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As per the mythological beliefs, it is believed that Goddess Gayatri had made Her first appearance on the 11th day of the Shukla Paksha of the month of Jyestha.
Many people consider Goddess Gayatri as the mother of all Gods while many others believe that she is a combination of three Gods namely Laxmi, Parvati, and Saraswati who represents opulence, beauty, and knowledge. Many mythological scholars are of the opinion that it was sage Vishwamitra who first uttered the Gayatri Mantra on the Shukla Ekadasi day of Jyestha month. And from that day onwards, this day is celebrated as Gayatri Jayanti day. It is also believed that Goddess Adishakti took the form of Goddess Gayatri to destroy a demon known as Vetrasura on this day. Goddess Gayatri is considered as the mother of all the Vedic literature and she is believed to be a divine manifestation of all extraordinary characteristics of the supreme Brahman.
It is also believed that Goddess Gayatri appeared to remove the ignorance that prevails among the people and She appeared in the form of knowledge to do away with ignorance. Post that period, the knowledge was spread out to the entire world by sage Vishwmitra.
Goddess Gayatri’s Presence in History and Scriptures:
A bronze image of Goddess Gayatri was located in the Champa region which belongs to the 10th century. There are many other bronze images which were found in Himachal Pradesh.
It is believed that Goddess Gayatri epitomizes the divine energy of the power of the Gayatri mantra. Goddess Gayatri is also known as Vedamata as she is considered as the consort of Lord Shiva in Shaktism and consort of Lord Brahma in the Skanda Purana. It was Rig Veda which first described Goddess Gayatri as the personification of the Gayatri mantra. In then Shaivism, the devotees believe Goddess Gayatri to the consort of the eternally blissful Shiva(Parashiva) who takes the form of known as Shivasurya and He is omnipotent, omnipresent, and is also known as Bharga.
Goddess Gayatri is also renowned for Her five-headed Shakti form with ten arms, as elaborated in the Purana, to kill off demon Vetra. Her look is considered as complete when She holds the sword, lotus, trident, disc, skull and the Varada in the left hand and the goad, noose, manuscript, a jar of ambrosia and Abhaya in her right hand.
Story of Goddess Gayatri:
The story of Goddess Gayatri and Lord Brahma has been described nicely in the Padma Purana. Once upon a time ago, Lord Brahma killed a demon named Vajranabha(Vajranas) who had tried to kill His children and torture people, especially those who were Brahmins. Because of all this, the lotus petals fell on the ground at three different places and at these three places, three lakes were formed namely, the Pushkar Lake(Jyestha Pushkar), Madhya Pushkar`(middle Pushkar) Lake, and Kanistha Pushkar (lowest or youngest Pushkar) lake.
After descending onto planet Earth, Lord Brahma decided to perform a Yajna(fire sacrifice) at the main Pushkar Lake. But He could proceed further with the yajna, He wanted to ensure that no demons attack them and to avoid that, He created hills(Giri) around the lake such as Ratnagiri in the South, Nilgiri in the North, Sanchura in the West and Suryagiti in the East. Lord Brahma realized that He needed His wife, Savitri, by His side to perform the sacrifice. But unfortunately, She couldn’t be there as She was waiting for Laxmi, Parvati, and Indrani.
Lord Brahma was in a great dilemma and without wasting any further time, He consulted Lord Indra and asked Him to find Him a suitable woman so that the both of them could perform the rituals of the yajna. Lord Indra acted upon the request of Lord Brahma and found a milkmaid’s daughter who was purified by the touch of a cow. Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva agreed and considered her to be the most suitable woman as she was reborn after being sanctified by the cow as Gayatri. Thereafter, Lord Brahma married her and completed the yajna. When the yajna was carried out, Goddess Gayatri was seen carrying a pot of Amrita(nectar) on top of her head and was offering oblations.
Goddess Gayatri as Veda Mata:
It is a known fact that Goddess Gayatri is also popularly known as Veda Mata, or the mother of all Vedas and she is knowledge personified. But one may wonder what is that knowledge? The answer to that is, knowledge is knowing the difference between the spirit and the matter. Rig Veda emanated from ‘Om Bhurbhuvasvah’. Similarly, the deep knowledge enshrined in the Yajur Veda has emerged from ‘Tatsaviturvarenyam’ and the knowledge of the cosmos contained in the Sama Veda was emerged from ‘Bhargodevasya Dhimahi’ and from ‘Dhiyo Yonah Prachodayat’, emerged the secrets of divine energies and rituals that are contained in the Atharva Veda.
