Gayatri Pratipada is a glorious and holy day. It is observed after Shravana Purnima (full moon day in the Hindu month of Shravana) as per the traditional Hindu calendar. The auspicious day of Gayatri Pratipada is also known as ‘Gayatri Japa Sankalpam' or 'Gayatri Japam.’ The Sama Vedi, Rig and Yajur Brahmins chant the Gayatri mantra with devotion and dedication. In the Southern states of India, the ritual is a part of the Avani Avittam and Upakarma rituals. During the ritual, Brahmins who wear the sacred thread, chant the Gayatri mantra 108 times. The Gayatri Pratipada day is celebrated with great fervour across India. It is popularly called as ‘Gayatri Padyami’ or ‘Gayatri Pratipada’ in the Telangana and Andhra regions.
Significance of Gayatri Pratipada:
The supremacy of Gayatri Pratipada is mentioned in Hindu scriptures and Puranas. The greatness of Gayatri Pratipada has been known since the Vedic times. It is the most powerful mantra. It forms the foundation for all other mantras in Hinduism. As per the legend, Devi Gayatri is the Supreme Goddess. She is also referred as Mother Goddess. It is believed that those who perform Gayatri Japam sincerely will be bestowed with all spiritual and worldly happiness. The power of Gayatri Pratipada is such that it frees the individual from all the sins and offers self-purification.
Devotees wake up before sunrise and take a bath on the day of Gayatri Pratipada. They offer prayers to their deities to get enlightened with knowledge and wisdom. After the puja rituals, Gayatri Mantra is chanted for 108 or 1008 times. The Gayatri Pratipada ritual is performed in the morning and within the speculated time. Any individual can perform Gayatri Pratipada ritual. A Brahmachari (who follows celibacy), a Grihastha (householder) or one in ‘Vanaprastha’ (old age) can chant Gayatri mantra with a pure conscience. Gayatri mantra is dedicated to Sun God. It is highly meritorious to chant Gayatri Mantra thrice during the day, i.e., in the morning during the sunrise, at noon when Sun reaches its apex and in the evening when the Sun sets. Gayatri Mantra unites the individual with the Supreme Power, the Almighty.