Colonial Discourse and the Suffering of Indian American Children Book Cover.webp

In this book, we analyze the psycho-social consequences faced by Indian American children after exposure to the school textbook discourse on Hinduism and ancient India. We demonstrate that there is an intimate connection—an almost exact correspondence—between James Mill’s colonial-racist discourse (Mill was the head of the British East India Company) and the current school textbook discourse. This racist discourse, camouflaged under the cover of political correctness, produces the same psychological impacts on Indian American children that racism typically causes: shame, inferiority, embarrassment, identity confusion, assimilation, and a phenomenon akin to racelessness, where children dissociate from the traditions and culture of their ancestors.

This book is the result of four years of rigorous research and academic peer-review, reflecting our ongoing commitment at Hindupedia to challenge the representation of Hindu Dharma within academia.


From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Gāyatrī-mantra literally means ‘the mantra which protects the one who chants it’.


Gāyatrīmantra is the Vedic mantra which is highly prevalent and alive in prevalent times. This mantra is believed to be revealed by the well-known sage Viśvāmitra. It is the most important part of the Sandhyā ritual performed by every brāhmaṇa twice or thrice a day.

Actually, the mantra is called ‘Sāvitrī-mantra’, since it is a prayer addressed to the Supreme God Savitṛ or Savitā.[1] It is the first mantra revealed in the famous gāyatri meter.[2] Hence the mantra became famous as the ‘Gāyatrī mantra’.

Sections of Gāyatrī Mantra[edit]

The word ‘Gāyatrī’ is sometimes defined as the mantra which protects the one who sings or chants (gai or gāy = to sing) it. The Praṇava or Om is always added as in the case of most of the Vedic mantras in the beginning and is not counted. The Mantra has three parts:

  1. The vyāhṛtis
  2. The Gāyatrīmantra proper
  3. The gāyatrīśiras


‘Vyāhṛti’ means ‘uttering’. Brahmā the creator, is said to have uttered them at the beginning of creation. Hence the appellation ‘vyāhṛtis’. They mean and represent the three worlds. The vyāhṛtis are:

  1. Bhuh - Earth
  2. Bhuvah - Intervening space
  3. Suvah - Heaven

Sometimes, the number of these vyāhṛtis is increased from 3 to 7. It indicates the seven worlds spread from the earth to the Satyaloka or Brahmaloka. However, these vyāhṛtis are used more for counting purposes in prāṇāyāma than for japa.

The Gāyatrīmantra proper[edit]

The second part, the Sāvitri-mantra proper, is:

Tatsavitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah pracodayāt.

Translation of this mantra is as follows:

‘We meditate upon that effulgence of God, the creator. May he guide our intellects!’


The third part, the gāyatriśiras, runs thus:

Om āpo jyoti raso’mrtam brahma bhurbhuvas suvarom.

It means:

‘Om. He is water, light, flavor, ambrosia and also the three worlds’.

It refers to the water, light and other things as the manifestations of the Brahman indicated by the Praṇava. This gāyatriśiras is used only in the process of prānāyāma and not in the japa of the Gāyatrīmantra.

Usage of Gāyatrīmantra[edit]

The Gāyatrīmantra can also be used for puraścaraṇa, a particular ceremonial mode of repeating the mantra, in order to secure certain special fruits or results. The following are the usual steps involved in it:

  1. Daily rituals like Sandhyāvandana
  2. Worship of the goddess Gāyatrī
  3. Japa of the Gāyatrī-mantra
  4. Homa[3]
  5. Tarpaṇa[4]
  6. Feeding of the brāhmaṇas

However, it should be done under the guidance of experts.

Reference in Samhitās[edit]

This mantra occurs in various samhitās and vedas like:

  1. Ṛgveda Samhitā[5]
  2. Taittiriya Samhitā[6]
  3. Taittiriya Aranyaka[7]
  4. Vājasaneyi Samhitā[8]
  5. Sāmaveda Samhitā[9]

Similar Mantras[edit]

In imitation of the Gāyatrīmantra, several more mantras have appeared in later literature on the various deities like Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Śiva, Devī, Gaṇapati and others.


  1. Savitā means the Creator.
  2. Gāyatri meter is a poetical mode, comprising three lines of eight letters each.
  3. Homa means fire ritual.
  4. Tarpaṇa means offering of water ceremonially.
  5. Ṛgveda Samhitā 3.62.10
  6. Taittiriya Samhitā;
  7. Taittiriya Aranyaka 1.11.2
  8. Vājasaneyi Samhitā 3.35; 22.9; 30.2 and 36.3
  9. Sāmaveda Samhitā 1462
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore