Our body is itself a temple of Gods. The soul is of the form of Iswara. One should not go to temple in impure condition. One should not take impure articles there. If one takes flesh, cigar etc., impurity will result. In Aagama Sastras it is stated that one should not go there with impurity born of an event (like birth or death) or bodily impurity.
In the same way, if our body is a temple of Gods, one should not put in impure articles into the body. In the body which holds the power of mantras, if we add impurities, it will get spoiled. There is difference between house and temple. One should not make the house impure; but it is not necessary to keep it free from impurities as strictly as in a temple. Some bodies are like temples. As brahmana bodies have to protect the power of Vedic mantras, they must be very pure. Impure articles should not be taken into the body. Brahmana’s duty is to protect the power of mantras and thereby do good to the world. His body has to be maintained pure like a temple.
That is why more conditions have been laid on him. Brahmana should not look at others and think he could also do impure actions like others might do. They should not indulge in improper activities which others might find pleasurable to body. Brahmana’s body is not there for the purpose of enjoying bodily joys. That is the body which protects Vedas. That is why upanayanam etc. are done at great expense. The body should be maintained for protecting Vedic mantras. Considering the body as the temple of Gods, if one follows Aachara (conduct as per Sastras), all will be comfortable. Brahmana should not think that all are doing various jobs and making money; why not us also.
Having done our duty properly, one should put in some extra effort. One should not follow practices opposed to Aachara for the sake of making a lot of money. Brahmanas also need money; but money earned by going to different countries and leaving out our Aachara should not be desired. It is not as if we cannot manage without that kind of money. Our primary duty is to protect our power of mantras and practise our dharma; making money is but secondary.
If we keep protecting the Agni of the power of mantras, it will result in well being of all. We should have the power to remove the difficulties of others. If someone beseeches us for help while facing trouble and if we respond saying ‘I also do whatever you are doing; I have the same power as you’, his request becomes useless. The Agni of power of mantras is now extinguished. The body has become ugly. Impure materials get added in the body. But one spark of fire is still available. We have to grow that spark. If we do that, the spark will catch fire at some time. That spark is Gayatri. That has come traditionally. If three generations leave Gayatri, the person is no longer a brahmana. The street in which such people live is not Agraharam.
The term ‘Gayatri’ means the mantra that protects the one who sings it. Singing here means chanting with love and devotion. Gayatri mantra protects one who chants it with love and devotion. That is how it got that name.
Chandas is Veda. Veda says that Gayatri occupies the place of mother of all Vedic mantras. While speaking about activities to be done as per Sastras, Veda says that chanting Gayatri is very important and that the body should be kept pure without causing decline in the power of mantra. We do not worship that Gayatri properly. But it is not yet three generations since Gayatri has not been observed properly.
Hence we can still say that so-and-so is a brahmana. If three generations do not perform yagna, he is then a Durbrahmana (bad brahmana). Prayaschitta (expiation ritual) has been specified for him to become a brahmana again. But if three generations leave Gayatri, brahmanahood goes away; he will not become a brahmana again. He will only be a ‘brahmana bandhu’ (relative of brahmana). Similarly, if kshatriya leaves Gayatri, he becomes ‘kshatriya bandhu’; vaisya becomes ‘vaisya bandhu’.
Hence that spark has to be blown into fire. Spark is of no use by itself. But it can be the base for becoming useful. Hence one should perform japa of Gayatri a thousand times at least on Sundays. One should not eat any type of food anywhere. Prayaschitta should be got done for the bad conduct indulged in so far. At least from now onwards, one should not eat prohibited food and keep the body pure. Every time at least ten chants of Gayatri should be done. All the three times (in a day, viz. dawn, noon and dusk) are the times that generate peace. Dawn is the time when creatures like birds and humans wake up. Dusk is the time when all take rest after completing day’s work.
That is also peaceful time. At noon Sun is on top; that is the time when all feel tired. That is also the time of peace. At these three times, one should meditate on the three forms of Devi- Gayatri, Savitri and Saraswati. Dawn‘s primary deity is Vishnu; noon’s, Brahma; dusk’s, Siva. Hence one should meditate on Devi as of the form of Vishnu at dawn, Brahma at noon and Siva at dusk. The three chants together are called ‘Samashti Gayatri’. There is also individual ‘Vyashti Gayatri’.
