Theosophical Light on The Gayatri Mantra

Gayâtri (Sk.), also Sâvitri. A most sacred verse, addressed to the Sun, in the Rig-Veda, which the Brahmans have to repeat mentally every morn and eve during their devotions.”

The above quote, from p. 126 of “The Theosophical Glossary,” is the only time H. P. Blavatsky ever mentions the Gayatri Mantra in her main writings. The importance of this verse or mantra to Theosophists and to all spiritual aspirants was therefore first presented and emphasised by HPB’s closest colleague, William Q. Judge, who wrote a short article titled “A Commentary on The Gayatri” and which we have included later in this article.

We said “in her main writings,” as she did in fact refer to it in her Indian travelogue “From The Caves and Jungles of Hindostan,” which is a book that even many Theosophists are unfortunately not acquainted with. There, she describes the scene she witnessed occurring on a daily basis in India, saying that “every pious Hindu must mentally repeat a certain verse, called the Gayatri. These are sacred words . . . Bound by my word of honour not to repeat the entire verse, I can nevertheless quote a few incomplete sentences. The prayer begins thus: “Om! . . . Earth! . . . Heaven! . . . May the adored light of . . . (this name must not be pronounced) illumine me. Let thy Sun, oh thou only One, illumine me, the unworthy . . . I shut my eyes, I plug my ears, I do not breathe . . . in order to see, to heart and to breathe thee alone . . . let our thoughts be illumined by (again the secret name) . . .” (p. 185)

Three things stand out about this: (1) That, as was also said in “The Theosophical Glossary,” the Gayatri is traditionally pronounced mentally rather than vocally; nonetheless, it has often been pronounced vocally too, (2) What HPB omits as “the secret name [which] must not be pronounced” is in the place where the name “Savitri” (a Sanskrit name of the true, divine Sun) appears in some translations and renderings of the Gayatri. Savitri is not considered by any Hindus to be a name too sacred for utterance, so it is uncertain what HPB means by this, unless she is indicating that the original esoteric Gayatri includes another name, (3) There is much in this version of the Gayatri which is not found anywhere in the known Sanskrit verse, which is much more simple in its literal translation: “We meditate on the glorious light of the true divine Sun. May that light nourish our minds and illumine our understanding.”

But before exploring the words and meaning of this mantra further, we ought to familiarise ourselves with the origins and background of the Gayatri.

“Gayatri” is the feminine form of the word “Gayatra” which literally and most simply means “hymn,” “song,” or “chant.” Many say the term can also be defined as “the chant which liberates” or “the chant which saves.” The Gayatri Mantra’s other name, “Savitri,” literally means “of the sun” or “relating to the sun.”

In Hindu mythology and popular Hinduism, the Gayatri Mantra has also been anthropomorphised and represented as a personal divine Being, a benevolent Goddess and Divine Mother figure known as the Goddess Gayatri, Gayatri Devi, and Goddess Savitri.

Many Hindus identify her with Saraswati, the consort or shakti or feminine aspect of the Creator deity Brahmā. HPB’s “Theosophical Glossary” entry for “Sarasvati” (p. 291) mentions that Sarasvati or Saraswati is “The same as Vach . . . She is the goddess of speech and of sacred or esoteric knowledge and wisdom. Also called Sri.” Although the personified gods and goddesses of popular exoteric religious worship should never be taken literally, some – or perhaps even many – do nevertheless represent and symbolise esoteric realities and divine forces and principles. The Mahatma K.H., for example, once described the Initiates and Adepts of the Masters’ Brotherhood as “those who have devoted their lives to serve the goddess Saraswati – our Aryan Isis.”

The Gayatri Mantra first appears in the Rig Veda, which is the oldest scripture of Hinduism as well as being widely considered the oldest book in the world. In light of what Theosophy says about certain esoteric and still secret texts – such as that known as the Book of Dzyan – we would say that the Rig Veda is technically not the most ancient book in existence but that it is indeed the most ancient book known to man and currently accessible to man. The Gayatri is therefore widely considered to be the most ancient mantra known to man.

