Gayatri Mantra (गायत्री मन्त्र:), is the most powerful vedic mantra, it is a prayer of gratitude to the Divine.
In Vedic tradition Mantra (मन्त्र) and Tantra (तन्त्र) are the two tools available for enlightenment, both contain the same ending “Tra”, which means Liberation.
In a deeper sense, Mantra is the original form of language where the sound and the sense correspond. There is an eternal relationship between sound and sense in a Mantra. Every word in a Mantra is conscious of its own history; each word itself can explain why it stands for a particular idea or object; here to name means to know the nature of the thing and to touch its essence. So every articulate sound in a Mantra has an object, a purpose, a meaning, and there is a non-detachable relationship between sound and sense. This is the very nature of a Mantra.
On the other hand Tantra refers to both the philosophy and set of spiritual practices focused on the direction and manipulation of universal energy as a means of liberation. Tantra propounds that all material reality as animated by divine feminine energy known as Shakti (शक्ति). According to Tantra, an individual’s source of Shakti lies dormant in the base of their spine as kundalini (कुंडलिनी). Often likened to a serpent, kundalini is connected to a network of energy channels known as nadis and energy centers called chakras (चक्र). Awakening kundalini energy is the primary goal of most Tantric practices, including pranayama, mudras, and other yogic purification practices. These rituals aim to expand consciousness and liberate the practitioner from the physical level of existence.
The Gayatri mantra is a highly revered mantra from the Rig Veda (ऋग्वेद) (3.62.10) created by Maharshi Vishvamitra (महर्षि विश्वामित्र). Its recitation is traditionally preceded by Om (ॐ), the primitive sound signifying the essence of reality and followed by the three Vyāhṛtī (व्याहृती) and the two pada (पद) of Gayatri. Vyāhṛtī (व्याहृती) are the mystical utterances, seven in number representing seven realms of existence, viz. “bhūḥ (physical realm), bhuvaḥ (mental realm), svaḥ (spiritual realm), mahaḥ (saintly realm), janaḥ (knowledge realm), tapaḥ (penance realm), satyam (truth realm)”. According to the Vedas, these seven realms or planes of existence, each more spiritually advanced than the previous one can be progressively acheived through spiritual awareness before finally merging with the Supreme Being. Each of the vyāhṛtis are preceded by the Praṇava (प्रणव) Om (ॐ).
The Gayatri mantra in Devanagri is written as below
ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि I
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥
oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
oṃ tat savitur vareṇyaṃ bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ pracodayāt
The meaning of the Gayatri mantra is as follows:
“We contemplate the glory of the light that illuminates the three worlds: dense, subtle and causal, and is the life-giving power, love, radiant enlightenment, and the divine grace of universal intelligence. We pray for that divine light to illuminate our minds.”
Gayatri Mantra word by word meaning (पदच्छेदः)
ॐ — OM — the primitive sound
भूर् — BHUR — the physical world
भुवः — BHUVA — the mental world
स्वः — SVAHA — the celestial, the spiritual world
तत् — TAT — That, God; Transcendental Paramatma
सवितुर — SAVITUR — the Sun, the Creator, Preserver
वरेण्यं — VARENYAM — worthy of worship, venerable, adorable
भर्गो — BHARGO — shine, effulgence, light which bestows understanding
देवस्य — DEVASYA — resplendent, supreme Lord
धीमहि — DHIMAHI — we meditate on (Dhi, the prefix of Dhimahi and Dhiyo refers to ‘understanding’, and its cognate word Buddhi means ‘reasoning faculty of the mind’, which understanding must be transcended to experience the Ultimate Reality).
धियो यो — DHI YO — intelligence, understanding, Intellect
नः — NAH — Nah: our
प्रचोदयात् — PRACHODAYAT — enlighten, guide, inspire
A language which spawned the birth of many Indo-European languages, its realization could only have come through divine means.
