Gayatri Yantra

Gayatri Yantra Meaning
Gayatri Yantra Illustration by Rose Karlsen

Gayatri Yantra and Mantra Meaning

The Gayatri yantra includes multiple layers of spiritual significance. The Gayatri yantra is a visual counterpart for a family of mantras known as the Gayatris. The term “gayatri” refers to a Vedic poetic meter of twenty-four syllables or any hymn composed in this meter. Hence, there exists a whole family of Gayatri Mantras, all of which serve as meditative aids. Estimates are that there are over 400 Gayatri poems in the Hindu tradition.

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Mantra Associate with the Gayatri Yantra

The Gayatri mantra is sometimes called the Master Mantra. This mantra is associated directly with the Gayatri yantra symbol meaning and with a specific goddess named Gayatri. The Gayatri yantra is also associated with the goddess Saraswati.

Opening Invocation in the Gayatri Mantra
The first line is of the most well-known Gayatri mantra is actually a general invocation. This is not technically part of the original sacred text from which the mantra is drawn. Here are the Sanskrit words for this mantra:

Om bhur bhuvah svaha
Tat savitur vareñyam
Bhargo devasya dhīmahi
Dhiyo yonah prachodayat

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Brief Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra

“Let me meditate on the most adored Lord and Creator, whose divine light illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illuminate my life!”

Extended Meaning of the Gayatri Mantra

“O God, the Protector, the basis of all life, Who is self-existent, Who is free from all pains and Whose contact frees the soul from all troubles, Who pervades the Universe and sustains all, the Creator and Energizer of the whole Universe, the Giver of happiness, the most Excellent, Who is Pure and the Purifier of all, let us embrace that very God, so that He may direct our mental faculties in the right direction.”

Word for Word Meaning: Gayatri Mantra

Om: the primeval sound
Bhur: the physical body and physical realm
Bhuvah: the life force or mental realm
Suvah: the soul or spiritual realm
Tat: God as That, like the Hebrew I AM That I AM
Savitur: the Sun, Creator or Source of all life
Vareñyam: adore
Bhargo: effulgence of divine light
Devasya: the supreme
Dhīmahi: to meditate
Dhiyo: the intellect
Yo: may this light
Nah: our
Prachodayāt: illumine or inspire

Gayatri Yantra Gates Meaning

Geometry of the Gayatri Yantra

One level of meaning is the geometry used to create the Gayatri yantra. Yantras usually have a central form radiating out from the center. The intent of a yantra is to focus the mind as well as to serve as a repository of spiritual energy. For this reason, yantras can also be used as protective devices.

Comparing Mandalas and Yantras
Hindu yantras are similar to Buddhist mandalas. One difference is the relative simplicity of design in yantras compared with more complex mandalas. Mandalas often include a depiction of the form of a particular deity. Yantras, on the other hand, are usually composed of geometric forms and stylized symbols based on nature. Some exceptions do exist.

Gates of the Gayatri Yantra
The outermost form of the yantra is a square with four protrusions known as gates. These are four sacred doors opening to the four directions. Yantras are drawn with mathematical precision. Each angle is exactly symmetrical. A yantra is a type of formula of primal shapes much like the formula of individual sounds in a mantra. The forms are building blocks of energy patterns just as atoms are building blocks in matter. Yantras are intended to inspire man to self-transcendence.

OM Gayatri Yantra Center

OM as the Center of the Gayatri Yantra

Central to the Gayatri yantra symbol meaning is the Sanskrit syllable OM. Yantras and mantras are always found in conjunction with one another. The form of the yantra is viewed as condensed or crystallized sound.  The lines and planes within the yantra are viewed as a kind of circuitry for conducting spiritual electricity. The spaces are also significant, creating a sacred place for manifestation. Specific forms have meaning as described in the following sections.
Triangle Symbol in Yantra

Gayatri Yantra Triangles

Triangles are the simplest forms which can create space. If there are less than three lines, there is no way to have a boundary around a form. This gives the triangle significance as the first possible shape. From this first shape comes the original symbols of duality: the masculine and the feminine. A triangle sitting on its base represents the masculine. An inverted triangle represents the feminine.

Meaning of the Hexagon
For the Gayatri yantra symbol meaning, as in many other yantras, the two triangle overlap to form a a star-hexagon. This is not only symbolic of the union of male and female, but also spirit and matter. The numerical equivalent is a six, the total of all sides.

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Gayatri Yantra Meaning

Gayatri Yantra Circle Meaning

The most fundamental meaning of the circle is cycles of time. There is also a connection to astrological cycles. Since the circle has no beginning and no ending, the circle also represents infinite time. There are two circles in the Gayatri yantra. The outer circle encloses all of the other forms. The inner circle anchors the lotus petals.
Lotus Flower by Rose Karlsen

Gayatri Yantra and the Lotus

The lotus petals around the inner circle in the Gayatri yantra symbol mean the unfolding of spirituality or divinity. The lotus is also connected to the act of creation. Many deities in Hinduism are shown springing forth from a lotus flower, holding a lotus flower or sitting on a lotus seat. The lotus petals are also present in depictions of the seven chakras.

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Author Kathleen Karlsen

Kathleen Karlsen is a musician, artist, writer and speaker. She is the author of two books (Flower Symbols and Vocal Medicine) and over 200 articles. Kathleen, her husband Andrew, and their five children live in Bozeman, Montana. More about Kathleen Karlsen.

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