The great Indian sage known as the Rishi Vishvamitra is considered to have written that part of the Rig Veda which includes the Gayatri and therefore he is generally described as being the author or composer of the Gayatri Mantra. This mantra is one of the most enduringly popular and beloved throughout India and now around the world. Even Krishna praises the Gayatri, in chapter 10 of the Bhagavad Gita, where he indicates his oneness with it.

With regard to Rishi Vishvamitra, this might shed a little light on his possible connection with the modern Theosophical Movement: “In private as in public she [i.e. HPB] spoke of her Masters much in the same way as did Subba Row to the writer when he declared in 1884, “The Mahatmas are in fact some of the great Rishees and Sages of the past, and people have been too much in the habit of lowering them to the petty standard of this age.”” (William Q. Judge, “Masters, Adepts, Teachers, and Disciples” article)

The Gayatri Mantra is universal in its character, focus, and content. While it is true from one perspective to call it a “Hindu mantra,” it in reality transcends all religions and can be used by anyone of any religious or spiritual belief or even of none.

But what exactly is a mantra? At the start of an article published by William Judge titled “Mantrams,” the “Sage” explains to the “Student”: “A mantram is a collection of words which, when sounded in speech, induce certain vibrations not only in the air, but also in the finer ether, thereby producing certain effects.”

H. P. Blavatsky elaborates further: “The chanting of a Mantra is not a prayer, but rather a magical sentence in which the law of Occult causation connects itself with, and depends on, the will and acts of its singer. It is a succession of Sanskrit sounds, and when its string of words and sentences is pronounced according to the magical formulae in the Atharva Veda, but understood by the few, some Mantras produce an instantaneous and very wonderful effect. In its esoteric sense it contains the Vâch (the “mystic speech”), which resides in the Mantra, or rather in its sounds, since it is according to the vibrations, one way or the other, of ether that the effect is produced.” (“Tsong-Kha-Pa – Lohans in China” posthumously published article)

It appears that for purposes of practical occultism or real magic, the vocal enunciation of mantras is sometimes required. Theosophy does not claim to teach practical occultism in this sense, however, considering that humanity is far from ready or prepared to be able to handle such powerful forces wisely, safely, or responsibly.

But for purposes of individual spiritual practice and devotion, it may be useful to be aware that Hindu philosophy speaks of there being three levels or degrees of japa, meaning mantra recitation. These are:

#1. Vachika Japa – vocal japa or spoken japa, in which the words of the mantra are pronounced aloud and audibly, whether spoken, chanted, or sung.

#2. Upamsu Japa – in which the words of the mantra are formed by the lips and tongue but not spoken aloud; ideally it is not even a whisper but completely silent.

#3. Manasika Japa or Manasa Japa – as “manas” means “mind,” this form of mantra recitation is entirely mental and inward; there should be no audible sound and nor should the lips or tongue move; the words should nevertheless be pronounced with proper clarity, precision, definiteness, and accuracy, within the mind, which requires a greater degree of meditative concentration and focus – and therefore a greater elevation in consciousness – than the previous two methods of japa. Manasika or Manasa Japa is thus considered the highest and most spiritually beneficial form of japa. This type of mental utterance can be either silently spoken, silently chanted, or silently sung.

As we’ll see later, Raghavan Iyer of the United Lodge of Theosophists recommended that the Gayatri Mantra be used silently, if possible.

But having said all this, we still have not addressed what the Gayatri Mantra actually says. So let’s do that now.

In Sanskrit: Om bhur bhuvah svaha! Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat.

In the Theosophical literature published by the United Lodge of Theosophists, three different translations of these words can be found.

First, from William Q. Judge:

Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.

Next, in the Theosophy School children’s book “The Eternal Verities – For Old Souls in Young Bodies”:

That which giveth sustenance to the Universe and to ourselves, from which all doth proceed and unto which all must return – That Thou Art. In the golden vase of thine earthly body may the pure Light of the Spiritual Sun shine forth, that thou may’st know the Truth, and do thy whole duty, on the journey back to the Sacred Seat!

