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Summary: Is Goddess Gayatri another form of Savitri (Saraswati) or Savitri in Parabrahman form?

If yes, can we conclude that the word ‘Savita’ in the Gayatri mantra is representative of Savitri and mantra as such is dedicated to her; and hence called Gayatri Mantra?


Question:

  1. As per this below picture, Goddess Gayatri is said to be an epithet of Goddess Saraswati (Savitri). According to it, Rigveda 3.62.10 affirms that Devi Saraswati had taken the form of Goddess Gayatri to worship Suryadev.

enter image description here

  1. Chapter 17 of the Sṛṣṭi-khaṇḍa of the Padma Purana while enlisting 108 names of Goddess Saraswati (Savitri) says:-

गायत्री वेदवदने पार्वती शिवसन्निधौ। देवलोके तथेंद्राणी ब्रह्मास्ये तु सरस्वती॥२०९॥

Gāyatrī at the (time of the) recitation of the Vedas; Pārvatī near Śiva; Indrāṇī in the heaven; Sarasvatī in the mouth of a brāhmaṇa.

(However in the same section there’s another story of a cowherdess named Gayatri, to whom Brahma is married. She seems to be different from the Gayatri form of Saraswati)

  1. As per this dhyanam video (don’t know the source of this mantra), between 40 seconds to 1 minute, Goddess Gayatri is called Hamsavahini (swan vahana), Brahmani, Brahma Loka Nivasini; all of which are characteristics associated with Goddess Saraswati (Savitri).

  2. As per the Wikipedia on Goddess Gayatri, in the Puranic Gayatri section, it is said that various Puranas call Gayatri the same as Saraswati and Savitri, and as Lord Brahma’s wife.

  3. Goddess Gayatri is commonly represented as the wife of Vishwakarma (creator of the world not the architect god) which seems to be Lord Brahma in Parabrahman form. (As per the below picture)

enter image description here

Based on the above statements, can it be concluded that :-

(i)Saraswati (Savitri) and Gayatri are one and the same or merely different forms of the same goddess?

(ii) Gayatri is the Parashakti form of Saraswati and Vishwakarma is the Parabrahman form of Brahmaji, just like when talking of Devi Durga as Parabrahman she is represented as Adi Shakti?

If we conclude that Savitri (Saraswati) is the same as Gayatri, -

(i) Since the Gayatri mantra is called as Gayatri Mantra, but contains the word Savita (तत् सवितु र्वरेण्यम्), can it be said that the word Savita is representative of Savitri (Gayatri) and hence synonymously called Gayatri Mantra or does it denote the sun only?

Further merely based on any dhyana shloka being different, can they be considered separate goddesses?

Kindly note this is not a duplicate of- Was Goddess Gayatri really a cowherdess?

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  • The Harikatha exponent Smt Vishaka Hari in one of her discourses drew a comparison between the idealogy of both Sarasvati and Savitri as consorts of Lord Brahma to Vak (speech) and Manas (thought) being factors in creation, and hence Savitri is Manodevi - the form of Intelligence that stimulates our thoughts.
    – Surya
    Jan 19 at 19:04
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    The sculpting community (Takshas) who worship Vishvakarma, the divine architect, worship him as the self same Vishvakarma who created the universe and is the consort of Devi Gayatri. So one can say like he is the architect of objects, she is considered architect of intelligent thought. So yes, in a way she is similar to Vagdevi being the consort of the Srishtikarta.
    – Surya
    Jan 19 at 19:08
  • Exactly. Vishwakarma could also mean maker of the world = Brahma. And hence Gayatri being vedamata is his consort known by 3 names. @Surya. Btw Saraswati and Savitri are same
    – Adiyarkku
    Jan 20 at 4:16
  • well in Devi Bhagavatam Sarasvati and Savitri are two different facets of Prakriti, along with Lakshmi, Durga and Radharani.
    – Surya
    Jan 20 at 6:07
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Those who do a detailed Sandhya Vandanam three times a day, are aware that they have to invoke Goddess Gayatri using three different Dhyana Slokas during the three Sandyas (morning, mid-day and evening).

