Gayatri Mantra – Universal Prayer

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This article is about building bridges between Hindus and Muslims.

It is a beautiful prayer, and you can see the reflections of Sura Fatiha and Ikhlas in the Mantra. 
At this time, the Hindu community urges its members to chant Gayatri Mantra to rid Covid, and the Muslims are urging to recite Sura An-Nasr or Fatiha to chase the Covid. Half of any problem is belief, and if the prayers give anyone hope, go for it. Whatever works is good. Fatiha and An-Nasr are a few of the most recited chapters by Muslims.

Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said if you have to go to China to learn, go there. He also said in another instance that if a particular practice worked for Romans, you could practice too. 

If it is not common sense, then it is not Islam. Islam is common sense. 

No matter where humans live, if a similar social and cultural environment is prevalent, you will see the same wisdom emerging from different parts of the world. We are the same people spread into separate communities, nations, races, and by extension, faiths. We all came from that first human species couple (Quran 49:13).  

We (People of all faiths) are programmed to believe that ours is the only culture or religion acceptable to the Creator, forgetting that HE is the creator of everything in the universe and is called Rabbul Aalameen. Verse 3:85 of the Quran needs to be studied thoroughly; Muhammad Asad’s translation offers guidance.  

Gayatri Mantra is a Hymn from the ancient Indian scripture RigVeda (10:16:3), often repeated in other scriptures like Upanishads. The credit for this mantra goes to sage Vishwamitra. 

About 20 years ago, I had translations of prayers in all religions – if they were written in English, all of them have the same theme – adoration of the Creator, that we bow to him and ask him to guide us on the right path. 

Sri Satya Saibaba wrote, “The Gayatri is a universal prayer enshrined in the Vedas. It is addressed to the Immanent and Transcendent Divine which has been given the name ‘Savita,’ meaning ‘that from which all this is born.’ (creator).

The Gayatri may be considered as having three parts – (i) Adoration (ii) Meditation (iii) Prayer. 

The Gayatri is considered the essence of the Vedas. Veda means knowledge, and this prayer fosters and sharpens the knowledge-yielding faculty. The four core declarations enshrined in the four Vedas are implied in this Gayatri mantra.”

(O) Supreme one; (who is) the physical, astral (and) causal worlds (himself).
 (you are) the source of all, deserving all worship.
 (O) radiant, divine one; (we) meditate (upon you).
Propel our Intellect (towards liberation or freedom).

Quran Sura Nasr (Asad’s translation)

110:1 When God’s succor comes, and victory
110:2 and thou seest people enter God’s religion in hosts
110:3 extol thy Sustainer’s limitless glory, and praise Him, and seek His forgiveness: for, behold, He is ever an acceptor of repentance


Om: The sacred word, word of creation, first word, word of God; usually used at the beginning of a hymn; 

Bhur: The physical plane of existence (which is of the nature of 5 elements)

Bhuvah: The astral plane of existence (which is of the nature of subtle elements)

Svah: The causal plane or celestial plane (plane where the existence is as subtle as ideas or notions, from which creation happens).  

Tat: That, God, (Equivalent of son, in the Christian Trinity of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost)

Savitúr : Source of all, creation, supreme reality, Divine illumination (of goddess Savitri or Shakti)

Váreṇyaṃ: the foremost, fit to be worshiped, deserving oblations 

Bhárgo: Great spiritual effulgence, Radiant one, one who illumines all

Devásya: Godly, divine reality, of divinity, Virtuous and joyous

Dhīmahi: We meditate on you; Dhee=intellect; Thus Dhimahi means we focus our Intellect on you

Dhíyo: Intellect, intelligence, reasoning, and discriminating faculty, which is a tool for attaining higher wisdom

Yo: Who, One is who being prayed, You (supreme one) 

Nah: Our (Intellect) 

pracodáyāt: Stimulate, Propel towards the higher reality

Jainism’s Navakar Mantra is universal, and there are several universal Muslim prayers, and I like this one, “Allah humma mughfirli wali wali dayya..” Seeking blessings and forgiveness for all humanity. 

I have created a prayer that I recite at the end of the interfaith meetings and the Interfaith weddings with an Amen from the gathering.

Dear Creator of the Universe;

Guide us to forgive each other and forgive often.
Guide us with patience to bear each other’s shortcomings.
Guide us with a sense of fairness to each other.
Guide us to stand up for justice for every human.
Guide us to be merciful and kind to fellow humans.
Guide us to create cohesive societies.
Guide us to learn to respect the otherness of others. 

God has spread this universe for us in the Quran,(55:10-12), he has given us Intellect and speech to communicate (55:4), and we have to maintain balance and never cross the line of righteousness (55:8). God has created everything in harmony and balance; all that he wants from us is to sustain it, so each of us can live a secure and fuller life.

 Dr. Mike Ghouse is a public speaker, thinker, and author, and interfaith wedding officiant.  He is the founder of the Center for Pluralism and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day to the media and the policymakers. His book American Muslim Agenda is available on Amazon. The second edition is coming with a new title American Muslim by July 4th with added chapters.

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