Goddess Gayatri is considered to be the essence of all the Vedas which aim to elevate the souls which are fallen and lift them to highest consciousness i.e. self-realization. All the gods and goddesses sing songs dedicating it to the glory of Goddess Gayatri. She has been mentioned in all the Vedic mantras and seed mantras that belong to different deities. She is considered as purity personified, and it is believed from that purest, came the four Vedas who also purify those who are materially attached. It is Goddess Gayatri who sustains the cosmos that resides in the energies of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara.
Celebrations and Rituals of Gayatri Jayanti:
Gayatri Jayanti is a community affair and people who belong to diverse walks of life gather to show their respect and gratitude in the form of prayers at pujas. The puja of Gayatri Jayanti is conducted either by the pandits or elderly experienced personnel. Satsangs are also organized on this special day and people chant the Gayatri Mantra, especially on this day. Such is the significance of the Gayatri Mantra that if an individual chant the Gayatri Mantra, he/she is not required to chant any other mantra as this mantra is considered as highly sacred.
It is believed that to derive the best results from the Gayatri Mantra, one needs to recite it at least thrice a day, preferably in the morning, afternoon, and evening time. It is a common belief among many people that if one chants the Gayatri Mantra religiously, then he/she would be deprived of the miseries and difficulties of life.
The mythological stories confirm that Goddess Gayatri, who is the mother of all the Vedas, has ten hands and five heads. As per mythology, the ten hands of Goddess Gayatri are believed to carry the symbols of Lord Vishnu and Her five heads symbolize the four Vedas and the fifth one represents the Almighty Himself. Goddess Gayatri is seen being seated on a Lotus flower.
The Gayatri Mantra:
"Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt"
We meditate on the glory of the Creator;
Who has created the Universe;
Who is worthy of Worship;
Who is the embodiment of Knowledge and Light;
Who is the remover of all Sin and Ignorance;
May He enlighten our Intellect.
General meaning: We meditate on the most adored Supreme Lord, the creator, whose effulgence (divine light) illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.
Different Forms of Goddess Gayatri:
It is believed that there are twenty-four forms of Goddess Gayatri and each form is associated with the Gayatri Mantra.
Adi Shakti: This form of Gayatri Mantra is associated with the production, development, and transformations of the material manifestations.
Brahmi or Brahmani: This is associated with the force that enabled Lord Brahma to create the cosmos in different varieties.
Vaishnavi: This form is associated with the energy of Lord Vishnu, Lakshmi, and Sato Guna(mode of goodness)
Shambhavi aka Maheshwari Matrika: This form of Gayatri Mantra is associated with the energy that is emitted from Lord Shiva to destroy or correct the wrong or demonic.
Vedamata: It is associated with all the Vedas as Goddess Gayatri is considered to be the mother of all the Vedas.
Devamata: This form is linked to to the Godly qualities like being charitable, compassionate, devotional and the like.
Vishvamata: It is associated with the world as its mother.
Mandakini aka Ganga: This form of Gayatri Mantra is associated with the divinity of river Ganga.
Ajapa: It is connected with the highest state a devotee can attain while worshiping the Lord.
Riddhi and Siddhi: This form is associated with spiritual attainment and material opulence.
Rtambhara: It is associated with self-realization or liberation from the pangs of material nature.
Savitri: It is connected with the spiritual energy that sustains the matter.
Lakshmi: It is associated with auspiciousness and opulence.
Durga/Kali: It is associated with Kala, the time which doesn’t stop for anybody.
Saraswati: This form is associated with the knowledge, intellect, and the sense of understanding that we all are blessed with.
Kundalini: This is linked with the yogic power or Kundalini for self-realization.
Annapurna: This form is associated with food.
Mahamaya: This form is associated with the delusions the weaker humans put themselves into.
Payasvini: This form is connected with the elixir of immortality(self-realization) and milk of a cow(purity personified)
Pranagni: This form is associated with the fire element in the body.
Treyta or Tripura: This form is associated with the dominance over the three spheres of existence i.e. Sat-chit-Ananda(eternity, knowledge, and bliss).
Bhavani: This form is linked to the power that protects the surrendered, weak, and unarmed.
Bhubaneswari: This form is associated with an individual’s prosperity and bliss.
Gayatri Mantra is one of the significant festivals in India as it is linked to the Vedas which are considered as central to Hinduism. One should chant the Gayatri Mantra for 108 times on the occasion of Gayatri Jayanti to show his/her deep respect and devotion towards Goddess Gayatri.
Festivals play a significant role in our day to day lives. We worship different Gods and accordingly there are different festivals that we celebrate to mark the occasion. Festivals provide us with an opportunity to spend quality time with our family, friends and relatives. There are so many rituals attached to the festivals and this makes the entire concept of celebration of festivals even more colorful & exciting.
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