Gayathri Japam is an extremely auspicious and glorious day for the devotees practicing Hinduism. It is observed right after the Purnima of the month of Shravana as per traditional Hindu calendar.
According tGregorian calendar the Gayathri Japam is observed after the full moon in the month of August. It is on this auspicious day that the Brahmins all over mostly in the southern states of India perform their Upakarma or the Avani Avittam ceremony with utmost dedication and chant the Gayatri mantra.
During this Gayathri Japam ritual, Brahmins whwear the sacred thread or the ‘janeyu’ chant the Gayatri mantra 108 or 1008 times. In 2019, the date for the Gayathri Japam is August 16th, Friday.
What is Gayathri Mantra?
The Gayathri Mantra is as follows –
“Om bhur bhuvah svah tat savitur varenyam;
Bhargdevasya dheemahi dhiyynah prachodayat. “
The plain translation of the mantra will be as follows –
- Om – means the Brahman;
- Bhur – meaning the Bhuloka or the Physical Plane;
- Bhuvah – meaning Antariksha Svah; Svarga Loka or the place for divinity;
- Tat –means the Paramatma or the Divine;
- Savitur- means Isvara or the divine sun or Surya;
- Varenyam – meaning one whis Fit tbe worshipped; Bharg- meaning the Remover of sins and ignorance;
- Devasya – means the ultimate Glory or the Jnana Svaroopa, the Divine Grace;
- Dheemahi – means we meditate or contemplate;
- Dhiy- meaning Buddhi or Intellect;
- Y- means Which or Who;
- Nah – meaning Our;
- Prachodayat – means praying for the ultimate Enlightenment.
- Bhuh Bhuvah and Shah literally mean past, present and the future, and it is believed that by uttering these 3 mantras we illumine the three worlds.
It can be translated as- thou absolute existence, the creator of the 3 worlds, our hearts are filled with darkness. Please remove this darkness and illumine our souls with true knowledge or intellect.
Gayathri mantra is perhaps the most celebrated mantra amongst the Hindus. This is the mantra which precedes all other mantras chanted by the 3 Varnas or social classes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas. The Smriti says that there is nsacrilege greater than the neglect of the Gayatri mantra as it is the mother of all mantras. According tthe Devi Bhagabatam, all the Gods torecite the Gayatri Mantra including Lord Brahma.
How is the Gayathri Japam done?
On the auspicious day, after the initial prayers and observances are done, the janeyu or the sacred thread is changed. With the discard of the previous sacred thread, it is believed that the devotee renounces all his past sins and misdeeds and takes a vow newly ttread the proper life and the sacred thread will protect him. After this the devotee has tchant the Gayatri Mantra 108 times or 1008 times tilluminate the dark recesses of his soul.
What are the benefits of the Gayathri Japam?
It is believed that Gayathri is the mother of all mantras, including the holy Vedas and the destroyer of all sins. There is little either in Heaven or Earth, than the chanting of the Gayathri Mantra. The Gayathri Japam yields the same result that the recitation of the four Vedas will bring. If the Gayathri is chanted thrice a day it destroys all evils and brings in Good, or Kalyan. It is said tbe the destroyer of 3 kinds of pain as the Avidya or ignorance, Kama or lust and Karma or misdeeds and is believed tbring in 4 types of Purushartha or prizes, which are Dharma or righteousness, Kama or the desired objects, Artha or wealth and Moksha or liberation or Salvation. Chanting of the Gayathri is said tliberate human beings from the endless cycle of births, deaths and rebirths.