The Gayatri mantra is one of the oldest and most powerful of Sanskrit mantras. It is the universal prayer enshrined within the Vedas (the Hindu sacred text), and even believed to be the very essence of the Vedas. As Veda means “knowledge”, the Gayatri mantra is believed to foster and sharpen the knowledge-yielding faculty.
It is believed that by chanting the Gayatri mantra and firmly establishing it in the mind, if you carry on your life and do the work that is ordained for you, your life will be full of happiness.
Being the Mother of all scriptures (Veda), Gayatri is said to be present wherever Her name is chanted. She is very powerful. The One who nourishes the individual being is Gayatri. She bestows pure thoughts on anyone who worships Her. She is the embodiment of all Goddesses. Our very breath is Gayatri, our faith in existence is Gayatri, and each of her five faces equate to the five life principles.
The Gayatri mantra is:
Om Bhur Bhuvaḥ Swaḥ
Bhargo Devasya Dhīmahi
Dhiyo Yonaḥ Prachodayāt.
The general meaning of the mantra is: “We meditate on that most adored Supreme Lord, the creator, whose effulgence (divine light) illumines all realms (physical, mental and spiritual). May this divine light illumine our intellect.”
“The Gayatri Mantra is a sacred chant that demonstrates the unity that underlies manifoldness in creation. It is through the recognition of this unity that we can understand the multiplicity. Clay is one and the same thing, though pots of different shapes and sizes can be made from it. Gold is one, though gold ornaments can be multifarious. The Atma is one, though the embodied forms in which it resides may be many. Whatever the colour of the cow, the milk is always white. ” (‘Sathya Sai Speaks’, vol 16.6: March, 17, 1983)
There are many versions of the Gayatri Mantra found on the internet these days, including this extended and extremely beautiful piece by Deva Premal while a more traditional version of the mantra being chanted 108 times can be found here.