भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि
धियॊ यॊ नः प्रचोदयात्
We are all familiar with the Gayatri Mahamantra above.
The Valmiki Ramayana contains 24,000 slokas divided into 7 Kandas, namely, Balakanda, Ayodhya Kanda, Aranya Kanda, Kishkindha kanda, Sundara kanda, Yuddha kanda and Uttara Kanda.
The first letter of the first sloka in each group of 1,000 slokas is taken from the Gayatri Mahamantra (given below) in the same sequence – त, स, वि, तु, व, र, नि…
The collection of these slokas constitutes the Gayatri Ramayana.
श्लोकेन प्रति साहस्रं प्रथमे क्रमात् |
गायत्र्यक्षरमेकैकं स्थापयामास वै मुनिः ||
१. त –
तपः स्वाध्यायनिरतं तपस्वी वाग्विदां वरम् |
नारदं परिपप्रच्छ वाल्मीकिर्मुनिपुङ्गवम् || १-१-१
Sage Valmiki, ever engaged in tapasya and reading of scriptures, asked Narada, foremost among Munis and a Master in the art of word craft (speech).
[Valmiki’s questions are expressed in the following slokas:
कोन्वस्मिन् सांप्रतं लोके गुणवान् कश्च वीर्यवान्।
धर्मज्ञश्च कृतज्ञश्च सत्यवाक्यो दृढव्रतः ॥ (१.१.२)
चारित्रेण च को युक्तः सर्वभूतेषु को हितः ।
विद्वान् कः कस्समर्थश्च कश्चैकप्रियदर्शनः॥(१.१.३)
आत्मवान् को जितक्रोधः द्युतिमान् कोऽनसूयकः।
कस्य बिभ्यति देवाश्च जातरोषस्य संयुगे ॥(१.१.४)
एतदिच्छाम्यहं श्रोतुं परं कौतूहलं हि मे।
महर्षे त्वं समर्थोऽसि ज्ञातुमेवं विधं नरं ॥(१.१.५)
O Naradamuni, Is there any man on this earth now who has the best of qualities, who is valiant, who knows what is dharma, who acknowledges with gratitude whatever help is rendered to him, who always speaks the truth, who is firm on his commitments, whose conduct is unblemished, who thinks of the welfare of all beings, who is wise and competent, who has a pleasing appearance, who is rooted in his Atma, who has conquered anger, who gives out light, who is not envious and whom even the devas fear when he is afire with anger in a war? I want to hear about him from you. I am keenly interested in this. You must be knowing someone with all these attributes.]
२. स –
स हत्वा राक्षसान् सर्वान् यज्ञघ्नान् रघुनन्दनः |
ऋषिभिः पूजितस्तत्र यथेन्द्रो विजये पुरा || १-३०-२४
Having killed the demons obstructing the sacrifice, Sri Ram was felicitated by the sages as Indra was felicitated long ago on his victory (over the asuras).
[Note: The context here is Rama’s protecting the sacrifice being performed by sage Viswamitra from the depredations of rakshasas like Maricha]
३. वि –
विश्वामित्रस्तु धर्मात्मा श्रुत्वा जनकभाषितम् |
वत्स राम धनुः पश्य इति राघवमब्रवीत् || १-६७-१२ – बालकाण्डम्
Hearing Janaka’s words, the righteous Viswamitra said to Sri Ram “O my boy Rama, take a look at this bow”.
[Note: The context is the condition laid down by Janaka for the hand of Sita. The aspiring suitors had to lift the bow of Shiva, bend it and string it. Sri Ram effortlessly lifted it and, in a swift lightning movement, broke it into two pieces in the act of stringing it]
४. तु –
तुष्टावास्य तदा वंशं प्रविश्य स विशांपतेः |
शयनीयं नरेन्द्रस्य तदासाद्य व्यतिष्ठत || २-१५-२०
Then Sumantra approached Rama’s abode and standing at the entrance of Rama’s bedroom praised Rama and his forebears in the dynasty.
[Note: The context is Kaikeyi’s insistence on sending Rama into the forests for fourteen years in exchange for one of the boons granted to her by Dasaratha earlier. Dasaratha was heart-broken at the prospect of separation from his son for such a long time. How could he convey this news to Rama? He sends Sumantra to bring Rama to him.]
५. व –
वनवासं हि संख्याय वासांस्याभरणानि च |
भर्तारमनुगच्छन्त्यै सीतायै श्वशुरो ददौ || २-४०-१५
Dasaratha gave Sita, who was following her husband (into the forest), enough clothes and ornaments reckoning the number of days to be spent in the forest.
[Note: The context is impending departure of Rama, Sita and Lakshmana into the forest]
६. रा –
राजा सत्यञ्च धर्मश्च राजा कुलवतां कुलम् |
राजा माता पिता चैव राजा हितकरो नृणाम् || २-६७-३४
It is the king who the is upholder of Truth and Dharma, it is he who protects those of good genealogy (kula) and he is the father, mother and well-wisher of his subjects.
[Note: The above words are those of Markandeya and other hermits as well as ministers of Dasaratha who request Vasishtha to appoint one of Dasarath’s sons as the King since Rama has gone on vanavasa and Dasaratha is dead unable to bear the separation of Rama ]