24 Sages and 24 Gods of Gāyatri Mantra

Upanishads are part of Vedas and are known as Vedānta (‘anta’ means ending). They are philosophical discussions on the nature of ultimate reality, which is known by various names: Ātman, Brāhman, Om, Pranav, Parabrahma, Supreme Consciousness etc. There are over 200 Upanishads surviving today. One of them, Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad is a dialog between sage Yājñavalkya and lord Brahmā. This Upanishad talks about the secrets and divine power of Gāyatri Mantra.

There are 24 letters (akshar) in Gāyatri Mantra. Each letter of Gāyatri Mantra is associated with a different Shakti (divine power), different Devatā (God), different Rishi (sage), different Tattva (element), different Mudrā, different Avatār (incarnation) and even different flower. All these are elaborated in Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad. Here in this article I am presenting one sloka (verse) from that Upanishad, as translated by my Gurudev Pandit Sriram Sharma Acharya in his monumental work 108 Upanishads (Title: १०८ उपनिषद्, सरल हिंदी भावार्थ सहित).


24 Letters of Gāyatri Mantra:

ॐ भूर्भुवः स्वः। तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो  देवस्य धीमहि। धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्॥
२४ अक्षर: १) तत्,२) स, ३) वि, ४) तु, ५) र्व, ६) रे, ७) णि, ८) यं, ९) भ, १०) र्गो, ११) दे, १२) व, १३) स्य, १४) धी, १५) म, १६) हि, १७) धि, १८) यो, १९) यो, २०) नः, २१) प्र, २२) चो, २३) द, २४) यात् |

Om Bhoor Bhuvah Swaha Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayāt.
24 Letters: 1) Tat, 2) Sa, 3) Vi, 4) Tu, 5) Rva, 6) Re, 7) Ni, 8) Yam, 9) Bha, 10) Rgo, 11) De, 12) Va, 13) Sya, 14) Dhee, 15) Ma, 16) Hi, 17) Dhi, 18) Yo, 19) Yo, 20) Nah, 21) Pra, 22) Cho, 23) Da, 24) Yāt.


24 Gods and 24 Sages Associated with 24 Letters of Gāyatri Mantra:

प्रथममाग्नेयं द्वितीयं प्रजापत्यं तृतीयं सौम्यं चतुर्थमीशानं पंचममादित्यं षष्ठं गार्हपत्यं सप्तमं मैत्रमष्टमं भागदैवतं नवममार्यमणं दशमं सावित्रमेकादशं त्वाष्ट्रं द्वादशं पौष्णं त्रयोदशमैंद्राग्नं चतुर्दशं वायव्यं पञ्चदशं वामदेवं षोडशं मैत्रावरुणं सप्तदशं भ्रातृव्यमष्टादशं वैष्णवमेकोनविशं वामनं विंशं वैश्वदेवमेकविंशं रौद्रं द्वाविंशं कौबेरं त्रयोविंशमाश्विनं चतुर्विंशं भ्राह्ममिति प्रत्यक्षरदैवतानी |

प्रथमं वासिष्ठं द्वितीयं भारद्वाजं तृतीयं गार्ग्यं चतुर्थं उपामन्यवं पञ्चमं भार्गवं षष्ठं शाण्डिल्यं सप्तमं लौहितमष्टमं वैष्णवं नवमं शातातपं दशमं सनत्कुमार एकादशं वेदव्यासं द्वादशं शुकं त्रयोदशं पाराशर्यं चतुर्दशं पौण्ड्रकं पञ्चदशं क्रतुं षोडशं दाक्षं सप्तदशं कश्यपं अष्टदशं आत्रेयं ऐकोनविंशं अगस्त्यं विंशमौद्यालकं एकविंशं आंगिरसं द्वाविंशं नामिकेतुं त्रयोविंशं मौद्गल्यं चतुर्विंशं अंगिरसं वैश्वामित्रमिति प्रत्यक्षराणामृषयो भवन्ति |

~ Gāyatri Rahasya Upanishad, sloka #5


As described in the above sloka, names of Devatās (Gods) associated with each letter of Gāyatri Mantra are as follows:

1) Agni, 2) Prajāpati, 3) Soma (Chandramā), 4) Ishān, 5) Āaditya, 6) Gāhrapatya (Agnivishesh), 7) Maitra, 8) Bhaga, 9) Āryamān, 10) Savitā, 11) Twashtrā, 12) Pushā, 13) Indrāgni, 14) Vāyu, 15) Vāmdeva, 16) Maitrāvaruna, 17) Bhrātrivya, 18) Vishnu, 19) Vāmana, 20) Vaishwadev, 21) Rudradev, 22) Kuber, 23) Aswini Kumār, 24) Brahmadev.

And names of Rishis (sages) associated with each letter of Gāyatri Mantra are as follows:

1) Vasishtha, 2) Bharadwāj, 3) Garg, 4) Upamanyu, 5) Bhrigu (Bhārgava), 6) Shāndilya, 7) Lohit, 8) Vishnu, 9) Shātātap, 10) Sanatkumar, 11) Ved Vyās, 12) Shukdev, 13) Parāshar, 14) Paundrik, 15) Kritu, 16) Daksha, 17) Kashyap, 18) Atri, 19) Agastya, 20) Udyālak, 21) Āngiras, 22) Nāmiketu, 23) Mudgal, 24) Vishvāmitra from Angirā lineage.

Devatās (Gods) and Rishis (Sages) are very intimately connected with each other. Through their penance and deep meditation, Rishis awaken the shakti of Devatās. These Rishis were highly enlightened beings who realized wisdom of the Vedas through their intense meditation. Simply chanting Gāyatri Mantra takes us closer to these Rishis as well as Gods and gives us a taste of nectar of their wisdom and blessings.

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