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Re: Vedic deities

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_be.com)
Date: Fri May 28 1999 - 17:19:35 PDT

Sri Anantha Padmanabhan wrote:
> As discussed previously, we can meditate upon the form of 
> gAyatri dEvi with nArAyaNA being the antaryAmi. Here, the 
> jIvAtmA gAyatri dEvi residing inside that body is not 
> concentrated upon => no anya dEvata worship is performed. 

You are making the assumption here that "gAyatrI" actually
refers to a concrete deity (i.e., something with a jIva).
My feeling is that it does not.  "gAyatrI" refers specifically
to the mantra which is to be used during japa, and which is
described as "chandasAm mAtA", the mother of all Vedic metres
or of the Vedas themselves, and the giver of all good.  
With this in mind, it seems to me that the mantra which confers
all good is pictured as a goddess for the purposes of invitation
and meditation.  

The content of the mantra is that the resplendent Parabrahman (savitur
devasya vareNyam) is the mover and shaker of all things, and in
particular our intellect.  There is no need to concoct an awkward
explanation in which we bypass some mysterious "gAyatrI devI" and
meditate on the antaryAmi.  Gayatri is merely symbolic of the mantra
which we invite into our hearts as we begin the japa.  And the essence
of the Gayatri is Parabrahman Narayana, so gAyatrI is simply the
Parabrahman viewed as this sacred mantra.

Mani