Gayathri Mantra And Nadopasana

Neyveli Santhanagopalan

Omkara is the basis for both the Gayathri and the Nadopasana marga...

Omkara is the basis for both the Gayathri and the Nadopasana marga.

"Pranava naada Sapthaswaramulai paraga" The above is from Tyagarajar's krithi "Mokshamu Galada", meaning that it is the Pranava Nada which has taken the swarupa of Sapthaswaras.

And we know that Surya Gayathri starts with Omkara. Thus, both the chanting of the Gayathri and the path of Nadopasana have the same lakshya (goal) - realizing and merging with the Origin.

In his krithi hailing the Sapthawaras, Tyagaraja says,

vara gayathri hridyamuna".And in the krithi by Muthuswami Dikshithar in the raga Devakriya on Gayathri Devi, he sings,

Sapthaswara Maathrukaa roopinam

Again, we realize the truth that the Gayathri and the Sapthaswaras are the same whose forms are different. The Sapthaswaras are the essence of the Vedas :

Sama veda saaram Vaaram vaaram

Gayathri is Veda Matha, the mother of all vedas.

Gayathrim Chandasaam maathafrom the Gayathri Avahana manthra.

Hence, Gayathri is verily the basis for all the vedas and sapthaswaras. That is why Tyagaraja says that the Sapthaswaras dwell in the heart of Gayathri.

Since there is tremendous power in the Gayathri manthra, it is transferred to the Sathpaathra through the Upanayana samskara or initiation and the chanting procedures and its applications are kept secret because if wrongly chanted by Apathras (non-qualified), it creates a negative effect both on the person and on the cosmos. The same care must be taken in the case of Nadopasana marga also. Tyagaraja says that this science of Nadopasana is also a secret (Nada vidya marmamu) and so naturally enough care should be taken while imparting this knowledge to the aspirants. In this context, it should be mentioned that the Gurukula style of imparting training is the best and risk-free system.

This way, the care one should take while practising the Gayathri or Nadopasana is emphasized. Both the Gayathri and Nadopasana are direct paths to Moksha.

Gayantham thrayathe ithi gayathri.'-That is which saves the chanter from the Samsaara is Gayathri.

Through Nadopasana, one attains moksha without any extra effort- 'Aprayathnena moksha margassagachathi' Gayathri represents a meter in Sanskrit. Its structure is a combination of three paadas or parts each containing 8 akshara kaalaas.So, 8+8+8 =24 aksharas.

Incidentally, the figure 8 represents the basic chathurasra mode also.

It can be seen that the Veena Dandam has 24 frets.And also, the human vertebral column has 24 vertebrae (segments)!

This striking similarity between the Gayathri manthra, Veena Dandam and the Gathra veena (the vertebral column) can be understood from the following diagram :-

It will be apt to contemplate on the structure of the krithi "Shobhillu" in this context. The pallavi talks about the sapthaswaras, the anupallavi about the Gathra veena and how the sound emanates from that and the charanam talks about Gayathri and the veda.

In one of his major compositions in the Raga Kambhoji, Sri Subrahmanyaya Namasthe, Muthuswamy

Dikshithar has incorporated the sacred syllables of the Surya Gayathri Manthra like

vandithAya varenyaya - in the Anupallavi and

agnAna dhwAntha savlthre-in the Charanam and also the syllables, Bhoor, Bhuva and Dhi

It is befitting that these syllables of the Gayathri manthra appear in a krithi in praise of Lord Subrahmanya who is the Veda rakshaka Avatharam.

And also the syllables, varenyaya and savlthreare rightly placed at the climax of the Anupallavi and Charanam respectively to show their potency.

As seen earlier, the krithi "Sandhya Devim" in the raga Devakriya byDikshithar is an exclusive composition on Devi Gayathri.

In the pallavi, the three forms of Gayathri namely the Savithri, Gayathri and Saraswathi are invoked. It is worth mentioning here that these three forms of Gayathri Devi are worshipped during the morning, afternoon and evening times respectively everyday by the aspirant.

In the Charanam, the Gayathri is extolled as

sapthaswara mathruka rupinam " meaning that She is the personification of the primary seven musical notes and also as :

thathpada lakshyartha rupinam"-meaning that She is the power behind the expressions emerging out of words. Through these words, we understand how the Anugraham of Gayathri Devi is essential in both Sangeetham and Sahithyam.

Even the Trimurthis are effulgent because of the Nada and the power Savithri. How? Nadopasana> Trimurthis> having the power of the sun, namely the Savithri as their Atma.

In the Begada krithi, "Nadopasana", we see that even Sankara, Narayana andBrahma owe their effulgence to their Nadopasana.

In the Gayathri Avahana manthra in the Sandhyavandanam, we come across the phrase "virinchi narayana s'ankarathmane"-meaning that the Gayathri is the indwelling power of the Trimurthis. And hence the above equation.

Nadopasana had made the Trimurthis become 'vedodharulu and veda atheethulu". yagaraja says.

Let us consider the krithi by Tyagaraja,"undedi ramudu"in the raga Harikambhoji

upon whom Tyagaraja has sung in many places as Nadaswaroopi and Nadaatmaka as 'chanda marthanda madhya mandalamunu chelangutsu"-meaning Rama is the indwelling eternal force inside the Savithru mandala or the Sun.

The same truth is expressed thro the Sandhyavandana manthra :

Here, the bard describes Rama

"savithru mandala madhyavarthi narayana:sarasijasana"

Here the equation is :

Nadathmaka Rama>Savithrumandala madhyavarti Narayana

So, Nadopasana and Gayathri are one and the same.

The above points should convince one to conclude that NADOPASANA and GAYATHRI UPASANA are nothing but two branches of OMKARA SADHANA and their lakshya is the same, i.e. realizing and merging with the BRAHMAN.

vara gayathri hrudayamuna shobhillu sapthaswara sundarula bhajimpave manasa

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