In Gayatri mantra is contained all the power of Vedas. That is the mantra which gives power to all other mantras. If one does not do japa of Gayatri, there is no power for all the other mantras. Many results are achieved by hypnotism. Gayatri mantra is the hypnotism, which would help one in achieving moksham. Gayatri is the hypnotism which will help in control of desire and achieving the goal of life. It is like a spark for now. Reducing worldly activities, chanting of Gayatri should be increased. Taking this vow, the body should be protected in a pure condition. That spark will remain unextinguished only then.
In Sandhyavandanam Arghya and Gayatri are important. The rest are parts of them. Those who cannot perform should at least offer Arghyam and chant the Gayatri ten times. If we think these two alone are important and hence we would do only these, there will be further decline in course of time.
Only if done complete with all aspects, the important aspects would stay. Even in times of danger they must be done. It has been stated (in Mahabharata) that during Bharata war, they offered Arghyam using soil in the absence of availability of water.
At the time of sunset, prior to sunrise and when sun is on top, Arghyam should be offered. There was a Sidha called Idaikkattu Sidhar. He used to graze sheep. He has said, ‘Kanamal konamal kandu kodu; aadu kan pogudu par’. ‘Kanamal’ here means ‘before seeing the Sun’. That is, Arghyam should be offered in the morning before sunrise. ‘Konamal’ means ‘when Sun is just above our head’. That is, Arghya at noon should be offered before the Sun starts its westward travel. ‘Kandu’ means ‘when Sun is still visible’. That is, the evening Arghyam should be offered before the Sun sets and is still visible to us. Idaikkattu Sidhar has referred to these matters in his own light manner. ‘Adu’ means ’take bath in Ganga’. ‘Kan’ means ‘have darshan of Sethu’. By ‘pogudu’, he means to say that our sins go away by bath in Ganga and darshan of Sethu. He added ‘Par’ to convey ‘Look at this’.
Only by chanting Gayatri properly will one get the power of Vedic mantras. Arghya and Gayatri chant should be done without fail. At least once in lifetime bath in Ganga and darshan of Sethu should be done. Sandhyavandanam should be performed without fail. Only if performed with all aspects intact, at least the important aspects would remain in good condition.
Even when one suffers from fever, the persons close by should perform Sandhyavandanam for him and pour the water in his mouth. Now it looks like we suffer permanently from fever. For fever, medicine is necessary. In the same way, Gayatri, useful to Atma, is important. It should not be left any time. It is more important than medicine. It should not happen that we have left Sandhyavandanam even on one day. Lapse of Aacharam should not be permitted. Prayaschitta should be got done for the bad Aachara indulged in so far. Japa of Gayatri is possible for everyone. One should perform Sandhyavandanam till the end of life without fail. Gayatri should be worshiped in the form of Mother. Bhagavan comes in various forms and shows his grace to devotees. Mother is the one who shows maximum love to us. We can tell mother anything without fear. Though Bhagavan is in all forms, it is nice when he comes in the form of mother. Veda says that Gayatri is Mother.
Gayatri is prescribed only for men. What is the Gayatri for woman? The answer is that if man performs Gayatri japa, women will enjoy well being. Through that, other castes and the world in general will enjoy well being.
There are many types of mantras. Before chanting them, we say that we do that japa for a stated purpose. The main fruit of Gayatri japa is purity of mind. The fruits of other mantras should ultimately lead to purity of mind, which is the direct fruit of Gayatri.
Gayatri has been taken from all three Vedas. Hence Gayatri is common for the followers of all three Vedas. Only for Atharva Veda there is a separate Gayatri. Students of that Veda have to undergo a separate upanayanam and be initiated into a separate Gayatri. In the same way, when follower of Atharva Veda wishes to study other Vedas, he has to get upanayanam done again.
These days everyone can perform Sandhyavandanam in dawn and dusk at the right time. Those who have to go to office early should perform the morning Sandhyavandanam in ‘gouna’ (secondary) time. The noon Arghya should be offered at least in ‘Sangava’ (8.24 am to 10.48 am) time. When one suffers from fever, like asking others for gruel or water, he should ask for Sandhyavandanam to be performed on his behalf. Food should be eaten with restraint as per rules. Impure food should not be eaten; nor eaten with impure persons. We need not criticise them nor hate them; we should separate ourselves. We should not share the same row with them while eating. All this is meant only for protecting our body’s purity. Only by protecting purity of body, power of mantra can be retained. Only then will there be well being of us and others. Let all of us pray to Bhagavan for his grace for growth of the power of mantra without decline.