Veda, and shall sink down into 1 hell.' Even single formulae of reverence for one or more of the gods, if recited in Sanskrit, are said to effect salvation. Thus in one of the Upanisads 2 it is written: 'He who reveres the phrase Om, Namo Narayanaya (Amen! Honour to Vishnu); his portion shall be Vaikuntha's (i.e. Vishnu's) heaven.' One of the most sacred verses is held to be that which is called Gayatri or Savitri. It runs thus: 3

तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि। धियो योनः
Tat Savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi: dhiyo yo nah pracodayat: 'We 4 meditate upon that excellent brightness of the god Savita (the sun-god), and may he arouse our thoughts.' To this the very ancient words Om, bhur, bhuvab, svar ('Amen! Earth, Air, Sky'), are prefixed in recitation. They are supposed to add greatly to the amount of merit acquired by reciting the verse. With reference to this particularly-sacred verse, the Agni-Purana 5 says: 'There is no better text than the Gayatri. . . By repeating the Gayatri-text seven times a man is freed from all sins, while repeating the same

1 Dharmasastra, Book II, verse 11.
2 Narayarra-Upanisad, verse 5.

3 Rig-Veda, Mandala III, Hy. 62, verse 10.
4 See comments on this in the Maitrayana-Brahmana-Upanisad, vi. 7, and in the Brihadaranyaka-Upanisad, vi. 3, ยง 6.
5 Chapter ccxv, verses 4-9.

text ten times leads a man to heaven . . . . Through the merit of repeating the same text one hundred and eight times the soul of a man is safely carried over this ocean of life. Even a single foot or a single half-verse of the Gayatri contains sanctity enough to cleanse a man from the guilt attached to the commission of such heinous offences as the murder of a Brahman, drinking intoxicants, theft of gold', etc. Manu says: 1 'He who stands during the morning twilight muttering [the Savitri] removes the guilt contracted during the night; but he who [recites itl seated in the evening destroys the sin which he has committed during the day.' Manu also says: 'Nothing 2 surpasses the Savitri,' and he adds: 'A Brahman learned in the Vedas who recites during both the twilights that syllable (om) and that verse, preceded by the Vyahritis,3 gains the merit which the (recitation of the) Vedas confers.'

Other sacred verses and even single words are believed to have such magical efficacy that when repeated they bestow merit on the person who utters them. For instance, in the Bhagavata-Purana it is said that the accidental utterance of the letters which in Sanskrit spell the god Siva's name (शिव in the vocative case) frees from

1 Dharmasastra, Book II, verse 102.
2 Ibid., verse 83.
3 The words bhur, etc., mentioned above.