Third, from Raghavan Iyer in “The Jewel in The Lotus” (“a comprehensive collection of chants, invocations and intimations from the world’s religions and mystical traditions”) and in his article “The Gayatri Invocation”:

AUM. In all three worlds – terrestrial, astral, and celestial – may we meditate upon the splendour of that Divine Sun who illuminates all. May its golden light nourish our understanding and guide us on our journey to its sacred seat. OM.

Of these three, only the third could be described as a literal translation of the original Sanskrit, though technically speaking even that is not quite literal, since it includes elements (such as “our journey to its sacred seat”) not found at all in the original text of the Gayatri.

A literal, direct translation of the Gayatri Mantra simply – yet beautifully and powerfully – says:

“We meditate on the glorious light of the true divine Sun. May that light nourish our minds and illumine our understanding.”

The “Om bhur bhuvah svaha!” is, properly speaking, an introductory to the Gayatri and not the Gayatri itself. But it is very often included as part of it, as Raghavan Iyer has done. As can be seen, the Raghavan Iyer version of the Gayatri is very nearly literal and for that reason the writer of this article prefers it to the other ULT versions of this mantra.

WQJ’s version merges the meaning of the Gayatri with a verse from the Isha Upanishad or Ishopanishad, so that it embodies the Upanishad verse to a greater extent than it embodies the actual Gayatri, while the version from “The Eternal Verities” builds on this and adds in something from another Upanishad, namely the “Tat Tvam Asi” or “That Thou Art” of the Chandogya Upanishad, so that this version can in no way be considered an accurate representation of what the Gayatri Mantra actually says. But while that is the case, it in no way detracts from their being beautiful, inspiring, and mantramic English verses in their own right.

The Isha Upanishad which we have just mentioned consists of only 18 verses. It is verse 15 which says: “Unveil, O Pushan, the face of the sun of truth which is now hidden by (covered with) a golden lid (disk, orb).”

Pushan is a solar deity appearing in the Vedas and the name literally means “one who nourishes life.” Hinduism generally takes Pushan to be a synonym for the Sun, as in the real Sun, the true Sun, the Spiritual Sun or Divine Sun, of which the physical sun we see in the sky is indeed only a covering.

While some might say that William Judge’s rendering of the Gayatri Mantra was the result of him not knowing what the Gayatri actually says, he proves otherwise by elsewhere clearly indicating that he was familiar with the Upanishad verse as being an Upanishad verse.

His article “The Allegorical Umbrella” says:

“In the Upanishads we read the invocation: “Reveal, O Pushan, that face of the true sun which is now hidden by a golden lid.” This has reference to the belief of all genuine occultists, from the earliest times to the present day, that there is a “true sun,” and that the sun we see is a secondary one; or, to put it in plainer language, that there is an influence or power in the sun which may be used if obtained by the mystic, for beneficent purposes, and which, if not guarded, hidden, or obscured by a cover, would work destruction to those who might succeed in drawing it out.”

In his “A Commentary on The Gayatri” article he interestingly describes the golden lid or “vase of golden light” as referring to “the blood contained in the vase of the mortal body.” Theosophy informs us that there are seven layers or degrees of meaning to every true esoteric text. So this would be one of them, though certainly not the most obvious of the meanings.

He again quotes and comments on the Upanishad verse in a short section titled “The Unveiling of the Sun” in “Letters That Have Helped Me” p. 250.

Hence Raghavan Iyer, in his “Hermes” magazine article “Dateless and Deathless,” could well say: “Judge, in translating the Gayatri, has deliberately fused its actual meaning with a very powerful mantra in the Isha Upanishad, producing a ringing rendition which conveys the full force of the invocation.”

And now let’s read WQJ’s article for ourselves.

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Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat.

The Gayatri

I have adopted a translation as above, which is excellent in its giving of the meaning of this verse. What is the Gayatri? It is the sacred verse of the Hindus and begins with Om, their sacred word and letter. Its first words are: Om, Bhur, Bhurvah!

