Vyaas Houston, founder of the American Sanskrit Institute and teacher extraordinaire, is a continuous inspiration to me. I am profoundly grateful to have him as both a teacher and a dear friend. This wonderful hymn was the first verse that Vyaas learned and committed to memory 30+ years ago. He was generous enough to share it with me and I take great delight in passing it on. I love to begin the day with this chant. The beginning line shares words from the Gayatri mantra, considered the most sacred of Vedic mantras, but the origins of this particular verse, Vyaas has forgotten. Nonetheless, here it is.
prātaḥ smarāmi khalu tat savitur vareṇyaṁ
rūpam hi maṇḍalam ṛco’tha tanur yajūnśi
sāmāni yasya kiraṇāḥ prabhavādi hetuṁ
brahma harātamakam alakśyam acintya-rūpam.
In the early morning, I remember the sacred light of the sun.
Its “maṇḍala” form are the hymns of the ṛg veda; its mass, the hymns of the yajur veda; its rays, the hymns of the sāma veda.
That light, who is the cause of all that begins creation, is the very embodiment of Brahma, the creator, and of Hara (Śiva) the destroyer.
Indescribable… whose form is beyond imagination.