Gayatri (Sanskrit: गायत्री, IAST:gāyatrī) is the
personified form of popular
Gayatri Mantra, a hymn from Vedic
texts. She is also known as Savitri and Vedamata (mother of vedas).
Gayatri is often associated with Savitr, a solar deity in the
Gayatri is one of the consorts of Lord
Brahma in Puranic
concepts. Saivite texts identify
Gayatri as the consort of Shiva, in
his highest form of
Sadasiva with five heads and ten hands.
2 Puranic Gayatri
3 Shaivite Gayatri
5 See also
7 External links
Gayatri was the name initially applied to a metre of the Rig Veda
consisting of 24 syllables. In particular, it refers to the Gayatri
Mantra and the
Goddess Gāyatrī as that mantra personified. The
Gayatri mantra composed in this triplet form is the most famous. Most
of the scholars identifies
Gayatri as the feminine form of Gayatra,
other name of vedic Solar god which is also one of the synonyms of
Savitri and Savitr. However, the transition period of mantra turned
into personification is still unknown. There are two different sources
available to construct her development through ages. One is puranic
texts describing her association with
Saraswati and Brahma. Another
source is Saivite texts identifying Gayatri, the consort of
Devi appears before Vishwamitra rishi.
Gayatri is said to be the other names of Sarasvati, the wife of
Brahma. According to Matsya Purana,
Brahma formed from his own
immaculate substance a female, who is celebrated under the names of
Shatarupa, Savitri, Sarasvati, Gayatri, and Brahmani. In Kurma
Purana, Gautama rishi was blessed by
Gayatri and able to
eliminate the obstacles he faced in his life. Skanda Puran tells that
Gayatri is the second wife of
Brahma after Savitri, which make her
distinct from Saraswati. It goes
Gayatri to fulfill
Brahma's vedic sacrifices as Savitri was late to attend. In this
Gayatri is described as a beautiful milkmaid found by Indra
near the holy place, Pushkar.
Skanda purana continues that Savitri became angry knowing the wedding
Brahma and cursed all the gods and goddesses engaged
in the event. However, the Padma
Purana narrates the same story
with little modification. After Savitri was appeased by Brahma, Vishnu
and Lakshmi, She accepts
Gayatri as her sister happily. Padma
Purana and Skanda PUrana symbolically tell how does the personified
Gayatri was included into Hindu pantheon distinct from
She further developed into a fierce goddess who could even slay a
demon. According to Varaha
Purana and Mahabharata,
slayed the demon Vetrasura, the son of
Vritra and river Vetravati, on
According to Saivite Siddhantic perspective,
Gayatri is the consort of
Sadasiva, the supreme being Parashivam.
Gayatri as the consort of eternal blissful absolute
Parashiva who manifests in the form of sun, Sivasurya. He is
omnipotent omnipresent Sadasiva, whose name is Bharga. Sadashiva's
consort Manonmani is non other than the mantra form of
possess the power of her husband Bharga,within her. It should
be noted that the popular form of
Gayatri with five heads and ten arms
was initially found in Saivite iconographies of Manonmani in North
India beginning from 10th century CE. Saivite view on Gayatri
seems a later development from the combination of vedic practice of
Gayatri reverence and its Saivite inclusion as a manifestation of
Shakti. This could be the root for the terrific aspect of Gayatri
explained in the later puranas as the killer of demon Vetra
identifying her with Adi Parashakti.
A modern depiction of goddess Gayatri
Earlier bronze images of
Gayatri is appeared in the Himachal Pradesh,
where she was revered as the consort of Sadasiva. Some of these
forms are terrific in nature. One of the bronze images of Gayatri
dated back to 10th c. CE was obtained from Champa region and now
preserved in Delhi museum. It appears with five faces and ten hands
holding, sword, lotus, trident, disc, skull, Varada in left and goad,
noose, a manuscript, the jar of ambrosia and Abhaya in right. She
resides in the mount Nandi. Modern depictions illustrates swan as her
mount. Fine paintings of
Gayatri appears from 18th century CE in which
she is often portrayed with third eye, crescent moon and five heads
with five different colors same like Sadasiva.
The well known form of
Gayatri with the Saivite influence will appear
having five heads (Mukta, Vidruma, Hema, Neela, Dhavala) with the ten
eyes looking in eight directions plus the earth and sky, and ten arms
holding various types of weapons attributed to Shiva,
Brahma. Another recent depiction is accompanied by a white swan
holding a book to portray knowledge in one hand and a cure in the
other, as the
Goddess of education.
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