommends after a period of reciting aloud to gradually sing softer and softer so that you become aware of the sound that is produced from within yourself. This not only applies to singing high tones but to the whole sound spectrum. 
The Gayatri connects the two life poles   
Another master, Sri Fanibunda states the following about the internal mechanism of mantras: “Immortality is not only reached by making good deeds, residing in good company or fostering good thoughts. But also by absorbing the big universal energy which is obtained by expressing the holy mantras we can assure ourselves of the aspect of immortality. The rishis have shown us this way. The good works that we accomplish in our daily lives are like a negative pole. The divine universal energy which is obtained by pronouncing the Vedic mantras are like a positive pole. By making good deeds we keep the negative pole in good condition, but if no attention is paid to the powers that are generated by the Divine mantras, there will be no positive pole and we therefore shall not obtain the complete powers. 
The mantra provides the universal power to the positive pole within ourselves and if this is connected to the negative pole in our daily lives then it will be possible to obtain the aspect of immortality or a state of straight, clear, unshakable spiritual purity, also known as Ajaga.”