Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā - Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of GāyatrīChapter One - Oṁ: The Supreme Combination of Letters

Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā – Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of Gāyatrī

Introduction

Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā (Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of Gāyatrī) has been compiled for the pleasure of Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu and the followers of His disciplic succession known as the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya. This publication presents the remarkable mādhurya (conjugal) conception of gāyatrī as revealed by śāstra (scripture), sādhus (pure devotees), and ācāryas (bona fide spiritual masters). When the contents of this book are examined by the serious readers, surely all will agree that the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava conception of gāyatrī is the summit of theistic thought.

In the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, the gāyatrī which the guru (bona fide spiritual master) gives to the sādhaka (devotee) at the time of dīkṣā (initiation) is that of the Vedic dīkṣā (upanayana) and also that of the Vaiṣṇava pañcarātrika-dīkṣā.

Dīkṣā is defined in the Viṣṇu Yāmala as that process by which divine knowledge is given and pāpa (sins) are destroyed:

divyam jñānam yato dadyāt kuryāt pāpasya saṁkṣayam
tasmād-dikṣeti sā proktā deśikais tattva-kovdaih

“The process by which divine knowledge (divya-jñāna) is given and sins are destroyed is called as dīkṣā by highly learned scholars who are expert in spiritual affairs.” (Hari-bhakti-vilāsa 2.9, from Viṣṇu Yāmala)

The Vedic dīkṣā (upanayana) is instituted by giving the brahma-gāyatrī. The Vaiṣṇava pañcarātrikadīkṣā is instituted by giving three pañcarātrika-mantras (mūlamantras) and three pañcarātrikagāyatrīs.

The brahmagāyatrī begins with oṁ, the bīja (seed syllable) followed by the mahā-vyāhṛtis (bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ and svaḥ), then follows the gāyatrī itself, tat savitur vareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt. The use of the word dhīmahi (meditation or to invoke the form and activities of the Supreme Lord) is used in all gāyatrīs.

Similarly, we find that there are four fundamental characteristics in all pañcarātrika-mantras and gāyatrīs: the use of such bījas as aiṁ or klīṁ at the beginning, nāmātmaka or the presence of nāma (the holy name) as the central pivot of the mantra, the words svāhā or namaḥ indicating praṇāma (offering obeisances), and the word dhīmahi indicating dhyāna (meditation).

According to strict Vedic standards upanayana can only be offered to those who are born in brāhmaṇa families. Unfortunately, in Kali-yuga (the present age) there are no brāhmaṇa by birth — everyone is more or less a śūdrā (unqualified) by birth. This is stated in Skanda Purāṇa: kalau-śūdrāsambhavāḥ. Thus the Vedic system of dīkṣā is inapplicable for Kali-yuga. Therefore, the Vaiṣṇava system of pañcarātrika-dīkṣā, which has existed since ancient times, and was directly taught by the Supreme Lord, has been introduced. Paramātmā Sandarbha, anuccheda 18, and Mahābhārāta both declare:

pañcarātrasya kṛtsnasya vaktā tu bhagavān svayam

“Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead Himself, spoke the Pañcarātra literature.”

Because the Pañcarātra was directly spoken by Kṛṣṇa Himself it is considered that Pañcarātra, (especially the Nārada Pañcarātra) is supernaturally excellent among all revealed scriptures, sarveśu ca nṛpaśreṣṭha jñāneṣvebheṣu dṛśyate. According to authorities pañcarātra means that which deals with five (pañca) kinds of knowledge (rātra);

rātrañ ca jñanavacanaṁ jñanaṁ pañcavidhaṁ smṛtam
tenedaṁ pañcarātraṁ ca pravadanti manīśiṇaḥ

Pañca means five. Rātra means jñāna or knowledge. According to authorities there are five kinds of knowledge; 1) vaidika, 2) yogika, 3) māyik, 4) mukti, and 5) bhakti, the knowledge by which one attains to the loving devotional service of the Śrī Śrī Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa. (Nārada Pañcarātra 1.2.44 and Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra 2.44)

The Nārada Pañcarātra specifically deals with the topic of bhakti and therefore it is most important for all devotional aspirants in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya.

jñānaṁ paramatattvaṁ ca janma-mṛtyu-jarāpaham
tato mṛtyuñjayaḥ śambhuḥ saṁprāpa kṛṣṇavaktrataḥ

“The knowledge contained in Nārada Pañcarātra puts an end to birth, death, old age and disease — and reveals the Supreme Truth. Kṛṣṇa also spoke this knowledge to the supremely fortunate Śambu (Lord Śiva).” (Nārada Pañcarātra 1.2.25 and Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra 2.46)

dṛṣṭhā sarvaṁ samālokya jñānaṁ saṁprāpya śaṅkarāt
jñānāṛtaṁ pañcarātraṁ cakāra nārado muniḥ

“Nārada Muni, after studying all the scriptures, heard this unparalleled knowledge from the lotus mouth of the best of devotees, Lord Śiva, who heard it from Kṛṣṇa. At that time Nārada compiled the Pañcarātra, which is the essence of nectar.” (Nārada Pañcarātra 1.2.56 and Gauḍīya Kaṇṭhahāra 2.47)

The pañcarātrika system requires a sādhaka to undergo the process known as pañcasaṁskāra. This pañcasaṁskāra consists of pañca (five) stages of saṁskāra (purification) mentioned as follows:

tāpaḥ puṇḍraṁ tathā nāma mantro yāgaś ca pañcamaḥ
amī hi pañca-saṁskārāḥ paramaikānti-hetavaḥ

Tāpaḥ, puṇḍra, nāma, mantra, and yāga; these five items comprise pañcasaṁskāra. They are the cause of intense devotion to Lord Hari.”

Tāpaḥ means performing austerities and professing one’s self as a servant of Hari (Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa). Puṇḍra means applying tilaka marks (vertical lines drawn on the body) symbolizing the body as the temple of Hari. Nāma means receiving the holy name from the spiritual master and chanting that name according to his direction.

