Mantras grasped by the Sages point the Reality through Sound.
There are many sounds grasped thus, starting from Gayatri to various Sukthas.
There is a Mantra in the Vedas which serves as a key to all these Sounds.
It explains the various sounds that denote Reality.
It explains the universe of Names and Forms that has evolved or appears to have evolved.
This Mantra can be interpreted from Advaita,Visishatdwaita, Dwaita and the various Gods being worshiped as Saguna Brahman.
this Mantra is known to all the Hindus who perform Pooja.
This is recited during Deeparadhana for Deities.
Especially for the Devi though it has to be recited for all the Deities.
This Mantra appears in
Taittiriya Brahmana 188.8.131.52 Taittiriya Aranyaka 1.9.4 (as part of the aruNaketuka mantras) Aitereya Aranyaka 1.5.38 Atharva Veda 9.10.21, where gaurI is rendered gaur Rig Veda 1.164.41, its original source This is also a part of Navagraha Namaskara Mantra for Soma, 'Aapyaayasvaaya Samedhuthe Viswathassoma Visniyam' Navagraha Namaskara Mantra-4.
This is the Mantra.
"Gauri mimaaya salilaani takshatyeka padi dwipadi sa chatushpadi ashtapadinavapadi bhabhuvushi sahsraaraparame vyoman"
"The cow, having bellowed, produces waters, becoming 1 footed, 2 footed, 4 footed, 8 footed, 9 footed, is of 1000 syllables in the highest heaven" Tradition uniformley ascribes the cow as the Divine Word vAk, for example, we have the mantra "dhenur vAgasmAn, upasuSTutaitu" from the Rig Veda.
Bhattabhaskara, in his commentary on this mantra in the Taittiriya Brahmana, gives the following for the symbolism behind the "words" ekapadI The sound Om, the breath of the Supreme dwipadI Together with the vyAhrti's (1), the sacred sAvitrI mantra, the gAyatrI (+1=2) chatuSpadI The four Vedas aSTApadI The 6 vedAnga's,plus purANa's (1), plus dharmashAstra's (1) , giving 8 navapadI mImAmsA, nyAya, etc, plus Ayurveda, dhanurveda, gandharva veda, giving 9 The mantra's original setting, in the Rig Veda 1.164 , is wholly appropriate. This is the famous suktam, beginng with "asya vAmasya...". It is a hymn well worth serious study by students of advaita, as it directly communicates the nature of the Supreme, as revealed through the Divine Word, the setting of which is the Yajna. We see in the hymn that Yajna's purpose is to declare the identity of the yajamAna with the Supreme. Very much like Shakespeare's Hamlet, it has famous verses throughout the hymn that are often quoted and appear in other places time and again. Here are a just afew by way of example: Verse 20 "dwA suparNA sayujA sakhAyA..." This verse is quoted in the the Mundaka (3.1.1)and Swetaswatara Upanishads (iv.6), describing the empirical nature of distinctions which give rise to an indivual agent that seems to be acting, experiencing, enjoying,as opposed to the witnessing principle sAkhI that remains. when all distinctions disappear: "Two birds, united, intimate friends,perch on the same tree. One of them (the jIvAtman) tastes the fruits, the other, shines, looks on (sAkshI)" Verse 31 "apashyam gopAm..." This verse appears in the pravargya mantras which identify the self with the sun, and in turn with brahman, and describes the experience of brahmAnubhava: "I have seen the universal protector, travelling upwards and downwards. Invested with radiance, he moves in all dimensions" Verses 33, 34 "PrichhAmi twA...." Verse 33 has a series of questions, which are answered in 34: "I ask thee: i) The ultimate limit of the Earth ii) The navel of the world iii) The seed of the horse iv) The ultimate apode of Speech" The answers are: i) This vedI ii) this yajna, in the famous lines "ayam yajno bhuvanasya nAbhihi" iii) soma is the seed iv) The Supreme Brahman Verse 39 "rcho akshare parame vyoman..." "The rik's are established in the highest abode, where the shining ones are seated. He who does not know, what will he do with the rik? Those who know it, come close to Him" One is reminded of the mantra quoted in the Brihadaranyaka and the Taittiriya Brahmana "nAvedavinmanute tam brhantam" "He who does not know the Veda does not know the Supreme" Verse 41 "gaurIhi mimAya..." The subject of this posting Verse 45 "chatvAri vAK parimitA padAni.." The 4 levels of speech. I have already translated this mantra in my posting on gaNapati sUktam. Verse 46 "Indram mitram varuNam..." This contains of my dIpa mantras "ekam sad viprA bahudhA vadanti" , meaning "That one truth the wise men call by many different names" Other References to vAk As I write the above, another famous sUktam comes to mind, namely Rig Veda X 71, which has as its devatA "jnAna" or brahmavidyA. Again, it talks to the nature of Divine Revelation through the Word, and its opening lines have been virtually repeated at the beginning of English translations of the bible ("In the beginning was the Word...): "In the beginning, oh Brihaspati, the sages sent The Word, giving names (and forms to their vision). This Speech that was their best was stainless- it revealed with love the Divine Mystery within them. And when they created the Word, sifting it with the Spirit as they sift the flour with a sieve(for somayajna), therein have friends discovered their friendships, of which the beauties lie hidden in the Word" In verse 4 we have some beautiful imagery: "One looks but does not see vAk, one listens but does not hear her. But to another, she has revealed her noble form as a loving wife, finely robed, reveals herself to her husband" Questions for clarification on this are welcome Citation. http://www.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/1998-October/009628.html