The first word contains in it a declaration of the three periods of a Manvantara and the three powers of that great Being who alone Is. Of a manvantara it is the beginning, the middle, and the end, and the three powers are Creation (or manifesting), Preservation (or carrying on), and Destruction. The three first words, Om, bhur, bhurvah, draw attention to and designate the three worlds. The whole verse is an aspiration in the highest sense. Every Brahman at his initiation is further instructed in this verse, but from giving that I am necessarily excused, as I cannot give it in a way in which I have not received it.

Unveil is the cry of the man who is determined to know the truth and who perceives that something hides it from him. It is hidden by his own Karmic effects, which have put him now where the brain and the desires are too strong for the higher self to pierce through so long as he remains careless and ignorant. The cry is not made to some manmade god with parts, passions, and attributes, but to the Self above who seeth in secret and bringeth out to light. It is directed to that on which the Universe is built and standeth, – no other than the Self which is in every man and which sitteth like a bird in a tree watching while another eats the fruit.

From this the whole Universe proceeds out into manifestation. The ancients held that all things whatsoever existed in fact solely in the idea, and therefore the practitioner of Yoga was taught – and soon discovered – that sun, moon, and stars were in himself, and until he learned this he could not proceed. This doctrine is very old, but today is adopted by many modern reasoners. For they perceive on reflection that no object enters the eye, and that whether we perceive through sight or feeling or any other sense whatever all objects are existing solely in idea. Of old this was demonstrated in two ways. First, by showing the disciple the actual interpenetration of one world by another. As that while we live here among those things called objective by us, other beings were likewise living in and among us and our objects and therein actually carrying on their avocations, perceiving the objects on their plane as objective, and wholly untouched by and insensible to us and the objects we think so material. This is no less true today than it was then. And if it were not true, modern hypnotism, clairvoyance, or clairaudience would be impossible. This was shown by a second method precisely similar to mesmeric and hypnotic experiments, only that to these was added the power to make the subject step aside from himself and with a dual consciousness note his own condition. For if a barrier of wood were erected in the sight of the subject which he clearly perceived and knew was wood, impervious to sight and an obstacle to movement, yet when hypnotised he saw it not, yet could perceive all objects behind it which were hidden in his normal state, and when he pressed against it thinking it to be empty air and feeling naught but force, he could not pass but wondered why the empty air restrained his body. This is modern and ancient. Clearly it demonstrates the illusionary nature of objectivity. The objectivity is only real relatively, for the mind sees no objects whatever but only their idea, and at present is conditioned through its own evolution until it shall have developed other powers and qualities.

The request made in the verse to unveil the face of the True Sun is that the Higher Self may shine down into us and do its work of illumination. This also spreads forth a natural fact unknown to moderns, which is that the sun we see is not the true sun, and signifies too that the light of intellect is not the true sun of our moral being. Our forefathers in the dim past knew how to draw forth through the visible Sun the forces from the True one. We have temporarily forgotten this because our evolution and descent into the hell of matter, in order to save the whole, have interposed a screen. They say in Christian lands that Jesus went into hell for three days. This is correct, but not peculiar to Jesus. Humanity is doing this for three days, which is merely the mystical way of saying that we must descend into matter for three periods so immense in time that the logarithm of one day is given to each period. Logarithms were not first known to Napier, but were taught in the pure form of the mysteries, because alone by their use could certain vast calculations be made.

Which is now hidden by a vase of Golden Light. That is, the light of the True Sun – the Higher Self – is hidden by the blood contained in the vase of the mortal body. The blood has two aspects – not here detailed – in one of which it is a helper to perception, in the other a hindrance. But it signifies here the passions and desires, Kama, the personal self, the thirst for life. It is this that veils from us the true light. So long as desire and the personality remain strong, just so long will the light be blurred, so long will we mistake words for knowledge and knowledge for the thing we wish to know and to realize.

The object of this prayer is that we may carry out our whole duty, after becoming acquainted with the truth, while we are on our journey to thy Sacred Seat. This is our pilgrimage, not of one, not selfishly, not alone, but the whole of humanity. For the sacred seat is not the Brahmanical heaven of Indra, nor the Christian selfish heaven acquired without merit while the meritorious suffer the pains of hell. It is that place where all meet, where alone all are one. It is when and where the three great sounds of the first word of the prayer merge into one soundless sound. This is the only proper prayer, the sole saving aspiration.

