The Gayatri is among the oldest of Vedic mantras, revered as the Universal Prayer. It comes from the Rigveda and is thought to have been gifted to mankind by the great sage Viswamitra. The Gayatri is a powerful mantra; chanting it every day is believed to quicken the intellect and give the chanter insight into the nature of reality. Those who chant it with faith will be bestowed with happiness and fulfillment. The essence of the Gayatri is the foundation of the Vedas; hence it is also known as Veda-Mata, Mother of the Vedas.
In the Bhagavad-Gita, Lord Krishna, when he reveals his true self to Arjuna, says, “Among the mantras, I am the Gayatri.” Indeed, the mantra is addressed to the Supreme Being and incorporates within it, the three aspects of worship – adoration, contemplation, and prayer.
Bhur Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dheeyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Om is the primordial sound of the Universe.
Bhur Bhuvah Svah refers respectively to the material world, the middle world, and the heavens. These words also represent triads like earth/atmosphere/outer space and past/present/future.
Tat is That or Brahman, the Ultimate Reality that is beyond description.
Savitur refers to the dynamic energy from which everything is born
Varenium is “worthy of adoration”
Bhargo is the radiant sun of wisdom or effulgence of the Spirit.
Devasya is Divine Grace
Dheemahi: we meditate upon
Dhiyo is intellect
Yo is “who”
Nah is “ours”
The Gayatri Mantra has been translated by many eminent personalities. Swami Vivekananda, the renowned intellectual interpreted it thus:
We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.