No doubt one of the greatest contributions from Vedic culture is the script and language of Sanskrit. Sanskrit is the language of ancient India and of Vedic philosophy and its civilization. It is a perfect language, which also invokes the spiritual vibration of which it speaks. It is a refined language, but also most self-protective in the way it manages to maintain the original meaning that it presents, as long as a person properly understands Sanskrit grammar and syntax. In other words, when translated according to the rules of the Sanskrit language, you cannot take the interpretation far outside its firsthand intention without giving up all of the rules of Sanskrit. A. L. Basham, former professor of Asian Civilization in the Australian national University, Canberra, writes in his book The Wonder That Was India (page 390): “One of ancient India’s greatest achievements is her remarkable alphabet, commencing with the vowels and followed by the consonants, all classified very scientifically according to their mode of production, in sharp contrast to the haphazard and inadequate Roman alphabet, which has developed organically for three millennia. It was only on the discovery of Sanskrit by the West that a science of phonetics arose in Europe.” Basham goes on to say (page 509): “It will be seen that this alphabet is methodical and scientific, its elements classified first into vowels and consonants, and then, within each section, according to the manner in which the sound is formed. The gutturals are formed by the construction of the throat at the back of the tongue, the palatals by pressing the tongue flat against the palate, the retro-flexes by turning up the tip of the tongue to touch the hard palate, the dentals by touching the upper teeth with the tongue, and the labials by pursuing the lips.”
Furthermore, Sanskrit or remnants of it can be found in so many other languages around the world, that a person can begin to say that it may have been the original language that the world first new. In almost all languages, like Greek, French, English, Arabic, Urdu, Persian, Indian, Mayan, Slavic, Russian, and the Sanskrit beneficiaries like Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, or Malayalam, Sanskrit words are found everywhere. Either Sanskrit-speaking people carried them all over the world, or Sanskrit was the main language, traces of which linger in all languages around the planet. This is one of the reasons, however, why some people have felt that Sanskrit was one of several ancient languages that descended from another common ancestor. One of those people was the English poet, Jurist and scholar, Sir William Jones, who, in 1783, was appointed a justice of the High Court of Bengal. He began to study Sanskrit and wrote and published his high impression of Sanskrit. In 1786, while delivering his third lecture, Sir William Jones made the following statement which aroused the curiosity of many scholars and finally led to the emergence of comparative linguistics. Noticing the similarities between Sanskrit and the Classical Languages of Europe such as Greek and Latin, he delivered: “The Sanskrit language, whatever be its antiquity, is of wonderful structure; more perfect than the Greek, more copious than the Latin, and more exquisitely refined than either, yet bearing to both of them a stronger affinity, both in the roots of verbs and in the forms of grammar, than could not possibly have been produced by accident; so strong indeed, that no philologer could examine them all three, without believing them to have sprung from some common source which, perhaps, no longer exists; there is a similar reason, though not quite so forcible, for supposing that both the Gothic and the Celt, though blended with a very different idiom, had the same origin with the Sanskrit; and the old Persian might be added to the same family…” 4 Sir William Jones in Asiatic Researches, (Vol. I, p. 423) also asserted the means by which the similarities in many languages, especially of the Indo-European group, is supplied by Sanskrit: “Deonagri [devanagari] is the original source whence the alphabets of Western Asia were derived.” Mr. Pococke also relates: “The Greek language is a derivative from the Sanskrit.” 1 The learned Dr. Pritchard also says: “The affinity between the Greek language and the old Parsi and Sanskrit is certain and essential. The use of cognate idioms proves the nations who used them to have descended from one stock. That the religion of the Greeks emanated from an Eastern source no one will deny. We must therefore suppose the religion as well as the language of Greece to have been derived in great part immediately from the East.”2