* This article is published in “William Q. Judge Theosophical Articles” Vol. 1, p. 583-585 and in WQJ Pamphlet #17 “Symbols and Keys,” by Theosophy Company on behalf of the United Lodge of Theosophists.

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We would also recommend a careful and contemplative reading of WQJ’s profound article “AUM!” which can be found in the same book and pamphlet as the above.

In the book “Notes on The Bhagavad Gita” (not to be confused with the book of that title by William Judge and Robert Crosbie) T. Subba Row, an Indian contemporary of H. P. Blavatsky and a chela or disciple of her Guru or Master, says the following:

“This light from the Logos is called Daiviprakriti in the Bhagavad Gita; it is the Gnostic Sophia and the Holy Ghost of the Christians. . . . I may point out that this light is symbolized as Gayatri. You know Gayatri is not Prakriti. It is considered as the light of the Logos, and in order to convey to our minds a definite image, it is represented as the light of the sun. But the sun from which it springs is not the physical sun that we see, but the central sun of the light of wisdom, hence we do not use in our sandhyavandanam any symbol representing the physical sun. This light is further called the mahachaitanyam of the whole cosmos. It is the life of the whole of nature. It will be observed that what manifests itself as light, as consciousness, and as force, is just one and the same energy. All the various kinds of forces that we know of, all the various modes of consciousness with which we are acquainted, and life manifested in every kind of organism, are but the manifestations of one and the same power, that power being the one that springs from the Logos originally. It will have to be surveyed in all these aspects, because the part that it really plays in the cosmos is one of considerable importance.”

This is metaphysically important but admittedly quite complex. To be able to understand more clearly what is actually being said, we advise the reading of Understanding The Logos and The Secret of Daiviprakriti – The Light of the Logos.

In the writings of Raghavan Iyer in “Hermes” magazine – published between 1975-1989 by the Santa Barbara Lodge of the ULT – many of which are now published in the three volumes of his book “The Gupta Vidya,” the Gayatri Mantra is frequently mentioned and its regular usage encouraged.

In the article “The Gayatri Invocation” a specific way of using it was recommended:

“It is a very ancient and sacred teaching that the Gayatri, corresponding to Vach, consecrating the Light of the Logos in Sound, should only be invoked on behalf of universal welfare. In general, all those who have any attraction to spiritual ideas must cleanse their hearts and strengthen those feelings in them that are truly universal and limitless, even though they may not know in advance what limitless love is. . . .

“. . . the highly potent spiritual invocation of the Gayatri mantram . . . the Gayatri invocation to the Spiritual Sun. To be able to use this daily and especially in reference to human relationships, in reference to all one’s obligations, in reference to one’s dharmas and karmas, requires great wisdom. . . .

“One cannot feel any different, any better than any being that is alive. Out of the very harshness of judgement or the ignorant attempt to separate oneself from even a Hitler, one will actually draw to oneself shadows of spiritual pride. To invoke the Gayatri mantram is truly to bid farewell to all self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is the illusory source of self-preservation – or what looks like it in the short run – but which in the long run is a barrier that sunders one from the whole of life. . . .

“No doubt a person who intones the Gayatri mantram will participate in the world, will go through the duties of life, will enter into relationships that involve sharing the concerns of others with all their limitations. In this very process a pilgrim may lose the thread and become forgetful, rather like a visitor to Plato’s cave, unable to penetrate through the cacophony of sounds in the dark den where the shadows have acquired exaggerated significance, unable to stand apart from the false language of success and failure, honour and dishonour, of human beings who entertain worldly perspectives. This is precisely the risk that is taken by every pilgrim who consciously incarnates for a high and holy purpose. At the same time, one must recognize that in the process of incarnation one is going to forget. In that sense, as Plato taught, the whole of life is involved with the basic problem of remembering and forgetting. . . . Hence the daily invocation of the Gayatri. . . .

