Gayatri mantra's mythological description is that it is the Mother of the Vedas and the source of infinite wisdom. We are familiar with it but do we know its spiritual significance? I'd say we don't really know. If we don't know the meaning of what we are chanting, why chant it at all?
Gayatri Mantra is 'Vedasara'
Many times, Bhagawan Sri Sathya Baba has said, "The Gayatri is considered as Vedasara, 'the essence of the Vedas.'" For the same reason, Bhagawan says that the Gayatri mantra should be practised with utmost care and discipline.
The reason I wanted to share it here is because the Gayatri is extolled universally but we do not approach its practice with the discipline that is required in order for us to explore its full and absolute potential to harness our own spiritual growth.
But first, it is important to understand the nature of the Gayatri mantra itself. Most of us chant the Gayatri without knowing its real significance. That is of little use. When one understands the meaning, the experience itself takes a different and more significant dimension.
The following information is based on Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba's various talks with His earliest devotees:
Gayatri Mantra & its 3 Parts
The Gayatri has three parts: 1) Praise 2)Meditation 3) Prayer
In the first aspect, the Divine aspect is praised, then it is meditated upon and then an appeal is made to the Divine to awaken, strengthen and illumine the intellect and discriminating faculty that is present in every human being.
Gayatri is Not Merely a Goddess
Gayatri is not a goddess. Gayatri is the mother of the Vedas. Gayatri, however, has three names: Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati. These three are present in every one. Gayatri represents the master of the senses, Savitri is the master of Prana (life force) and Saraswati is the presiding deity of speech. The three represent purity in thought, word and deed, also known as 'thrikarana shuddhi."
Power of the Gayatri mantra
The power of the Gayatri mantra is tremendous. It will protect you from harm wherever you are. When chanted regularly, the Gayatri mantra protects your body, illumines your intellect and improves your power of concentration, speech and memory. That is why the Gayatri mantra is most important for children to chant.
Gayatri Mantra: When to Chant it
One should chant it at least thrice daily and the ideal time is at 6 am, twelve o clock noon and 6 pm. Bhagawan says that when having a bath, it is ideal to chant the Gayatri mantra as it becomes equivalent to the holy abhisheka. Bhagawan also says that chanting the Gayatri mantra before eating food will sanctify the food and destroy all negative karma that is associated with its preparation as well. The evening recitation of the Gayatri will destroy all negative karma and sins that you may have incurred during the day.
Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba says, "One who chants the Gayatri mantra with discipline and dedication need not chant any other mantra."