Hare Kṛṣṇa Hare Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Kṛṣṇa Hare Hare
Hare Rāma Hare Rāma Rāma Rāma Hare Hare

Of the pañcasaṁskāras it is nāma which is given the most importance. In all the Vedic literature the holy name of Hari is glorified;

yan-nāmadheya-śravaṇānukīrtanād
yat-prahvaṇād yat-smaraṇād api kvacit
śvādo ‘pi sadyaḥ savanāya kalpate
kutaḥ punas te bhagavān nu darśanāt

“To say nothing of the spiritual advancement of persons who see the Supreme Person face to face, even a person born in a family of dog-eaters immediately becomes eligible to perform Vedic sacrifices if he once utters the holy name of Hari, the Supreme Personality of Godhead or chants about Him, hears about His pastimes, offers Him obeisances or even remembers Him.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 3.33.6)

Those who offenselessly chant nāma are automatically imbued with all good qualities. One who chants the holy name of Hari (Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa) thus becomes qualified on the strength of the holy name to receive Vedic mantras, the fourth of the pañcasaṁskāra. Mantra means mantradīkṣā or receiving the brahma-gāyatrī (upanayana) and the pañcarātrikamantras. After receiving the mantradīkṣā the sādhaka is engaged in the worship of Śrī Mūrti under śāstric (scriptural) regulations and this is called yāga. These are the five processes for purification called pañcasaṁskāra.

If one is interested in practicing the process of temple worship one must positively take shelter of a guru and learn the process from him. Having received the proper mantras from the guru one can worship Śrī Mūrti. In Kali-yuga, the pañcarātrika system is mostly recommended for those who want to perform yāga, the worship of Śrī Mūrti.

Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī writes:

śruti smṛti-purāṇādi-pañcaratra-vidhiṁ vinā
aikāntikī harer bhaktir utpātāyaiva kalpate

“Devotional service of the Lord that ignores the authorized Vedic literatures like the Upaniṣads, Purāṇas and Nārada-pañcarātra is simply an unnecessary disturbance in society.” (Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu 1.2.101)

In Kali-yuga there are two systems recommended for worshiping the Supreme Lord, the bhāgavata system and pañcarātrika system. In the bhāgavata system chanting of the holy name (nāma) is given preference because in Kali-yuga one can reach the perfection of life simply by hearing, chanting, remembering and worshiping the holy name. ŚrīmadBhāgavatam confirms in the last śloka:

nāma-saṇkīrtanaṁ yasya sarva-pāpa praṇāśanam
praṇāmo duḥka-śamanas taṁ namāmi hariṁ param

“Kṛṣṇa’s holy name can relieve us from all undesirable sinfulness, all filthy characteristics, and all miseries. Let us all bow down to Him.” (Bhāg. 12.13.23)

It is further said in this regard in the Garuḍa Purāṇa:

apavitraḥ pavitro va sarvāsthāṁ gato’pi vā
yaḥ smaret puṇdarīkākṣaṁ sa bāhyābhyantaraḥ śuciḥ

“Either pure or impure, or having passed through all conditions of material life, if one can remember the lotus-eyed Kṛṣṇa, he becomes externally and internally clean.”

Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu has taught five essential aṅgas (practices) for the performance of śuddhabhakti (pure devotional service): Śrī Mūrti-seva (worship of the Lord in the temple), Śrī Bhāgavat-kathā (hearing Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam), Śrī Nāmasaṅkīrtana (congregational chanting of the holy name), Śrī Kṛṣṇabhakto (association with pure devotees of Kṛṣṇa), and Śrī Mathurāmaṇḍala (living in the district of Mathurā). In all these processes chanting of the holy name (śrī nāmasaṅkīrtana) is the central point, that is, the bhāgavata system. To assist in the purification of the sādhakas and to enable them to worship the Śrī Murti in the temple, the followers of the bhāgavata system also accept upanayana and the pañcarātrika-dīkṣā. Lastly it may be considered that both the upanayana and pañcarātrika-dīkṣā are but parts or secondary to the bhāgavata system.

Having received the holy name from the guru and having chanted the holy name properly for some time the sādhaka is then offered mantra-dīkṣā. The first gāyatrī given by the guru to the sādhaka at the time of mantra-dīkṣā is the upanayana (oṁ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ tat savitur vareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt oṁ). This gāyatrī is the first in the category of Vedic gāyatrīs and is known as brahma-gāyatrī. It is also commonly referred to by the sādhaka as brahmavidyā and vedamātā (the source of transcendental knowledge and the mother of the Veda). Indeed, brahma-gāyatrī is the original sound vibration upon which the Vedic literature is based.

Within the Veda itself, gāyatrī is first written in the Ṛg Veda (3.62.10) without the mahāvyāhṛtis as tat savitur vareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt. In the Śukla Yajur Veda (36.3) the gāyatrī is written with the mahāvyāhṛtis as bhūr bhuva svah tat savitur vareṇyaṁ bhargo devasya dhīmahi dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt.

In the Candogya Upaniṣad (Chapter 4.17.1-3) we find the narration wherein Prajāpati (Lord Brahmā) meditated on the nature of the universe (viśva). He thus realized that the three planes of material existence are pṛthivi (physical), antarikṣa (mental), and svarga (intellectual). These three planes are thus represented by the mahā-vyāhṛtis bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, and svaḥ. The seed of the Ṛg Veda is bhūḥ, the seed of the Yajur Veda is bhuvaḥ, and the seed of the Sāma Veda is svaḥ. These three bījas (mahāvyāhṛtis) are said to have been derived from oṁ as three primary colors are contained in a ray of white light. Similarly, Prajāpati came to the realization that as veins pervade all leaves so oṁ pervades all vāk (sound). Therefore the ṛṣis (sages) have concluded that oṁ (the seed) is to be uttered at the beginning and the end of brahma-gāyatrī. Oṁ, when uttered at the beginning and end of brahma-gāyatrī, is the Vedic standard by which one should perform gāyatrī-japa (gāyatrī repetition).

When the personified form of brahma-gāyatrī is manifest she appears with five faces. These five faces correspond with the five principle features of the brahma-gāyatrī:

  1. oṁ (the seed),
  2. the mahāvyāhṛtis (bhūḥ, bhuvaḥ, svaḥ),
  3. tat savitur vareṇyaṁ (indicating sambandha, relationship),
  4. bhargo devasya dhīmahi (indicating abhidheya, the process of surrender), and
  5. dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt (indicating prayojana, the consummation).