During mid-day, Goddess Gayatri is invoked as Rudrani (consort of Lord Rudra) and in the evening as Sarswati (the consort of Lord Brahma). In morning as Vaishnavi (consort of Lord Vishnu). (Note: there is some difference of opinion regarding who is invoked when)

From Devi Bhagavatam 11.19:


1-24. Nârâyana said :-- O Nârada! Now I am speaking of the auspicious midday Sandhyâ, the practice of which leads to the wonderfully excellent results. Listen. Here the Âchamana and other things are similar to those of the morning Sandhyâ. Only in meditation (Dhyânam) there is some difference. I will now speak of that. The name of the midday Gâyatrî is Sâvitrî. She is ever a youthful maiden, of white colour, three-eyed; She holds in Her one hand a rosary, in Her other hand a trident and with Her two other hands She makes signs to Her Bhaktas to dispel fear and to grant boons. Riding on the bull, She recites the Yayur Vedas; She is the Rudra S’akti with Tâmo gunas and She resides in Brahmaloka, She daily traverses in the path of the Sun. She is Mâyâ Devî, beginningless; I bow down to Her. After meditating on the Âdyâ Devî Bhagavatî perform Âchamanas and other things as in the morning Sandhyâ.

From 11.20:


In the evening time meditate on the Bhagavatî Sandhyâ Devî thus :-- The name of the then Gâyatrî Devî is Sarasvatî. She is old, of black colour, wearing ordinary clothes; in her hands are seen conch shell, disc, club and lotus. On Her feet the anklets are making sweet tinkling sounds; on Her loins there is the golden thread; decked with various ornaments. She is sitting on Garuda. On Her head the invaluable jewel crown is seen; on Her neck, the necklaces of stars; Her forehead is shining with a brilliant lustre emitting from the pearl and jewel Tâtamka ornaments. She has put on yellow clothes; Her nature is eternal knowledge and ever-bliss. She is uttering Sâma Veda. She resides in the Heavens and daily She goes in the path of the Sun. I invoke the Devî from the Solar Orb. O Nârada! Meditate on the Devî thus and perform the Sandhyâ. Then perform the Mârjanam by the mantra “Âpohisthâ” and next by the mantra


Gayatri Devi is also known to have various deities as her various limbs.

From 11.16:


1-24. Nârâyana said :-- Now I am speaking of the very holy Sandhyopâsanâ method of Sandhyâ worship of Gâyatrî, the Presiding Deity of the morning, midday and evening, and of the twice-born. Listen.

Some Jâpakas (those who do the Japam) do not approve of the above nyâsa. Thus the Nyâsa is to be done. Then meditate on the Gâyatrî or the World-Mother. The beauty of the body of the Gâyatrî Devî is like that of the full blown Javâ flower. She is seated on the big red lotus on the back of the Hansa (Flamingo); She is holding the red coloured garland on Her neck and anointed with red coloured unguent. She has four faces; every face has two eyes. On her four hands are a wreath of flowers, a sacrificial ladle, a bead, and a Kamandalu. She is blazing with all sorts of ornaments. From the Devî Gâyatrî has originated first the Rig veda. Brahmâ worships the virgin Gâyatrî; on the idea of S’rî Parames’varî Gâyatrî has four feet. The Rig Veda is one; the Yajurveda is the second, the Sâmaveda is the third and the Atharva veda is the fourth foot. The Gâyatrî has eight bellies; the east side is the one; the south is the second; the west is the third; the north is the fourth; the zenith is the fifth; the nadir is the sixth; the intermediate space is the seventh and all the corners are the eighth belly. Gâyatrî has seven S’iras (heads); Vyâkaranam (Grammar) is one; S’iksâ is the second (that Amga of the Veda, the science which teaches the proper pronunciation of words and laws of euphony); Kalpa is the third (the Vedânga which lays down the ritual and prescribes rules for ceremonial and sacrificial acts); Nirukta is the fourth (the Vedânga that contains glossarial explanation of obscure words, especially those occurring in the Vedas); Jyotish or astronomy is the fifth; Itahâsa (history) and Purânas is the sixth head; and Upanisadas is the seventh head. Agni (fire) is the mouth of Gâyatrî; Rudra is the S’ikhâ (the chief part); Her gotra (lineage) is Sâmkhyâyana; Visnu is the heart of Gâyatrî and Brahmâ is the armour of Gâyatrî. Think of this Mahes’varî Gâyatrî in the middle of the Solar Orb. Meditating on the Gâyatrî Devî as above, the devotee should shew the following twenty-four Mudrâs (signs by the fingers, etc., in religious worship)

This should make it amply clear the connection between Goddesses Gayatri and Saraswati.

