This gAyatri mantram is very important in the lives of chaste and pious persons in India, even today. This mantra is taught to every person who undergoes the 'thread' ceremony. This ceremony is strictly to take place when a boy is eight years old, when his intellect starts to learn things from the environment. Father/spiritual teacher of the boy imparts the mantra three times into the ear of the boy, without being heard by others. The boy starts meditating on the mantra, everyday and tries to sharpen his intellect which is driven by the illuminating God. The illumination of his intellect progresses in tandem with his learning of other subjects from the teacher. In the 20/21st Centuries, this practice of thread-wearing ceremony at the early age of 8 got deferred to ages 20-40. People are undergoing the ceremony as a compulsory step before wedding ceremony. The sanctity of the mantra- to get the intellect illumined -along with education is thus lost.
This ceremony is also called 'upa-nayanam'. upa='sub'. nayanam='eye'. With 'upanayanam', a person gets his third eye. This third eye is the eye of 'gnAna' or 'knowledge/awareness.' This eye is the illumination of the intellect.
Anyway, in our mAdhavi's story of viSvAmitra and GalavA's, can we say that viSvAmitra acted like a Sage whose intellect was illumined and driven, after thousands of years of penance?
srIkrishNa went to dhritarAshTra's court as emissary of pAnDavas.
After his initial message to kauravas, elders counselled duryOdhana to accept truce.
nArada counselled duryOdhana, using about 390 verses that obduracy, obstinacy and persistency can cause harm. To illustrate, nArada narrated the story of sages viSvAmitra's disciple gAlava's and mAdhavi's story.
Disciple gAlava was persistent in asking viSvAmitra, to pay his teacher's fee. Sage viSvAmitra asked gAlava to get 800 moon-light white horses with just one black spot on their ears.
On the advice of garuDa (kite-God), gAlava approached king yayAti. yayAti didn't have the white horses with just one spot on ear. He gave his daughter mAdhavi to gAlava, giving him freedom to exchange her for horses.
gAlava exchanged mAdhavi with three childless kings for 200 horses each for one year term each with the avowed object of begetting a son through her. They got sons and returned her to gAlava as per arrangement with each king.
Unable to procure the remainder 200 white horses, gAlava, on advice of kite-God, fell at the feet of viSvAmitra, praying him to accept the 600 horses + mAdhavi in lieu of the balance 200 horses.
Vol. 5 udyoga parva (Vol. of efforts for war between pAnDavas and kauravas)
chapter 117 verse 014 to 016.
viSvAmitras tu tam drishTvA gAlavam saha pakshiNA-
kanyAm ca tAm varArohAm idam ity abravId vacah
|| kim iyam pUrvam EvEha na dattA mama gAlava-
putrA mamaiva catvAro bhavEyuh kulabhAvanAh
pratigrihNAmi tE kanyAm EkaputraphalAya vai-
aSvAS cASramam AsAdya tishThantu mama sarvaSah
Viswamitra then, beholding Galava in the company of the bird, and that highly beautiful maiden, said, Why, O Galava, didst thou not give me this maiden before? Four sons then, sanctifiers of my race, would all have been mine alone.
I accept this maiden of thine for begetting upon her one son.
As regards the steeds, let them graze in my asylum.
Saying this, Viswamitra of great effulgence began to pass his time happily with her.
*Why does a sage like viSvAmitra need horses, that too exotic horses? He could have sent the horses to yayAti or some other king. Maintaining a stable of 800 horses is not easy. Did he have slaves or workers to feed and massage the horses?
*viSvamitra already had some wives, with names: Haimavati, Shalavati, Drishadwati, Renu. He had nearly 100 sons through them.
*Besides, he had his lustful days with the heaven's nymph mEnaka.
*Should he now need mAdhavi also?
*We have to see the manner in which viSvAmitra spoke to gAlava: "O Galava, didst thou not give me this maiden before? Four sons then, sanctifiers of my race, would all have been mine alone." Why so much craze for sons?
viSvAmitra was said to have gifted the gAyatri mantra (chant of Goddess gAyatri).
He was said to have incorporated it into the 3rd manDala (chapter?) of rigvEda, the first of the four sacred scriptures.
Om Bhuh(r) Bhuvah Svah
Tat Savitur varEnyam
Bhargo dEvasya dhImahi
dhiyo yo naha PracOdayAt.
Gist: The illuminator of the three worlds and the cleanser of sins, the Greater Sun God, enlighten and motivate our intellects.
Notes: There are different versions of the translations, with numerous interpretations ranging from "extremely reverent" to "non-chalant". I have tried a middle path.
What we are interested in this particular blog post? : A Sage who could give such a beautiful verse like gAyatri mantram, how could he stoop to so low a level as to ask for 800 horses or accepting a lady who was already the object of intercourse of three other kings. viSvAmitra's lust for exostic horses drove gAlava to trade women for horses.
Was the intellect (dhI= intellect) of viSvAmitra, being properly driven-steered- and motivated (pracOdiyAt= drive-motivate-steer)?
If God savitur/bhargOdEva of the gAyatri mantra properly drove viSvAmitra, he would have sent mAdhavi back to her father yayAti immediately, with due apologies. He would not have lived happily with her for one more year, in addition to the three years of the three kings who used mAdhavi earlier.
Lofty chants, but mean behavior, how can they go hand in hand?