The three pañcarātrika-mantras given by the guru to the sādhaka are the guru-mantra (aiṁ gurave namaḥ), the gaura-mantra (klīṁ gaurāya namaḥ), and the gopāla-mantra (klīṁ kṛṣṇāya govindāya gopījana-vallabhāya svāhā). The three pañcarātrikagāyatrīs given are the guru-gāyatrī (aiṁ gurudevāya vidmahe kṛṣṇānandāya dhīmahi tan no guruḥ pracodayāt), the gauragāyatrī (klīṁ caitanyāya vidmahe viśvambharāya dhīmahi tan no gauraḥ pracodayāt), and the kāma-gāyatrī (klīṁ kāmadevāya vidmahe puṣpa-bānāya dhīmahi tan no anaṅgah pracodayāt).

Although in the context of the Purāṇic setting the pañcarātrika system was taught by Lord Viṣṇu only after the demons Madhu and Kaitava had stolen the Vedic mantras from the mind of Brahmā, we find in the authoritative book Śrī Brahma Saṁhitā that Lord Brahmā, at the outset of creation, heard the gopāla-mantra pronounced by Divyā Sarasvatī (the divine vibration of the Supreme Personality of Godhead) even before receiving oṁkāra (the Vedic gāyatrī of threefold form).

Furthermore, it is the opinion of Śrīpāda Jīva Gosvāmī that upon receiving oṁkāra, which had manifest from the divine flute of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Lord Brahmā also meditated on the kāmagāyatrī (klīṁ kāmadevāya vidmahe puṣpabānāya dhīmahi tan no anaṅgah pracodayāt), which is the fifth note of the divine flute. Having thus received the status of dvija (twice born), Brahmā entered into a state of blissful transcendence. Therefore, it must be said that the pañcarātrika system of receiving mantras and gāyatrīs (such as gopāla-mantra and kāma-gāyatrī) is in no way inferior to that of the Vedic system at any time. Since both systems emanate from the Supreme, both may be taken as eternal.

Having thus received the Vedic dīkṣā and the Vaiṣṇava pañcarātrikadīkṣā, the sādhaka of the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya wears the yajñopavita, the brāhmaṇa thread consisting of nine strings symbolizing the status of his being a dvija (twice born). One who has received this dvija (second birth) can gain admittance into the transcendental world via contemplation and meditation on the gāyatrī.

The nine threads of yajñopavita symbolize the nine practices of śuddha-bhakti (pure devotional service): śravaṇaṁ, kīrtanaṁ, smaraṇaṁ, pāda-sevanam, arcanaṁ, vandanaṁ, dāsyaṁ, sakhyam, and ātma-nivedanam (hearing the glories of the Lord, chanting the glories of the Lord, remembering the Lord, serving the lotus feet of the Lord, worshiping the Śrī Murti of the Lord, offering prayers to the Lord, serving the Lord in all respects, becoming the friend of the Lord, and surrendering everything to the Lord respectively).

Similarly, the yajñopavita symbolizes the nine islands of Śrī Navadvīpa Dhāma: Antardvīpa, Sīmantadvīpa, Godrumadvīpa, Madhyamdvīpa, Koladvīpa, Ṛtudvīpa, Jahnudvīpa, Modadrumadvīpa, and Rudradvīpa. These nine islands also correspond to the nine practices of śuddha-bhakti.

The yajñopavita also symbolizes the nine stages of developing śuddhabhakti namely śraddhā (faith), sādhu-saṅga (associating with saints), bhajana-kriyā (practicing pure devotional service), anartha-nivṛtti (purification of the heart), niṣṭhā (being fixed in the Absolute Truth), ruci (sweet taste), āsakti (attachment to everything connected to Kṛṣṇa), bhāva (awakening of feelings of love for Kṛṣṇa), and prema (intense feelings of love for Kṛṣṇa). Conversely, these nine stages also correspond to both the nine practices of śuddhabhakti and to the nine islands of Śrī Navadvīpa Dhāma.

In the gāyatrī we find three bījamantras, oṁ, aiṁ, and klīṁ. Oṁ denotes sat, invoking the potency of eternality. Aiṁ denotes cit, invoking the potency of knowledge, and klīṁ denotes ānanda, invoking the potency of bliss. In the Nārada Pañcaratra, bīja-mantras have been explained as primordial sound fragments which have the potency to evoke a particular energy both within and outside a person who utters the bīja. This of course presupposes having received the bīja from the guru (bona fide spiritual master).

As in the brahma-gāyatrī — each of the three pañcarātrika-gāyatrīs also have three stages of contemplation — sambandha, abhidheya, and prayojana (relationship, the process of surrender, and the consummation). By the use of the syllable vid as in vidmahe, meaning acknowledgement of the Lord, sambandha, the relationship between the Lord and the living entity as master and servant respectively, is established. By the use of the syllable dhī as in dhīmahi, meaning worship of the Lord, abhidheya, the process of surrender by which one develops āsakti (attachment), and bhāva (feelings of intimacy with the Lord) is established. By the use of the word pracodayāt meaning to impel one to spontaneously engage in loving devotional service to the Lord, prayojana, the consummation of prema (spontaneous divine love — rāga-mārga) is established.

The first chapter of this book defines oṁ as non-different from the worship of the personal aspects of the Absolute Truth, Śrī Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa. The second and third chapters describe the topmost meaning of the brahma-gāyatrī according to Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam — the full-fledged purport of theism, culminating in rādhā-dāsyam, the Divine Service of Śrīmati Rādhārānī. The fourth chapter examines the meaning of guru-mantra and guru-gāyatrī. The fifth chapter examines the gaura-mantra and the gaura-gāyatrī. Chapters six, seven, and eight describe the gopāla-mantra, kāma-bīja, and kāmagāyatrī in relation to the divine sentiments of mādhurya-rasa (conjugal love). Thus Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā is completed in eight auspicious chapters.

