Gayathri is a veda mantra to be recited at sandhya period.
Gayathri means "A mantra that protects those who recite it ".
'Tatsaviturvarenyam - Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi- Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat' is the gayathri mantra .
While chanting , it is prefixed by 'om' ( pranava ) and 'bhur bhuvaswah' ( vyahriti )
The meaning of the mantra is ' I meditate on sun with tejas or divine strength of the lord who activates our intellect '. This means ' I meditate on the Supreme lord in the orbit of the sun who activates our intellect.'
Gayathri mantra consists of five sections as under
Bhur Bhuva Suvah
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
Each section should be uttered in one breath. There must be gap between sections.
Gayathri is considered to be mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to vedas . It is addressed to " para brahman " residing in the sun. In other words we meditate on para brahman residing in sun through Gayatri . God ( Para Brahman ) is both male and female . The soft and kind qualities are praised as female .Through Gayatri , we invoke soft and kind qualities of Para Brahman . Gayatri mantra is universal . In other words it is chanted not only by humans but also by Devas. According to Chandayoga Upanishad , meditation through Gayatri at sunrise and sunset helps one to acquire benefits from "Aditya " - namely lustrous and health preserving of the body and mind , light body , high intellect with grasping power , high intuition , memory , improved blood circulation and many other qualities . Studies by the Sabha also point to the above .During chanting , blood pressure comes down .ECG studies indicate improved absorption of cosmic or pranic energy .In the language of pranic or Reiki healers , this means better resistance against ailments .This aspect has been discussed in the book " Sandhyavandanam " , published in 1995 by the sabha. The essential feature of Sandhyavandanam is meditation through Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Japam or meditation through Gayatri Mantra has a unique place in vedic tradition.The benefits are immense .It helps one to acquire high personality , high mental quality , etc .The following episode may be of interest ;
Akbar was ruling India . Birbal was his minister .Akbar and Birbal would often travel incognito to collect first hand information about the various happenings within the country.On one occasion , they noticed a brahmin going begging from house to house .Akbar pointed this out to Birbal .Birbal noticed the beggar and kept quiet. after reaching home he sent word for the brahmin to meet him.
When the brahmin called on Birbal , Birbal said , " Oh ! Brahmin - You collect your daily earnings through begging from me every day . In lieu of begging please chant Gayatri Japam during the three sandhya periods 108 times everyday." The brahmin agreed and after collecting the money from Birbal , started chanting Gayatri Mantra. after a few days , he thought , why not increase the chanting to 1008 times , since he had a lot of time. Very soon , people started giving him charity in the form of food and cash . In this way the brahmin stopped going to Birbal's house for begging . His daily meditation earnt him the power to acquire knowledge , acquire an attractive personality and soon he transformed into a good expounder of knowledge. More and more people started coming to him and he became a well known personality . Birbal also heard about him . One day Birbal visited the brahmin and asked him as to why he had stopped coming to his house . The brahmin profusely thanked Birbal for for putting him on the right path by guiding him at the right time.
One day Birbal mentioned to Akbar that a saintly person had come to town and Akbar promptly invited the person and honoured him.Birbal then asked Akbar whether he remembered this saintly person but akbar could not recollect. Birbal then reminded Akbar about the brahmin beggar episode . Akbar after hearing this exclaimed " Oh ! what a change " . This episode appears in the Akbar Nama and brings out the virtue and greatness of the Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Mantra is extolled by one and all . It is a simple and small mantra but with huge benefits .
Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, Bangalore has brought out a book on 'Sandhyavandanam' (115 pages) explaining the above aspects in details. It covers general background , detailed notes explaining appreciation and correct procedure for various constituents such as Achamanam , Pranayamam , etc . The meaning for various Hymns has been given in English . Tamil , Kannada and Devanagiri script has been used for various hymns and the book covers the three veda sakas viz Yajur , Sama and Rig veda . It is modelled as a self instructor especially for people without any specialized knowledge . Interestingly , it also includes procedure for changing sacred thread and performing Special Gayathri Japam. This book has been recently reprinted and nominally priced at Rs 40 in India and US$ 5.00 Abroad ( Postage charges extra for those requiring postal delivery ). This book has proved to be very popular especially for those who want to gift something to relatives staying abroad or during Upanaynam ceremony. Please contact Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, 148 , 7th Main Road , 5th Block Jayanagar , Bangalore -560 041 Karnataka ,India
Telephone 91-80-6640769 or