The Gayatri Mantra
A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
at Columbia University, New York
Aum bhur bhuvah svah Tat savitur varenyam Bhargo devasya dhimahiDhiyo yo nah pracodayat.
We meditate on the transcendental glory of the Deity Supreme, who is inside the heart of the earth, inside the life of the sky, and inside the soul of the heaven. May He stimulate and illumine our minds.
The Gayatri Mantra is the most hallowed mantra of the Vedas. It is the mother of all the mantras. Mantra means incantation. A mantra can be a one-syllable word or a few words, a sentence or a few sentences. The Gayatri Mantra can offer to the sincere seeker the Light of the Infinite, the Delight of the Eternal, and the Life of the Immortal.
The Gayatri Mantra has four feet. The first foot consists of the earth, sky, and heaven. The second foot consists of the Rig Veda, the Yajur Veda, and the Sama Veda. The third foot consists of prana, apana, and vyana. The fourth foot consists of the Sun, the solar being.
A seeker of the infinite Truth must meditate on the Gayatri Mantra. The result that he will get is incalculable.
Bhumir, earth; antariksam, sky; and dys, heaven, make up the first foot of the Gayatri. Whoever realises the significance of the first foot wins everything that is in those three worlds.
Rcah, yajumsi, samani, make up the second foot of the Gayatri. Whoever realises the second foot of the Gayatri wins the knowledge-sea of the three Vedas.
Prana, apana, and vyana, the three forms of the vital force, make up the third foot of the Gayatri. The knower of this foot wins all the living creatures that exist in the universe.
Turiyam, the quaternary, the Solar Being Transcendental who alone shines, is the fourth foot. He who realises this fourth foot shines with infinite magnificence.
Subtle is the path to moksha, liberation. Hard is the path to liberation. But a genuine seeker can reach the Goal solely by meditating on the Gayatri Mantra. When one is freed from the fetters of ignorance, one grows into the supernal glory of the Transcendental Self. Liberation can be achieved, must be achieved, while the seeker’s soul is in the body. To fail to realise God on earth is to swim in the sea of ignorance with two more swimmers: ignorant birth and shameless death. Liberation attained, the bonds of grief destroyed. Before liberation, like the Buddha we have to proclaim, “This fleeting world is the abode of sorrow.”
The teeming desire-night that has occupied the heart of the seeker must needs be driven out by the glowing aspiration-light. This done, the seeker attains to the Brahman. An Immortal he becomes. The Light Eternal is his new name. Today the seeker feels that the Gayatri is his mind’s inspiration. Tomorrow he will feel that the Gayatri is his soul’s realisation.
With inspiration a seeker sees the Truth.
With aspiration a seeker realises the Truth.
With realisation a seeker becomes the Truth.
Inspiration is might.
Aspiration is light.
Realisation is life.
Inspiration is the Smile of God.
Aspiration is the Cry of God.
Realisation is the Love of God.
The Gayatri is eternal knowledge divine. When this knowledge dawns in the seeker’s aspiring heart, he need no longer seek for anything, either on earth or in heaven. He reveals what he achieves. He manifests what he reveals.
In the Vedas there are two most significant words satyam and ritam. Satyam is Truth in its pure existence. Ritam is Truth in its dynamic movement. There is another word, brihat, which means vastness in form. What we call creation is the manifestation of the Unmanifest, asat. According to our scriptures, the manifestation took place with the anahata dhvani, the soundless sound, AUM.
The Gayatri is dedicated to Savita, the Creator. The root of the word Savita is su, to create or to loose forth. This mantra is known also as Savitri Mantra, for Savitri is the Shakti of Savita. This mantra was envisioned by Vishwamitra, the great Rishi. Savita is regarded as Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva. Brahma, the Creator, with Brahmani as his Shakti; Vishnu, the Preserver, with his Shakti, Vaishnavi; and Siva or Rudra, the Destroyer, with his Shakti, Rudrani, regularly visit the Brahman. The Eagle is the vehicle-bird of Vishnu. The Swan is the vehicle-bird of Brahma. The Bull is the vehicle-beast of Siva.
The Gayatri Mantra is the divine magnetic needle. The magnetic needle points to the north, hence the ship does not lose its direction. The Gayatri Mantra always points to the transcendental Height of the Supreme, hence the seeker does not miss his Goal: Existence, Consciousness, Bliss.
Published in The Upanishads: the Crown of India’s Soul
Smile of the Beyond
During an informal gathering in his Jharna-Kala Gallery, Sri Chinmoy requests that his disciples ask him amusing questions. These are the questions they asked, and Sri Chinmoy’s answers.
Question: When I am at Divine Robe Supreme, do you ever call me up and then hang up without speaking?
Sri Chinmoy: It happened three times very recently. Once, after I dialled, I changed my mind. I wanted to do something infinitely more important. Another time I let the phone ring three times, but there was no answer, so I gave up. Usually you answer on the second ring. And once your consciousness was unimaginably low. After I dialled I got a very unpleasant vibration, inner resentment, so I didn’t speak to you. It was the day you took vacation for four or five days. I didn’t send you, but you decided yourself to take vacation.
Question: Why is Jason so appealing?
Sri Chinmoy: Jason is so appealing because God has given him a heart which is extremely, extremely generous. He does not think, he does. And when he does, most of the time, he does with his heart. Therefore, people see in him the flowering of a heart and not the unnecessary flickering of a mind. That is why he is so appealing.
Question: Can beings from outer space help humanity?
Sri Chinmoy: Not only do they have the capacity to help humanity, but they do help, provided people believe in their existence. They help humanity mostly through inspiration. The inspiration that they offer is not received by the mind, but by the life-energy, during the inhalation and exhalation of the aspiring breath. Again, there are destructive beings, but you are not speaking of the destructive beings.
Question: How many calories does the Supreme allow people to have a day?
Sri Chinmoy: It depends on who. You mean for yourself? Very good! The Supreme says that you can take 699 calories — during the whole day, mind you. For 699 calories a day He will take responsibility. More than that if you take, you will be responsible. And drink four glasses of water, at least! If you do this, then your health problems will be solved.
Question: Do I concentrate too hard when I am shopping?
Sri Chinmoy: According to Jason the Great, you are oblivious of the world around you. You are either fixed on the world on which you are focusing your attention, or you are in your own world of fantasies and phantasmagoria. In your case, no matter what you do, you use your concentration power beyond necessity. When you use your power of concentration beyond necessity on mundane things, you are misusing it. It is like buying something at a higher price when you know that you can get it at a lower price. If you spend your money unnecessarily while buying one object, then naturally you will be short of money when you want to buy something else that is more important and more significant for your life.
While you are walking along the street, you need a certain kind of power of concentration: otherwise, you will not be able to walk properly and you will have an accident. But if your concentration expands and extends unnecessarily, if you are at one place and you are concentrating on the cars that are one or two blocks away, then you are misusing your power of concentration. For those cars are not going to come at you; they are quite far away.
When you are deeply absorbed in buying material things, you are not concentrating on the objects themselves. Here only you are lost. Your mind is lost in the material world. The material world we need, true. But everything has its own importance, and the material world is not so important that it should completely absorb your attention. Concentration is like money-power. It is not advisable to pay too much attention to the material world, for then you are squandering your money.
Question: After a few hours of working at Annam Brahma, I get a strong desire to go up into a nice, cool, breezy tree house and go to sleep. How can I conquer this desire?
Sri Chinmoy: If you want to satisfy this desire in the world of imagination, you can. But if you want to fulfil it on the practical plane, it is impossible. You have to know that imagination is a world of its own, a reality-world. Take imagination as the first floor of your life and physical reality, let us say, as the basement. The imagination world is higher than the reality-world, but both worlds are used; the basement is used and the first floor is also used.
If you want something that is on the first floor, then naturally you will go there. But if you want to find the same thing in the basement, then there are a few things that you will have to do.
I have my harpsichord in the meditation room. Right now, let us say, I am in the basement, so if I want to play, I have to come to the meditation room. I can also bring the instrument down to the basement and play there. But for that I will need to take help from a few strong boys, and it is very difficult.