“Negate each day [Note: This does not mean ignoring or denying the lessons and experiences of the day but refers to mentally drawing a line under it and refusing to allow the experiences of the day to encroach upon the night; it also has reference to reminding oneself throughout each day that one is not in reality one’s body or personal self.] and intone the Gayatri mantram before going to sleep. Repeat it as many times as one can, clearly and silently, and see if one can wake up with the mantram as one’s first thought. Do this again and again through the week to see if one really can carry the vibration through deep sleep. To be able to do this is to know what it means to overcome the barriers between lives, the illusion of devachan, the debris of kama loka, to cut through the mahamaya. To be unable to do it simply means that there is a great deal in oneself that is disconnected between the highest and the lowest. Instead of wallowing in a state of despair or panic, one should persist.

“The Gayatri invocation is an infallible means to self-transcendence. Sometimes one cannot use it as well as at other times, but even if it is not the first thought on waking, one can keep reminders for oneself. It is eventually possible to train the memory cells in every single part of each vesture, all of which have their own mode of registration, enlisting them all in the service of one’s highest motivation rooted in a universal plane of creative ideation. If one partakes of daily meditation, experiencing a sense of Duration, then one can repeatedly transcend the boundaries of time and its compression into secondary causes and effects. One can let go every psychic preoccupation with external relations in visible space, and develop a deeper, noetic sense of what it is to live inwardly. Daily, replenished by the cool stream of insight that flows from the Spiritual Sun, one may actualize the Gayatri mantram with a deep resolve that will endure without wavering, releasing a mighty current of unacknowledged but incalculable benefit for the entire human family and indeed for all living beings.”

What we have put in bold above is a practice which, in time, if patiently and dispassionately persisted in, will begin to slowly and gradually develop a continuity of consciousness within oneself. And continuity of consciousness, when not broken or lost by any change – whether sleep or death – is what is truly meant by immortality, according to Theosophy. We should clarify, however, that the Gayatri Mantra is not the only mantra or phrase which can be used in this way. In some other articles, Iyer suggests other mantras which can be used similarly.

Iyer does not advise whether to mentally intone it in its English form or in the original Sanskrit. Our personal preference is for the Sanskrit, if one can memorise it and learn how to correctly pronounce it. But it’s also important to always be conscious of the meaning of what one is actually saying, regardless of whether one is saying it vocally or mentally.

A few other Raghavan Iyer articles which shed some light on the Gayatri and its use are the following:

From “The Scope of Self-Consciousness”:

“The essential capacity to become an active embodiment of universal divine compassion is the mighty prospect of perfectibility for all immortal souls alike. By the power of meditation and devotion, they can all become co-worshippers of the highest in Nature, the highest within their own hearts, and the highest in all beings. Thus they can become able to handle at will all the subcolours of the spectrum through the one light of the Central Spiritual Sun.

“Owing to the gift of self-consciousness through the Kumaras, every human being has the potent capacity of sacred speech. Each and every human being may meditate upon the Gayatri, and through the creative potency of sound evoke the spiritual light of the Invisible Sun on behalf of all beings. This means that every human soul can, to some degree, attune itself to what Pythagoras called the music of the spheres. Though totally inaudible to the outer human ear, it is a sound so intense, so profound, that it reverberates constantly through the cosmos. Akashic sound and the primordial light of the Central Spiritual Sun are a primordial vibration reflected in the AUM, and also mirrored in bhur, bhuvah and svah, the three worlds invoked at the beginning of the Gayatri. Ultimately, that light is Daiviprakriti, awakened within Hiranyagarbha by the first ray of the Divine Darkness in the pre-cosmic dawn. It is this light, quickening the fiery ethereal waters of space, which is greeted by the Kumaras as the light of their true selves.”

