The Gayatri mantra, also referred to is the Savitri mantra, is one of the oldest known Vedic mantras, and seems to be the most well-known among yoga and meditation students.
This chant was given to me to build my "repertoire" when I wanted to teach others to chant, as it holds a significant place in the Vedic chanting tradition. I practiced it daily at the beginning of my yoga practice for a period of time, and found it had a wonderful brightening effect. For me, chanting the Gayatri is like creating an inner sunrise that illuminates all the dark, uncertain places within me. It's light and warming, and it gives me the feeling of assurance.
The Gayatri mantra is traditionally preceded by an invocation to the three qualities of creation (called vyahriti or the “great utterance") which you can listen to here.
From Mantravalli (rev. ): "This is a significant and popular hymn from the Taittiriya-upanisat that honors the Sun in feminine form. The mantra is a request to the Sun to dispel the darkness of ignorance and provide clarity and strength. The daily recitation of the mantra is considered a pre-requisite for many vedic rituals."
Listen to the Gayatri Mantra:
- om - auspicious sound (begins many mantras)
- tat - that
- savitur/savita - the Sun (feminine deity); the source of all things; power to distinguish right from wrong, discernment
- varenyam - the highest, best, most worthy
- bhargo - light; illumination
- devasya -divine
- dhimahi - let us meditate
- dhiyo - thought(s); intellect
- yo - which
- nah - our
- pracodayat - may it inspire/motivate/guide us