Vedic Chant

Gayatri Mantra

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:

Word List:

  • 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

Medha Mantra

The Medha Mantra is a powerful chant that builds drive, determination and vigor in the chanter. It was given to me by my teacher to practice during a period when I was feeling unmotivated and directionless, and needed a little oomph to get me moving. And it certainly works! Whenever I notice myself getting lethargic and unproductive, I add this chant to my daily routine, and it perks me up within a day or two.

I find this chant especially helpful when the weather gets cold outside during the winter, or if something happens in my life to upset my usual can-do attitude. If I notice myself feeling stuck or powerless, I know it's time to get back to Medha Mantra, so I can remember the feeling of having a fire and power within.

Here is the introduction given in the Mantravalli (rev. 2012): "This chant is addressed to Agni (the fire deity), Indra (the lord of heaven), and Surya (the sun deity) seeking clarity, abundance, radiance and good progeny. Deference to these powers will free one of dullness and despair and bring refinement to the intellect."

Listen to the Medha Mantra

Word List

  • mayi - me; (the good) in me
  • medha - mental vigour or power, intelligence, prudence, wisdom (pl. products of intelligence, thoughts, opinions); Intelligence personified
  • prajā- bringing forth, bearing
  • agni - fire; the god of fire
  • tejas - fiery energy, ardour, vital power, spirit, efficacy, essence
  • dadhatu- put, set, lay; put upon, bring to, direct towards, fix (the mind) upon, think of; resolve, determine to
  • indra - king of the gods, the god of the atmosphere and sky ("he fights against and conquers with his thunder-bolt the demons of darkness, and is in general a symbol of generous heroism; indra was not originally lord of the gods of the sky, but his deeds were most useful to mankind, and he was therefore addressed in prayers and hymns more than any other deity")
  • indriya - power, force, the quality which belongs especially to the mighty; bodily power, the power of the senses; faculty of sense, sense, organ of sense
  • suryo - sun
  • bhrajo cloudless; fire