Gayatri is one of the most powerful mantras in hinduism. Sounds harnessed and repeated systematically for a given period of time creates an effect on the mind and generates a charged field around. Given out by the Seer Vishwamitra in a mighty inspired moment of meditation, Gayatri is found in the third mandala of the Rigveda and the Yajurveda. This mantra is always chanted beginning with pranav the Om symbol.
Gayatri is chanted at Sandhya vandana (morning and evening prayers) a minimum of ten times each as an act to purify one’s mind of agitations gathered during the day and lethargy during the night.
Manusmriti says, “in the early dawn to do this japa standing, one ends all sins committed during the night and by doing this japa in the evening by sitting, one ends one’s sins committed during the day”. Simple sounding, but if performed regularly it definitely soothes mental agitations (sins).
The mantra invokes the Sun (Savitr) symbolic of the light of consciousness, the self effulgent Truth. The metre is Gayatri, and should be chanted slowly. Never chanted after sunset, as a rule, as it invokes the Sun.
The complete Gayatri-mantra has a fourth line also. The fourth line is mentioned in the Chandogya and the Brhadaryanka Upanishads. This secret sacred line is not for chanting but is for experiencing the ultimate unfolding of a very advanced seeker. He experiences the ultimate merger in deep Samadhi.
Pleading to the Sun through sunlight, to illumine the intellect is ridiculous. Here the sun represents that illuminator of all experiences. But that illuminator is already illumining. Its intensity cannot increase or decrease. The devotee here means to pray for a brilliantly radiant intellect that blesses him with clear perception, subtle discrimination and correct quick and wise judgment and the capacity to evaluate situations and beings.
Prarthna Saran, President, Chinmaya Mission, Delhi.