The Gayatri Mantra derives from the oldest of Vedas, the Rig Veda. It is frequently chanted and is as powerful as it is popular. It describes God, the illuminator of all three worlds, as light, asking for guidance towards the right path. In that sense it is the greatest prayer: the prayer for inspiring our intellects.
ॐ भूर्भुवः॒ स्वः ।
भ॒र्गो॑ दे॒वस्य॑ धीमहि ।
धियो॒ यो नः॑ प्रचो॒दया॑त् ॥
Oṃ bhūr bhuvaḥ svaḥ
tat savitur vareṇyaṃ
bhargo devasya dhīmahi
dhiyo yo naḥ prachodayāt
O God, Thou art the giver of life, The remover of pains and sorrows and bestower of happiness, O Creator of the universe, we meditate on thy supreme sin-destroying light, May thou guide our intellect in the right direction.
– Rig Veda 3.62.10
The Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra translates literally to the “Great death-conquering Mantra” and is found in the oldest and most ancient Rig Veda. It is a life-giving mantra and is said to rejuvenate, bestow health, wealth, a long life, peace, prosperity and contentment. It wards off death and accidents of all descriptions and it has a great curative power. It is directed towards Lord Shiva, the dispeller of fear, the destroyer of death, the great God of Gods.
ॐ त्र्यम्बकं यजामहे सुगन्धिं पुष्टिवर्धनम् ।
उर्वारुकमिव बन्धनान् मृत्योर्मुक्षीय मामृतात् ।।
oṁ tryambakaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭi-vardhanam ǀ
urvārukam-iva bandhanānmṛtyormukṣīya māmṛtāt ǁ
We worship the Three-Eyed One (Lord Shiva), who is naturally fragrant, immensely merciful and who is the Protector of the devotees. Worshipping Him may we be liberated from death for the sake of immortality, just as the ripe cucumber easily separates itself from the binding stalk. By your Grace, let us be in the state of salvation (Moksha) and be saved from the clutches of Samsara (cycle of reincarnation).
– Rig Veda 7.29.12