Why do you have to do something on a particular plane which is inaccessible to you? You may feel that you should always try to do whatever is difficult, difficult, difficult, and you may think that imagination is easy. But there are many people on earth who can’t imagine at all. Who says that it is easy to imagine? No, no, no! For a few seconds you can think of the vast ocean, you can think of the vast sky. But try for five minutes to imagine. It will be impossible! In one minute your imagination-power will be gone. So do not think of the imagination-world as a weak world and the physical reality as a strong, real world. No. Whatever is in the imagination-world is real. Something does not have to be in the basement to be absolute or real. So always try to become part and parcel of the reality in the imagination-world. Imagination is a real reality which is trying to be manifested in the physical plane.
Question: Do they perform humorous skits in the soul’s world?
Sri Chinmoy: Certainly. In the souls’ world they have enjoyment. In their eyes, sometimes our enjoyment borders on the undivine or vulgar, to say the least. But in the souls’ world it is not like that. When we perform skits about the undivine qualities of others, at that time we cause suffering for others. But in the souls’ world, the sense of amusement is different. It is based on utmost purity. There they do enjoy this kind of amusing skit, and from their amusement they get experiences. From anything they do they get experiences. But no matter what they do, whether it is just for fun or whether it is something sublime, it is done with tremendous purity.
Question: What will happen to Jason if he decides to stop telling funny stories?
Sri Chinmoy: If he stops telling funny stories his heart will lose strength and become small, smaller, smallest. Then it will not be able to contain energising, elevating, illumining and fulfilling life. So Jason should not and must not give up telling illumining stories. His stories are innocent. They not only give us immortal lessons but also give a spontaneous inner awakening to those who want nothing but progress through pure innocence, pure concern for mankind and pure oneness with mankind on any plane. Jason’s stories do not bring embarrassment. They bring inspiration; they are a blessing in disguise.
Question: Has God ever told me a secret?
Sri Chinmoy: Yes, God has told you a secret. That secret is not to expect anything from others or even from your own aspiration and dedication, but to expect everything from the Supreme inside your Guru. You cannot expect anything because of your determination or because of your speed or because of what you are going to become; you can expect only because the Supreme in your Master is always unconditional compassion, constant concern and unconditional fulfilment for you. This is the supreme secret that God has told your soul. Your soul has given this message to your aspiring heart. When the hour strikes, your aspiring heart will also give this message to your mind. Then when the hour strikes for your mind, it will also do the needful and give the message to your vital. And when the hour strikes for your vital, your vital will do the needful and give the message to your body. Your soul has already done the needful. Your heart is taking some time, and the mind’s illumination is not complete. As for the vital and the body, they are still totally unaware of the ultimate reality that will eventually be manifested by the seeker in you.
Question: What kind of jokes do the cosmic gods and spiritual Masters tell each other in Heaven?
Sri Chinmoy: The cosmic gods and the spiritual Masters do enjoy jokes. They enjoy jokes about earth’s self-imposed responsibility. They enjoy jokes about Heaven’s promise to earth, which remains only a promise and does not become a reality on the physical plane. And when earth says that it has done everything that it can for God, which is totally absurd, the cosmic gods enjoy earth’s stupidity. The cosmic gods and spiritual Masters enjoy jokes when Heaven says that earth is too weak and too impure for Heaven to keep on helping it. They also laugh at Heaven’s stupid, baseless estimation of earth’s capacity. Whenever stupidity looms large as a reality-conviction either in Heaven or on earth, the cosmic gods and spiritual Masters make jokes about it. Stupidity’s self-aggrandised capacity the cosmic gods always joke about, for stupidity can never conquer the reality. It is the reality, the divinity, that will eventually conquer stupidity, not by punishing it but by loving it. The face of stupidity and the mind of stupidity can and will be transformed.
Question: What is the Supreme’s favourite joke?
Sri Chinmoy: When Harry was given an award by the president of the U.N. Ambassador Hotel, the Supreme laughed twice. Once God laughed when Harry thought that somebody was president other than Himself. The Supreme laughed because He is the only president. Then the Supreme laughed when Harry thought that it was he who deserved the award. So the Supreme laughed twice: once when He heard that there was another president, and once when He heard that the person who received the honour from the president felt that he deserved it. The Supreme is the president and He is also the recipient of the award. When everybody knows this, only then He will stop laughing. He is the only giver, He is the only receiver. When the whole world realises this, the Supreme will stop laughing; not before that.
