When I receive a nudge from my spirit guides I don’t stop to question it – I just do it! They say jump, I say how high! Sometimes I am immediately convinced to their wisdom – like averting a car accident – but other times I never really know.
One day back in June (2016) I awoke with a word in my head. Gayatri. It sounded Indian but I had no idea what it meant. Curiosity got the better of me so I reached for my phone. A quick Google search and I discovered it was the name of a famous Hindu mantra. Another search on YouTube and I chose an easy way to learn it.
I announced to my bemused hubby that my task for the day was to wrap my tongue around an ancient sanskrit mantra and away I went! By the time I’d memorised the words and the rhythm of the version I’d chosen I was hooked! My eldest son burned it on a CD on loop and put it in my car so that every time I went anywhere I could sing along to the CD (my quick google had said it was meant to be chanted three times a day, 108 times a day!).
Apparently Gayatri is a five-faced goddess who governs the senses or pranas and protects these five life forces of those who chant her Mantra.
One website stated “Chanting of Gayatri Mantra removes all obstacles in our path to increased wisdom and spiritual growth and development. The teachings and powers incorporated in the Gayatri Mantra fulfill this purpose.”
I wasn’t sure why I needed to use this mantra – and why now? But chant I did, understanding that in time all would be revealed.
Fast forward a month and we’re off to Singapore and Malaysia for school holidays. For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you may remember me mentioning the Gayatri Mantra in a Facebook post: “One day my friends and I stumbled upon a Hindu temple thriving with practitioners coming and going – men in dhoti and sacred janeu threads while women dressed in their finest saris. We couldn’t resist entering and asking someone what was going on. There’d been a special ceremony that morning – 15,000 practitioners had participated! The temple was fascinating with every wall filled with relief sculptures of women!
Turned out we were in the presence of the goddess Sri Mariamman (a South Indian goddess closely associated with the Hindu goddesses Parvati and Durga as well as with her North Indian counterpart Shitaladevi). Unbeknownst to me this was the very same goddess I’d seen in Singapore in Chinatown! Wow! Perhaps this is why I had intuited that I needed to learn to chant the Gayatri Mantra and did so for a month before I left for the holiday??…”
Feeling mighty pleased with myself that I had solved the mystery of the purpose of my mantra chanting, I returned home figuring the Gayatri Mantra would no longer have the hold it had before. Hopping into my car that first day back I stopped the CD and switched to radio. But I felt sad, almost bereft, driving without my beloved Gayatri serenading my journey! So out came the CD and off I went again, singing with all my heart.
Fast forward to October (2016). A lovely friend tried to tempt me away from Gayatri with the powerful Medicine Buddha mantra. But having memorised and perfected the Medicine Buddha it felt repetitive and irritating. It was not for me. And so back I came, like an errant worshiper, to rest humbly once more within the safe arms of Gayatri.
It’s now November and still my beloved Gayatri works her magic, casting a spell on everywhere I go in my car, never far from my lips and often unconsciously spilling out of me.
About a fortnight ago I signed up for a woman’s retreat ‘Into the Heart of Durga’ held in Uttarakhand in northern India (close to my beloved Lakshman Jhula, outside of Rishikesh). It is facilitated by Chameli Gad Ardagh of Awakening Women.
In my excitement to prepare for it I bought Chameli’s book online: ‘Embodying the Feminine’. I have just finished reading it and have been floored by the discovery that out of all the practices and all the mantras in the whole of Hindu’s massive repertoire she was most profoundly touched and transformed by – yes, you guessed it – the Gayatri Mantra! The last chapter ‘The Unbroken Web of Prayer’ is devoted to it! She describes it as “the oldest prayer we know of, is recited every day by millions of people from different spiritual traditions and from different countries, creating a consistent hum of prayer that never stops.”
Now I understand. I understand I have been preparing myself for this retreat for months already! I understand I was always meant to. I understand this Gayatri Mantra was it merely for my own selfish benefit but to benefit all, to combine my breath and my life into the Lifestream of all those saying the mantra in every corner of the world, to raise my voice in unison with all those of every colour and creed who sing for world peace! Chameli says it best:
“Every tradition has their prayers for peace. For thousands of years, all these healing whispers, songs, and prayers have created an undisrupted choir of hope and protection surrounding our world.”
Wonders never cease! I guess my Gayatri journey will have further surprises for me down the track and will continue to unfold in meaning and purpose, leading me deeper into even more exciting territory!
To learn more about the Gayatri Mantra:
Article by: Debra Reeves
Facebook: Tune In with Debra Reeves