Gayatri Mantra
The most famous and powerful mantra (‘‘power sound
prayer’’) of Hinduism. It is said to have been revealed to the
great sage Vishwamitra, preceptor of Prince Rama of the Ramayana
religious epic. Its origin, however, is believed to have
been the supreme creative force Brahma, before the Vedic
scriptures were revealed. Thus the Gayatri mantra has been
named ‘‘Vedamata’’ (Mother of the Vedas).
Every devout Brahmin is required to perform the Gayatri
mantra each morning and evening. The mantra is addressed
to the sun as ‘‘Savitri,’’ personified as a goddess, wife of Brahma.
The mantra translates roughly as ‘‘Earth, sky, heaven, we
meditate on these and the ineffable light and power of the resplendent
sun, may it guide our understanding.’’
The three regions of earth, sky, and heaven are also associated
with physical, emotional, and mental states. Mantras,
when properly intoned, vibrate the body. Some practitioners
have combined the repetition of the Gayatri mantra with
pranayama (breathing techniques) in order to activate the psychic
body, especially as it is pictured in the chakras or mystical
centers, and thus arouse kundalini energy (which is seen as resting
latent at the base of the spine) to transform consciousness.

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