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Story of Origin of Gayatri Mantra in the Taittirya Aranyaka


Gayatri Mantra is a Vedic hymn deriving its power both from its sound and from meaning. The mantra was first chanted by Sage Vishwamitra and it is found in the third mandala of Rig Veda (III.62.10). There is an interesting story regarding the origin of Gayatri Mantra in the Taittirya Aranyaka (2.2).

The demons (Rakshasas) became powerful by observing harsh penance. They became so powerful that they had the strength to fight the sun.

With boons received from Prajapati, they covered up the sun and made him powerless.

There was darkness on earth. Everything came to standstill. There was no food and water. There was no creation. There was no fire.

To help the sun regain its power, the people who followed Dharma on earth offered him water after reciting the Gayatri Mantra.

Soon, the Sun regains its original glory and the Rakshasas were driven away.

Did you know?
  • To the three lines of Rig Vedic Gayatri Mantra, a fourth line “Paro Vajase Savad Om” is added to make it a purna Gayatri Mantra. This is referred to in Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (5.144). It is also mentioned in the Tripuratapini Upanishad (1.2).
  • The offering of water to the sun with this prayer daily is a simple ritual followed from time immemorial by Hindus.
  • In Devi Bhagavata, sixteen chapters of Skanda XI andXII are devoted to Gayatri.
  • There is a Gayatri Sahsranama and it is found in the Devi Bhagavata.