Gayatri mantra - traditional chanting


One of the most ancient mantras - Below you can read about it - I found this text on the internet and find it good and objective. Down under you can find a version that my teachers have passed on to us. It requires some patience to listen to as well as some acceptance of this difference tone that does not necessarily go well in our Western ears. 

"The Gayatri Mantra is from one of the oldest existing texts in an Indo-European language, the Rig Veda, which was composed somewhere between 1700 BCE and 1100 BCE. It is a highly revered mantra associated with the rites of passage ceremonies for Hindus. In the twentieth century the same yogis who were bringing yoga to the west, began to teach the Gayatri mantra more broadly.

Gayatri is a vedic metre in which the verse is composed.

The first line of what we chant as the Gayatri mantra, Om bhur buvah svaha, is not in the Rig Veda mantra but is a later addition.

The Rig Veda is essentially a collection of hymns to Vedic deities and the deity of the Gayatri is Savitr. Savitr is sometimes regarded as Surya, the Sun, and sometimes as separate, but nevertheless shares many of the qualities: brilliance, life-giving, beneficence and protection.

As the Gayatri became popular in modern times we find some broader interpretations. So let's have a look at it. First, all the words together and then a word by word translation.

Om Bhur Bhuvah Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Diimahi
Diyoyonah Prachodayatt.

Om, or Aum, is regarded as the primal sound of the Universe and points to the Oneness of all.

Bhur - embodiment of vital spiritual energy, earth

Bhuvah - destroyer of suffering

Suvaha (svaha) - embodiment of happiness

Tat - that, in this way

Savitur - Savitri, spiritual sun, the One Light, all pervading Consciousness

Varenyam - worthy of worship, venerable, adorable, worthy of being sought

Bhargo - radiance. Effulgence, splendour, light which bestows understanding, destroyer of sins

Devasya - Divine, of the Deity

Dimahi - we meditate upon; or, may we meditate on, reflect on, be devoted to; or, may imbibe

Dhiyo - prayer, intellect, noble thoughts, intuition, understanding of Reality (buddhis)

Yo - who; he who; the one who

Nah - our; of us

Prachodayaat - may he energize, direct, inspire, guide, unfold; or, he who energizes, directs, inspires, guides unfolds

Putting all of this together, there are still many translations and interpretations.

Here is a literal translation by Christopher Wallis:

Om. Earth. Atmosphere. Heaven.

May we focus our Awareness
on the alluring radiance of the rising (or setting) sun
the Vivifier; may it inspire our thoughts and meditations.

One of our favourites is given by Donna Farhi:

Everything on earth, in between and above
Is arising from one effulgent source.
If my thoughts, words and deeds reflected this complete understanding of unity,
I would be the peace I am seeking in this moment.

Or the playful interpretation of Richard Miller:

Everything is light, this is light , that is light, we are all light, light light light....

So what does it sound like?

There is a particular way of chanting the Vedas called vedic chanting and in that system there is a specified way to chant the mantra. You can learn more about vedic chanting in the Wikepedia article here.

Listen to the traditional version of the ancient Gayatri mantra here.