Thursday, September 19, 2013

Panchamukhi Gayatri Shrine, Girivalam Road

On the 29th of January, 2008 the Panchamukhi Gayatri Manthralyam was inaugurated on the Arunachala girivalam roadway, next to the Annamalai Erdiner and Unnamulai Erdiner Temples. The Goddess Gayatri is considered Veda Mata (Mother of all Vedas) and also the personification of the all-pervading Parabrahman, the ultimate unchanging reality that lies behind all phenomena. 

Sri Paramahamsa Ramakrishna said of the Gayatri, that if all the truths of the Vedas were condensed into one, it would be encapsulated in the Bhagavad Gita, and if all the truth in the Gita were represented by one Universal Prayer, it would be the Gayatri Mantra. 

Gayatri is the name of one of the most important Vedic hymns consisting of twenty four syllables. The hymn is addressed to Lord Surya (Sun) as the supreme generative source. 

Shrine on Arunachala Girivalam Roadway

According to the sacred texts: Gayatri is Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, Gayatri is the Vedas. It was only later that Gayatri came to be personified as a Goddess. The five-faced Gayatri (Panchamukhi) is usually seated on a red lotus signifying wealth. She represents in her five faces the five pranas (life forces) and is the protector of the five pranas in man. 

"Gayantham thrayathe ithi Gaytri (Because it protects the one who recites it, it is called Gayatri)." When Gayatri acts as protector of the life-forces, she is known as Savitri. Savitri is known in a story from the Puranas, as the devoted wife who brought back to life her husband, Sathyavan. Savitri is the presiding deity of the five pranas. She protects those who lead a life of Truth. 

Gayatri Panchmukhi

Panchamukhi Gayatri wears crowns on all her five heads, and the crowns bear nine types of gems, which signify the lustre of Divine Light flowing into the heart of the aspirant. The four heads of Gayatri represent the four Vedas and the fifth head represents God. In Gayatri Amman’s ten hands she holds the symbols of Lord Vishnu. The weapons held by the ten hands of this Goddess give divine protection and the desired boon of the aspirant, at the same time all enemies who are working unfavourably against the devotee are destroyed. 

Poster Shrine Wall, showing Sri Panchamukhi Gayatri's form

It is believed that darshan of the five faces of the Gayatri idol is capable of removing any great sin we have committed and also grants Divine Grace from Lord Shiva. The eyes of the five-faced Gayatri are watching in ten directions (four cardinal points, four inter-cardinal points, plus the Sky and Earth) for the purpose of destroying the bad and protecting the good. 

The significance of the ten hands of Gayatri Amman represents five types of Sukhas (comforts) obtainable from earth and the other five hands signify five types of Divine bliss obtainable from the Divine and Spiritual lokas. 

Recitation of Gayatri Mantra:

Bhur Bhuva Suvaha 
Tat Savitur Varenyam 
Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi 
Dhiyo yonah Prachodayat 

Translation of the mantra: 

Om We meditate upon the spiritual Effulgence of that Adorable supreme Divine Reality, the Source of the physical, the Astral and the Heavenly Spheres of Existence. May that Supreme Divine Being enlighten our intellect so that we may realise the Supreme Truth. 

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