Meaning and Significance of Gayatri Mantra
Gyatri Mantra is recited in Sanskrit language as mentioned below:
“ओम् भूर्भुव: स्व: तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि धियो यो न: प्रचोदयात् ।”
(Aum bhoorbhuvah svah tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dheemahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.)
Thus Gayatri Mantra begins from the word aum whose meaning and significance has been explained in Mandukyopanishad. The word ‘Aum’ is in itself a hymn which is also called ‘Pran...ava’. This word contains three letters A, U, M. The letter A represents the cosmos, the body of Virat Brahma. When subtle Brahma (Supreme Eternal Being) manifests or projects himself into vast universe which can be visualized by the mind or by the senses it is called Virat or Vaishvanar. In this shape, magnificence of God is fully reflected. The letter U stands for intellectual design of creation, the totality of all subtle subjects and Brahma possessed of subtly differentiated creation is called Hiranyagarbha (also Sutratma or Prana) where every being is in the illumined shape of self-born sperm and foetus. The letter M stands for Saguna Brahma or Ishvar where Brahma described also as Omniscient and Omnipotent Being is the Creator, the Sustainer and the Destroyer of the world. Thus all the three letters combined together give description of God in three different ways.
The remaining part of Gayatri Mantra finds place in thirty-sixth chapter of Yajurveda. The word Savitri (or Savita) has two meanings—(1) the sun (2) One that inspires. Here the word Savita has been used in the sense of God who inspires us. Due to some confusion some people say that this hymn prays the sun.
The words bhoorbhuvah svah tell about the body of Brahma (Supreme Being). Bhoor or Bhooh means Being or matter and energy of the universe. Bhuvah means space and Svah means Atma or the Self or the Spirit. If we want to see God, we can see Him in anything visible in the universe. If we separate matter, energy and space, then we can know God through self-realization for in that position God is formless, weightless, consciousness or knowledge, all-pervading, all-knowing, omnipotent, eternal, imperishable and abode of bliss. Then God is called Paramatma.
Thus we can understand Gayatri Mantra in brief in the following manner-----
That omnipotent God (Supreme Being) pervades all matter, energy, space and consciousness. That (tat) God is the source of inspiration (savituh), is most venerable (varenyam), and is pure in character (bhargah). Our mind should take hold (dhimahi) of that divine power (devasya). May that Supreme Being (yah) lead (prachodayat) our (nah) wisdom (dhiyah) towards good path.
Gayatri Mantra is very significant for us because it describes, in brief, essence of God or material and spiritual aspect of God. It is also a magnificent hymn or prayer that yokes the mind with Supreme Being.
In the interest of readers and devotees another Vedic hymn is given here---
यो भूतं च भव्य च सर्व यश्चाधितिष्ठति
स्वर्यस्य च केवलं तस्मै ज्येष्ठाय ब्रह्मणे नम: ।
(Reverential obeisance to Brahma (Supreme Being) who is the past and the future and who precedes and pervades all beings, and who presides over divinity and who alone exists)