Those who practice yoga would have surely heard about or chanted the gayatri mantra, but where does it come from? What is the meaning of gayatri mantra?

The word gāyatrī, in reality it is not only the name of the mantra, indeed, it is the feminine form of the Sanskrit word “gāyatra”, that indicates a song or a hymn that defines a poetic meter formed by 24 syllables divided in turn into tercets of 8. The term refers to the Gāyatrī mantra

The term gāyatrī has different meanings, which essentially depend on the historical period from the text and from the indian region in which it is used, but in this article we will consider the word relative to the mantra.

Specifically, the word comes from Gaya-Ti (vital energies) and Traya-te (preserves, protects and grants the liberation), also taking into account the etymology of the Word (gāyantaṃ trāyate iti gāyatrī), the meaning approaches to all the existing “one” who sings and protects all that exists” and also “Everything that protects the person who rcites it”.

It is found in the Veda, but also in the Upanishads and in the Bhagavad Gita

It seems that it has been revealed thousands of years ago to Brahmarishi Vishwamitra as a reward for his efforts of years in “targeted” penance and meditation; he was a king, but was also the compiler of the greater part of the third section of the Rig Veda Samhita. Today he is still one of the most venerable wise men of ancient India.


The Gayatri mantra is one of the most popular mantras defined as the mantra of the sun, even though it is not aimed at a specific divinity, but towards the Sun (as Surya Namaskara) as creator of light, life and energy.

Here we can see the text:

Om Bhur Bhuvah Svaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dih Yo Yo Nah Prachodayat

The meaning of the single words:

  • Om: Brahman (the absolute). Sound as the basis of creation.
  • Bhur: refers to the earth and to the earthly world, material, the material level of existence
  • Bhuvah: Air, the subtle world. The atmosphere, the ether. Bhuvah is also Prana Shakti, the power of the vital energy, thin level of existence.
  • Svaha: The sky, heavenly level of existence.
  • Tat: That one. Paramatma,
  • Savitur: Indicates the sun (which is the origin of the universe, the beginning of everything, the inner self of man, the divine essence that is in each living being). The life-giving power of the sun, the divine sun
  • Varenyam: worthy of adoration, the absolute
  • Bhargo: The splendour, the spiritual effulgence, the light that gives wisdom, glorious light
  • Devasya: the divine reality, divine light.
  • Dhimahi: we contemplate and meditate
  • Dhi Yo: the intellect, the mind (Dhi Yo Yo Nah)
  • Yo: That.
  • Nah: Our.
  • Prachodayat: illumination, guide, inspiration

There are several translations-interpretations, we cannot say that one is more correct than another, because the true meaning of this mantra will be grasped only with practice and with the development of one’s own awareness, but here we see one of the most widespread translations:

  • “We meditate on the brightness of the Sun (Vivifying), may he enlighten our minds


The Gayatri mantra can be Recited or sung as is more usually done, generally to regain serenity and peace, maybe even in a period of strong stress, but brings with it many other benefits such as:

  • Allows to acquire wisdom, farsightedness and capacity for discernment.
  • Keeps away everything that is negative, whether it is internal (fear, anxiety, …) or external.
  • Purifies the environments in which it is sung.
  • Maintains the health, removes the disease.
  • Relieves and keeps away every kind of suffering.

Singing a mantra is equivalent to rhymns which calmed children or even those who suffer/red of psychotic attacks, its value is now recognized by the most important scientific researches which indicate to us how the repeatition of some sounds can help to change the neural connections within our brain.

Does meditation attract you?

Take a look at our mini-course on: