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PADMA PURANA

Padma

Ideal features of Brahmanas and significance of Gayatri Mantra

Janmana Brahmano jneyaha Samskarai Dwija Ucchatey,
Vidyaya yaati Vipratvam Thribhih Shrotria lakshanam/
Vidyaputho Mantraputho Veda putasthayaiva cha,
Tirtha-Snaanadibhirmedhyo Viprah Pujyatamah smrutah/
Narayane sadaa bhaktah shuddhantah karanastatha,
Jitendriyo Jitahkrodhah samamah Sarvajaneshu cha/
Gurudevaatiye bhaktah pitroh shusrushaney ratah,
Paradaarey manoyasya kadaachitraiva modatey/
Puranakathako nityam Dharmaakhyaanasya santatih,
Asatyaiva darshaatrithya -mashvamedhaadijah phalam/

(A Brahmana boy is a Brahmana by birth; by virtue of ‘samskara’or Training / Practice, he is known as a ‘Dwija’ and by virtue of ‘Vidya’ or education of Scriptures, he is called a ‘Vipra’. Thus the three features of a ‘Shrotriya’ or a Complete Brahmana are ‘Janma’ (birth), ‘Samskara’ (tradition and training) and ‘Vidya’ (Knowledge). A Brahmana becomes worthy of worship once he is purified with ‘Tirtha Snanas’ or bathing at holy Places and is fortified with Vidya, Mantra and Vedas.The ‘darshan’ or seeing of a complete Brahmana yields fruits of performing Ashwamedha Yagna etc. once he always maintains devotion of Bhagavan Narayana; his conscience is clear and clean of petty matters; his feelings are uniformly balanced for one and all; his bhakti is transparent and uniform to Gurus, Devatas and Atithis; his dedication and service is constant for his parents; his views and reactions are unblemished for women and transient desires and emotions; and his mind and speech are always engaged in and cogitative about Puranas and Matters of Spiritualism!)

Lord Brahma himself was stated to have described an ideal Brahmana as above to Devarshi Narada as quoted by Sage Pulastya to Bhishma. Lord Brahma also stated that a Brahmana was he who could treat a friend or foe with equal feelings of kindness; who could behave all human beings in an impartial and unbiased manner; who would never resort to thieving any object or money even if available in a free jungle; who would be completely devoid of desires, annoyances, mean mindedness, excessive possessions, jealousy, and anger; who is not controlled by ‘Indriyas’ or physical properties; and who would recite Yajur Veda and other Scriptures with their meanings, and the Twenty Four Lettered Tripada Gayatri! Lord Brahma further declared that even mere conversation by a person with a Brahmana as described above would lead him to ‘Uttama Gati’ or noble path, provided that person observed daily ‘snaan’ and Brahmana Puja, and practice of Noble ‘Vratas’ and consumption of Ganga water.
Narada enquired of Lord Brahma about the features, the special import of each ‘Akshar’ or Letter of Gayatri Mantra and the ‘Kukshi’-‘Charan’and ‘Gotra’ of the Stanza.The Gayatri Mantra’s Chhanda (Prosody or Poetic Structure) is called ‘Gayatri’ and ruling Devata is ‘Savita’. Gayatri Devi’s ‘Varna’ or colour is ‘Shukla’ (White); her face is of ‘Agni’ (Fire) and her Rishi is Viswamitra. Lord Brahma is Gayatri’s ‘Mastak’ (head); her ‘Shikha’ or the Head-hair is Rudra; her heart is of Lord Vishnu. She is the dominating Deity of ‘Upanayana Karma’ or the Task of Wearing the Holy Thread which qualifies a person to recite Gayatri Mantra. Devi Gayatri was born into ‘Saankhyaana Gotra’. Three Lokas are her Charanas or feet. Prithvi (Earth) lies in Gayatri’s ‘Kukshi’ or in her stomach. One aligns each letter of the Gayatri Mantra totalling twenty four to the parts of a human body from the feet to head and the process of alignment of the body part and each of the letters of the Mantra is called Nyasa. A Brahmana performing the Nyasa or alignment of the Letters of the Mantra with the concerned body part is stated to have attained Brahma Loka; to realise or to be aware of the meaning and significance of each letter of the Mantra would lead to ‘Vishnu Sayujya’ or accomplishment of Oneness with Vishnu. Gayatri’s second distinct Form comprises an Eighteen Lettered Yajur Mantra viz: Om Agneyrwaakpumsi Yajurvedina jushta Somam piba Swaha/ The Mantra commences with the word ‘Agni’ and ends up with the word ‘Swaha’. One has to recite this Mantra hundred times while standing in water. The power of this Mantra is such that the recitation dissolves crores of Sins including even the ‘Maha Patakas’ like ‘Brahma Hatya’. The same procedure is to be followed by reciting Vishnu Mantra, Maheswara Maha Mantra, Devi Mantra, Surya Mantra, Ganesha Mantra and so on. The Brahmanas who practise the Mantra recitals on these lines need to be given special ‘Danaas’ and the donors of the Daanaas achieve ‘Akshya Punya’ or Undiminishing Punya. Those Brahmanas who are ‘Swadhyaya parayanas’or self-taught and at the same time teach others, recite for the benefit of others and also let others read for every body’s benefit are as good as Vishnu. Practising Gayatri Mantra by the ‘Nyas’ or alignment of each word and body part, understand the purport and meaning of each word and perform ‘Pranayama’ concurrently bestows ‘Brahmapada prapti’.

 The next significant question posed by Sage Narada to Lord Brahma related to the Form or Swarupa of Pranayama, the concerned Deity relevant to each Word of Gayatri and the body part alignable with the specific letter of the Gayatri Mantra. The process of Pranayama comprises 1) ‘Puraka Kriya’ or the filling up the body with Prana Vayu (the wind of Life) from bottom to heart or mix up with ‘Apana’Vayu from the bottom with the Prana Vayu inhaled into the heart; 2) ‘Kumbhak Kriya’ or stopping the breath; 3) ‘Rechaka   Kriya’ or exhale by slowly removing the Vayu till one could hold. This cycle of inhaling fully out, stopping the breath with no air inside the body, exhaling slowly by removing the air till the dead-end is called Pranayama simultaneously reciting Gayatri Mantra each time fully. This Pranayama clears breathing and lung congestion, slashes cold and cough, improves the status of hearing, eases the digestive system and greatly enhances memory and concentration.
 
Now, Brahma detailed each relevant Deity in respect of each of the Twenty Four Letters of the Gayatri Mantra as follows: Agni, Vayu, Surya, Viyat (Akash),Yamaraja, Varun, Brihaspati, Parjanya, Indra, Gandharva, Pusha, Mitra, Twashta, Vasu, Marudganas, Soma, Angira, Vishwa Deva, Ashvini Kumars, Pragapati, Sampurna Devata, Rudra, Brahma and Shri Vishnu. The letter-to-letter seriatum of Deities represented in the Gayatri Mantra thus provided the ‘Vangmaya’/ ‘Vani Vishaya’ or the cross-referencing of the Letter-Deity implication. As regards the ‘Nyasa’ of the Aksharas of the Gayatri Mantra versus Body Limbs, the explanation is as follows: ‘Tat’-touch the thumbs of the feet; ‘Sa’-Gulpha (ankles); ‘Vi’-the two pindaliyas (calves); ‘thu’-ghutnas (Knees); ‘Var’-jangha (lap); ‘Re’-Terminal Part; ‘Nya’- ‘Andakosha; ‘M’-‘Kati bhagas’(  thighs); ‘Bha’-Nabhi Mandala; ‘orgo’-Udaram; ‘Dey’-both the breasts; ‘Va’- Hridaya; ‘Sya’-both the hands; ‘Dhee’-face; ‘Ma’-taalu; ‘hi’-top of Nasika( nose); ‘Dhi’-both the eyes; ‘Yo’- both bahus (hands); ‘Yo’- Lalaat; ‘Nah’-Muhka’s Purvabhaaga; ‘Pra’-‘Dakshna bhaag; ‘Cho’-Paschima bhaaga; ‘da’-Mukha’s Uttara Bhaga; ‘Yaat’-Mastak (head). By performing the Nyasa as above, all the ‘Aksharas’or the Letters are thus aligned to Brahma-Vishnu and Maheswara.
Another kind of Nyasa for the Sandhya-Kaalas is as follows:  

Om Bhuriti Hridaye-
Om Bhuvah Shirasi-
Om Swaha Shikhayai-
Om Tatsaviuvarenyamithi Kalebarey-
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi Netrayoh-
Om Dhiyoyonaha prachodayaatiti Karayoh-
Om Apo jyotee rasomritam Brahma Bhurbhuvah swarom/

The above Vyahruti and Twelve Omkaaraas along with Gayatri Mantra be performed at Sandhya Timings while touching water (Jala sparsha) followed by Pranayama Kriya thrice; then should follow the Gayatri Mantra Japa for as many times as possible. Then should follow ‘Punah-Nyasa’ or Repeat Nyasa as follows: Om Bhuh Padaabhyaam and touch the feet; Om Bhuvah Jaanubhyaam and touch both ‘ghutane’ (knees); Om Swahah Katyaam and touch kati bhaaga’ (thighs); Om Mahah Naabhou and touch Nabhistaan (navel); Om Janah Hridaye and touch Hridaya; Om Tapah Karaye and touch both the hands; Om Satyam and touch Lalaatey (Forehead) and finally recite the entire Mantra and touch the Shikha (tuft).

Lord Brahma affirmed to Narada as follows: 

Chatur Vedaascha Gayatri pura vai tulithaa maya,
Chatur Vedaat Paraa Gurvi Gayatri Mokshada Smrita/
Dashabhirjanma janitam shateyna cha puraakrutam,
Tri Yugam tu Sahasrena Gayatri hanthi kilbisham/

(I had in the past placed the Four Vedas and Gayatri on a Sensitive Balance and at that time Gayatri weighed heavier compared to the Four Vedas since Gayatri was certainly towards the path of Salvation. Gayatri Mantra Japa for ten times destroys the sins of the current birth, hundred times clears the sins of the previous birth and the Japa thousand times demolishes the sins of three Yugas!)

Those who perform Gayatri Japa in the morning and evening by rotating the Sacred Rudraksha Mala shall indeed reap the fruits of the Four Vedas. Contrarily, a Brahmana who is not aware of the Gayatri Mantra has no credential to perform Pitru Karyas, Shraddhas, and Daanas. Their visits to Tirthas, dips in Holy Rivers and performances of any kind of Propitious Tasks are treated as negative, like a fragrant and charming flower sprouting in a slushy and rotten cess-pool!

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