Written by Debarati Sanjay, CIF Committee Member
It was the year 1977, when my brother was having his ‘sacred thread’ ceremony that I heard ‘The Gayatri Mantra’ for the first time. I was 5 years old then and I remember the family priest telling me that girls are not allowed to chant the mantra. In those days, when you were told not to do something, you just listened; no questions asked. In fact, asking questions was deemed to be rude. However, later I read that in the Hindu Sanatana Dharma, nowhere it is mentioned that girls are barred from chanting the mantra. Later that day, with my mother’s permission, I did chant the mantra with my brother.
Chanting the Gayatri mantra, has given me solace, hope and an overall feeling of positivity. The tune associated with it adds to the beauty of the verse.
Originally in Sanskrit, this mantra has its mention in the Rig Veda (the oldest Hindu scripture) written about 2500 to 3500 years ago. Goddess Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas who ushers in light and eliminates darkness. The verse has 24 syllables inside a triplet of 8 syllables.
OM bhur bhuvah swah
Bhargo devasya dhimahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
We mediate on the glory of the creator,
Who has created the Universe;
Who is worthy of worship;
Who is the embodiment of knowledge and light;
Who is the remover of all sin and ignorance;
May he enlighten our intellect.
Benefits of chanting
Improves concentration and learning
Calms mind, reduces stress and anxiety
Best time to recite
4am to 8am and 4pm to 8pm have the sātvic quality
8am to 4pm have rājasic quality
8pm and 4am have tāmasic quality
In fact it may be chanted anytime of the day.
Reference: Astrology, TOI, 2020 ‘Gayatri Mantra-Meaning and Significance’, Times Of India, April 9, 2020