When studying the schools of Vaiṣṇava thought in India, namely the sampradāyas (disciplic successions) of Śrī, Brahmā, Kumāra, and Rudra one finds that all these sampradāyas chant the brahma-gāyatrī during the three sandhyas (morning, noon, and evening) of the day, whereas the chanting of the pañcarātrika-mantras and gāyatrīs are uttered optionally according to the particular instructions given by the respective guru. Each of the sampradāyas has its own particular meditation on the brahma-gāyatrī in terms of its ultimate goal, or highest ideal. A careful study of these various schools gives one a measure of the level in theistic thought and divine realization achieved by that sampradāya. Clearly, in this comparison, the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava commentary (of Brahma-Madhva Gauḍīya sampradāya) stands supreme as representative of the summit of devotional theism.

It is the word savitur in particular upon which the sampradāyas establish their philosophical conception of the brahmagāyatrī. The question then arises as to who savitur refers. Savitur, according to the rules of Sanskrit grammar, can refer to Brahman (effulgence), the sun, fire, our conscious nature as jīva souls and intelligence. Savitur is further identified as Sarasvatī, Agnideva, Sūrya, Sūrya Nārāyaṇa, Paramātmā (the Supersoul), etc. Thus the brahma-gāyatrī is explained as meditation on the sun or the Sun God by some, and as meditation on the Paramātmā, Viṣṇu, Kṛṣṇa and so forth by others.

The followers of Śaṅkarācārya’s school of Advaita Vedānta are also among those who chant the brahma-gāyatrī, their conception being that savitur means Brahman, their ultimate goal being to merge their individual identity therein. However, this conception does not find sufficient support in the Vedic system of knowledge. The concept of Brahman (sāyujya-mukti) as the subject of brahma-gāyatrī finds support only in the false interpretations and arguments of the followers of Śaṅkarācārya, not in the Vedic pramāṇa (evidence).

In the Viṣṇu-dharmottara Purāṇa, chapter 165, King Vajra asks Mārkaṇḍeya Ṛṣi why the brahma-gāyatrī is chanted in Vaiṣṇava sacrifices if its presiding Deity is the Sun God. Mārkaṇḍeya replies that brahma-gāyatrī refers to Viṣṇu — he then proceeds to show how each word of brahma-gāyatrī is related to Viṣṇu. He concludes by saying:

kāma-kāmo labhet kāmaṁ gati-kāmas tu sad-gatim
akāmas tu tad avāpnoti yad viṣṇoḥ paramaṁ padam

“A person desiring material gain or liberation in the next life can achieve either by chanting gāyatrī; but the worshiper who is devoid of desires attains the Supreme Abode of Viṣṇu.”

In his book Tantra-sāra Śrī Madhvācārya summarizes the above information by describing that there are twenty-four syllables in gāyatrī (ta, tsa, vi, tuḥ, va, re, ṇi, yaṁ, bha, rgo, de, va, sya, dhī, ma, hi, dhi, yo, yo, naḥ, pra, cho, da, yāt) and these are called varṇas (positioned by divine arrangement). These twenty-four varṇas have corresponding governing forms of Viṣṇu/Kṛṣṇa; Keśava, Nārāyaṇa, Mādhava, Govinda, Viṣṇu, Madhusūdana, Trivikrama, Vāmana, Śrīdhara, Hṛṣīkeśa, Padmanābha, Dāmodara, Saṅkarṣaṇa, Vāsudeva, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Puruṣottama, Adhokṣaja, Nārasiṁha, Acyuta, Janārdana, Upendra, Hari, and Śrī Kṛṣṇa respectively.

In the Viṣṇu Sahasranāma, the book containing one thousand names of Viṣṇu, the mahā-vyāhṛtis (bhūr, bhuvaḥ, and svaḥ) are also mentioned;

anādir bhūr bhuvo-lakṣmīḥ

 “Anādir means that Kṛṣṇa is independent. Bhūr is the name of Kṛṣṇa indicating that He was merciful to Brahmā and forgave his offenses (bhūh). Bhuvo-lakṣmīḥ means that Kṛṣṇa was the transcendental ornament that decorated the land of Vraja-bhūmi.” (Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 114)

bhūr-bhuvaḥ-svas-tarus tāraḥ

“Kṛṣṇa is like a great tree that shades the upper, middle, and lower planetary systems and provides all necessities to all living entities, who are like birds who have taken shelter of that tree (bhūr-bhuvaḥ-svas-taru).” (Viṣṇu Sahasranāma 117)

Similarly, in the Ṛg Veda the words, oṁ āsya jānato nāma cid-viviktan mahaste viṣṇu indicate that oṁ is the name of Viṣṇu. Thus we find no real scope for impersonalist meditation within the brahma-gāyatrī.

In his Tattva Sandarbha, Śrīpāda Jīva Gosvāmī has elaborately explained with references to various Purāṇas that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the natural commentary on the brahma-gāyatrī and that brahma-gāyatrī is exclusively a meditation on the Supreme Personality of the Absolute Truth. He at no time gives any credence to the impersonal conception of gāyatrī.

In Tattva-sandarbha, Anuccheda 22.6, Jīva Gosvāmī makes the following statement which defines meditation on brahmagāyatrī as being meditation on the Personality of Godhead, as well as clarifying the relationship of brahma-gāyatrī with Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

yasmād evaṁ bhagavat-paras tasmād eva yatrādhikṛtya
gāyatrīm iti kṛta-lakṣaṇa-śrī-bhāgavata-
nāmā granthaḥ śrī-bhagavat-parāyā
gāyatryā bhāṣya-rūpo ‘sau
tad uktam “yatrādhikṛtya gāyatrīm” ity-ādi

“Since the book Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, characterized as ‘beginning with the brahma-gāyatrīmantra’ is dedicated to the Personality of Godhead, it serves as a commentary on brahma-gāyatrī, which is also dedicated to the Supreme Lord. This same point — that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is a commentary on the brahma-gāyatrī — is made in such statements as ‘in which (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam) brahma-gāyatrī is introduced as the basis of discussion.’”

Jīva Gosvāmī supports this statement with a reference from the Agni Purāṇa 216.3:

taj jyotiḥ paramaṁ brahma bhargas tejo yataḥ smṛtaḥ

“That light is called the Supreme Brahmān because the word bhargas (in brahma-gāyatrī) means effulgence.”

