naaraayaNa gaayatrii (Rudra gaayatrii)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at HOTMAIL.COM
Fri Feb 20 10:00:21 CST 1998

  Mantralaura wrote:
>  Gaayatrii metres have 24 syllables - 3 lines
>of 8 syllables each. What I have found to be
>called the "viShNu gaayatrii" is written
>as follows:
>  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 |

  which means:

  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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