Gayatri Japa Day

The Gayatri Japa Day, observed on the day after Raksha Bandhan (July–August), is a holy and glorious day intended to remind all of the greatest and most glorious of all mantras, the sacred Gayatri mantra.

The Gayatri is the impregnable spiritual armour that guards and protects its votary. In fact, that is the very meaning of the word gayatri, ‘that which protects the one who sings it’. The nature of the Gayatri mantra is such that you can repeat it while meditating on any form you like. It is generally conceived of as a female deity, but in its true light the Gayatri never speaks of a female deity at all. You cannot find a single word in the entire Gayatri mantra which refers to a female deity.

The feminine form of the word Gayatri cannot make its deity a female. It is only the term used to refer to its metre and not the deity. Some people think that the Gayatri mantra is presided over by the sun. In fact, even this idea should be modified a little. The sun that it speaks of is not that which shines over this earth, but tat savituh, ‘that sun’, the great Sun which is the impersonal, absolute Brahman.

The Gayatri is the most powerful of all mantras. It has been said, Na gayatryah paro mantrah – “There is no mantra greater than the Gayatri.” Each word, each letter of the Gayatri bears on its head the highest Vedantic concept of the absolute, supreme truth. The mantra is as follows:

Om bhur bhuvah swah
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dheemahi
Dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat.

Anvay: Om: symbol of Para Brahman; Bhuh: bhu loka or the physical plane; Bhuvah: the astral plane; Swah: the celestial plane; Tat: That, the transcendental paramatma, God; Savituh: the creator; Varenyam: fit to be worshipped; Bhargo: remover of sins and ignorance; glory, effulgence; Devasya: resplendent, shining; Dheemahi: we meditate; Dhiyah: the intellect, understanding; Yo: who; Nah: our; Prachodayaat: enlighten, guide, impel.

Translation: We meditate on the glory of the creator who has created the universe, who is fit to be worshipped, who is the embodiment of knowledge and light, who is the remover of all sins and ignorance. May He enlighten our intellect!

The mantra has five parts: Om is the first part; Bhur bhuvah swah is the second; Tat savitur varenyam is the third; Bhargo devasya dheemahi is the fourth; and Dhiyo yo nah prachodayaat is the last. While chanting the mantra you should pause after every part.

This rare and most precious divine treasure of the Gayatri mantra is neglected by people today. This is a very serious lapse indeed. Open your eyes now and start in right earnest the japa of the Gayatri. Repeat it at least 108 times (1,008 is better!) on the Gayatri Japa Day. Then continue it (at least 108 times daily) without missing even a single day.

May the whole world be made Gayatri-conscious through the inspiration of the auspicious Gayatri Japa Day! May you all be thrice blessed by taking the vow of daily Gayatri japa right from this very moment. May you realize the inner truth of the Gayatri mantra.