Here is an example I took from another post here:

bhaskaraya vidmahe mahaddyutikaraya dhimahi |
tanno adityyah pracodayat

There are lots of variants of this formula. What is the context in which this formula is used and what does it mean?

  • these are parts of gayatri mantras of different deities. You would get the main Gayatri which is for Sabitur or Sun or the Supreme Creator and different gayatris of different vedic and tantrik deities
    – user17294
    Jan 23 '19 at 18:30
  • Gayatri means the mantra singing or chanting which one is freed from hindrances obstacles and dangers
    – user17294
    Jan 23 '19 at 18:37
  • Bhaskara is another name of Surya Deva. That is a Gayatri mantra for worshipping the Sun.
    – Ikshvaku
    Jan 23 '19 at 22:13

Any god worshipped in a format can have a basic name being referred to (1 vidmahe). He has another name or description or attribute (2 dheemahi). May he grant us progress (3 prachodayath).

  • You should cite sources.
    – The Destroyer
    Jan 24 '19 at 5:21

To answer your question lets breakdown all three

Vidmahe - root is vid - to know Dhimahi - root is Dhi - to illuminate Pracodayat - can be looked at as pra cod - to move towards or as rooted in prac to inquire.

I tend to think of the meaning in in reverse. Beginning with a prayer which is also a self inquiry - in your example tanno adityyah pracodayat - may we be moved towards Aditya - the self inquiry becomes who is this Aditya - this inquiry when deeply contemplated inspires you to move in the direction to discover the answer. Next in reverse we have Mahadyuti Dhimahi - so dhimahi typically is translated as to meditate, but we can look a little deeper and get a more colorful picture. Dhi is the light of consciousness that illuminates ones mindspace. So Dhimahi in this context is saying let my mindspace be illuninated with or by Mahadyuti - the greatly effulgent and glorious one. May my mind be completely absorbed in Mahadyuti - hence let me meditate on Mahadyuti. Next we have the opening bhaskaraya vidmahe - Vid means to know it is the root of words like vidya and veda. Vidmahe - means may I to come to knowing, to know, the object Bhaskara - The Shiner -

So then we can put it together properly. May I come to know Bhaskara - the One who Shines. May my mind be fully illuminated by the vision of Mahadyuti - the Greatly Glorious one. May we be moved by the inspiration of Aditya - the son of Aditi.


Dhimahi:- This word is derived from √dhi which means to worship or meditate. From V.S. Apte Dictionary; enter image description here

Vidmahe:- It is derived from √vid which means to know or understand. Source enter image description here

Prachodyat:- It is derived from √pracud which means to inspire.

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Maharishi Dayananda translated the word dhimahi and prachodyat as mentioned above in Gayatri mantra.

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The word to word translation of the mantra you gave in question is given here.

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