Question: How many candy bars should I eat each day when I walk on Parsons Boulevard and guard the divine enterprises?
Sri Chinmoy: If you want to maintain your present physique, which is quite strong, then I don’t advise you to take candy bars regularly. On alternate days if you take candy bars, your soul will bless you and your heart will love your life more than it does now. So please your heart, please your soul. This is the only way you can become a perfect instrument of the Supreme.
Question: How can I be as rich as Jason?
Sri Chinmoy: In money-power or heart-power? Easily you can be as rich as Jason in money-power, but first try to be rich in heart-power. How can you be rich in heart-power? You can be rich in heart-power by feeling sincere concern for the rest of the world. Every time you do something for someone, you have to feel that the other person has done you a big favour. Every time you do something for someone, feel that you are doing it for your own progress. Never think that you are doing someone a favour. Feel that he is doing you a favour by giving you an opportunity to make inner progress. If you can bring forward your heart-power, then money-power will automatically come. Since you are desperately in need of money-power, then give your heart-power and concern-power. That is the only way you can become happy. When you are really happy, it is not difficult to achieve money-power.
Question: Does God laugh loudly, giggle or only smile?
Sri Chinmoy: It depends on the particular human being with whom He is dealing. God is a perfect gentleman. If a teenager, especially a young girl, giggles, then God returns the giggle in a more powerful manner. If a seeker feels inner happiness and smiles at God, then God gives him an infinitely more soulful smile in return. And if a carefree person laughs and laughs, either to forget the pressures of the world or to feel that the world is all illusion, then God also laughs, for it is true that the world is an illusion for those who believe in illusion. God says, “If you believe in illusion, I want to please you by bringing everything to you as illusion.” So whenever we laugh, God returns our laughter, for He does not want to remain indebted to anybody. It is we who have to decide whether we shall offer God a soulful smile, a silly giggle or our stupid, shameless laughter. But whatever we offer, God will return it, for He does not want to remain indebted to us.
Question: What is the spiritual significance of an elephant joke?
Sri Chinmoy: If it is on the vital plane, it is all destruction. If it is on the psychic plane, then it is solid power, inner power, used for the awakening of Divinity in humanity and for the manifestation of Divinity in humanity. So it depends on the plane in which the joke is operating. If it is on the vital plane, then it is all dynamic destruction. If it is on the heart plane, the psychic plane, then it is solid power desperately trying to manifest God’s Divinity.
Question: Does God ever bounce checks?
Sri Chinmoy: God does not have a bank. He has only money. He does not deposit His money because He feels that He has the capacity to protect His money Himself. For God, protection is everywhere; He Himself is protection. God also feels that He has the capacity to increase His money, or His achievements, in infinite measure. He does not have to depend on interest power. He has the capacity to increase the principal. Interest-power is nothing in comparison to the increase of principal. God is so powerful that He does not need the interest. He says, “No, I don’t need it. I will just increase the principal.”
So God does not use checks. He uses bills. His bills are not like a dollar or twenty dollar or hundred dollar bills. His bills are Compassion, Concern, Forgiveness, Pride and Oneness. In God’s case, the highest bill is His oneness with humanity. Conscious, constant inseparable oneness is His highest bill. If the seeker can become aware of that particular bill, which God has given Him, then he becomes the richest person. If somebody gives him a false check, it is deception. But God does not believe in deception. He does not give something that is false. He will never give anything that will bring disgrace to Him. Unconditionally
He gives what He has and what He is: His oneness with His creation.
Question: Which disciple is the biggest joke that the Supreme has given to you, Guru?
Sri Chinmoy: Every day it changes. One day Nathan, one day Casey, one day Peter, one day somebody else; and that somebody else may be Bob himself. The biggest joke in God’s creation is he who feels that he can do everything without being assisted by anybody, not even by God. In this world the biggest joke is he who feels that he can do even one particular thing without God’s help. According to me, when one thinks that one can do something without God’s help, he is the biggest joke.
Question: When does God laugh the loudest?
