The Gayatri mantra is a universal prayer that has come to us from the Vedas. It is addressed to the Transcendent and Immanent Divine named ‘Savita,’ meaning ‘that from which all this is born.’ The Mantra has three parts – Adoration, Meditation and Prayer. The first part praises the Divine. In the second part, it is meditated upon with reverence. In the third part, an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken the intellect which is the discriminating faculty of humans and make it stronger.
The Gayatri represents the essence of the Vedas. Veda denotes knowledge, hence the mantra develops and sharpens the faculty that is responsible for knowledge. In fact, the four core-declarations mentioned in the four Vedas are implied in it.
The chief deity referred to in the mantra is the Sun. The ancients found in the Sun, the visible proof of a transcendental power, as well as certain subtle secrets about it. The verse, “Dhiyo yonah Prachodayāt” means, ‘May the Sun illumine our intellects in the same way he sheds his effulgence’. This is a prayer addressed to the Sun. Thus, they came to see the Gayatri mantra as the mother of the Vedas. The Gayatri Mantra shows the oneness of everything in creation. Just like clay is used to make pots of different shapes and sizes, there is only one Atma though it may reside in many forms.
The Gayatri mantra is powerful. It protects one from harm wherever one happens to be. Westerners have carried out some investigations on the vibrations produced by this mantra. They discovered that when it is recited with the proper accent the surrounding atmosphere becomes brighter. This is Brahma-prakāsha, the Divine Effulgence, which descends on us to illumine our intellect and light our path. When the word, ‘shanti’ (meaning ‘peace’) is repeated thrice at the end, it brings peace to body, mind and soul.
One should recite the Gayatri mantra three times at least – during morning, noon, and evening. This confers the benefit of reducing the bad karma that is caused by our wrong deeds. If we recite the mantra daily, there will be no accumulation of karmic debt, as each day’s karma will be atoned for on that day itself. Gayatri mantra also enhances our learning power and concentration. It can bestow money, wealth and power.
Gayatri mantra is often described as “Sarva roga nivaarini Gayatri” (Gayatri, the cure for all diseases). “Sarva dhukha parivaarini Gayatri” (Gayatri, which removes all suffering) and “Sarva vaancha phalashri Gayatri” (Gayatri, which fulfills all desires). Gayatri mantra bestows many benefits. When the mantra is chanted, many kinds of powers will fuse and become one, thereby making us invincible.
Navratri is the nine-day Hindu festival that celebrates the Supreme Goddess. During these nine days, goddess Durga is believed to visit devotees’ homes in her nine forms. There will be Navratri fasting, poojas and events during the festival. It also commemorates the killing of Ravana by Lord Rama.