In my previous posting, I introduced the Gayatri mantra which, according to Sathya Sai, is considered to be “a sacred chant that demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation.” With a new month approaching I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to include the Gayatri mantra in the Monday Night Meditation circle.
According to Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, each human life has to cross over the three types of misery, each of which are within the three bodies that make up our human form (the gross/physical, the subtle and the causal body). In order to sail over this seemingly vast ocean of misery, the greatest tool we have bestowed upon us is the Gayatri mantra:
Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt.
There are many interpretations as to what the Gayatri mantra means with the more common being: “We meditate on that most adored Supreme Lord, the creator, whose effulgence (divine light) illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.”
Another interpretation is: “Earth, Heaven, the Whole Between. The excellent divine power of the Sun. May we contemplate the radiance of that god, may this inspire our understanding.”Another interpretation is: “Earth, Heaven, the Whole Between. The excellent divine power of the Sun. May we contemplate the radiance of that god, may this inspire our understanding.”
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar further interprets the mantra as: “Let me soak in the Divine, and let the Divine destroy all my sins. The Divine light that burns all sin, let me adore and soak in that Divine light. And let the Divinity inspire my intellect.”
Regardless of interpretation, the essence of the Gayatri mantra remains the same – opening ourselves up to the divine forces in the universe that surround us and allowing that ultimate wisdom from this higher source guide and inspire us through our thoughts and actions as we go about our daily lives.
A version of the Gayatri mantra being recited can be found here.
Mantras are traditionally chanted 108 times for a number of reasons, one being that as there are nine planets and 12 constellations, when the planets revolve around the constellations, it brings about 108 kinds of changes. Therefore, if there is anything amiss or incorrect in these changes, the positive energy generated when mantras are chanted can rectify the changes.
Malas (from the Sanskrit meaning “garland”) are a string of 108 beads that are used as a method of counting when reciting mantras. LunaNoire Creations has a variety of mala styles available, from the traditional rudraksha seeds (associated with the Hindu God Shiva) to specific crystal beads. These handcrafted malas can also be made available during the Monday Night Meditations circles.