The Gayatri mantra and its forgotten rishi – Yogi Ashwini

Yogi  AshwiniEvery mantra needs siddhi to become effective, which is not possible without the avahan (invocation) of its devata, rishi and chhanda. The rishi in the case of the Gayatri Mahamantra is Vishwamitra, who lived the life of a king, enjoyed all the pleasures and then left them to attain to the Divine — a true saint and a Brahmarshi who remains unsurpassed till date.” – Yogi Ashwini

Rishi VishwamitraThere would hardly be anyone who has not heard the Gayatri Mantra — Om bhur bhuvah svah, tat savitur varenyam, bhargo devasya dhimahi, dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat. Maybe a few thousand people also understand what it means. But there would be hardly anyone who knows of the rishi — Brahmarshi Vishwamitra — who got this mantra from the Divine. It is such a powerful mantra that Krishna called it the mother of all mantras — mahamantra — and Ram himself protected the yagyas of this great rishi.

Hardly anyone would relate this mantra to Vishwamitra, who is mostly remembered for his love affair with Menaka. This is the first mantra of the Rigveda, the first veda, but for some reason Vyas, who compiled the Vedas, put it later, like so many other mantras given by Vishwamitra. But why?

Vishwamitra & MenakaVishwamitra was a Kshatriya king with vast resources and power. However, after realising that physical powers and siddhis were just a trap of the physical world and tapo bal (the yogic power of penance) was supreme power, he renounced his kingdom and went on to become a Brahmarshi who even set out to create a parallel universe; the Gods, of course, had to come down to request him to desist.

Vishwamitra was revered and feared in all the lokas. He had acquired an unsurpassed radiance because of his rare siddhis. His radiance was so phenomenal that when the time came for him to leave his body, the Gods became worried how to receive him and in which dimension they would place him.

Thus it was difficult to grant him salvation as he had withheld his urge for sex. So Menaka was sent down to tone down his energy, divert a bit of it into physical creation and also to help him indulge his sexual urge. It happened. Menaka lured him into sexual union, Shakuntala was born and Vishwamitra got salvation. He merged back with the divine.

ShakuntalaWhy then has Vishwamitra not been given the pedestal due to him? Obviously the age-old rivalry between the Kshatriyas and Brahmins is a reason. In spite of accepting Vishwamitra as a Brahmarshi, the egos of the other rishis could not accept that a Kshatriya could surpass them in their own field.

Every mantra needs siddhi to become effective, which is not possible without the avahan (invocation) of its devata, rishi and chhanda. The rishi in the case of the Gayatri Mahamantra is Vishwamitra, who lived the life of a king, enjoyed all the pleasures and then left them to attain to the Divine — a true saint and a Brahmarshi who remains unsurpassed till date. – Deccan Chronicle, Chennai, 12 April 2012

» Yogi Ashwini, the guiding light of Dhyan Foundation, is an authority on yoga, tantra and the Vedic sciences. He can be contacted at dhyan@dhyanfoundation.com.

17 Responses

  1. Amazing….. All my life i searched for one answer which i finally got. I never could really understand how a rishi or yogi who is the master of his senses who has total control over himself ever get distracted by any thing. Now i finally can understand the life of great sage vishwamitra. Thank you so much yogi Ashwini ji for sharing your thought. I am very delighted very glad to read it and would like to have more from you. Thank you for the article.

  2. Unfortunately inaccurate and a little perverse as has been pointed out. This can mislead the young and the innocent!

  3. incredible one, thanks for enlightening.

  4. Mr. Ashwini is a yogi-pretender. There is no sense whatever in this article. It is a product of his sublime ignorance. I don’t know how it has been posted on bharatabharati.

  5. First of all, It is obviously wrong to say that Gayatri Mantra had been the first mantra of the Rig veda, but it simply means Asvinji had not seen the Rigveda text itself and located the mantra therein. Had he done so, he could have found it in the 10th Mantra of Sukta 62 Ashtaka 5. It is not only found in Rigveda, but also in Samaveda, Yajurveda, both Shukla and Krishna, (SV.2.812a; VS.3.35a; 22.9a; 30.2a; 36.3a; TS.1.5.6.4a; 8.4; 4.1.11.1a; MS.4.10.3a: 149.14; ) also.

    There may be many other Vishvamitra-s, but this Vishvamitra who accepted Shunashepha, s/o Ajigarta, as his disciple and son, popularly known in Purana-s, later, appears in the Aitereya Brahmana, in relation to the saMhitA- mantra-s. And there is nothing to wonder, if it is the same विश्वामित्र, is the ऋषि of the whole 62nd sUkta, referred to above in the Rigvedasamhita. There are some other Rishi-s who were kShatriya-s, even the Manu, the first king and the son of Prajapati Brahma,himself, is related with some of the sUkta-s. And there is nothing to wonder i a Kshatriya, is the Rishi of the said SUkta. So there is no rivalry between the sages and the kings as speculated in the blog and although many more are there in the metre Gayatri, this one is popularly called गायत्री mantra.

