Most people do not understand the importance of chanting the Gayatri mantra because they are not aware of its power. It is only when I began to read Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's teachings that I learned how sacred and powerful the chanting of the Gayatri mantra is.
The Vedas represent the breath of God. The Gayatri mantra is the very basis of the Vedas. Try not to undertake chanting the Gayatri mantra as a light endeavor or as a hobby. It has to be chanted with faith, discipline and purity of mind and body. Be steady with your sadhana if you want to reap the spiritual dividend associated with the Gayatri mantra and never once hesitate once you decide to do it.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba said that the Gayatri Mantra is referred to as Pancha Mukhi, the Goddess with five faces that represent the five pranas or life forces. Here's more on it.
Chant the Gayatri Mantra correctly: Pause Five TimesHere are some important things to keep in mind while chanting the Gayatri mantra:
1. When we recite the Gayatri mantra, we pause five times and take five breaths representing the five pranas. The five pranas comprise of the Panchabhuthas (Akasa, Vayu, Agni, Jala and Prithvi) and the Panchakosas or the five sheaths of the body.
The pause should be as given below and with understanding that it represents the five pranas:
Bhur Bhuvah Suvah (pause)
Tat Savitur Varenyam (pause)
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi (pause)
Dhiyo yo nah prachodhayat (pause)
2. The Gayatri mantra must be chanted with faith and enthusiasm thrice a day at dawn, noon and dusk. This is called 'Trikala sandhya' because it is a mantra that purifies all the karma done by a person during the day i.e. karmendriyas. You should chant it when having a bath, before eating food and so on. The Gayatri mantra can be repeated at any time by one who practices it regularly and with devotion.
3. Traditionally, the Gayatri mantra must be chanted 108 times. But Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says that when a target is fixed, the tendency of the mind is to repeat it mechanically. So, you shouldn't fix a target to tame the mind. You can chant the Gayatri mantra three, nine or eleven times or more based on your level of concentration and interest. Stick to odd number recitation - that is the right way.
4. Women worry whether they can chant the Gayatri mantra when they are having their periods. Spiritual masters say that women can chant any mantra at any time. There is no restriction on it. Whatever restrictions have been placed are artificial and not valid from a spiritual perspective.
5. Teach children how to chant the Gayatri mantra at the earliest. You should make sure that they understand the meaning before they learn to chant the mantra. This will boost their concentration power, their memory and illumine their intellect at gross and subtle level. The energy field that they will be able to create for themselves by chanting the Gayatri mantra will protect them from disease and danger at the most critical times.
6. While chanting the Gayatri mantra, every word should be clear as crystal. Don't mumble it or rush through it. Enjoy it slowly as you would eat a delicious pastry, experiencing its texture as it crumbles on your tongue.
God bless you all.