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    Gayatri dhayna mantra says tripada sad kkushihi panchasirsa meaning 4+1 vedas including mahabharata 6 belly 6 vedanga as stated like siksha, vykarana, nirukta, kalpa, chandas and jyotisha tripada 3 sentence starting from that ending with prachoyat if someone draws 5 head six belly and 3 leg lady that would be awful that us why have image only with 5 heads
    – Prasanna R
    Oct 18 '20 at 11:16
  • Here diety for mantra is savitru sun Ray's that is surya narayana unfortunately the sakthas and shivaites trying bend this sloka so much the lost their entire meaning in that processing
    – Prasanna R
    Oct 18 '20 at 11:19
  • Basically Gayatri devi is parashakti Rupa with all gods in various limbs of hers? And at various times of the day dvijas worship her as either of the tridevis? - somewhat like how Adi Shakti is considered as Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati in Durga saptashati? But one question still remains, aren’t her attributes closer to Saraswati? (just like Adi shakti are closer to Durga, though she is referred to as all 3 Devis). Hope my interpretation of the answer is correct. Will vote and accept after clearing it all up.
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 18 '20 at 17:06
  • Sorry, honestly I’m as confused as before
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 18 '20 at 17:18
  • Gayatri is one aspect of Adi Parashakti. It is incorrect to say that Gayatri is Parashakti in full-fledged form which is not correct. According to Kali Kula Tantras, Kali created Gayatri. Regarding Saraswati and Gayatri well they are different deities. Just see the Dhyanams of both. You will see many differences @Archit Also I prepared this answer in a hurried manner. I will see if I can improve it by adding more details so that it becomes more conclusive.
    – Rickross
    Oct 19 '20 at 5:45
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Well, first of all, the information given in the first graphic is incorrect. Rig Veda 3.62.10 is simply the mantra dedicated to the deity Savitṛ, in the Gayatri meter (chandas).

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ॥

We shall meditate on the supreme desirable light of the deity Savitṛ. Hopefully he will inspire our intellects.

So there is nothing in this mantra that says Sarasvati transformed into Gayatri, etc. There is no direct connection or relationship between Sarasvati and Gayatri from the point of view of Vedic mantras.

Examples of mantras dedicated to Sarasvati:

RV 1.3.10-12:

पावका नः सरस्वती वाजेभिर्वाजिनीवती । धीनामवित्र्यवतु् ॥
चोदयित्री सूनृतानां चेतन्ती सुमतीनाम् । यज्ञं दधे सरस्वती ॥
महो अर्णः सरस्वती प्र चेतयति केतुना । धियो विश्वा विराजति ॥

Sarasvati the purifier, full of food and energy, the protector of our intellects, may she protect. The inspirer of good words, the igniter of good intellects, Sarasvati has carried the yajna. Sarasvati enlightens the great ocean. She rules over all intellects or knowledge.

So these mantras are in Gayatri chandas.

RV 6.61.2:

इयं शुष्मेभिर्बिसखाइवारुजत्सानु गिरीणां तविषेभिरूर्मिभिः ।
पारावतघ्नीमवसे सुवृक्तिभिः सरस्वतीमा विवासेम धीतिभिः ॥

She breaks up the rocks of mountains like a digging tool, with her strong and powerful waves. We worship Sarasvati, who erodes both banks strongly, with our prayers."

Now this mantra is in Jagati chandas.

So Sarasvati has been addressed using mantras of many different chandases.

Gayatri is just the name of a chandas in Rig Veda. There is no goddess Gayatri in Rig Veda.

There has been a long tradition of personifying the Vedic chandases as goddesses. Just as Gayatri is made into a goddess, Brhati, Jagati, Shakvari are also made into goddesses.

However, Gayatri chandas is the most frequently used meter in Rig Veda. Hence, in later times, there was a new reverence for this chandas as the main mode of worship through mantras. Also, because all the other major Vedic chandases are bigger, the Gayatri chandas (24 syllables) was deemed as being contained in every other chandas. For example, Anushtup (32), Trishtup (44), Brhati (36), Jagati (48) are all bigger than Gayatri. Hence, symbolically, Gayatri is inside all these chandases, because 24 is "within" 32, 36, 44 and 48, being a smaller number. Hence, Gayatri chandas became a symbol for the the omnipresent deity.

