“Om bhurbhuvah swah tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat”
The moment I posted this on my facebook wall and tweeted it, I was bombarded with comments and private messages from my girl friends stating, “Hey don’t you know, girls are not supposed to chant gayatri mantra”!
I asked them, “Why shouldn’t girls chant Gayatri mantra”? You will be surprised to know that more than half of these people didn’t know the answer to this question. All they just know is “Girls cannot chant it”.
Being unsatisfied with their answers, over this taboo, the “curious” me started frantically rummaging Google for answers. I started typing all possible key strokes combination and finally, Google was courteous enough to throw me right answers.
Before proceeding further, lets understand this powerful mantra:
Om bhurbhuvah swah tatsaviturvarenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo nah prachodayat
Om! Brahma or Almighty God
Bhuh embodiment of vital spiritual energy (Pran)
bhuvah destroyer of sufferings
swah embodiment of happiness
savituh bright, luminous like the Sun
varenyam best, most exalted
bhargo destroyer of sins
dhimahi may imbibe
prachodayat may inspire
In short, the literal meaning of “Gayatri Mantra” is:
“God! You are Omnipresent, Omnipotent and Almighty.
You are all Light. You are all Knowledge and Bliss.
You are Destroyer of fear; You are Creator of this Universe,
You are the Greatest of all. We bow and meditate upon your light.
You guide our intellect in the right direction”
This mantra is the most powerful mantra in Hinduism,which when chanted accurately, will bestow: strength, knowledge, bliss, right path,courage, success and glory upon the chanter.The chanter can also acquire high mental power,by chanting this mantra.
I chant Gayatri mantra while performing puja. Whenever I am in stress ,solitude,depression, or even before exams, I have chanted this mantra. I can feel the adrenaline rush of new energy, strength,courage and power, everytime I have chanted it. It also gives me mental strength and boosts my confidence. I see my worries fading away and new happiness and hope rushing in. I can feel all the negative energy within me fading away.
->Why women were not allowed to chant this mantra in olden days?
During the vedic age,in south India, men commanded the family. They chanted vedas, performed yagnas, rites and rituals; while women were confined to cooking,cleaning utensils, keeping the house clean,etc. Women were refrained from chanting vedas or perfoming/assisting in rituals.
Chanting this mantra bestows light, knowledge, power and strength on the bestower. Since women were the downtrodden lot in olden age, men didn’t allow women to chant this mantra, in the fear of being over powered with the fruits of chanting this mantra.
This mantra was also passed on to the younger men during their Upanayana(thread) ceremony. During this ceremony,the son sits on his father’s lap and his father whispers Gayatri mantra into the son’s ear. Men chant mantra in praise of Goddess Gayatri,who is a woman, to gain empowerment, and in turn prevent women from chanting it. Irony, isn’t it? 🙂 😉
On the contradictory, mother plays a significant role during upanaya, as she prepares her son to go to gurukula to receive the formal education; when she herself was the first teacher to the child after the birth. Therefore she has every right to know what the child is going to learn. How can you refrain women from knowing or chanting this mantra?
This mantra is supposedly for Nitya Karma for men: meaning, it should be performed daily,without fail,before sunrise and sunset by men.Since women undergo menstrual cycle every month, they were not allowed to chant this mantra.
But my question is: “Women also perform puja daily,of course,except the days of their menstrual period. So,will they be refrained from performing puja too,citing “menstrual” reasons?
Arya Samaj, Hindu Reforms movements and AWGP (All world Gayatri Pariwar) strongly advocates for women to chant Gayatri mantra, to enjoy the same fruits of success enjoyed by men. It only pleads for this mantra to be chanted and pronounced accurately and in extremely careful manner, to prevent getting harmed by, high levels of energy generated while chanting them.
According to AWGP, “A girl student named Kumari Kalyani wanted to seek admission to a course in which Vedas were taught in Banaras Hindu University. The authorities refused to grant admission according to the prevalent belief on the ground that a woman, according to Shastras, had no right to chant Ved-mantras. This controversy continued for quite a long time. A paper “Sarvadeshik” published several articles in support of the right of women to study Vedas while the other paper “Sidhanta” took an opposite view. A deputation of Arya Samajists met University authorities and there was prolonged discussion on the subject. Ultimately, the University appointed a committee under the chairmanship of Mahamana Madan Mohan Malviya in which several Vedic scholars were included. The committee, after a thorough study of the shastras, gave a finding that women have the same right as men in respect of Vedas. Mahamana Malviyaji, who was considered as the standard bearer of Sanatan Dharma, announced this decision of the committee on 22nd August 1946. Kumari Kalyani was accordingly admitted to the course in which Vedas were taught and it was finally decided that henceforth women would have the right to study Vedas and there would be no discrimination on grounds of sex. What can be said about the wisdom of those persons who still persist in saying that women have no right to worship Gayatri when this controversy has been settled once for all by eminent persons like Malviyaji? The names of several learned women of the ancient times are still famous. References are found in Vedas about several women rishis being authors of several Ved-Mantras.”
Interestingly,Gayatri is the other name for Sun. Since Sun is the creator of every creature in this world, the same way, mother is the source of everybody in this world. So how can women be deprived of chanting “Gayatri” mantra?