Sri Sathya Sai Initiation Into The Gayatri Mantra

March 17, 1983

Bhagavan performed a mass Upanayanam ceremony for 680 boys at Prashanti Nilayam on this day. On the 16th He presented the boys with new clothes that were meant to be worn during the ceremony. The ‘Vatus’ and the parents formed a procession from the Mandir to Poornachandra Auditorium on 17th. Bhagavan went around the rows of boys and handed over the sacred yellow thread to each one individually. The officiating priests conducted the ceremony and the boys put on the sacred thread. These boys were so fortunate to receive the ‘Brahmopadesham’ directly from Bhagavan. He again went around and showered the sacred rice grains on all the ‘Vatus’ and their parents. He blessed them with a Discourse on the significance of the Gayatri Mantra. He said:

“Young Embodiments of the Divine! 

The grand mansion of Hindu thought has been raised on the four walls of Karma, Janma, Dharma and Brahman (action, birth, righteous action, and Supreme Self or God). These four are interdependent. No one can escape the consequences of one's action, whether good or bad. No action goes in vain. Karma (action) is the primary cause of one's birth.

It has been well said that ‘The body indeed, is the basis for the pursuit of Dharma’ (Shareeramaadhyam Khalu Dharma Sadhanam). It is by the pursuit of dharma that Brahman is realised. The Geeta has declared that whenever dharma declines the advent of the Avatar (Divine incarnation) occurs. This implies that the object of human existence is to uphold dharma. As creation is a projection of the Divine Will, the aim of every human being should be to live in harmony with that Will. One's life should be dedicated not for promoting one's selfish interests or to serve the interests of other fellow-beings but in the service of the Divine. Whatever is done to anyone, if it is done as an offering to the Divine, it will reach the Divine. Man should consecrate every action by regarding it as an offering to the Divine.

Gayatri initiation gives one the Second Birth

From the moment of issuing from the mother's womb, one is involved in action. This natural state is common to all and may be described as Shudratwam (the state of the Shudra, that is, one who is not subject to any regimen). After one receives the Gayatri initiation, he is born again and becomes a Dwija (the twice-born). The Gayatri is described as "Chhandasaam Maatah" - the mother of all the Vedas (ancient sacred scriptures). One meaning of Gayatri is that it is a Mantra (sacred formula) which protects or fosters the "Gayaas" or Jeevis (individual beings).

You must note that today you have all got a second birth by receiving the Gayatri Mantra (Vedic prayer to illuminate the intelligence). By observing the disciplines of the Brahmachari (celibate) stage, you will qualify yourselves for the study of the Vedas. When one begins to study the Vedas he is known as Vipra (Braahmana). This is a third birth, as it were. At this stage, by the study and understanding of the Vedas and living up to their precepts, one gets the opportunity to understand Brahman (Supreme Being). Once the Brahman principle is understood, one merges in Brahman. It is only when there is awareness of Brahman can one claim to be a real Brahman. It is not birth alone, but the realisation of Brahman which confers real Brahmanatwa (Brahmana-hood) on a person.

Gayatri Mantra is the embodiment of all deities

Vedamata Gayatri

The Gayatri Mantra has to be recited three times a day - in the morning at sunrise, at noon, and at sunset. These are called Sandhya Kalam - the time of coming together of night and day, of morning and evening, and of day and night. Time, like man, has three qualities: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas (poised, passion and inertia). The day is divided into three parts. The four hours between 4 and 8 a.m. in the morning and between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. in the evening have the Sattva (equanimous) quality. The eight hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. are Rajasic (Passionate). The eight hours between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. which are mainly used for sleep, are Tamasic (inaction). The eight hours of the day (from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) are employed by all beings, including animals and birds, in the discharge of their day to day duties and are regarded as Rajasic (active pursuit).

When the four Sattvic hours of the morning (4 a.m. to 8 a.m.) are used for engaging oneself in good actions like worship, virtuous deeds, keeping good company, one is sure to raise, himself from the human to the Divine level. It is during the Sattvic period (from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m to 8 p.m.) the Gayatri Mantra should be recited. This Mantra is the embodiment of all deities. It is not related to any particular sect, caste or idol or institution. It is said to embody nine colours: 
(1) Om (2) Bhuh (3) Bhuvah (4) Suvah (5) Thath (6) Savithur or powers (7) Varenyam (8) Bhargah (9) Dhevasya. "Dheemahi" is related to the meditative aspect. "Dhiyo-yo-nah prachodayaath" relates to the aspect of prayer. The Mantra as a whole thus contains three aspects descriptive, meditational and prayer.

Discover the Unity that underlies the Diversity

On the basis of differences in behaviour, the Antahkarana (inner-psyche) has been accorded four names. When it is concerned with thoughts, it is called Manas (mind). When it is restless and wavering, it is called Chitta (consciousness). When it is concerned with enquiry and understanding, it is called buddhi (intellect). When it is associated with the sense of "mine" (possessiveness), it is called Ahamkara (egoism). Why are four different names and attributes given to one and the same entity (the Antahkarana)? The mind is pre-occupied with distinctions and differences. The buddhi is concerned with oneness and reveals the Unity that underlies the diversity. All our efforts must be directed towards discovering the Unity that underlies the diversity rather than seeking to divide the One into the many. 

