"Gayatri Devi" is an incarnation of "Saraswati Devi", consort of Lord Brahma, symbolising the "shakti" (strength) and "dev" (quality) of Knowledge, Purity and Virtue. Saraswati Devi is held to be the patronness of the Arts, being a poet and musician, as well as skillful composer. In the form of Gayatri Devi, with the blessings of Lord Brahma, she is believed to have given the four Vedas to mankind.

The Vedas are widely considered to be the source of all true knowledge, the word "Veda" itself meaning "Knowledge". "Gayatri Devi" also gave to mankind the "Gayatri Mantra", also known as the "Guru Mantra" and the "Savitri Mantra", one of the oldest mantras, and generally thought of as being amongst the highest and most powerful mantras of all. This mantra is therefore often referred to as "the Mother of the Vedas". It appears in Yajur Veda - Adhyaya (Chapter) 36, Mantra (Verse) 3.

Due to its great power, the Gayatri Mantra had become, over time, the sole property of the Brahmins, who abused their power to maintain a hold of the common people. The great Hindu reformer, Swami (often called Maharishi) Dayanand Saraswati however freed the mantra from the iron clutches of the brahmins, and thus made it freely available to the entire world. Through this, as well as various other acts, he strove to distance the Hindu community from the false beliefs and superstitions that had crept into it, and brought about a reversion to the true, Vedic faith.

Gayatri Mantra - Source and Origination

A mantra may be articulate or inarticulate, or a combination of them, as with AUM. It has an inherent power, known as "Mantra shakti", which has a positive influence not due to any philosophical meaning behind the mantra, but simply due to its utterance alone (of course, "utterance" may or may not be vocal or heard - it can be silent, expressed only in the mind, or at the deepest level, heard only by the soul itself). As explained, a pure mantra may or may not have any actual meaning or philosophical significance, its power being intrinsic to the mantra itself, and not instrumental to any meaning.

A prarthana on the other hand does have a philosophical meaning behind it, and it is generally through this meaning that the prarthana has its power. Since the mantra is devoid of any kind of actual meaning, it cannot be conceptualised or visualised. This makes its understanding extremely difficult to the normal human mind, thus rendering its correct enunciation almost impossible to the untrained person. A prarthana however, having a meaning that can be comprehended through purely intellectual means, is far easier to be understood, since rational thought, unlike spiritual meditation, is much more in the reach of the ordinary person. Thus, the method of prarthana is generally the form of worship used today.

The Gayatri, or Guru, Mantra possesses both the power of mantra and the power of prarthana, and thus has both an intrinsic power (ie "mantra shakti"), through its mere utterance alone, and also an instrumental power (ie "prarthana shakti"), which is derived from the exposition and understanding of its meaning and philosophical significance. The repeated and correct chanting of the Gayatri Mantra, with proper understanding of its meaning, is believed to be of the greatest good to the individual.

The Gayatri Mantra consists of fourteen words, each of which holds an important meaning...