    And, in the Vamshabrahmana, there is no name of Vishvamitra, but only one कौशिक occurs there, and also गाधि or गाधि the father of our विश्वामित्र appears in the list of sages, directly descended in the geneology of प्रजापतिब्रह्म. विश्वामित्र was the name, after he became ब्रह्मर्षि, and hence its absence in the geneology provided by the वंशब्राह्मण text. And with the गोत्र started from कुशिक, one of the direct descendants of प्रजापतिब्रह्मा, there are 27 generations, of which the name विश्वामित्र occupies the first place. All these are listed as the वैदिक-मन्त्र-द्रष्ट्रारः. Hence such postulation is also out of place when Vedic Literature lists both कुशिक, गाधि among the ancestors of विश्वामित्र.

  6. a never tolled story. very nice the other side of the coin is shown very well

  7. wow what an article i never thought brahmarishi vishvamitra was so great we always heard about that affair part not about his abilities, well the article really makes sense, rishi muni had complete control on their thought and senses and i don’t think a so great seer like him could have been moved, no matter how gorgeous menaka was.

  8. knowledge boosts intellect and result in covering the eyes with thick curtains and in some cases people can even dare to challenge yogis and seers, where as gyan shows the right way. my grandmother always used to say that a YOGI is not bound to maya ego, time intellect. he only and only speaks what he has experienced not read in books. as a normal human i wont try to challenge a yogi coz in vedic culture yogis are respected and we should respect both. i am not so big mahagyani n maha pandit like others but i remember for my childhood stories that just because of the rivalry between kshatriyas n brahmins lord Vishnu had to come down in human form of parashuram, and i can surely say that mahagyanis must be having examples of numerous times when brahmins just to satisfy their egos, betrayed n played politics against kshatriya kings.(i dont want to mean that every brahmin n kshatriya is rival but rivalry is not there is also not true.) before commenting we must know what a yogi is actually, what this word means and how much respect our elders used to do and why,

  9. A stupid and immature article which deserves no place here.

  10. This is a very mischevous article. I do not even understand what made Yogi Ashiviniji to come to a conclusion that this was the first mantra of the Rig veda. What pramana does he quote for that?. A simple story in the Ramayana is literaly screwed up to the level of a caste war. After all we must remember that Vasishta was the purohita of the Ikshvaaku race. Are they not kshatriyas?. Generation after genarations of Dvijas (Brahmana, kshatriyas, vaishyas) have been doing adhyayana of the Rig veda and nobody has had any prejudices with this. Thats the problem when the Veda is learnt in the non traditional way with a western bent of mind.

  11. I read this new article of Yogi Ashwini. I wonder, since when has there been an ‘…age-old rivalry between the Kshatriyas and Brahmins?’ The clash was between Vasistha and Vishvamitra, that’s all. And, for the record, the proximate provocation was Vishvamitra’s (then the king Kaushika’s) attempt to forcibly take away Vasishta’s wish-fulfilling cow – Nandini. Finally, Vasishta’s acceptance of Vishvamitra as a Brahmarishi ended their famous rivalry once and for all, as per every traditional account available. In fact, in the Ramayana, it is Vasishta who urges that Rama be sent with Vishvamitra to defend his yagna against rakshasas, when Rama’s father (Dasharatha) was in no mood to oblige Vishvamitra’s request. Every one of twice-born castes, not just the brahmanas, do repetitively intone ‘Savitrya rishi Vishvamitrah, Devi Gayatri Chandah, Savita devata” – they do cite and credit sources. The mantra is an invocation to Savita (Sun) and the metre (Chandah) is Gayatri. However, this mantra is more popularly referred to by the metre, rather than by the deity it invokes. This much is known to anyone who has the benefit of some Hindu samskaras and has heard or read the Hindu epics with some attention to detail.

    Why does Yogi Ashwini pontificate that ‘In spite of accepting Vishvamitra as a Brahmarshi, the egos of the other rishis could not accept that a Kshatriya could surpass them in their own field?’ Don Quixote and his lance, Yogi Aswhini and his mace, tilting against the Asuric windmills and imaginary brahmin snobbery? Why hawk imaginary ‘grievances’ against an entire jaati just because of one’s own monumental ignorance of the texts written by the selfsame brahmins? The point is not that brahmin snobbery never existed (brahmins are human too, just in case some rights-wallahs get the wrong idea), but this was purely a conflict between two persons who had a difference of opinion over the possession of a cow, that’s all. Neither Vishvamitra or Vasishta ever blew this up to a ‘class (or caste) struggle.’

    Swamiji, if an account of caste war is what Yogi Ashwini wants for light reading and reckless insinuation, kindly advise him that there are richer pickings in the traditional account of Parasurama, wielder of the axe.

  12. Rishi Vishwamitra can never be forgotten. He teaches Lord Rama archery in keeping with His background. Yogi Ashwin is wrong that Vishwamitra is forgotten.

  13. Here Rishi Vishwamitra may not be the great Brahamrshi Vishwamitra. I think the Rishi in the Gayatri Mantra is Prajapati Brahma — Vishwasya Jagato Mitram Vishwamitrah Prajapatih. And it is a concoction by the vested interests that there was rivalry between Brahmins and Kshatriya. How do you come to know, Ashwiniji, that Gayatri Mantra had been the first mantra of the Rig veda before Vyas, out of hatred towards Kshatriyas put it later. Why did he not remove the Mantras realized by Viswamitra altogether from the Vedas?

    • Yogi Ashwini ji is a “Yogi.” And, a Yogi is aware of every aspect of Creation. S/He has access to every aspect of Gyan that exists in this Creation. And then….you ask….: “how do you come to know….”
      (Sigh)

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