He then quotes Agni Purāṇa 216.7-8 to show that the “effulgence” means Viṣṇu:

taj jhotir bhagavān viṣṇur jagaj-janmādi-kāraṇam
śivaṁ kecit paṭhanti sma śakti-rūpam vadanti ca
kecit sūryam kecid agniṁ daivatāny agni hotriṇaḥ
agny-ādi-rūpo viṣṇur hi vedādau brahma gīyate

“That effulgence is Viṣṇu, who is the cause of the universal creation, maintenance, and dissolution. Some people say “effulgence” (bhargo) in brahma-gāyatrī refers instead to Śiva, while others say it means śakti. Yet others say it refers to the sun, and still others say it refers to fire. While chanting brahma-gāyatrī, the brāhmaṇas who perform Vedic fire sacrifices (agni-hotras) worship various demigods. But it is Viṣṇu who is present in the forms of Agni (fire) and other demigods, and the Vedas praise Him as the Absolute Truth, Brahman.”

Although there may be differences of opinion between the various branches of scholars, philosophers, and religionists regarding the conception of the brahma-gāyatrī, there is a final conclusion which can be reached by the proper study of the Vedic literature—the standard by which philosophical controversy is resolved in India.

It is said in India in this regard that “The Vedas advise like a king, the Purāṇas like a friend, and the kavya like one’s beloved, but the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam advises like all three.” Thus it is understood that the Śrīmad-Bhagavatam is the ultimate pramāṇa and therefore it should be taken as the final word in philosophical subject matters concerning the Absolute Truth.

Skanda Purāṇa confirms as follows:

śataśo ‘tha sahasraiś ca kim anyaiḥ śāstra-saṁgrahaiḥ
na yasya tiṣṭhate gehe śāstraṁ bhāgavataṁ kalau
kathaṁ sa vaiṣṇavo jñeyaḥ sastram bhāgavataṁ kalau
gṛhe na tiṣṭhate yasya sa vipraḥ śvapacādhamaḥ
yatra yatra bhaved vipra śāstraṁ bhāgavataṁ kalau
tatra tatra harir yāti tridaṣaiḥ saha nārada
yaḥ paṭhet prāyato nityaṁ ślokaṁ bhāgavataṁ mune
aṣṭādaṣa-purāṇānaṁ phalaṁ prāpnoti mānavaḥ

“In Kali-yuga what is the value of collecting hundreds of thousands of other scriptures if one does not keep Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam at home? How can a person be considered a Vaiṣṇava in Kali-yuga if Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam finds no place in his house? Even if he is a learned brāhmaṇa, such a person should be considered lower than a dog-eater. O learned Nārada Muni, wherever Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is present in Kali-yuga, the Supreme Lord goes there with the demigods. A person who faithfully recites one verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam every day attains the fruit of reading the eighteen Purāṇas.” (Skanda Purāṇa, Viṣṇu Khaṇḍa 16.40, 42, 44, 331)

Quoting the author of the Vedas, Śrīla Vyāsadeva, we find the following statement in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

sarva-vedānta-sāram hi śrī-bhāgavatam iṣyate
tad-rasāmṛta-tṛptasya nānyatra syād ratiḥ kvacit

Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is indeed the essence of all Vedānta philosophy. He who is satisfied by hearing its nectar-like words takes no interest in any other scripture.” (Bhāg. 12.13.15)

Vyāsadeva’s statement about Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be taken as most authoritative. Vyāsadeva, being the author of the Vedas, the Vedānta Sūtra, and the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, certainly knows in which of these scriptures the Supreme Essence of Truth can be found.

It is Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam which will help us to understand the purport of brahma-gāyatrī. Gāyatrī is the mother of the Vedas and the commentary of such is given in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Brahmā-gāyatrī is the prototype of all Vedic mantras. Thus the brahma-gāyatrī is a concise statement as to the significance of all the Vedas.

artho ‘yaṁ brahma-sūtrāṇāṁ bhāratārtha-vinirṇayaḥ
gāyatrī-bhāṣya-rūpo ‘sau vedārtha-paribṛṁhitaḥ

“The meaning of the Vedānta Sūtra is present in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. The full purport of the Mahābhārata is also there. The commentary of the brahma-gāyatrī is also there (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam), and fully expanded with all Vedic knowledge.” (Garuḍa Purāṇa)

In the brahma-gāyatrī the word dhīmahi, meaning let us meditate, is important. The appearance of this word in any particular verse or mantra has been taken to indicate brahma-gāyatrī. In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the first śloka says: dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi. The brahma-gāyatrī also says dhīmahi. Since the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam invokes the brahma-gāyatrī in its opening stanza by the use of the word dhīmahi, this signifies that the entire text is an explanation of brahma-gāyatrī.

This is also confirmed by Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Svāmī in his Bhāvārtha-Dīpikā commentary on Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Śrīpāda Śrīdhara Svāmī confirms that Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam begins with the brahma-gāyatrī. He writes:

dhīmahīti gāyatryā prārambhena ca gāyatry-ākhyā-
brahma-vidyā-rūpam etat purāṇam iti darśitam

“That the brahma-gāyatrī phrase indicated by the word dhīmahi begins this Purana shows that this work has the nature of the brahma-vidyā (Vedic knowledge of the Supreme) called brahma-gāyatrī.”

Because Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam describes the purport of brahma-gāyatrī, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam itself is called the fruit of the tree of Vedic knowledge, nigama-kalpa-taror galitaṁ phalaṁ. Indeed, Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is the full-fledged meaning of the brahma-gāyatrī.

