In our upcoming class at the Fox Institute, my husband David Sharp and I are looking forward to teaching the Art as Meditation class: Chanting Wisdom. One of the mantras we will be teaching, the Gayatri Mantra, from the Hindu tradition is a beautiful and powerful one that you may consider chanting regularly as part of your spiritual practice. I’ll share a little here about it with you.
The Gayatri Mantra is a sacred Hindu prayer with soothing rhythms that flows from the heart of the chanter and spirals out into the world. It’s chanted around the world with reverence and love, invoking divine wisdom and peace for all.
The two words “Gayatri Mantra” could be translated as “a prayer of praise that awakens the vital energies and gives liberation from ignorance.”Here are the words of the common, shorter form of the Gayatri Mantra are:
OM BUHR, BHUVA, SWAHA
OM TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI
DHIYO YONAHA PRACHODAYAT
Translated in a basic way, it means “May the divine light of the Supreme Being illuminate our mind, to lead us on a path in the right direction.”
“O Divine Creator, we contemplate thy divine light. May it stimulate our mind and promote illumination within us.”
A slightly longer translation may be:
“Om, the Universal Divine Energy, vital spiritual energy, the essence of our life existence, positivity, destroyer of sufferings, the happiness that is bright and luminous like the Sun, the best destroyer of evil thoughts, the Divinity who grants happiness, may you shine Divinity and Brilliance into us so that it will purify us and guide us with wisdom on the right path.”
This mantra comes from the Rig Veda and has been chanted for thousands of years. The ancient scriptures describe how a sage was given the mantra from the Supreme Being as a gift for his many years of devotion so that it could be shared with humanity. Its significance for Hindus might be comparable to the Lord’s Prayer in the Christian tradition.
For many Hindus, the Gayatri Mantra is seen as a divine awakening of the individual mind and soul, called Atman, and a path of unity to Brahman, the collective consciousness.
As a heartfelt prayer, it can be chanted by those who approach it with pure intentions and an openness to its power, even outside of the Hindu wisdom tradition. It can open the heart to experience a deep sense of gratitude and a devotion to the seeking of wisdom and illumination.
You can listened to it here.
The beautiful ancient sounds and rhythmic flow with a powerful intent make the mantra a wonderful part of one’s regular spiritual practice.
Interested in learning several chants from many wisdom traditions, join me in my class at the FICS in July.