In this way, the idea started that there was a previous language that was the seed of the others, namely Sanskrit, Greek and Latin. They named this imaginary ancestor as Proto-Indo-European, or Proto-Indo-Germanic language. However, they have failed to find this imaginary language for the last 150 years. Plus, they will never find it because there was no such language. Nonetheless, not everyone agreed with this idea that Sanskrit was merely a part of a Proto-Indo-European language. For example, even the British scholar Thomas Maurice, editor of the seven volumes of Indian Antiquities, mentions in Volume IV that Halhead, the first European Sanskrit scholar, “seems to hint that it (Sanskrit) was the original language of the earth. All Western scholars who readily apply their mind to the problem will find themselves concurring with Halhead that Sanskrit is the oldest language and that it was spoken all over the world. Other world languages are shattered and twisted bits of Sanskrit.” The roots of many languages are found in Sanskrit, which some called the mother of all languages, distinguished from the rest by its longevity, stability of form over the many millennia, and showed the status of a sacred language. The fact is that the farther back in time we trace the European languages, the more they begin to resemble Sanskrit. The farther we go back in time, the more we see that European and Vedic culture coalesce. Sri Aurobindo observed that Sanskrit is “one of the most magnificent, the most perfect and wonderfully sufficient literary instruments developed by human mind… at once majestic and sweet and flexible, strong and clearly formed and full and vibrant and subtle…”3
With the advanced nature of the Sanskrit language and alphabet, some feel that, like the traditional source of the Vedas, Sanskrit was given by Divinity to humanity. It could not have been developed by the slow process of a human agency. After all, in the time period in which Sanskrit appeared, mankind was considered by some to be barbarians. But how could such a people, if that is what they were, develop such a refined language like Sanskrit? For such a language to appear, it would have to come from an equally refined and advanced civilization. Otherwise, why, after thousands of years of our advanced scientific civilization, have we not seen a better or more sophisticated language?
– Stephen Knapp
1. Pococke, India in Greece, p. 18.
2. Pritchard, Dr. Pritchard’s Physical History of Man, Vol. I, p. 502.
3. Pride of India: A Glimpse into India’s Scientific Heritage, Samskriti Bharati, New Delhi, 2006, p. 130.
4. Jones, Collected Works, Volume III, 34-5, quoted by Vepa, Kosla, The South Asia File: A Colonial Paradigm of Indian History Altering the Mindset of the Indic People, Indic Studies Foundation, Pleasanton, California, 2008, p.54.
Tracing the Origins of Hinduphobia (Parts I-IV) – Indiafacts
— Read on www.indiafacts.org.in/analyses/tracing-the-origins-of-hinduphobia-parts-i-iv/
Barack Obama sees his elevation to the highest post of US president as a logical conclusion to the black minority struggle for legitimacy and equality within US. That is the reason he picked the title of his memoirs from the famous last speech of Martin Luther King Jr. On 3 April 1968, a day before he was murdered, King roared in Memphis, “We’ve got some difficult days ahead, but it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop … I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land”.
Well Barrack’s United States was not exactly the Promised Land that Martin Luther King had imagined but with Barack Obama in the White House, it almost seemed achievable. I’ve read Barack’s previous books so was aware of his early struggles but still his perspective of those early days after becoming president is enlightening. Early success to Barack Obama did not come easy, he strived hard but once he decided to stand for the highest post of the land, everything aligned for his success and he unexpectedly saw himself almost pushed into the White House.
Barack has given an honest account of his days in the White House, the book covers only his first term but the reader can still grasp the intricacies of US politics and how even the supreme leader with veto powers cannot get his way through the long corridors of US Capitol. The bipartisan politics is bane of any US president but with a black president in White House it really became nasty and ultimately things deteriorated to an extend that led to the rise of someone like Trump who discredited the legacy of first Black US presidency.