From “Levels of Manifestation”:

“The ceaseless Ideation of the Universal Mind has its most pristine reflection in Dhyan Chohanic thought within the nucleus of the concealed Sun, wherein the most holy and highest self-existent beings initiate the seven rays, the sacred Hierarchies that work throughout the cosmos. Anyone who invokes the Gayatri for the sake of universal enlightenment brings his entire being into alignment with benedictory ideation at the most causal and cosmic level. . . . Centering the consciousness correctly will show itself by a heightened power of attention, by greater relaxation and noetic detachment. Drawing inward into the Presence, one will begin to withdraw from excessive allegiance to the manifested. Blending one’s will with the universal invocation of the Gayatri, one will become an initiator most concerned with the initiating impulse, the ensouling idea behind manifestation. Becoming an alchemical apprentice in the divine evolution of Ideas, one may become truly worthy of the benediction of the Brotherhood of Bodhisattvas.”

From “Dateless and Deathless”:

“The Gayatri invokes the True Sun of the Highest Self to unveil itself and illumine one’s entire being. This hidden element of divine grace is vital to the operation of consecration, prayer and meditation because one’s determination to learn the truth includes a fearless recognition that there is that which hides or veils it from one’s vision. Only when the projected ray subordinates and surrenders itself to its divine parent can there be a release of intense, ardent, longing aspiration for the Supreme Truth, for the one Source, for the sacred seat of the ever-invisible, ever-existent Fire, which is the fountainhead of all Mystery Fires, ceaselessly burning throughout manvantara and pralaya, unaltered by the whole universe and unmodified by all conditioned existence. . . .

“That is why it is so crucial that in the very act of adoration, using the Gayatri, one utters a tremendous cry of the soul, which is a cry of spiritual freedom. But such a cry is useless at the moment of death. It is to be made now or never, by those who use the Gayatri unfailingly; it is a cry for clarity, a cry that the veil may fall, that the scales may drop from one’s eyes, and that the obscuration of one’s being may be dispelled. Therefore, it takes the form of the sound ‘Unveil!’. Judge, in translating the Gayatri, has deliberately fused its actual meaning with a very powerful mantra in the Isha Upanishad, producing a ringing rendition which conveys the full force of the invocation:

AUM. Unveil, O Thou who givest sustenance to the Universe, from whom all proceed, to whom all must return, that face of the True Sun now hidden by a vase of golden light, that we may see the truth and do our whole duty on our journey to thy sacred seat. OM.”

“The vase of golden light is the Hiranyagarbha, the cosmic sphere of Light around the secret, sacred Sun which is the true source of all enlightenment, all ideation, and all divine and supra-mental energy. It is only reflected at a very limited level in the physical sun, which is the source of what people call physical life or pranic vitality, and also what they call light. That light, however, appears bright only in contrast to physical darkness, and it is only an illusory light compared with the ineffable Light of the Divine Darkness that is the essential nature of the unmanifest Logos. Whilst the physical sun gives all the energy that people ordinarily understand, that pervasive energy must necessarily participate in the law of conservation and must also be subject to the law of entropy. The ineffable Light of the Logos, by contrast, is inconsumable and inexhaustible: it can only be the object of the highest ideation of a Manasa, an immortal thinking being who can light up the flame that is its priceless share in the universal fire of Mahat.

“The Gayatri can be extremely potent if it is used regularly every day, but it can only work when it is invoked on behalf of all living beings. . . . it becomes a form of manifestation capable of summoning and activating the sacrificial ladder, along which travel the high Dhyanis, Devas and Hierarchies that move up and down the great rainbow bridge invoked by all the Vedic hymns. Being the Matriveda, the mother of the Vedas, the Gayatri is venerated as the highest possible mantra. It enables every human being to reach out on behalf of all Humanity, ardently to the One Source. By doing this again and again, one becomes attuned to that to which one appeals, and familiar with the avataric descent of the Divine Light and the shedding of its supernal grace.”

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“In the Sanskrit, as also in the Hebrew and all other alphabets, every letter has its occult meaning and its rationale; it is a cause and an effect of a preceding cause and a combination of these very often produces the most magical effect. The vowels, especially, contain the most occult and formidable potencies. The Mantras (esoterically, magical rather than religious) are chanted by the Brahmins and so are the Vedas and other Scriptures.” (H. P. Blavatsky, “The Secret Doctrine” Vol. 1, p. 94)