Gayatri: the mother plays an important part in the woman’s unconscious

 A representation of the Gayatri Mantra by Raja Ravi Varma. US public domain via wikimedia
A representation of the Gayatri Mantra
by Raja Ravi Varma. US public domain via wikimedia

Carl Jung speaks of the importance of the Goddess in the life of women, for instance:

“the Earth Mother plays an important part in the woman’s unconscious, for all her manifestations are described as ‘powerful.’ (CW 9i, para. 212)

Western spirituality is dominated by the image of the Father God. This may be a detriment to feminine psyche, as well the male. We need the mother goddess, she play an important role in the unconscious. As Jung says, we need her “power”.

Hinduism understands this. In the Hindu pantheon, there are many Goddesses. As the ancient Hindu texts seem to understand, the many goddesses are forms or ectypes of the great mother goddess, the Devī (the Sanskrit word meaning Goddess). In Tantra, the Goddess (as Devi or Shakti) is realized as the “power” of the cosmic Self (Shiva).

One form of mother Goddess is Gayatri. In the image above, we see Gayatri with five heads, seated on a lotus. It is said that her four heads represent the Vedas and the fifth head represents the supreme Self.

Gayatri is also one of the most important Vedic Mantras. Gayatri offers herself as a wonderful healing hymn for all beings on the path to enlightenment. Singh says,

“There is nothing more purifying for one’s soul, either on this earth or in the heavens, than the Gayatri Mantra japa or repetition.” [1]

Krishna in the Gita asserts:

“Amongst the mantras I am Gayatri. The Gayatri is Brahma, Gayatri is Vishnu, Gayatri is Shiva, the Gayatri is Vedas.”

It is said that the sound vibrations of the Gayatri give birth to the cosmos. Chanting the Gayatri mantra opens one to the supreme Self as it pervades all realms or all states of consciousness. The Gayatri mantra is a prayer for enlightenment. The mantra says as much:

Om bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
The mantra begins with Om. Om is cosmic sound or cosmic vibration of the supreme Self. Bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ are the three realms. To chant this first line is to invite the cosmic vibration of the Self into the three realms.
There are many ways to describe these three realms. We can describe them as worlds or realms. If we realize that all is the Self, then we realize that all are realms of the Self. Such a realization is the aim of the mantra.
Bhūr is said to relate to the realm of Prakriti (Earthly) and the vital spiritual energy(pran). Bhuvaḥ is the mental realm, destroyer of sufferings. Svaḥ is the celestial realm, or the bliss or the realization that the Self (God) is in all.

tát savitúr váreṇ(i)yaṃ

Tát is that, the supreme Self, transcendental Paramatma. Savitúr is the sun, creator, the universe. Váreṇ(i)yaṃ is the most adorable one, the one for worship.

bhárgo devásya dhīmahi

Bhárgis effulgence of God. Devásya is resplendent, supreme Lord. Dhīmahi is meditate upon

dhíyo yó naḥ prachodáyāt

Dhíyo is the intellect or understanding. is may this light. Naḥ is ours. Prachodáyāt is enlighten us.

References:

  1. Hindu Rites and Rituals: Origins and Meanings By K V Singh
  2. Meditation and Its Practices By Swami Adiswarananda
  3. Kalachakra Tantra: Rite of Initiation By Dalai Lama

Featured Image:

  1. Sri Gayatri Devi – Sri Shilpi Siddanthi Siddalinga Swami. US public Domain via wikimedia.

Footnotes:

I do my best with the Sanskrit translations. They are brought together from a variety of sources. When I am attempting to translate the words, I always focus on the truth of the supreme Self and work from there in terms of meaning.