naaraayaNa gaayatrii (Rudra gaayatrii)
anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 20 10:00:21 CST 1998
> Gaayatrii metres have 24 syllables - 3 lines
>of 8 syllables each. What I have found to be
>called the "viShNu gaayatrii" is written
> naaraayaNaaya vidmahe
> vaasudevaaya dhiimahi
> tanno viShNuH prachodayaat |
> "We know naaraayaNa;
> we meditate on vaasudeva;
> may viShNu inspire that (knowledge
> and meditation) of ours."
Another interpretation arises if we cast the verbs in the potential
mood. Many Gaayatrii mantras are mentioned in the MahaanaaraayaNa
upanishhad, each Gaayatrii being addressed to a particular deity.
The above nArAyaNa gAyatrii is also one of them. Of course, the
most celebrated Gaayatrii is that of R^ishhi VishvAmitra with the
deity being SavitR^i, which occurs in the R^ig Veda.
Coming back to another interpretation, let us examine the purport
of a gAyatrii mantra. Each mantra aims at knowing of the knowledge
of a particular deity. What is the highest knowledge regarding any
deity? It is this: the deity is essentially nondifferent from the
If we have realized (known) that the deity is nondifferent from
the Self to begin with, where is the need for meditation on the deity
and where is the need for inspiration from the deity in our efforts
to realize Him/Her. So it seems to me that interpreting the verbs
in the potential mood is more appropriate.
For example, let us consider the Rudra/Shiva gAyatrii mentioned in
the MahaanArayaNa upanishhad as:
tatpurushhAya vidmahe mahAdevAya dhiimahi |
tanno rudraH prachodayaat.h ||
Interpreting the verbs in the potential mood, this leads to:
"May we know (or realize) the Supreme Person (purushha). (In
order to realize Him) may we (or let us) meditate on Mahaadeva.
(In order to make that meditation possible) may Lord Rudra
inspire or impel us."
A simple translation of this gAyatrii into Sanskrit is:
taM purushhaM mahAdevaM vayaM jaaniima| tasya jnaanaarthaM
taM mahaadevaM dhyaayema| tasmin.h dhyaane jnaanadaataa rudraH
asmaan.h prachodayaat.h |
Let us know that Supreme Purushha, Mahaadeva. For His knowledge,
let us meditate on Mahaadeva. For meditation on Him, let Rudra
inspire us or impel us.
The nArAyaNa gAyatrii may be interpreted similarly.
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