And the last line goes thus:
Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat: May my intelligence be illumined or may my intelligence and understanding be stimulated.
Bhargo devasya dhimahi; Dhiyo yo nah pracodayat
May my intelligence be stimulated, may my intelligence be woken up. Woken up from the sleep of ignorance. May my understanding flower so that I can understand the Supreme Being, who is called Savitur, the one who pervades everywhere.
This is the mantra.
You’ll notice, that it is not a mantra that is asking for this material thing or that. It’s not a mantra that is saying–give me a house, give me a car, give me a wife and so on. It says, illumine my intelligence; stimulate my intelligence. ‘May my intelligence open up!’–which means that the Rishi who has been given the mantra knows, he has figured out that anything is possible, that life becomes livable only when intelligence is illumined and ignorance is destroyed and one wakes up into the knowledge of the Supreme.
Since it says illumine my intelligence, it’s not merely a mantra for spiritual realisation. It’s a mantra for day-to-day living because it’s meant to be chanted by a student or by the person who is living in this world. It was not meant for only the monks or the sanyasins who run away from this world.
Today, it is rare to find someone chanting even during one Sandhya. Even if you can’t form or follow the entire ritual of Sandhya Vandana, one can just sit down quietly and chant it (Gayatri mantra) as many times as one can.
When a child reaches the proper age of seven or eight, his father whispers the mantra into his ear thus initiating him. When it is thus recorded in his memory, he is supposed to chant it regularly so many times a day.
There is an elaborate ritual called the Sandhya Vandana, which consists of a certain breathing technique incorporating pranayama along with touching different parts of one’s body and sprinkling water on them and then, sitting down and chanting the mantra with the hand touching one’s heart. Even if one can’t follow the complete ritual of Sandhya Vandana, it is worth knowing about.
Meanwhile, I must tell you that there are three Sandhyas. Sandhya means the meeting point between two parts of time. Firstly, morning (dawn), when night is disappearing and day has come about. Secondly, midday, when the shadows are beginning to become long. The last Sandhya is evening when dusk slowly enters. Therefore, it’s prescribed that the Gayatri Mantra be chanted during the three Sandhyas.
Today, it is rare to find someone chanting even during one Sandhya. Even if you can’t form or follow the entire ritual of Sandhya Vandana, one can just sit down quietly and chant it (Gayatri mantra) as many times as one can. The effect of Gayatri is tremendous and you can figure it out only if you chant it regularly.