Gayatri Mantra

Om bhur bhuva svah
Tat savitur-varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodyat

Om. Let us meditate upon the wondrous spirit of the Divine, creator of the earth, space and the heavens.  Oh God, may our minds be inspired by the light of that Supreme Self and be filled with divine qualities.

Probable the most well know and revered mantra is the Gayatri.  It is believed to be the foremost accustic manifestation of the Divine Mother, Creation itself.  It is both a mantra and a prayer, beginning with essential seed sounds called bija mantras and gradually evolving into a personal petition.

Bija mantras have no literal translation; there meaning is conveyed through their deep resonance –as pure sound.  The mantra then evolves into a more literal prayer, that the mind be illuminated by universal light.

In other translations the word “Sun” or “Solar Spirit” is used in place of  “the light of the Supreme Self.”   This gives more immediacy and personal context to the prayer.  We have only to step outside, and look up at the sky to appreciate the magnitude of that radiant form that makes all life on earth possible. The Sun is a classic icon for resplendent spiritual insight.

Further dementions of the Gayatri mantra are revealed by a brief commentary from the Chandogya Upanishad:

This entire Creation is Gayatri. And the Gayatri is speech
–for speech sings and protects the entire creationWhat I appreciate most about this verse is how it begins by conveying the largest magnitude possible, the entire Creation, then distils that enormity into a more embodied form (speech and song) and finally, loops back upon itself to embrace the entire creation., the song of the universe.  Thus we can begin to get in touch with the unending reverberation of the Cosmos.

As we read a little deeper into the verse, we find that the Creation is embued with beauty, in the form of song.  The Creation is the Mother, the Mother is Beauty, Beauty is the Creation.

What’s more we are assured protection as we embrace the current of beauty in our own lives.  In that sense our very life process is an offering unto the creation itself. We can trust that the creative process is in accord with the forces of nature.

Our creative instincts and expressions play an intimate roll in the greater life process.  Despite the often fear based and editing tendencies of the mind, the Universal Mother embraces Herself with an intimate appreciation for beauty in its multitude of forms.  We are an inherent expression in that Universal Song.  We are that Song.

Oh God, may our minds be inspired by the light of that
Supreme Self and be filled with divine qualities.

The Yoga of the Body

Occasionally I go for a run.  It is a great way to get some fresh air, take care of the body and listen to some music along the way.  I set my MP3 on shuffle so I never know what will be playing next.  It keeps it interesting.

As I rounded the bend on mile number three the music change and the unmistakable voice of Swami Muktibodhananda fill my eardrums.  Among his many productions, the Swami has created an audio series on meditative practices.  I reached for the shuffle button.

With the button at my fingertips, I changed my mind.  Who knows, I might learn something new I reasoned.  He began with a detailed description of establishing one’s meditative posture.  He emphasized the importance of remaining still.  And then he uttered one simple phrase that dramatically caught my attention.

“Now we will practice the Yoga of the Body.”

What initially caught my attention was the reverence in his voice.  We were about to enter sacred territory, to enter a temple full of mystery, depth and elusive truths.  His words opened up a whole new field of possibility.  The entire path of yoga was held, cradled, hidden, within the innocuous folds of our skin.  From this perspective the body was a port-hole into the secrets of the cosmos.

His comment implied that there were many other forms of yoga practice, each holding the same limitless possibility that was held within the body.  “Yoga” stood as the center most expression in his sentence.  The feeling behind the word conveyed a kind of sacred endeavor or elixir that could be applied to any discipline; the Yoga of Sound, the Yoga of the Breath. The Yoga of the Mind.

The hidden promise contained within the sentence was that mastery was possible, yoga practice, in its many forms led to profound spiritual unity, that Yoga was a sacred vehicle.  I was grateful for this lesson as the miles pealed away.