Gayatri Mantra

My uncle has sent me a video in which an Indonesian singer tries to make a song out of the Gayatri Mantra. She sings perched upon a rock on the sea shore which gets constantly awashed by the waves lashing on it only to be smashed and rendered into a loose mass of foam. The sun is just about to rise amidst a network of cumulo cirrus clouds against a jade blue sky and the earth looks both beautiful and bountiful. This, is the premise of the Gayatri Mantra. The reciter is enchanted with the earth and she heaps upon it her lavish praise but conscious that the Sun, an even more powerful force might be envious of her compliments to the earth hastens to “also add” the Sun. Tat Savitu, she says, meaning, yes you too, dear Sun. On hindsight she recalls that the earth and the Sun are parts of a much larger cosmos and hence the cosmos must be appeased as the senior. So she adds, all the Deities of Bhrigu, meaning the astral Deities of the Zodiac who are supposed to create a field of force for the earth and the Sun to exist. Then she says that we must remember the entire system, the beautiful earth upon which we live, the Sun that has made that life possible and the zodiac that has made it possible for us to hold the Sun as well as the earth. The Gayatri thus expands the consciousness of the holistic constitutiveness of our lives, or of Life as a whole, pointing out to it being subject to a number of contingencies.

I was never much into the Gayatri Mantra as something that renders power to the chanter. I also had great difficulty in learning the mantra because it is not in Sanskrit but in a strange Vedic tongue and hence does not have the aesthetics of the Sanskrit metre. But looking at the video I suddenly was awakened to the level that the Vedic mind wished to reach, and which is to the final and the uttermost limits of the constitutiveness of human existence. I think that this separates the Indian thought from those of any other in the world. While the ancient literature has sought a valiant hero in Gilgamesh, who, though bound by promises to his people and by the idea of sin that lay in the unbridled exercise of passions and will, the Indian thought always seeks the outermost boundaries of human lives, which depend not so much on individual heroism but on the various factors of the physical world that renders heroic ventures possible. The Vedic people were not only modest but far more pragmatic so as not to imagine that everything that works in favour of humans are exclusively her own doing.


About secondsaturn

Independent Scholar. Polymath.
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