The Gayatri Mantra (Vedic prayer to illuminate the intelligence) is a sacred Mantra which demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation. It is through the recognition of this unity that we can understand the multiplicity. Clay is one and the same thing, though pots of different shapes and sizes can be made from it. Gold is one, though gold ornaments can be multifarious. The Atma (Divine Self) is one, though the embodied forms in which it resides may be many. Whatever the colour of the cow, the milk is white always. 

There is no object in the world which does not have a form and a name. The Cosmos is made up of things with forms and names. While the forms are subject to constant change, the names remain unchanged. The form may change and even completely disappear but the name remains. Once we know the name, we can recognise what or whom it represents. In a large gathering, it will not be easy to trace a person merely from the description of his features. But when his name is called, he immediately responds and can be identified. Likewise, through the name of the Lord; the form of the Lord can be visualised.

Five faces: Three deities

Gayatri is described as having five faces. The first is "Om" The second is "Bhurbhuvassuvah" The third is. "Tatsavitur Varenyam". The fourth is "Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi". The fifth is: "Dhiyo-yo nah Prachodayaath", Gayatri represents in these five faces the five Pranas (life forces). Gayatri is the protector of the five Praanas in man. Gayantam Traayate Iti Gayatri – ‘Because it protects the one who recites it, it is called Gayatri.’ When Gayatri acts as protector of the life-forces, she is known as Savitri. Savitri is known in the puraanic story as the devoted wife who brought back to life her husband, Sathyavaan. Savitri is the presiding deity of the five Pranas. She protects those who lead a life of Truth. This is the inner meaning.

When one's intelligence and intuition are developed by the recitation of the Mantra, the activating deity is Gayatri. When the life-forces are protected, the guardian deity is called Savitri. When one's speech is protected, the deity is called Saraswati. Because of the protective roles of Savitri, Saraswati and Gayatri, in relation to life, speech and the intellect, Gayatri is described as ‘Sarvadevata-swarupini’ - the embodiment of all Goddesses.

It is essential to recite the Gayatri Mantra at least three times during morning, noon and evening. This will serve to reduce the effects of the wrong acts one does every day. It is like buying goods for cash, instead of getting them on credit. There is no accumulation of karmic (result of action) debt, as each day's karma (action) is atoned for that day itself by reciting the Gayatri Mantra.

Sri Sathya Sai Gayatri at Prasanthi Nilayam

Redemptive Power of the Gayatri Mantra

The plea that one cannot find time for reciting the Gayatri thrice a day is specious and untenable. People waste so much of their time in worthless activities that they can easily find a few moments for reciting the Gayatri when they wake up from bed and before they go to sleep, if only they have the will. The Gayatri can be recited even when one is taking his bath. It will mean also offering ablutions to the Goddess. At noon, if the Gayatri is recited before taking one's meal, the food will get sanctified and become an offering to the deity.

The Brahmacharis (celebates/religious students) should realise the redemptive power of the Gayatri Mantra. Through the Brahmopadesam (initiation into sacred knowledge), the young boys have had a second birth. It is only when they have achieved the purposes of this second birth will they be qualified to enter on the sacred third stage of "Vipratvam" (Brahmana-hood), which leads to the realisation of Brahman.

‘One who is aware of Brahman, becomes one with Brahman’ is the Vedic saying. To recognise the Brahman principle, one has to understand one's own true nature. There is a story to illustrate how one can see whether he is qualified to realise Brahman. An unmarried girl acquires the fight to a haft-share in a man's property after she is married to him and he ties the Mangalasutra (the auspicious marriage thread) round her neck. It is this sacred thread that confers the right on her. Likewise, one remains remote from God as long as one has not acquired the thread of ‘surrender to the Divine’ (Sharanagati-Tattva). The moment one wears the Sutra (thread) of Sharanagati (total surrender), one acquires the right to a half share in the energy and authority of the Divine. We must strive earnestly to pursue the path of submission to the Divine

Will and offering everything to the Divine

The attitude of surrender will grow in us as we recite regularly the Gayatri Mantra. This is the reason why boys are initiated into the Mantra at an early age. There is also another reason for this early initiation. Boys, who have been indolent or dull before getting the Brahmopadesam have been able to develop their intelligence and be more diligent in their studies after they have received the Gayatri Mantra. This is a matter of proven experience. Like sunrise after the night, the Gayatri Mantra dispels the darkness of ignorance: "Dhiyoyo-nah Prachodayaath." The rays of the Gayatri Mantra illumine the mind and intelligence and promote knowledge, wisdom and discrimination.

I bless the young vatus (boys who have been initiated) so that from today they recite the Gayatri regularly, lead exemplary lives and grow into good, god-fearing, educated and enlightened citizens of Bharat.”

He entertained them to a grand feast. In the evening, another meeting was held at Poornachandra Auditorium during which Prof. V.K. Gokak spoke and Bhagavan delivered a Discourse.

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