Gayatri Mantra by Sri Aurobindo
तत्सवितुर्वरं रूपं ज्योतिः परस्य धीमहि |
यन्नः सत्येन दीपयेत् ||
“Om Tat savitur varam rūpam jyotiḥ parasya dhīmahi, yannaḥ satyena dīpayet”
Gayatri Mantra Meaning
Let us meditate on the most auspicious (best) form of Savitri,
on the Light of the Supreme which shall illumine us with the Truth.
[Tat = That, Savitur = Sun-god who is the Creator, Varam = most auspicious, Rupam = form, Jyotih = Light, Parasya = of the Lord (since para = Transcendental), Dhimahi = meditate on (since Dhi = Intellect), Yannah = by which, Satyena = Truth, Dipayet = illumine (dipa = light) ]
According to M.P. Pandit, the original Gayatri Mantra was intended for illumining the intellect, while Sri Aurobindo’s modification of the Gayatri Mantra is intended for supramentalization of the entire being.
History of creation Sri Aurobindo’s Gayatri Mantra
Sri Aurobindo wrote the Gayatri for the thread ceremony of Doraiswamy’s son Mithran; he had vowed that only if Sri Aurobindo gave the Mantra that he would perform the ceremony. He wrote it on a small piece of paper but that paper is not available now. Sri Aurobindo did not write the English translation. Most probably it was done by Purani who was close to Doraiswamy or by Nolini, perhaps the latter. This Mantra has exact 8+8+8 syllables.
M.P. Pandit on Gayatri Mantra
There is a popular belief that the Sri Gayatri mantra is not very responsive to the spiritual aspirant in this Yuga. But I am attracted by that Mantra and have been doing its japa. I am of the view that the Light that is invoked in the Gayatri Mantra is the supramental Light and the aim is supramentalisation Is that correct?
I am not aware of any such popular belief regarding the incompatibility of the Gayatri with spiritual life in this age or any other. On the other hand in almost all upāsanās, Vaidic as well as Tantric, there is a Gayatri addressed to the Devata that is adored. Possibly the claim made in the stutipāṭhas (laudatory stanzas) of the Mantra that it promotes all the four traditional aims of life, dharma, artha, kāma and mokṣa, may have given rise to the belief that since other interests also are served by the Mantra it is to that extent inimical to true spiritual ends.
In these matters it is as a rule safe to welcome a Mantra for which one feels some attraction, on practising which one feels happy. It is a friendly Mantra which has afﬁnity with something in you.
I am not sure that the aim of the Gayatri is supramentalisation; I rather think it is not. This much is certain: the Sun that is addressed is not the solar orb in the sky but the Sun of Spiritual Truth at the head of creation whose symbol in this universe is the physical sun. The Light that ﬂows from that Sun is the illumined energy of the creative Consciousness that is massed therein. The Vaidic Gayatri (of Rishi Vishwamitra) prays for the activation of one’s intelligence by the rays of that Light. A spiritual illumination of the mind, the highest evolved part of man is what is sought for. And this is indispensable in all spiritual disciplines that proceed through an awakening and growth in the Way of Jnana, Knowledge of the Divine, though it may not be very relevant for the Way of Bhakti.
Supramentalisation is far different and much more. It implies the lighting up of not only the mind but the whole of one’s being, not merely rendering it luminous with knowledge but charging it in other ways of being also viz., feeling, will, action etc. so as to transform the human nature into the Divine. That is the aim of Sri Aurobindo’s Gayatri.