The earliest rudimentary symbolism of Gayatri as an omnipresent deity is seen in Chandogya Upanishad 3.12:

गायत्री वा इदं सर्वं भूतं यदिदं किंच वाग्वै गायत्री वाग्वा इदं सर्वं भूतं गायति च त्रायते च । या वै गायत्री इयं वाव सा ।

Gayatri is indeed all this that exists. Speech is verily Gayatri. Speech is indeed all this that exists because it sings and protects. The one who is called Gayatri is indeed this Earth (Prthivi).

Again, as seen above, identifying speech with Gayatri is derived from it being the smallest of all the Vedic chandases, so symbolically, it is contained inside every mantra, hence it is all speech.

In parallel, Sarasvati, who was both a river and a goddess in Rig Veda, was later transformed into a generic goddess of knowledge, speech, learning, etc. With such a broad portfolio, it is obvious that sooner or later she would be identified with all other goddesses by way of symbolic, spiritual and metaphysical equivalence. So you see later texts such as Puranas and other stotras call Sarasvati by names of all other goddesses.

This is the same as Vishnu having a thousand names, and being identified with all the deities by way of spiritual equivalence.

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  • Nice explanation!!!!. Doubt - Here we are trying to say that Gayatri is a personification of the Chanda. But aren’t the chandas personified as Suryas horses? And then how can Gayatri have Vishwakarma as a consort?
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 18 '20 at 17:09
  • And it means that since Saraswati was goddess of speech, vedas etc, Gayatri, a personification of Chandas naturally becomes another name of the presiding Goddess Saraswati?
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 18 '20 at 17:21
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    @Archit Your first comment: Personification can happen in many different ways, right? Especially Vedic ideas and mantras are highly symbolic and mystical, so they can be seen from many different viewpoints. Again, as with any other Devi, Gayatri is also provided with a husband. Again, it is symbolism. Here, Vishvakarma is the maker of everything, and Gayatri is the universal Speech, which is needed to name things. So Vishvakarma makes forms, and Gayatri names those forms. Nama (नाम) and rupa (रूप) go hand-in-hand. Gayatri gives nama, Vishvakarma gives rupa. Hence, husband and wife.
    – RamAbloh
    Oct 22 '20 at 0:29
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    @Archit Your second comment: Yes, correct. Now, we have two equivalent pairs. Gayatri-Vishvakarma and Sarasvati-Brahma. Both Gayatri and Sarasvati symbolize the "nAma" aspect. Both Vishvakarma and Brahma are creators, they symbolize "rUpa" aspect. So "nAma" and "rUpa" go hand-in-hand.
    – RamAbloh
    Oct 22 '20 at 0:31
  • Cool, and based on this can we say that they’re same? Barring the fact that as per the above Ric, Saraswati in the form of a river has been praised? There seems to be no logical reason to separate them. All chandas (personified) are from Saraswati/ Gayatri, though Gayatri is the most important of the chandas.
    – Adiyarkku
    Oct 22 '20 at 17:10
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Gayatri avahana mantra from maha narayanoupanishad anuvak 34-36

The following Gayatri Avahana/Upasthana mantras are available in Maha Narayana Upanishad in Rig Veda [Prsna : 4, Anuvaka : 34-36]. Parts of these mantras are used for Gayatri Avahanam/Upasthanam in Sandhya Vandanam.

In this Gayatri Mantra described chathurvimshathi akshara, three pada, sad kushihi and pancha sirsha meaning meaning 4+1 vedas including mahabharata 6 belly 6 vedanga as stated like siksha, vykarana, nirukta, kalpa, chandas and jyotisha tripada 3 sentence starting from that ending with prachoyat if someone draws 5 head six belly and 3 leg lady that would be awful that is why we have image only with 5 heads

Here diety for mantra is savitru sun Ray's that is surya narayana. As gayatri japa's main intention to do upasena of Lord inside Sun (Surya Anthargatha Narayana) One whose color is golden hue.

ॐ ध्यये सदा सवित्र मंडल मध्यवर्ती।

नारायण सरसिजसनसन्निविष्टः

केयूरवन मकरकुण्डलवान किरीटी।

हारी हिरण्मय वपुः धृतशंखचक्रः। ।

अर्थात सूर्य मंडल में स्थित , कमल पर विराजमान , सुवर्णाभूषणो से सुशोभित तथा सुवर्ण कांटी के शंख चक्रधारी भगवान नारायण को ध्यान करें।

Before starting Gayatri japa the above sloka is to be recited in dakshina bharathiya tradition.

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