Sri Chinmoy: God laughs the loudest when He sees that His instrument, His spiritual instrument, Jim, drives his wagon or his car without insurance, without registration and sometimes without even a license. So God says, “Here I have a creation. But look at the audacity of this creation! He does not believe in other creations of mine, which are insurance, registration, license and so forth. Look at his audacity; he does not believe in my other creations.” Then God starts laughing. At that time His laughter becomes the loudest.
Question: How far is the pole star from the sun?
Sri Chinmoy: The pole star is quite near the sun. It is very close, not even one foot away. The sun is the heart and the pole star is the third eye, which is in the forehead. So you can see, they are not even one foot apart. Inside the heart is not one sun but many, many suns. Vivekananda had eighteen. You can also have one, two, three, God knows how many. Believe it or not, when I bark at you, all of your suns are eclipsed. But when I don’t bark at you, when I show you my infinite Compassion, at that time those suns show me their brightness, light and delight.
The pole star is the star that guides, the star with vision. The third eye is vision and the sun is the creative force, the reality that has taken the pole star as its representative to manifest it. The heart-sun and the eye of vision are complementary realities. The sun is the source, the pole star is the course. The pole star needs the sun, the source. Again, the sun needs the course. So in this way they complement each other. If there is no source, there is no reality; and if there is no course, if the reality is unmanifested, then what good does it do?
Question: Why did God create flies?
Sri Chinmoy: God created flies so that the mind will not feel miserable. God tells the mind, “I have created something to compare with you. You can’t stay in one place. You fly from one object to another. So I have created a friend for you. It is the fly, which is also restless, Oh mind, since you are not able to remain calm and quiet, then I will show you that you have a friend on earth: the fly. Then you will be able to enjoy its company, if not outwardly then inwardly.” So God is very kind to the mind. He tells the mind to look around and appreciate the fly, for the two of them can become good friends. Again, there comes a time when the fly becomes tired and exhausted, and stops flying. At that time God again speaks to the mind about the fly: “If flies can remain calm and quiet, how is it possible that you can’t do the same thing? Don’t accept defeat. If the fly can do something in a positive way, then you should try to do the same thing and defeat it. So be calm and quiet and don’t accept defeat.”
Question: Why is there dust that we always have to clean up?
Sri Chinmoy: We have to clean up dust so that we can learn to value the superior thing in us, the higher thing in us. In order to do something and become something, we have to go to the higher reality and not remain with the lower reality. Dust is a lower reality. It represents impurity. We know what impurity does: It destroys everything. From the lower reality we have to go to the higher reality. It is like going up the rungs of a ladder. From one rung we have to go to the next rung. In this case the ladder has quite a few rungs: first impurity, then purity, then divinity, then oneness. If we stay all the time on the impurity-rung, then how are we going to go on to the purity-rung? Some people are pure by nature, but they don’t aspire. There are many saintly persons on earth who have a good heart: but they don’t pray, they don’t meditate. Their purity is not enough for them to realise God. Along with purity there must be a constant inner cry and aspiration. So the lower reality must be surpassed. Then only the higher realities will be able to guide us, shape us, mould us, perfect us and make us perfect instruments of the Absolute Supreme.
Question: What is your favourite joke from India?
Sri Chinmoy: My favourite Indian joke is what happened the first day I came down from the highest type of samadhi. I forgot my name. I was trying to think of my name, but I couldn’t remember it. Then it came to my mind that one of my school notebooks had my name on it. So I looked at the cover of the notebook and found my name. When I came down from that consciousness the second and third time, I had to ask my friends what my name was. My friends were my greatest admirers. They knew my realisation, so they didn’t cut jokes with me.
Question: Why does God make people scream with laughter?
Sri Chinmoy: God is kind to those people. He says, “Children, you are taking so much responsibility on your shoulders; you are shouldering My responsibility. Because you are carrying such a heavy load, you deserve a little bit of joy and encouragement. The most effective way to relieve you of some of this weight is to make you laugh: laugh at the world, laugh at your stupidity, laugh at your responsibility, laugh at everything. In that way you can relieve the burden that is on your shoulders.”
Published in Smile of the Beyond