The Worlds and Gayatri – part 1

Recently, Rose Rosetree brought up the Gayatri mantra and the Lokas or worlds described in some of the eastern texts. I’ve touched on the lokas before, but more from the context of layers. The world we know comes to be in a series of layers. We could summarize by saying vibration, geometry, fields, and form.

The Vedic texts describe these layers as lokas in several ways. There is the “three worlds“, typically described as the physical, astral and causal or divine. Or more basically: earth, air, and heaven. And there is the 7 worlds somewhat similarly, but given in more detail.

The Gayatri mantra is quite famous and widely used in several traditions. It’s named for its meter and comes from near the end of the 3rd Mandala of the Rig Veda (3.62.10). It’s a very short excerpt from a large text. The Rig Veda’s origins are in deep antiquity. It is the oldest known text, collected thousands of years ago by the sage  Vyasa as a compilation from an even older oral tradition.

The mantra is used in 2 forms. First, it is prefixed by the relatively recent tradition of adding Om in front. Then by mention of the three gross worlds; Bhuur, Bhuvar, and Svaha. Finally, several lines of the actual mantra from the Rig Veda are spoken.

The later Taittiriya Aranyaka (2.11.1-8) is said to describe this format. (I didn’t confirm this)

The mantra link above has the text. Here’s an example:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDnamSM3Z3s

The long form mantra mentions all 7 worlds before the lines of the core mantra. Due to the relationship between the chakras and the worlds, one can also see how they correspond with cycling the chakra energy: up, mantra, and down again. They also add mantras for the 3 eyes after the core lines.

The long form:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWG9gFuclsI

Essentially we have a mantra and part of a technique. In the short form, it is said to clean the nadis or fine energy tubes in the subtle body. In the long form, it encourages the production of soma, which needs the fine channels clear.

Note that if you wish to chant such mantras, it’s important to learn to pronounce them correctly. A slurred English approximation will not bring the prescribed benefits.

Here’s a chart of the koshas (auras), lokas and chakras: [Updated]

Kosha (aura) layer Loka  Chakra
Annamaya physical, etheric / Bhuu* root
Pranamaya energy/emotional / Bhuvah 2nd
Manonmaya Mind, Senses / Svah 3rd
Vijnanamaya intellect, Buddhi / Maha heart
Anandamaya bliss, celestial, causal / Jana throat
Chittamaya qualified consciousness / Tapa 3rd eye
Atmamaya Atman or cosmic Self, Sat / Satya crown

(*they sometimes gain an ‘r’ or ‘h’ suffix when combined with other words due to Sanskrit grammar)
Note there is the physical loka, 3 subtle lokas, and 3 heavens.

The left side doesn’t directly correspond to the right. For example, Bhuvah loka is associated with both energy and mind and no chakras or lokas are beyond the Bliss body. The three heavens could be said to be in Anandamaya. Atmamaya is the body of creation that contains the universe whereas the crown chakra connects to it but is within the universe. The chart is to illustrate how the layers relate.

Part 2 >

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7 Responses to The Worlds and Gayatri – part 1

  1. Pingback: The Worlds, Part 2 | In 2 Deep

  2. Rose says:

    Fascinating. Thank you, Davidya.

  3. Davidya says:

    You’re welcome, Rose. Thanks for inspiring the explore. Of course, this is just a skim. Much more could be said about just about every subject and term.

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