The sacred Gayatri should never be chanted for material or physical gains. The very words mean that it is a prayer to that illuminator who empowers this inanimate flesh to animate so beautifully. The prayer is to the pure consciousness to manifest as wisdom in our intellect.

Later, as Hindu beliefs degenerated, it was believed that Gayatri cannot be chanted by women , nor chanted without the sacred thread. Manu smriti records that in ancient days women and men both chanted the Gayatri. “Women” definitely did not mean only Brahmin and Kshatriya women. The scriptures have records of spiritual unfoldment  through mantra Upasana more in women than men! We find shastric injunctions for both to chant the Gayatri regularly. Our sacred texts often repeat that the spiritual benefits that women  gain through Sadhana are shared by the family and the society. Also unethical deeds performed by women affect their families and society. Interestingly, the opposite is stated for men. The result of the good or bad deeds of men accrue to them alone! Brahmins today believe that if they have chanted the Gayatri they have chanted the Vedas. Beliefs that seem illogical but are strangely effective, surround this powerful mantra.

Gayatri chanting is advised to anyone  suffering from a depression, fright, illness or any phobia. Also chanted to nullify bad omens and garner auspiciousness at the start of new ventures or a journey. Manu records that in ancient times ‘all ‘ ladies had their upanayan ceremony, and ‘all’ men or women, with or without thread could chant the Gayatri. Women even studied and taught the Vedas and Gayatri chanting to others. Chanted when the two lights meet, (Sandhya), facing the sun , offering water (arghya), we thankfully welcome and bid farewell to this great nourished and sustainer of life on our planet.

Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission Delhi.

Email: prarthnasaran