Aum Bhoor Bhuwah Swaha,Tat Savitur Varenyam Bhargo Devasaya Dheemahi Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat’
WORDS: SHIFA MEYAJI
THE foremost mantra in Hinduism, the Gayatri Mantra, is a prayer to the almighty for imparting wisdom and to light up the intellect to make it easier for the followers to walk on the righteous path.
Sage Vishwamitra first chanted this mantra on Jyeshta Shukla Ekadashi and from that day onwards, it came to be recognised as Gayatri Jayanti.
The relevance of this mantra is highest and it was given by Gayatri Devi or goddess Gayatri; hence, it is piously chanted during the festival of Gayatri Jayanti.
It is observed as the birth anniversary of Gayatri Devi, popularly known as the goddess of Vedas or Veda mata. Many accept her as the ‘Mother of all Gods’ and she is considered to be an embodiment of goddesses Lakshmi, Saraswati and Parvati.
The goddess appears with five heads, out of which four face the directions, which represent the Vedas, and the fifth faces the sky above, symbolising the almighty.
The goddess is portrayed sitting on a lotus and has 10 hands which bear the symbols of lord Vishnu.
Goddess Gayatri is also believed to be the second consort of lord Brahma. The story runs that Brahma had to start an important yagna, necessarily with his wife at a fixed time and his first wife, Sabitri was late.
Thus, to not avoid delay and further obstruction, in Sabitris absence he married Gayatri to start the yagna.
The significance of goddess Gayatri and her various portrayals make one realise why her followers celebrate this day with so much piousness and devotion.
Devotees offer special prayers and pujas to the goddess during this day. These are performed either by pandits or experienced elderly members of the family. Special satsangs and kirtans are performed by people from all communities and sects.
Worshippers rise early in the morning and perform the Shadopachara Puja. Those praying for knowledge and education offer the puja along with lillies, while the rest who pray seeking other things offer hibiscus flowers to the deity.
Women also observe the Deerga Sumangali fast on the day, praying for the long life of their husbands and traditionally offer turmeric powder and kumkum to the deity.
People seeking wealth from the deity offer puja with lotus flowers.