Sri Sathya Sai Speaks, Vol 16 (1983)
The Gaayathree Path to God

Out of action arises the bondage of Delusion; From Delusion grows a perverted mind; Mental perversion leads to perverse deeds; Such deeds again result in rebirth. YOUNG embodiments of the Divine! The grand mansion of Hindhu 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.
The jeevi is born in karma, He grows through karma, He ceases in karma.
Karma is the cause
Of happiness and misery. It has been well said that "The body indeed, is the basis for the pursuit of dharma" (Shareeramadhyam khalu dharma sadhanam). It is by the pursuit of dharma that Brahman is realised. The Geetha has declared that whenever dharma declines the advent of the Avathar (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.
Gayathree 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 Shuudhrathwam (the state of the Shuudhra, that is, one who is not subject to any regimen). After one receives the Gayathree initiation, he is born again and becomes a Dwija (the twice-born). The Gayathree is described as "Chhandhasam ma thah" - the mother of all the Vedas (ancient sacred scriptures). One meaning of Gayathree is that it is a manthra (sacred formula) which protects or fosters the "Gayas" or jeevis (individual beings). You must note that today you have all got a second birth by receiving the Gayathree manthra (Vedhic 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" (Brahmana). 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 Brahmanathwa (Brahmana-hood) on a person.
Gayathree manthra is the embodiment of all deities
The Gayathree manthra 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: Sathwa, Rajas and Thamas (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 Sathwa (equanimous) quality. The eight hours between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. are Rajasik (Passionate). The eight hours between 8 p.m. and 4 a.m. which are mainly used for sleep, are Thamasik (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 Rajasik (active pursuit). When the four Sathwik 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 Sathwik period (from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 4 p.m to 8 p.m.) the Gayathree manthra should be recited. This manthra 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 prachodayath" relates to the aspect of prayer. The manthra 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 chiththa (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 Gayathree manthra (Vedhic prayer to illuminate the intelligence) is a sacred manthra 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
Gayathree is described as having five faces. The first is "Om" The second is "Bhurbhuvassuvah" The third is. "Thathsavithur Varenyam". The fourth is "Bhargo Dhevasya Dheemahi". The fifth is: "Dhiyo-yo nah Prachodhayath", Gayathree represents in these five faces the five Pranas (life forces). Gayathree is the protector of the five Pranas in man. Gayantham thrayathe ithi Gayathree - "Because it protects the one who recites it, it is called Gayathree." When Gayathree acts as protector of the life-forces, she is known as Savithree. Savithree is known in the puranic story as the devoted wife who brought back to life her husband, Sathyavan. Savithree 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 manthra, the activating deity is Gayathree. When the life-forces are protected, the guardian deity is called Savithree. When one's speech is protected, the deity is called Saraswathee. Because of the protective roles of Savithree, Saraswathee and Gayathree, in relation to life, speech and the intellect, Gayathree is described as "Sarvadhevatha-swaruupini" - he embodiment of all goddesses.
It is essential to recite the Gayathree manthra 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 Gayathree Manthra.
Redemptive Power of the Gayathree manthra
The plea that one cannot find time for reciting the Gayathree 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 Gayathree when they wake up from bed and before they go to sleep, if only they have the will. The Gayathree can be recited even when one is talcing his bath. It will mean also offering ablutions to the goddess. At noon, if the Gayathree 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 Gayathree manthra. Through the Brahmopadhesam (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 "viprathvam" (Brahmana-hood), which leads to the realisation of Brahman. "One who is aware of Brahman, becomes one with Brahman" is the Vedhic 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 mangalasuuthra (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'" (Sharanagathi- thathwa). The moment one wears the suuthra (thread) of Sharanagathi (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 Gayathree manthra. This is the reason why boys are initiated into the manthra at an early age. There is also another reason for this early initiation. Boys, who have been indolent or dull before getting the Brahmopadhesam have been able to develop their intelligence and be more diligent in their studies after they have received the Gayathree manthra. This is a matter of proven experience. Like sunrise after the night, the Gayathree manthra dispels the darkness of ignorance: "Dhiyoyo- nah prachodayath." The rays of the Gayathree manthra 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 Gayathree regularly, lead exemplary lives and grow into good, god-fearing, educated and enlightened citizens of Bharath.
The pain that another suffers from, which you seek to assuage, is really your own pain; when you stop his pain, it is your pain that stops. Service can be effective only when the feelings of 'I' and 'Mine' give p lace to 'God' and 'God's'. It is only when your attention is monopolised by the body and its needs, that egoism will grow in strength.
When you direct your attention to the Anthar-atma (Inner-self) which is God, then, you find the same of God in all and a flood of reverence fills you and fertilises every act of yours.
– Sri Sathya Sai Baba
Selected Excerpts From This Discourse
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