The word brahma as in brahma-gāyatrī means brahma-vidyā or transcendental knowledge. The word gāyatrī of the same is derived from joining two Sanskrit words, gānat and trāyate. Gānat means musical sound and trāyate means to achieve the final stage of enlightenment. Thus brahma-gāyatrī is said to be that melodious sound which grants us the highest fulfilment in the world of consciousness. The Agni Purāṇa states:

gāyaty ukthāni śastrāṇi bhargaṁ prāṇaṁs tathaiva ca
tataḥ smṛteyaṁ gāyatrī sāvitrī yatra eva ca
prakāśinī sa savitur vāgrūpatvāt sarasvatī

“It is called gāyatrī because it sings about, gāyaty, or illuminates the Vedic mantras, the scriptures, the Supreme Lord, and one’s intelligence. It is called sāvitrī because it reveals Savita, the creator. And it is called sarasvatī because it is the essence of speech” (Agni Purāṇa 216. 1-2)

Sāvitri as in savitur of brahma-gāyatrī means the source of all intelligence. Ultimately, that sāvitri is Śrī Caitanya. This is confirmed by Rāmānanda Rāya in Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta:

eta tattva mora citte kaile prakāśana
brahmāke veda yena paḍāila nārāyaṇa
antaryāmī īsvarera ei rīti haye
bāhire nā kahe, vastu prakāśe hṛdaye

“You (Śrī Caitanya) have manifested many transcendental truths in my heart. This is exactly the way Nārāyaṇa educated Brahmā. The Supersoul within everyone’s heart speaks not externally but from within. He instructs the devotees in all respects, and that is His way of instruction.” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 8.264-5)

A similar statement is found in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam wherein Śukadeva Gosvāmī invoked the blessings of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

pracoditā yena purā sarasvatī
vitanvatājasya satīṁ smṛtiṁ hṛdi
sva-lakṣaṇā prādurabhūt kilāsyataḥ
sa me ṛṣīṇām ṛṣabhaḥ prasīdatām

“May the Lord, who in the beginning of the creation amplified the potent knowledge of Brahmā from within his heart and inspired him with full knowledge of creation and His own self, and who appeared to be generated from the mouth of Brahmā, be pleased with me.” (Bhāg. 2.4.22)

Kṛṣṇa is the Supreme Personality of Godhead and He appears in Kali-yuga as Śrī Caitanya. This is confirmed as follows:

kṛṣṇa-varṇaṁ tviṣākṛṣṇaṁ sāṅgopāṅgāstra-pārṣadam
yajñaiḥ saṅkīrtana-prāyair yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ

“In this Age of Kali, those who are intelligent perform the congregational chanting of the Hare Kṛṣṇa mahā-mantra, worshiping the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who appears in this age always describing the glories of Kṛṣṇa. That incarnation is yellowish in hue and is always associated with His plenary expansions [such as Śrī Nityānanda Prabhu] and personal expansions [such as Gadādhara], as well as His devotees and associates [such as Svarūpa Dāmodara].” (Bhāg. 11.5.32)

In Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam the astrologer Garga Muni also confirms Kṛṣṇa’s appearance in Kali-yuga in a yellow (golden) color:

āsan varṇās trayo hy asya gṛhṇato ’nu-yugaṁ tanūḥ
śuklo raktas tathā pīta idānīṁ kṛṣṇatāṁ gataḥ

“In the past, your son has had bodies of three different colors, according to the age. These colors were white, red and yellow. In this age [Dvāpara-yuga] He has accepted a blackish body.” (Bhāg. 10.8.13)

Mahābhārata also confirms the Lord’s appearance in the Kali-yuga as Śrī Caitanya as follows:

suvarṇa-varṇo hemāṅgo varāṅgaś candanāṅgadī
sannyāsa-kṛc chamaḥ śānto niṣṭhā-śānti-parāyaṇaḥ

“The Lord [in the incarnation of Gaurasundara] has a golden complexion. Indeed, His entire body, which is very nicely constituted, is like molten gold. Sandalwood pulp is smeared all over His body. He will take the fourth order of spiritual life [sannyāsa] and will be very self-controlled. He will be distinguished from māyāvādī sannyāsīs in that He will be fixed in devotional service and will spread the saṅkīrtana movement.” (Mahābhārata, Viṣṇu Sahasranāma Stotra)

Because Śrī Caitanya is non-different from Kṛṣṇa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, as supported above, it is also logical to conclude that Śrī Caitanya can also be understood as the original source of the gāyatrī-mantra. Therefore, brahmagāyatrī may be taken as a meditation on Śrī Caitanya (kṛṣṇa caitanyāya vidmahe viśvambharāya dhīmahi tan no gauraḥ pracodayāt). (This will be further explained in chapter five.)

With regard to gāyatrī being a melodious sound, the following information is found in Śrī Brahmā-samhita:

atha veṇu-ninādasya trayī-mūrti-mayī gatiḥ
sphurantī praviveśāśu mukhābjāni svayambhuvaḥ
gāyatrīṁ gāyatas tasmād adhigatya sarojajaḥ
saṁskṛtaś cādi-guruṇā dvijatām agamat tataḥ

“Then the gāyatrī of threefold form that is the form of oṁkāra (oṁ/a-u-m), mother of the Vedas, emanated as the beautiful harmonious sequence of the Song of the Divine Flute of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. Entering the ears of Brahmā, that melodious sound was swiftly manifest within his mouth as the gāyatrī. Thus Brahmā, who was born of the lotus flower, received gāyatrī as it emanated from the Divine Flute-Song of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, and so he was initiated by the Supreme Lord, the original guru, and elevated to the status of twice-born (dvija).”

Not only is the brahma-gāyatrī considered a melodious sound but it must be considered the most charming and beautiful sound, due to its Divine Origin in the Flute of Śrī Kṛṣṇa. (A complete reproduction of the narration of the origin of gāyatrī, as found in Śrī Brahmā-samhita with illuminating purports by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, has been presented in chapter six.)

From the Divine Flute-Song of Śrī Kṛṣṇa, the sound known throughout the Vedas as oṁkāra first manifest, and then, as its sequel, the gāyatrī manifests. Those who have received initiation (mantra-dīkṣa) in the bona fide disciplic succession of spiritual masters stemming from Brahmā, the ādi-guru (original guru) in this universe, can very easily achieve success in self-realization by chanting the gāyatrī-mantra. Without proper initiation however, the mantra will not be effective. This is confirmed by Padma Purāṇa as follows:

sampradāya-vihīnā ye mantrās te niṣphalā matāḥ

“Unless you are initiated by a bona fide spiritual master in the disciplic succession, the mantra that you might have received is without any effect.”

It appeared to Brahmā in the stage of his mature realization after meditation on the kāma-gāyatrī, that he is the eternal maidservant of Kṛṣṇa.

trayyā prabuddho `tha vidhir vijñāta-tattva-sāgaraḥ
tuṣṭāva vedasāreṇa stotreṇānena keśavam

“Becoming enlightened by meditating on the gāyatrī-mantra, Brahmā realized that he is the eternal maidservant of Kṛṣṇa. Although the profound mysteries of servitorship as a maidservant were not necessarily revealed to him, he became well acquainted with the ocean of truth. Then he worshiped the Supreme Lord Kṛṣṇa with this hymn.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.28)

cintāmaṇi-prakarasadmasu kalpavṛkṣa-
lakṣāvṛteṣu surabhīr abhipālayantam
lakṣmī-sahasra-śata-saṁbhrama-sevyamānaṁ
govindam ādi puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

“I worship Govinda, the Primeval Lord, the first progenitor who is tending the cows, yielding all desires, in abodes built with spiritual gems, surrounded by millions of desire-fulfilling-trees, always served with great reverence and affection by hundreds of thousands of lakṣmīs or gopīs.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.29)

Such realizations of Brahmā and the pure cognition therein must surely be the highest ideal of achievement among the bona fide students who chant the sacred gāyatrī-mantras.

Lord Brahmā is the original guru in this universe. The direct disciple of Brahmā was Nārada Muni. Śrīla Vyāsadeva (the compiler of the Veda) was the direct disciple of Nārada, and Madhvācārya was the direct disciple of Vyāsa. From the disciplic succession of Madhvācārya , Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu accepted Śrī Īśvara Purī as his spiritual master. Because Śrī Caitanya accepted initiation in the Brahmā Madhva sampradāya that sampradāya has become most glorious. From Him (Śrī Caitanya) the disciplic succession is known as the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya and its teachings are being spread throughout the whole world.

The Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya, alone, derives the ultimate conception of brahma-gāyatrī in complete alliance with Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Moreover, it must be said that the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava sampradāya’s form of meditation on the brahmagāyatrī is topmost — “gāyatrī-muralīṣṭa-kīrtana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi.” “The brahma-gāyatrī which has sprung from the flute song of Śrī Kṛṣṇa only sings the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhāraṇī.” (A purport to this verse will be given in greater detail in chapters two and three.)

The eternal abode of the Supreme Lord is called Vaikuṇṭha. The highest planet in that spiritual sky (Vaikuṇṭha) is called Goloka, wherein the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa eternally enjoys His transcendental pastimes with His eternal associates. Among the eternal associates of the Lord the gopīs are the most exalted, and among the gopīs Śrīmatī Rādhāraṇī is the best. It has been mentioned in the narration of the Skanda Purāṇa that out of many thousands of gopīs, 16,000 are prominent. Out of these, 108 are important, and out of 108, eight are principal. Out of eight gopīs, Rādhāraṇī and Candrāvalī are chief, and out of these two Śrīmatī Rādhāraṇī is superior.

This has also been confirmed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī as follows:

tayor apy ubhayor madhye rādhikā sarvathādhikā
mahābhāva-svarūpeyaṁ guṇair ativarīyasī

“Of these two gopīs [Rādhārāṇī and Candrāvalī], Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is superior in all respects. She is the embodiment of mahābhāva, and She surpasses all in good qualities.” (Ujjvala-nīlamaṇi, Verse 2)

Other references to the supreme position of Śrīmatī Rādhāraṇī are as follows:

ānanda-cinmaya-rasa-pratibhāvitābhis
tābhir ya eva nija-rūpatayā kalābhiḥ
goloka eva nivasaty akhilātma-bhūto
govindam ādi-puruṣaṁ tam ahaṁ bhajāmi

“I worship Govinda, the primeval Lord, residing in His own realm, Goloka, with Rādhā, resembling His own spiritual figure, the embodiment of the ecstatic potency possessed of the sixty-four artistic activities, in the company of Her confidantes [sakhīs], embodiments of the extensions of Her bodily form, permeated and vitalized by His ever-blissful spiritual rasa.” (Brahma-saṁhitā 5.37)

devī kṛṣṇa-mayī proktā rādhikā para-devatā
sarva-lakṣmī-mayī sarva- kāntiḥ sammohinī parā

“The transcendental goddess Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is the direct counterpart of Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. She is the central figure for all the goddesses of fortune. She possesses all the attractiveness to attract the all-attractive Personality of Godhead. She is the primeval internal potency of the Lord.” (Bṛhad Gautamīya Tantra)

iṅhāra madhye rādhāra prema——‘sādhya-śiromaṇi’
yāṅhāra mahimā sarva-śāstrete vākhāni

“Among the loving affairs of the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī’s love for Śrī Kṛṣṇa is topmost. Indeed, the glories of Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī are highly esteemed in all revealed scriptures.” (Cc. Madhya-līlā 8.98)

yathā rādhā priyā viṣṇos tasyāḥ kuṇḍaṁ priyaṁ tathā
sarva-gopīṣu saivaikā viṣṇor atyanta-vallabhā

“Just as Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is most dear to Śrī Kṛṣṇa, Her bathing place known [Rādhā-kuṇḍa] is also dear to Him. Among all the gopīs, Śrīmatī Rādhārāṇī is supermost and very dear to Lord Kṛṣṇa.” (Padma Purāṇa)

anayārādhito nūnaṁ bhagavān harir īśvaraḥ
yan no vihāya govindaḥ prīto yām anayad rahaḥ

“When the gopīs began to talk among themselves, they said, ‘Dear friends, the gopī (Śrī Rādhā) who has been taken away by Kṛṣṇa to a secluded place must have worshiped the Lord more than anyone else.’” (Bhāg. 10.30.28)

That “gāyatrī-muralīṣṭa-kīrtana-dhanaṁ rādhāpadaṁ dhīmahi” is the ultimate meditation on brahma-gāyatrī is also confirmed by the tattvācārya Śrīpāda Jīva Gosvāmī in his commentary on the first verse of Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam:

janmādy asya yato ‘nvayād itarataś cārtheṣv abhijñaḥ svarāṭ
tene brahma hṛdā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ
tejo-vāri-mṛdāṁ yathā vinimayo yatra tri-sargo ‘mṛṣā
dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ satyaṁ paraṁ dhīmahi

