QUESTION: I need an answer to my question concerning a statement that you made about the “Gâyatrî Mantra” in your book, The Essentials of Hinduism. You wrote that the Sâvitrî Mantra (revealed to the sage Vishwâmitra) was composed in the meter Gâyatrî. This is why the other name (of the Sâvitrî Mantra) is Gâyatrî Mantra.
My question is about the meter Gayatri. What does the term meter mean with respect to the Gâyatrî Mantra? I would also like to know in which meter the verses of the Bhagavad-Gita are composed.—Umesh Gulati; Durham, North Carolina, USA.
ANSWER: The tenth verse (Rik) in the sixty-seventh hymn (Sukta) of the third chapter (Mandala) of the Rigveda is called the Sâvitrî Mantra. It refers to Savitri, the presiding deity of the sun. That’s why it is called Sâvitrî Mantra. All the verses of the Rigveda are composed in meters. The verse known as Sâvitrî Mantra is composed in the meter Gâyatrî. That’s why Sâvitrî Mantra is also called Gâyatrî Mantra.
The Bhagavad-Gita has 700 verses. Out of them 645 are composed in the Anushtup meter. Out of the remaining 55 verses, 10 are composed in the meter Indravajrâ, 4 are composed in the meter Upendravajrâ, 37 are composed in the meter Upajâti, and 4 are composed in the meter Viparîtapûrvâ.