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Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru. Jai Guru.
Today we are a little short of time, still I thought of speaking something about Gayatri because Sriman Sreedharan in one of his letters had written to me that “Swamiji, you should write an article in Vicharasethu about the meaning, relevance and magnitude of Gayatri.” I have not been able to do it. Because he is here, I am reminded of what he wrote and I am thinking of speaking something at least briefly now.
Our civilization is noted for the evolution of Vedas and the heritage that our society has been able to build, institute, preserve and reinforce, right from the prehistoric times up to now. When I say from the prehistoric times up to now, all of you should understand, do not forget to grasp the importance. There was nothing like a printing or publishing in the Vedic times or even till recently. So, the entire Vedas were taught and learnt through the mouth and through the ear. If this was the case, you should understand that in every generation there were some people who were prepared to imbibe the Vedic knowledge and heritage. They imbibed it because of the relevance. If this heritage has come down to us generation after generation unbrokenly, it means that in every generation there were some people in our country who found the relevance and application of the Vedic heritage and finding how important, indispensable it was, they took interest, imbibed the heritage, pursued it wholeheartedly themselves, to some extent perfected it and then bequeathed it to others. What do you think of a society which has been able to do this unfailingly, unbrokenly for so many countless generations? This is the greatness of India.
If any society has to become strong and its civilization has to survive, there must be some central and core points which the society should disseminate and all people should be able to imbibe it. If you ask me what is that, as the Mahāvākyās of the four Vedas indicate, it is primarily the Rigvedic Gayatri.
The Rigvedic Gayatri is actually a contemplation done particularly by the intelligence. That is why dhīmahi are the three letters used there. We, using our intelligence contemplate upon the adorable brilliance, tat vareṇyam bhargah. The brilliance becomes adorable for what reason, you tell me. We can adore inert and insentient things but the adoration will be more when you look at plants where there is something called ‘livingness’. And in the living creatures, we have an ascending adoration and ultimately you come to the human beings themselves where you find sentience in its full manifestation and display.
As we are human beings, for anything to become adorable, that adorable brilliance should be of an inner nature which is capable of illumining our sentient factors and constituents. Our external eyes are illumined by the sun, moon and other luminaries including fire and flame. But what we require is an illumination of our mind and intelligence. Every activity proceeds from the mind. The activity is sustained by the mind, rests upon the mind, and the activity is also concluded by the mind. So what we want is an illumination of the mind and intelligence.
Think for a while what can illumine or enlighten your mind and intelligence. It cannot be an external luminary like the sun. Somehow this Rigvedic Gayatri has been identified with the sun because early in the morning only when the sun rises, we are able to see the very earth and whatever it contains and our activity starts. This is not so much applicable to the present where we have electrical illumination and the difference between day and night are practically removed. We have indoor stadium where with electric light alone we can play anytime even during the night. So, it is not the external illumination at all. We are intelligent. When the intelligence is properly illumined, it starts guiding and directing the mind and when the mind becomes so directed, it starts employing the senses and our activities become pure, benevolent, creative, useful and effective. So, the word ‘savita’ though used as a synonym of sun, it is actually not savita, the external sun. It is the internal or inner spiritual luminary which alone is capable of illuming our intelligence.
When the rational human is properly illumined inwardly, he doesn’t want anything else. He has the mind which can employ the senses and there is a variegated world where the senses, both action senses and activity senses can be employed and he can achieve whatever he wants, provided he is rightly guided by his own intelligence. So, in order to have the right illumination and inspiration, they were contemplating upon the indwelling spiritual luminary, the indwelling spiritual brilliance called the 'self'.
“In the matter of revealing the sun and the lamp, who illumines you?”
He says, “It is my buddhi.”
“What illumines the buddhi, it is the supreme luminary called the self. So, you are That.”
Then the śishya says “Yes, I am that.”
So, we are very clear about what is the real luminary and where is it located and what do we want from it. So, in a true prayer or a true wish, you should understand all that we need is a right illumination from the Antarātmā to the intelligence, thereby to the mind and thereafter in the sensory activity. This is why Gayatri is said to be having a fourth quarter.
These constitute only 3 pādās (quarters) consisting of eight letters. There is one more pāda to Gayatri called ‘Paro rajase Sāvadom’
It is said that the fourth pāda is never advised for householders because a contemplation of this nature will lift them away from the orbit of household life and many may not be able to pursue it. Therefore, a tradition has come that don’t utter the fourth pāda so far as householders are concerned. What does it mean – “We contemplate upon the Supreme adorable brilliance so that our intelligence may be illumined”, it is said. What is that adorable brilliance and how to contemplate upon it is not mentioned.
So, in the fourth pāda it is explained, 'Paro rajase Sāvadom'. It is beyond rajoguna. Rajoguna is the one responsible for the creation of everything. Creation can never become complete unless there is an ideational process. So, there must be knowledge, idea, comprehension etc. So, beyond the creation, whatever is the creative source, the source of creation, avad, it cannot be explained or described. So, it becomes ineffable and what is that? It is ‘Om’. That is why the ‘Om’ it is added in the beginning of Gayatri.
Normally, in the Rigvedic Gayatri, ‘Om’ is not there.
Because the brilliance to be contemplated can only be described if at all in words, as the ‘Om’. And what is this ‘Om’? ‘Om’ is a combination of the three syllables, ‘a’, ‘u’, ‘m’. ‘अ’ represents the wakeful state where the consciousness expresses and extends itself through the senses to generate and pursue the manifold universe. And 'उ', the intermediate sound representing the power and potential of the consciousness revealed during the dream state. In dream alone, we understand how powerful and potent the consciousness inside is. It can create a whole universe exactly similar to what you see outside. And it is capable of withdrawing the whole creation and going into itself without the presence of any object whatsoever. In sleep we have no object at all. The sleeper alone sleeps. He is not conscious of his body or the world or the mind, the intelligence or even the ego. So, there is a state where the entire object ceases to exist and the subject alone is present and it is that subject that becomes wakeful to produce the wakeful world. It dreams to produce the dream world, showing its potential and it withdraws from everything and goes to sleep. This ‘Om’ is what represents the Supreme Indwelling Presence. If at all we can consider it to be a sound or a sound combination. So, ‘ॐ’ is the contemplation.
Harih Om Tat Sat. Jai Guru.