In this memoir Barack Obama comes out as someone who can get the best minds to collaborate together for the greater good of US and world. Things most of the time did not go as planned but at all times brightest minds available were looking at the complex issues a US president has to deal with and decisions were being made with the best intelligence and information at hand. Barack inspired everyone around him, be it his treasury secretary or White House gardener or chef. He installed meritocracy within White House and best talent was promoted, he strived hard to get Hillary Clinton work for him or even kept Robert Gates in-spite of the ideological differences. That is the mark of a great leader, Barack ensured that while he is a ultimate arbitrator, decisions are being made across the table by eligible people who were trained and experienced enough to make those decisions.
I’ve read memoirs of previous presidents like Bill Clinton, Truman and others but this book provides the best peek to the mind of a US President and workings of US politics. I’m waiting eagerly to get my hands on the sequel of the book from one of the better US presidents.
The Commission today proposed a framework for a European Digital Identity which will be available to all EU citizens, residents, and businesses in the EU. Citizens will be able to prove their identity and share electronic documents from their European Digital Identity wallets with the click of a button on their phone. They will be able to access online services with their national digital identification, which will be recognised throughout Europe. Very large platforms will be required to accept the use of European Digital Identity wallets upon request of the user, for example to prove their age. Use of the European Digital Identity wallet will always be at the choice of the user.
Margrethe Vestager, Executive Vice-President for a Europe Fit for the Digital Age said: “The European digital identity will enable us to do in any Member State as we do at home without any extra cost and fewer hurdles. Be that renting a flat or opening a bank account outside of our home country. And do this in a way that is secure and transparent. So that we will decide how much information we wish to share about ourselves, with whom and for what purpose. This is a unique opportunity to take us all further into experiencing what it means to live in Europe, and to be European.”
Commissioner for Internal Market Thierry Breton said: “EU citizens not only expect a high level of security but also convenience whether they are dealing with national administrations such as to submit a tax return or to enroll at a European university where they need official identification. The European Digital Identity wallets offer a new possibility for them to store and use data for all sorts of services, from checking in at the airport to renting a car. It is about giving a choice to consumers, a European choice. Our European companies, large and small, will also benefit from this digital identity, they will be able to offer a wide range of new services since the proposal offers a solution for secure and trusted identification services.”
Under the new Regulation, Member States will offer citizens and businesses digital wallets that will be able to link their national digital identities with proof of other personal attributes (e.g. driving licence, diplomas, bank account). These wallets may be provided by public authorities or by private entities, provided they are recognised by a Member State.
The new European Digital Identity Wallets will enable all Europeans to access services online without having to use private identification methods or unnecessarily sharing personal data. With this solution they will have full control of the data they share.
The European Digital Identity will be:
To make it a reality as soon as possible, the proposal is accompanied by a Recommendation. The Commission invites Member States to establish a common toolbox by September 2022 and to start the necessary preparatory work immediately. This toolbox should include the technical architecture, standards and guidelines for best practices.
In parallel to the legislative process, the Commission will work with Member States and the private sector on technical aspects of the European Digital Identity. Through the Digital Europe Programme, the Commission will support the implementation of the European Digital Identity framework, and many Member States have foreseen projects for the implementation of the e-government solutions, including the European Digital Identity in their national plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility.
The Commission’s 2030 Digital Compass sets out a number of targets and milestones which the European Digital Identity will help achieve. For example, by 2030, all key public services should be available online, all citizens will have access to electronic medical records; and 80% citizens should use an eID solution.
For this initiative, the Commission builds on the existing cross-border legal framework for trusted digital identities, the European electronic identification and trust services initiative (eIDAS Regulation). Adopted in 2014, it provides the basis for cross-border electronic identification, authentication and website certification within the EU. Already about 60% of Europeans can benefit from the current system.
However, there is no requirement for Member States to develop a national digital ID and to make it interoperable with the ones of other Member States, which leads to high discrepancies between countries. The current proposal will address these shortcomings by improving the effectiveness of the framework and extending its benefits to the private sector and to mobile use.
Under extreme stress, the decentralized finance system worked as designed.
— Read on www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2021-05-20/why-the-bitcoin-crash-was-a-big-win-for-cryptocurrencies