Weaving the Gayatri Mantra into Your Energy Centers
Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah*
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dhee Mahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
The first line, Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah is called Mahavyahriti (“Great Saying)” used as invocation when praying to the Divine. Technically, not a part of the original Gayatri Mantra, however, “Aum Bhur Bhuva Svah” is traditionally chanted at the beginning of the Gayatri Manta.
Translation of Gayatri Mantra can vary from one translator to another. Here is one translation that resonates with me the most:
We pray and meditate upon the Sun (Savitr)*, the Divine Light that illuminates the three spheres, the earth, heaven and beyond!
May that Divine Light inspire us and lead our mind and all actions!!
* In the Gayatri mantra, Sun is invoked by the name Savitr who is the creator and supporter of the earth, heavens and all beings. Savitr or Savita is another name of Shiva. Savitr is also the name of Indra, once revered as the supreme God in the Vedic tradition. Savitr is also Surya Narayan, the “Sun God,” or Lord Vishnu.
According to Yoga Sutra (1:28) a mantra is to be chanted with Artha (meaning) and Bhavanam (the sentiment). Therefore, let’s remind ourselves that the Sun invoked in the Gayatri mantra is not merely the physical sun. The physical sun we see up in the sky is merely the external representation of the internal Sun, It is the internal Sun which is the primordial source of all light, energy (prana) heat (Agni) and all knowledge and wisdom (Prajnya). T
The Upnishads tell us that beyond the skies and heavens there is Light and that Light also resides inside us. Thus, in the Gayatri mantra we invoke Savitr who shines in the outer world as well as in our inner world. We pray that Inner Sun to guide our intellect and all our actions. Such is the artha and bhavanam of Gayatri mantra.
Having chanted Gayatri Mantra since childhood with my parents and siblings I feel specially connected to it. I believe in the power of Gayatri Mantra. I have experienced the magic of it. Therefore, many times, such as mornings, evenings, meal times, special occasions, moments of joy or challenging times I find myself repeating Gayatri Mantra silently or loud.
Last few years I have been spending my winters in Goa, India. When I am in Goa I get out to the beach every day for a walk before the sunrise. One morning as the sun emerged from the east, as usual, I stopped to chant Gayatri Mantra three times. Usually after chanting Gayatri mantra I would resume my walking. But that morning I wanted to sit down on that beautiful and soft sand and go into meditation.
During this meditation on the beach Gayatri mantra continued on with the image of the sun moving up from the Muladhara chakra, pausing at each chakra for another recitation of Gayatri mantra until reaching the Sahasrara Chakra. It felt like the Sun was following the trajectory rising from the horizon (Muladhara Chakra) at dawn and moving up in the sky through Akash Ganga (Central Channel) all the way to the meridian point at noon, completing one half of the solar trajectory.
Everything was flowing so well I took another round of visualizing Sun and reciting of Gayatri mantra through each Chakra. I felt I didn’t want to stop. Thus, my practice of weaving Gayatri mantra into the Chakras along with the image of the sun was born that morning! I have fondly named it as “Gayatri Mantra-Chakra Practice “
What a beautiful gift this practice turned out to be! It was like one divine morning world’s most precious pearls and gems washed ashore from the Arabian Sea and landed right into my lap!
I believe something so beautiful and joyful has to be shared with friends. So, are you ready my friend? Good news is that you don’t have to be on a beach or outdoors or actually witness the sun rising. You can do it wherever you happen to be.
The Energy Centers
The energy centers used in this practice are nine (9).
7 out of 9 are the well-known seven chakras, namely, Muladhara Chakra (Root Chakra—perineal/anal area), Svadhishthana Chakra (Sacral Chakra-Pelvic Center, sacrum), Manipura Chakra (Navel Center), Anahata Chakra (Heart Center), Vishuddha Chakra (the Throat Center), Ajnya Chakra (the Eye-Brow Center) and Sahasrara Chakra (the Crown Chakra).
The two additional energy centers
- Talu Chakra-This energy center, considered as a sacred secondary chakra, is theTalu Chakra, also known as Lalana chakra located behind Uvula, about three fingers above the Vishuddh Chakra in the “shape” of a ghantika (bell) -See Tantric text Saubhagya-Lakshmi Upanishad III, 6). Elsewhere in the Tantric texts Talu chakra is described as a lotus of 12 bright red petals and regarded as seat of energy of the tongue.
- “Surya Chakra” It is a product of my imagination without any ancient text authority to support it. Traditionally, the entire area between the navel and the heart center is considered part of theManipura Chakra (the Navel Center). However, in my Gayatri Mantra Chakra Practice that morning, after I would visualize the Sun and recite Gayatri mantra in the Navel Center I would try to move to the Heart Center. But, my attention would be automatically drawn to the mid-point between the Navel and the Heart center, say about four-five fingers above the navel. I would just feel the need to pause in that region, visualize Sun and recite Gayatri mantra. For convenience of expression, though arbitrarily, here onwards I will refer to it as “Surya Chakra.”
I speculate that I imagined Surya Chakra because there is huge space between the navel center and the heart center. I just felt a “void” in this space. So I filled that void with the vision of the Sun and the sound of Gayatri mantra. Don’t know the real reason for feeling that void but filling that void just felt, As regards the visualization for this energy center, I imagined red flames rising from the Manipura Chakra and the white Sun shining over the red flames. That visualization felt right.
