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The Gayatri-mantra is the most famous of all Vedic verses. The Vedas are the compendium of spiritual realisations of the ancient Hindu sages. It has been said since ancient times that as long as the Gayatri-mantra is still recited with understanding, Hindu civilisation and its culture will always survive. It is traditionally chanted at the rising and setting of the Sun. It is for celebrating the miracle of Divine light outwardly and inwardly and aligning our intelligence with the divine evolutionary power inherent in nature.
The following is a simplified translation and explanation of the Gayatri-mantra’s significance:
Om bhur bhuvah swah
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
“Om, We meditate upon the adorable effulgence of the Divine Creative Sun (Savitar) that we may be given impulse to our intelligence.”
The Divine Creative Sun (Savitar) is the inner light, the concealed Divinity that is present in all creation. The Gayatri-mantra, by its sound and meaning, is designed to align our intelligence to that Divinity, so that our thoughts and actions are guided by it. In usual circumstances our thoughts and actions are at the mercy of lower motives and desires. Reciting the Gayatri-mantra with understanding and devotion will align our intelligence with the Divine Will.
Gayatri is a form of the Goddess, who is considered the mother of the Vedas (Veda-mata). The Gayatri-mantra is said to contain the essence of the Vedas. This is in fact the reason as to why the mantra is called the Gayatri-mantra – it is only fitting that the Mantra that is the innermost essence of the Vedas named after Her.