Gayatri

I was never into mantra, until I was introduced recently at an ashram where I was staying. Now it’s a beautiful part of my practice. I read a post about different types of yoga (karma, bhakti, kriya etc ). In truth my experience is they all merge into one another, you cannot be a bhakti, devotional, without insight (jnana yoga) you cannot be a kriya yogi without bhakti… so on & so on..  that’s what I think anyway, based on my experience (and it’s been said by those much wiser than I). That mantra can bring insight I never would have believed… experience is the mother of all teachers!!

This morning my meditation started with repetitions of Gayatri Mantra, using a mala. Using a mala of 108 beads is good practice for me if I use the mantra as pratyahara. That is, sense withdrawal, as a preparation for concentration, dharana, and meditation, dhyana, if one is so lucky.

Regarded as the ‘Queen’ of mantras; Gayatri is an aspect of the goddess who is said to embody this mantra.

calligraphy-884268_1280Om bhur bhuvaha swaha

Tat savitur varenyam

Bhargo devasya dhimahi

Dhiyo yonaha prachodayat

 

Om

Let us meditate on the light of the adorable sun (being the sun in the sky which allows life on earth to exist, but also the light of consciousness that gives existence to all things)

May it awaken our spiritual perception and understanding (here the prayer is universal, that not only ourselves, but all beings be allowed spiritual perception and wisdom)

On all the planes, physical, vital, mental and beyond.

(translation and explanation by Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, ‘Mantra Yoga and Ashram chants’)

SO how does mantra help anything?

I can only say from my experience.

Firstly, before I can concentrate, then meditate, I have to get my mind under control. This is pratyahara, where most of the yoga techniques live. Repetition of a mantra leaves no room for random thinking.

Secondly, I can think, but in a focussed way, on the meaning of the words as I say them. This is a mantra with a mighty powerful meaning if I can start to get a glimpse of the truth of the words. Not only that, it expresses the understanding that all beings have the thread of consciousness running through them. And that my wish is for all, as well as myself.

Thirdly, the focus of the mantra after a while becomes, for me, the sound of each syllable as I pronounce. There is an interface between the outer world (or rather, my perception of it) and the inner world. That interface is my physical existence, in this case my voice expressing sound. Such a thin sheet separating the outer from the inner.

SO what is the inner?

(Some yogic texts use the word ‘spaciousness’, the inner space, beyond mind.)

And Fourthly, that can lead to an intuitive recognition that sound vibration manifests into the outer world,takes form as sine-wave vibrations in the air, on that thin layer of being which is my ego, my voice, my will to express. ** And it comes from, where?

This is the beginning of nada yoga, the yoga of sound, which is another aspect of yoga that …the more I explore, the greater it becomes. My young friend Ketty who is profoundly deaf since birth, although she will never hear the sounds of birdsong, could listen, with practice if she was so inclined, to inner sound which is of great beauty. Practice, concentration, and also something I call grace.

calligraphy-884267_1280[When the yogis talk of chakras, the bindu is mentioned as being above and behind agya (ajna) chakra. Most texts say it’s not actually a chakra (as an ‘energy’ centre). 

But bindu is said to be a point. A point where manifestation into the physical world happens. Cosmologists call such a point a ‘singularity’. So the manifestation of sound from unmanifest sound, and nada yoga, is said to be related to the bindu for this reason.]

The bindu is represented as the dot on the symbol for OM

** How sound is produced by a person is delightfully complex biologically. Ask me if you want more detail!! It makes you realise what an astonishlingly beautiful process is the evolution and manifestation of the physical world from the unmanifest (as represented by bindu).

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15 thoughts on “Gayatri

  1. Thanks for this Tony, I’ve been wanting to do one on the Gayatri mantra myself. I completely agree btw that the 4 paths of yoga eventually have to merge into one for any person. Mind, body, energy and emotion all must be in alignment is what the great teachers say.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. I would be so happy to read that post on Gayatri mantra Shruti. Please do it soon!! I love your unassuming approach to this vast subject if I may say so! So I will look forward to reading that. I am not a yoga teacher (though I used to teach Hatha and some pratyahara techniques when I was at uni many years ago) so maybe I should not be throwing my words out there, but this post was fed by the clarity coming straight from that morning meditation, so feels ok.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Tony, I wrote tens of times in this comment box and every time deleted the whole text. As I was not able to find appropriate words to either thank or praise your writing so I am just going to conclude, what I feel in a single sentence.
    “My body gets energy when I eat, but my soul gets energy when I read to your blogs.”
    A sincere thanks to you.
    It has been more than 20 minutes with this comment box open, thinking what to write.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Vikas, I am duly humbled. My dear friend, what a beautiful thing to say. Your time to find words was worth it to me. Why? Because although this post was from the heart, and inspired from morning meditation, later I’m thinking… I should stop posting, no more, I have no wisdom and I am just quite a crazy person. But now I see I criticise myself too unfairly. If you see something of worth in the post, then I should remember where that post came from. The Atman in you reminds that Atman in me. Thanks my friend. 🙂

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  5. You as a creation of the almighty are equally worthy and divine in yourself.
    Selfcriticism is necessary sometimes. Good thoughts are only good for the one in whom it has originated till it is shared.
    A thought finds its real worth and utility when shared with others. You see a good thought from a good soul is like a flowing river. The one who bows down to satisfy his/her thirst will definitely be satisfied while walking near it. The one who doesn’t find it necessary now, will also understand its worth at some point. Then they will also stop by and will be satisfied by the water.
    So good thoughts are like a river of clear potable water which satisfies the thirsts of the needy.
    It should not be reserved.
    🙂

    Liked by 4 people

        1. Ha ha…oh yes you are…remember, I am old & have blown it more times than I can tell!! I will be dragged kicking and screaming into understanding! Still believing at the age of 106 that I will find satisfaction in the outside world!

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I think you will find satisfaction in the outside world, as what you are doing for Ketty is a part of this outside world. And the kind of love and support you are sharing with the needy, is surely going to connect the outside world with the inner world.
            Age doesn’t matter for an ‘understanding’. It needs just a good heart, that you already have.

            Liked by 1 person

  6. I feel Tony you have tried to express out all that is of Yoga in a few words. You have done justice to the post expressing what you know and have experienced. Yes ! The knowledge and the subject is universal. Until one tries to know by themselves it is like looking a beautiful mountain in front of us. So one has to enter into the waters to have a swim.
    My pats and salutations to you my Dear friend.
    Shiva
    🙏👌💓

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you again Shiva. And I will say, my intention was just to talk of mantra, and nada yoga. One of, as you say, the many ways in which we can dip the toes into the ocean, then swim as deeply as we wish. To completely immerse and lose oneself is, I think, down to Grace (though of course effort is usually that which brings that grace). As you know from reading an earlier post, nada yoga was my introduction to the realisation that I could lose myself into the ocean. In blogging, words are everything. There are many blogs which talk of the beauty of the ocean (theory, or knowing?). And of course we can all repeat scriptures. So how great that there are people like you who say ‘we can actually get in there and swim!!’ Kind thoughts, namaste, Tony

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