Mantra for Enlightenment: The Gayatri Mantra

“The Gayatri Mantra is said to be the oldest and most powerful of mantras, being thousands of years old. It purifies the person chanting it as well as the listener as it creates a tangible sense of well being in whoever comes across it. Translated, it means “May all beings on earth reach enlightenment,” but as with all mantras, the meaning of the Sanskrit words isn’t as important as the effect the vibrations of the words have on the body and energy centers” – Deva Premal

The Gayatri mantra is indeed one of the oldest mantras we have.  It was originally shared in the Rig Veda (think 1700–1100 BC.)
This mantra is known to impart wisdom, understanding, and enlightenment.

Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha

Tat Savitur Varenyam 

Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi

Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat

These lines are ancient and powerful, but what do they mean?  Like so many mantras, things get lost in translation.  One of the best ways to translate mantras is to translate them concept by concept, rather than trying to make one coherent sentence.

Take a look:

Aum (or Om)-  God/Brahma
Bhoor – Pranic energy
Bhuwah – Destroyer of sufferings
Swaha –  Happiness bestowing
Tat – God or Spirit
Savitur – Bright Sun/God  (Also the name of a specific deva, Savitur)
Varenyam – Greatest
Bhargo – Destroyer of misdeeds
Devasya – Supreme God
Dheemahi – Knowledge imparted/understood
Dhiyo – Intelligence
Yo – Who
Naha – Our
Prachodayat – Enlightenment

But if conceptual translation leaves you scratching your head, how about this translation from Swami Vivekananda?  “We meditate on the glory of that Being who has produced this universe; may He enlighten our minds.”  Even simpler, is Deva Premal’s translation “May all beings reach enlightenment.”

And mantras are like little formulas of energy.  As we chant them, we launch vibrational patterns in a specific geometry into our field.  Take a look at this chart to show you where the mantra vibrates in your body as you chant it:

Like any mantra, it has to be experienced to be understood.  You might not feel enlightened, or get tingles in these points in your body, on your first chanting experience.  Or you could light up from the very first moment.  But get in the habit of relating to the mantra you choose to work with; bring it into your life and your practice and make it a part of you.  Chanting mantra, and specifically chanting the Gayatri Mantra, is a gift you can do both for yourself and for the whole world.  This mantra lives through the people who chant it.  Its energy for creating enlightenment lies dormant until you access it and give it the chance to flow through the Universe, bouncing off of molecules and leaving the world on a microcosmic level forever changed.

Oh, and it sounds really beautiful, too.

Take a listen to these:

Deva Premal’s Gayatri Mantra


Wah!’s Gayatri Mantra

Girish’s Gayatri Mantra

Tina Malia’s Gayatri Mantra

Bachan Kaur’s Gayatri Mantra

David Newman’s Gayatri Mantra


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Ramdesh Kaur, MA, is an IKYTA Certified Kundalini Yoga teacher trained by Gurmukh. She writes extensively on yoga, spirituality and mantra. She hosts the show "Spirit Voyage Radio with Ramdesh" on Unity FM, one of the Top 100 Itunes Podcasts, and leads Spirit Voyage's 40 Day Global Sadhanas, which bring together 20,000 meditators from 65 countries. Before working with Spirit Voyage, she was the residential Kundalini yoga teacher at Parmarth Niketan in Rishikesh, India in the Himalyan foothills, and has a Master's Degree from the Courtauld Institute in London. She is the author of "Yoga and Mantras for a Whole Heart" with Karan Khalsa and has three best selling guided meditation CDs "Journey into Stillness", "Relaxation Meditations", and "Stress Relief Meditations" (with crystal singing bowl master Ashana) all available on Spirit Voyage, ITunes and Amazon. She teaches at festivals internationally and leads powerful personal creativity retreats in Mexico with her partner Harnam Singh, an accomplished mantra musician.


  1. Is the Gayatri mantra chanted or used in Kundalini yoga as taught by yogi Bhajan? Or is this not one of the mantras used?

  2. Wow, where did you find that great picture, of where the different sounds vibrate?
    Sat nam

  3. How many repetitions are considered beneficial?



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