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Gayatri Mantra (27 Repetitions)
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Revered by both Buddhists and Hindus worldwide. It is considered to be a supreme vehicle for gaining spiritual enlightenment.
The Entire Mantra says, "I invoke the Earth Plane, The Astral Plane, The Celestial Plane, The Plane of Spiritual Balance, The Plane of Human Spiritual Knowledge, The Plane of Spiritual Austerites, and The Plane of Ultimate Truth. Oh, great Spiritual Light which is the brilliance of all Divinity, we meditate upon You. Please illumine our minds."
Rishis selected the words of the Gayatri Mantra and arranged them so that they not only convey meaning but also create specific power of righteous wisdom through their utterance. The ideal times for chanting the mantra are three times a day - at dawn, mid-day, and at dusk. These times are known as the three sandhyas - morning, mid-day and evening. The maximum benefit of chanting the mantra is said to be obtained by chanting it 108 times. However, one may chant it for 3, 9, or 18 times when pressed for time. The syllables of the mantra are said to positively affect all the chakras or energy centres in the human body - hence, proper pronunciation and enunciation are very important. In general, Brahmarishi Vishwamitra is credited as the mantra-dhrishta(Mantra was revealed to him) of the Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Mantra is devoted to God Savitr. Savitr refers to Sun. Sun here does not imply the sun of our solar system. Rather it implies a Sun of all suns. Sun that is the source of eternal light that provides life, knowledge and enlightenment. Light that can illuminate the soul.
By many Hindus, the Gayatri is seen as a Divine awakening of the mind and soul, and within it a way to reach the most Supreme form of existence, and the way to Union with Brahman. Understanding, and purely loving the essence of the Gayatri Mantra is seen by many to be one, if not the most powerful ways to attain God.
Like all other Mantras of Rigveda, Gayatri Mantra is full of praise for the God or Savitr. The beauty of this mantra is that after praising the God, we have admitted that we do not know any better. We are seeking the knowledge to know Him better.
Why should women not chant Gayatri Mantra [Some warn women shouldn't so use your own discretion]
According to Late Shri T. S. Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur: It is widely believed that some of the Vedic Versus vibrations are so powerful in nature. Once a woman starts chanting these versus regularly, she is likely to lose her female-hood character and get manly tendencies developed in physical appearance . In majority of cases, it might cause hormone disturbances in the body's physical mechanism and disturb their menstrual cycle. In rare cases, a woman who chants these slokhas and versus frequently, even develops masculine character which allows growth of hair in their face & mustache! Imagine, if every woman developed such growth!
It is a fact that to keep women in their natural glory and beauty, the ancient scholars did not allow them to chant or recite these versus. They knew precisely all the effects and side effects of what they did. However, they were allowed to do so once they cross their menopause stage, then the chances of disturbances in their body mechanism were minimal. Also the Gland functional in their body stops, at certain age - any further physical growth is minimal. Certainly it was not for any discriminations but purely on the aforesaid reasons and points.
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