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Gayatri Mata or Goddess Gayatri is the representation of the divine essence of Mahalakshmi, Mahasaraswati and Mahakali. The word Gayatri is a combination of 'Gaya' which translates to mean the hymn of wisdom and 'Tri' represents the combined strength of the three Goddesses.
Goddess Gayatri is worshipped as the deity, which expresses the untiring pursuit of knowledge and wisdom. As per the Vedic literature, she is portrayed as the female form of the light of the sun. The light itself denotes the wisdom that enlightens the soul.
The Gayatri Mantra extols the form of Gayatri Mata. The Gayatri Mantra is the Mula mantra or the most basic mantra in Hinduism. It helps the devotee attain and follow the 'Sanatana Dharma', which is the ideal of perfection.
More about Gayatri mantra will follow, but let's first talk more about Devi Gayatri.
Also Read: Here are the healing power of gayatri mantra
Mythology Of The Goddess Gayatri
According to mythology, Goddess Gayatri is considered as a form of Goddess Saraswati and is the spouse of Lord Brahma. As the story goes, Brahma was once conducting a ritual that required the presence of his wife Devi Saraswati.
Goddess Saraswati was delayed for some reason and couldn't arrive on time. This made Brahma furious. He asked the priests to wed him to any woman available, so that she can sit through the ritual as his wife.
The priests searched for a woman who could take Saraswati Devi's place and found a beautiful shepherdess Gayatri Devi. Brahma was married to her and the ritual was completed. It is believed that the shepherdess was an incarnate of Goddess Saraswati.
It is said that as Brahma's wife, Gayatri Devi presented him with the four Vedas. This is why Gayatri Devi is known as the Veda Mata. She is also the patron Goddess of artisans, poets and musicians.
Depiction Of Goddess Gayatri
Goddess Gayatri is shown to have five heads. Each head represents a pancha vayu or pancha prana - Samana, Udana, Prana, Apana and Vyana. Alternatively, they are said to represent the pancha tatwas - Prithvi (earth), Vayu (air), Jala (water), Aakasha (sky/ether) and Teja (fire).
In her ten hands, she carries a shankha, chakra, varada, kamala, kasha, abhaya, ujjwala patra (utensil), ankusha and rudraksha mala.
The Gayatri Mantra
There is no other mantra in Hinduism that is more popular than Gayatri Mantra. It is one of the basic mantras that even the uninitiated devotee can chant. A person needs basic knowledge of the religious rituals before chanting the Gayatri Mantra. Caste and creed are no bars for chanting this mantra that absolves the worshiper of all sins and sufferings.
The Gayatri Mantra follows the Vedic meter and has 24 syllables. The Gayatri Mantra is as follows:
"Om Bhoor Bhuvah Svaha,
Tat Savitur Varenyam,
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi,
Dheeyo Yonah Prachodayat."
'Om' is the primeval sound that existed before the creation of the world. 'Bhoor, Bhuvah and Svaha' translate to the physical, mental and spiritual worlds respectively.
'Tat' denotes the Paramatma, 'Savitur' is the creator or the sun, 'Varenyam' means the highest and the word 'Bargo' means luster and tejas.
'Devasya' denotes the supreme God and 'Dheemahi' means to meditate upon. 'Dheeyo' is the understanding and intellect, 'Yo' refers to the word who and 'Nah' means our. The last word 'Prachodayat' is the act of enlightenment.
When put together, the Gayatri Mantra translates to:
"We meditate and bow to thee, the most supreme creator who inspires and directs our intelligence and understanding."
There is a collection of Gayatri mantras for the various other deities in Hinduism, 24 to be specific. These are said to be very effective in invoking the blessings of the respective gods.
Worship Of The Goddess Gayatri
Other than the Gayatri Mantra, there is also a simple method of worship or pooja dedicated to the Goddess Gayatri. You may perform the pooja by following the steps given below:
- An image of Goddess Gayatri
- Panchagavya (concoction prepared by mixing cow dung, cow's urine, milk, curd and ghee)
Chant the following mantras as you offer each of the items to the Goddess.
* Light the lamp and offer the light
Esha deepah om Gayatri devyai Namah ||
* Offer the incense
Esha dhoopah om Gayatri devyai Namah ||
* Offer Camphor
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah aratrikam samarpayami||
* Offer milk bath
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah paya snanam samarpayami||
* Offer yoghurt
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah dadhi snanam samarpayami||
* Offer Panchagavya
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah panchamrita snanam samarpayami||
* Offer Water Bath
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah ganga snanam samarpayami||
* Offer fruit
Om gam Gayatri devyai namah phalam samarpayami||
* Offer fragrant flowers
Eth gandha pushpe Om gam Gayatri devyai||
* Finally, go on to chant the below Mantra
Agaccha varade devi japye me sannidha bhava|
Gayantam trayase yasmad Gayatri tvamatah smritah||
Ayahe varade devi tryaksare bhramhavadini|
Gayatri chandasam matarbhramha yoni namo stute||
You may also chant 'Om gam Gayatri devayi namaha'.