The Supreme Japa Mantra among all Vedic Scripts:
Gayatri mantra has been bestowed the greatest importance in Vedic dharma. This mantra has also been termed as Savitri and Veda-Mata, the mother of the Vedas. The literal meaning of the mantra is:
God! You are Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Almighty.
You are all Light. You are all Knowledge and Bliss.
You are Destroyer of fear; You are Creator of this Universe,
You are the Greatest of all. We bow and meditate upon your light.
You guide our intellect in the right direction.
The mantra, however, has a great scientific import too, which somehow got lost in the literary tradition.
The modern astrophysics and astronomy tell us that our Galaxy called Milky Way or Akash-Ganga contains approximately 100,000 million of stars. Each star is like our sun having its own planet system. We know that the moon moves round the earth and the earth moves round the sun along with the moon. All planets round the sun.
Each of the above bodies revolves round at its own axis as well. Our sun along with its family takes one round of the galactic centre in 22.5 crore years.
All galaxies including ours are moving away at a terrific velocity of 20,000 miles per second.
And now the alternative scientific meaning of the mantra step-by-step:
(A) Om bhur bhuvah swah:
Bhur the earth, bhuvah the planets (solar family), swah the Galaxy. We observe that when an ordinary fan with a speed of 900 RPM (rotations Per minute) moves, it makes noise. Then, one can imagine, what great noise would be created when the galaxies move with a speed of 20,000 miles per second.
This is what this portion of the mantra explains that the sound produced due to the fast-moving earth, planets and galaxies is Om. The sound was heard during meditation by Rishi Vishvamitra, who mentioned it too their colleagues. All of them, then unanimously decided to call this sound Om the name of God, because this sound is available in all the three periods of time, hence it is set (permanent). Therefore, it was the first ever-revolutionary idea to identify formless God with a specific title (form) called upadhi. Until that time, everybody recognized God as formless and nobody was prepared to accept this new idea. In the Gita also, it is said, “Omiti ekaksharam Brahma”, meaning that the name of the Supreme is Om, which contains only one syllable (8/12). This sound Om heard during samadhi was called by all the seers nada-Brahma a very great noise), but not a noise that is normally beyond a specific amplitude and limits of decibels suited to human hearing. Hence the rishis called this sound Udgith musical sound of the above, i.e., heaven. They also noticed that the infinite mass of galaxies moving with a velocity of 20,000 miles/second was generating a kinetic energy= 1/2MV2 and this was balancing the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence they named it Pranavah, which means the body (vapu) or storehouse of energy (prana).
(B) Tat savitur varenyam:
Tat that (God), savitur the sun (star), varenyam worthy of bowing or respect. Once the form of a person along with the name is known to us, we may locate the specific person. Hence the two titles (upadhi) provide the solid ground to identify the formless God, Vishvamitra suggested. He told us that we could know (realize) the unknowable formless God through the known factors, viz., sound Om and light of suns (stars).
A mathematician can solve an equation x2+y2=4; if x=2; then y can be known and so on. An engineer can measure the width of a river even by standing at the riverbank just by drawing a triangle. So was the scientific method suggested byVishvamitra in the mantra in the next portion as under: –
(C) Bhargo devasya dheemahi:
Bhargo the light, devasya of the deity, dheemahi we should meditate. The Rishi instructs us to meditate upon the available form (light of suns) to discover the formless Creator (God). Also he wants us to do Japam of the word Om (this is understood in the Mantra). This is how the sage wants us to proceed, but there is a great problem to realize it, as the human mind is so shaky and restless that without the grace of the Supreme (Brahma) it cannot be controlled. Hence Vishvamitra suggests the way to pray Him as under:
(D) Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat:
Dhiyo (intellect), yo (who), nah (we all), prachodayat (guide to right Direction). O God! Deploy our intellect on the right path.
Full scientific interpretation of the Mantra:
The earth (bhur), the planets (bhuvah), and the galaxies (swah) are moving at a very great velocity, the sound produced is Om, (the name of formless God.) That God (tat), who manifests Himself in the form of light of suns (savitur) is worthy of bowing / respect (varenyam). We all, therefore, should meditate (dheemahi) upon the light (bhargo) of that deity (devasya) and also do chanting of Om. May He (yo) guide in right direction (prachodayat) our (nah) intellect dhiyo
So we notice that the important points hinted in the mantra are:-
1) The total kinetic energy generated by the movement galaxies acts as an umbrella and balances the total energy consumption of the cosmos. Hence it was named as the Pranavah (body of energy). This is equal to 1/2 mv2 (Mass of galaxies x velocity)
2) Realizing the great importance of the syllable OM, the other later date religions adopted this word with a slight change in accent, viz., amen and Ameen.
3) The God could be realized through the saguna (gross), upasana (method), i.e.,
(a) by chanting the name of the supreme as OM
(b) by meditating upon the light emitted by stars (suns).
by Mukkur TRS Iyengar
There is a controversy existing that women should not recite/chant ‘Gayatri’. As a matter of fact neither do the Vedic Scripts nor the Santana Dharma discriminate women. On the contrary, womanhood is held in the Highest Esteem, and women are respected as Maa, (Mother) irrespective of their age and status. Yes, you can call any woman your mother! In ancient days, women were the leading managers and heading their homes while their counterparts were scouting for daily needs. But why then are they not allowed to take part in the rituals? Why were/are they not allowed to chant some of the Vedic versus?
My father, Late Shri T.S.Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur once gave me the reason which is definitely a fitting reply to the above questions.
It is widely believed that some of the Vedic Versus are powerful in nature. Once a woman starts chanting these versus regularly, she is likely to lose her female-hood character and get manly tendencies developed in physical appearance . In majority of cases, it might cause disturbances in the body’s physical mechanism and disturb their menstrual cycle. In rare cases, a woman who chants these slokhas and versus frequently, even develops masculine character which allows growth of hair in their face & mustache! Imagine, if every woman developed such growth!
It is a fact that to keep women in their natural glory and beauty, the ancient scholars did not allow them to chant or recite these versus. They knew precisely all the effects and side effects of what they did. However, they were allowed to do so once they cross their menopause stage, then the chances of disturbances in their body mechanism were minimal. Also the Gland functional in their body stops, at certain age – any further physical growth is minimal. Certainly it was not for any discriminations but purely on the aforesaid reasons and points.
I hope that this clarification stands valid even in this scientifically developed age. Every ritual and practice of this Great Hindu religion has a valuable hidden meaning. Unfortunately these were not carried on to the next generation that caused some imbalances in the society. Had it been given in full meaning, we very well could have avoided fanatics & half learnt scholars who now dictate and discriminate women on so many counts.
Even at the times of performing the last rites to the departed souls, only male persons are allowed and if there is no male issues for the deceased one, then power of attorney like authorization is taken from the female issues or from the wife of the departed soul. You know why?
After the cremation, the kartha or the performer has to shave/tonsure his head. But for women, would anybody like to do the same? How they will look, if done so, just imagine. Of course, there are many other reasons also given for giving these rights only to the male issues, but surely all are based only on sound and valid reasons.
Readers comment is welcome on this particular subject. It will help me in posting and feeding more authentic meanings about this Religion and its valuable Rituals.