Practice in Nutshell
Visualize Sun in the Muladhara Chakra and while maintaining the visualization in that chakra silently recite the Gayatri mantra and then move up to the next chakra, the Svadhishthana Chakra. Repeat the same process until you reach the Sahasrara Chakra. Thus, starting from the Muladhara Chakra and ending with the Saharara Chakra makes one round. Do as many rounds as you like.
In the past, if you have utilized any forms, color or sounds in your Chakra practice, you may incorporate them in this practice as well. In the past I have utilized images of lotus petals, colors, and bija sounds in my chakra meditation. Currently, in the Gayatri Mantra- Chakra practice, in order to deepen my awareness of various chakras, I take one round of visualizing various images, colors and sounds associated with each chakra.
Gayatri Mantra-Chakra Meditation Practice
Note: You may use seven, eight or all the nine energy centers. Practice described here includes all nine of them.
Preferably in the morning before sunrise, sit straight with head, neck and trunk aligned. Let the body and breath relax. Pay relaxed attention to the incoming and outgoing breath. Continue until soft and rhythmical abdominal breathing is established.
Follow the energy centers systematically in ascending order in the central channel in the space behind the abdominal wall and front of the spinal column
- Muladhara Chakra (Root chakra) Bring your attention to the region from tail bone to the pubic bone in front, i.e. the pelvic floor area. Slightly contract the pelvic floor to deepen your awareness of the region, Visualize the Sun, reddish, soft and gentle as it appears at the crack of dawn, While maintaining the visualization of the Sun in the Muladhara Chakra silently recite Gayatri Mantra
- Svadhishthana Chakra (Sacrum Chakra) In order to deepen your awareness of this Chakra region slightly contract the space between the sacrum at the back and the procreative organ in the front. Visualize the Sun moving up from the Muladhara Chakra into the Svadhishthana Chakra. I like to visualize the morning sun becoming white and losing its redness. While maintaining your visualization of the sun in the Svadhishthana Chakra silently recite Gayatri mantra.
- Manipura Chakra (Navel Center) In order to deepen the awareness of this Chakra region focus your attention in the space between the navel and the lumbar region. Exhaling while gently pulling in the navel can sharpen the concentration in the Manipura region. Visualize the ng sun as it would shine an hour or two later after the sunrise. Visualize the sun moving up from the Svadhishthana Chakra into the Manipura Chakra. While maintaining your visualization silently recite the Gayatri mantra.
- “Surya Chakra” –I know I am repeating myself but repeat I must! This energy center is based purely on my subjective experience. I have arbitrarily chosen the name “Surya Chakra” for it. You may skip this energy center if you like and move up to the Anahata Chakra. I have imagined that the location for this energy center is roughly the mid-point between the Navel and the Heart center, about five fingers above the navel and all the way up to the tip of the breastbone, the sternum. Note that as per the ancient tradition this location is included in the Manipura Chakra. Visualization that spontaneously came up for me for this energy centers was “red flames rising from the Manipura Chakra and bright white Sun shining over the red flames.” Feel free to use some other image if you like.
Given this caveat, if you want to use this energy center my way then visualize the sun moving up from the Navel Chakra to the Surya Chakra. Visualize the white or red sun shining over the flames. While maintaining this visualization in the Surya Chakra silently recite Gayatri mantra.
- Anahata Chakra (Heart Center) In order to deepen your awareness concentrate your attention in the space between the heart region in the front and the spinal discs between the shoulder blades. Visualize large bright Sun rising from the Surya Chakra and moving up through the central channel to the center of the heart area. While maintaining this visualization in the Anahata Chakra silently recite Gayatri mantra.
- Vishuddha Chakra (Throat Chakra) Bring your attention to the space between the pit of the throat and the spinal column right behind.it. Visualize the Sun moving up from the Anahata Chakra up to Vishuddha Chakra. While maintaining this visualization in the Vishuddha Chakra silently recite the Gayatri mantra.
- Talu Chakra/ Lalana Chakra (Uvula/soft palate center). Deepen your awareness of the space between the uvula/soft palate in the front and neck discs in the posterior. Visualize the Sun moving up from the Vishuddha Chakra through the central channel up to the uvula/soft palate. While maintaining the visualization of sun silently recite Gayatri mantra.
- Ajnya Chakra (The Eye-Brow Center)—Deepen your awareness of the space from behind the eye-brow center to the Occiput area/cervical discs in the back. Visualize the Sun moving up from the Talu Chakra through the central channel up to the Ajnya Chakra. While maintaining the visualization of sun silently recite Gayatri mantra.
- Sahasrara Chakra (The Crown Chakra)—Deepen your awareness of and around the crown of the head. Visualize the Sun moving up through the central channel from Ajnya Chakra to Sahasrara Chakra. Visualize the brilliant sun with rays spreading out like the thousand petals of lotus into the space beyond. Further, visualize the sun rays connecting with the sun in the skies and beyond. While maintaining this visualization in the Sahasrara Chakra silently recite Gayatri mantra.
Note: I usually do a set of 12 rounds which is a total of 108 recitations of Gayatri mantra, that is, completing one mala of the Gayatri mantra. You may do as many rounds as you like for the time you have.
You may end your Gayatri mantra-Chakra practice at this point. Or, visualize the forms, colors and sounds associated with each chakra as you have been using in the past along with the image of the sun.
Additionally, you may also pause at each Chakra and chant the bija sounds of that Chakra (Lum, Vum, Rum etc.) 12-16 times at each Chakra. I hope and pray “May you experience the vibratory energy of Chakras like you have never experienced before!”