There Śrīpāda Jīva Gosvāmī explains thus:
Janma means manifestation, adyasya means ādi or original, yataḥ means from whom. From whom has the original rasa (mādhurya) manifested? Rādhā, who is itarataḥ distinct from all others, and Kṛṣṇa (anvayāt). Arteśu means various pastimes and abhijṅaḥ means expert. They are expert in the performance of pastimes. Vyāsa, the ādi kavi says the śabda-brahma entered his heart (hṛdā) and he understood through premabhakti these pastimes (tene brahma hṛdā ādi kavaye). When, under the order of Nārada, Vyāsa sat in meditation in a trance of prema-bhakti (bhakti-yogena manasi samyak praṇihite ‘male) this is what he realized, and it is about this, the pastimes of Rādhā-Kṛṣṇa, that he wrote in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam. Vyāsa says that these two, and Śri Rādhā in particular, are so wonderful. Who can understand them? Even Kṛṣṇa is bewildered by Rādhārānī, what then can Ananta Śeṣa and others know about Her (muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ)? Land (mṛt) turns into water and flows, while water (vāri) takes on the character of land and becomes stunned upon hearing the flute of Śri Kṛṣṇa, which He plays only to attract Śri Rādhā, whose effulgence (tejaḥ) dims the light of the stars and moon, tejo vāri mṛdām yathā vinimayo. Among the gopīs there are three kinds, those who favor Rādhā (headed by Lalitā), those who serve in the opposition’s side (headed by Candrāvalī) and those who take sometimes the side of Rādhā and sometimes the side of Kṛṣṇa (headed by Viśākhā). They are all wonderful, yet all three groups (yatra tri sargo) are insignificant (mṛsa) in Her presence, yatra tri sargo ‘mṛṣā. All have their purpose only in relation to Her. Rādhā’s presence and influence (dhāmnā) defeats (nirasta) all interference (kuhakaṁ) created by the opposition party such as that of Jaṭilā and Kuṭila, and the leader of the gopī opposition Śrī Candrāvalī, dhāmnā svena sadā nirasta-kuhakaṁ. Thus their pastimes go on eternally (satyam). Therefore, I meditate (dhīmahi) upon these two (param) who are actually one in mahā-bhāva, and one as potent and potency. Vyāsa here has described Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa in the singular, purposefully and appropriately, as well as neuter in gender because they are beyond the conceptions of male and female.

Thus Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam itself can be taken as a meditation on Śrīmatī Rādhāraṇī. Throughout the revealed scriptures the exalted position of the gopīs has been proclaimed. In fact, the personified form of gāyatrī, namely Gāyatrī Devī, who is also known as Sāvitrī Devī and Sarasvatī Devī herself, achieved the perfection of becoming one of the gopī maidservants of Rādhā and Kṛṣṇa. In the Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purāṇa there is a description of how the goddess Gāyatrī herself became a gopī in Goloka Vṛndāvana, gāyatrī-gopīkanyakā. The narration goes as follows:

Gāyatrī Devī also attained Kṛṣṇa after becoming a gopī in Vṛndāvana. After her marriage to Brahmā, she worshiped Śrī Kṛṣṇa. He was satisfied and gave her the benediction that she would take birth in the village of Gokula Vṛndāvana and there live with her parents and family as cowherders. Kṛṣṇa was able to understand that her intention was to have him as her husband. Therefore, Kṛṣṇa informed His friends, ‘My dear friends, please listen to what I have to say. At this particular time, I have arranged for Gāyatrī Devī to be married to Brahmā, but when I take birth amongst the residents of Vṛndāvana, Gāyatrī Devī shall become My mistress (a gopī in paramour rasa).’” (Padma Purāṇa, Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa, Ch.17. 5th khaṇḍa, text 15—37)

Thus far we have established with sufficient references from guru, śāstra, and sādhu that the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam is indeed the natural commentary on brahma-gāyatrī. That which we find in Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam should be understood to be the essence of the brahma-gāyatrī.

Everything is possible by the mercy of the Supreme Lord and His devotees. When one has achieved such grace, one can understand the worship of Śrī Śrī Rādhā Kṛṣṇa and that of Śrī Caitanya to be the purport of gāyatrī.

yasya deve parā bhaktir yathā-deve tathā gurau
tasyaite kathitā hy arthāḥ prakāśante mahātmanaḥ

“Only unto those great souls who have implicit faith in both the Lord and the spiritual master are all the imports of Vedic knowledge automatically revealed.” (Śvetāśvatara Upaniṣad 6.23)

It is mentioned in the beginning of this introduction that the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava conception of Śrī Gāyatrī is the summit of all theistic thought. As is clearly shown in the Vedic scriptures, this is by no means a stretch of the imagination. In fact, in the history of the world, a more complete conception of the sweetness of Divinity has never before been revealed. Such is the sum and substance of Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā.

We humbly pray that the Supreme Lord Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu may be satisfied with our endeavour, and that all His dearmost devotees will similarly be pleased with this presentation.

The Publishers

By Published On: December 8, 2022
Śrī Gāyatrī Mantrārtha Dīpikā - Illuminations on the Essential Meaning of GāyatrīChapter One - Oṁ: The Supreme Combination of Letters
Śrīla Bhakti Gaurava Narasiṅgha Mahārāja (Jagat Guru Swami) appeared on Annadā Ekādaśī at Corpus Christi, USA in 1946. After studies in haṭha-yoga, he took initiation from his guru, Śrīla A.C. Bhaktivedānta Swami Prabhupāda in 1970 and preached in the African continent for 3 years before accepting sannyāsa in 1976. After Prabhupāda’s disappearance, Śrīla Narasiṅgha Mahārāja took śīkṣā (spiritual instruction) from Śrīla B.R. Śrīdhara Deva Gosvāmī and Śrīla B.P Purī Gosvāmī. Although he spent most of his spiritual life preaching in India, Narasiṅgha Mahārāja also travelled to Europe, Mexico and the United States to spread the message of his spiritual masters. He penned over 200 essays and 13 books delineating Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava siddhānta. He left this world in his āśrama in South India in 2020.