"To us all towns are one, all men our kin.
Life's good comes not from others' gift, nor ill
Man's pains and pains' relief are from within.
Thus have we seen in visions of the wise !."
 
- Tamil Poem in Purananuru, circa 500 B.C 

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Selected Writings by Nadesan Satyendra
- நடேசன் சத்தியேந்திரா

Gayatri Mantra
[audio ஓம் பூர் புவ சவக...]

28 August 2000

"...reason cannot arrive at any final truth because it can neither get to the root of things nor embrace their totality. It deals with the finite, the separate and has no measure for the all and the infinite...." Sri Aurobindo in the Evolution of Man

"...The general notions about human understanding ... which are illustrated by discoveries in atomic physics...have a history, and in Buddhist and Hindu thought a more considerable and central place."... Julius Robert Oppenheimer


In his reflective article on Hinduism: Native or Alien? Shan Ranjit asks:

"Why is that the Vedas have said that the holiest of holy passage, the Gayatri Mantra – addressed to the old solar god Savitr- can only be spoken by the three higher classes of the Aryans?..."

It is correct that there are those who have interpreted the Vedas in this way. However, the words of  Swami Vivekananda and Baghawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba in this regard, may be of interest:

"Can you show any authority from this Veda of ours that everyone has not the right to it? This Veda is our only authority, and everyone has the right to it." (Swami Vivekananda, quoting the Shukla Yajur Veda, XXXVI -2 in the collected Works Volume III, p457)

Aum"There are many who argue that the Pranava can be repeated only by a few, and that others are not entitled to it. This is wrong. This false conclusion has been arrived at since they do not know the Truth. It springs from a mistaken belief. The Gita does not mention this group or that group. Krishna declares 'whoever' (Gita VIII - 12, 13) without any qualifying words limiting it to one class or sex..." (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Geetha Vahni, 143)

"The Gayatri Mantra is the elaboration of the Pranava Sabda. It is now held so venerable and valuable that initiation into the Adhymatic life is achieved by its contemplation..." (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks - III, 242)

"The Gayatri Mantra is the Universal Prayer enshrined in the Vedas, the most ancient Scriptures of Man." (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks - X, 109)

"The Gayatri Mantra is a Prayer that can well be spoken with yearning by men and women of all creeds and climes in all centuries." (Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba, Sathya Sai Speaks - V, 58)

[Sai Baba chanting Gayatri Mantra]

The Gayatri Mantra may be rendered in Tamil script as follows:

gayatri.jpg (9823 bytes)

In English script, it has been rendered as follows:

OM
BHUR BHUVA SVAHA
TAT SAVITUR VARENYAM
BHARGO DEVASYA DHEEMAHI
DHIYO YONAH PRACHODAYAT

The words may be translated loosely as follows:

OM - para brahman
BHUR - bho loka (physical plane) - it also refers to the body made up of the five pancha bhutas (5 elements). These five elements constitute prakriti (nature)
BHUVA - bhuva loka - the middle world. Bhuva is also prana sakthi. However it is the presence of Prajnana that enables the prana sakthi to animate the body. It is on this account that the vedas have declared 'prajnanam brahma' (constant integrated awareness is Brahman).
SVAHA - swarga loka (heaven - the land of the gods)
TAT - paramatma, god or brahman
SAVITUR - that from which all is born
VARENYAM - fit to be worshipped
BHARGO - the radiance, the spiritual efflugence, the light that bestows wisdom
DEVASAYA - divine reality
DHEEMAHI - we meditate
DHI - buddhi, intellect
YO - which
NAH - our
PRACHODAYAT - enlighten

I  myself have found the words of Arthur Koestler in Janus: A Summing Up, helpful, but, admittedly, this is a personal view point:

"...the reductionist fallacy lies not in comparing man to a 'mechanism powered by a combustion system' but in declaring that he is 'nothing but' such a mechanism and that his activities consist of 'nothing but' a chain of conditioned responses which are also found in rats. For it is of course perfectly legitimate, and in fact indispensable, for the scientist to try to analyse complex phenomena into their constituent elements - provided he remains conscious of the fact that in the course of the analyses something essential is always lost, because the whole is more than the sum of its parts, and its attributes as a whole are more complex than the attributes of its parts..." 

Again, all this, is not to say that service to mankind is not service to God. It is. 'Makkal Thondu is Mahesan Thondu' However, it is not God or humankind but both. They are not two.


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