Question: Is audible chanting of Gayatri scripturally permissible?
Some people say that Gayatri Mantra being a “secret” Mantra should only be whispered in the ear during initiation. This may apply to Tantrik Mantras but not to Gayatri Mantra . According to scriptures the Ved Mantras should be chanted loudly with tune or accent according to specified notation. Whispering is needed only for secrecy and it is done in seclusion in conspiracies. There is nothing in Gayatri Mantra necessitating such a secrecy.
Nowhere in the scriptures, audible chanting of Gayatri is forbidden. The tradition of whispering the Mantra in the ears of the person being initiated owes its origin to the vested interests of the dark middle ages, when a particular class of society amongst the Hindus claimed exclusive rights to Gayatri worship and its initiation in order to prove its superiority in spiritual matters. Nothing can be more ludicrous than preaching secrecy and advocating intellectual proprietary rights on worship of God . (During the medieval period the Popes in Europe indulged in similar corrupt practices.) In fact, the scriptures clearly emphasize the need to rhyme the Gayatri Mantra . In Devi Bhagwat (11.3.11) it is mentioned that “Since it protects its singer, it is known as Gayatri ”. The ‘Chandogyaupnishad” (Shankar Bhasya) too confirms this assertion. The ‘Niruktam’ says that since this Mantra was used by the Devtas for praying (Stuti), it came to be known as Gayatri Mantra (7.12). Besides, literally the word Gayatri is composed of two words- Gai and Train. In sanskrit Gai stands for ‘To sing’ and Train means ‘to look after’ or ‘to protect’, i.e. it protects the one who sings it.
Hence, arguments against audible chanting of this Mantra have no basis whatsoever.
Ordinarily Jap should be performed in such a way that throat, lips, tongue may go on moving but even a person sitting close by may not be able to hear. It is possible to have estimation of average time and number of Jap s with the help of a Mala. Those who do not possess a Mala can estimate the number approximately with the help of time. Tulsi, Sandal-wood Malas are most appropriate ones for performance of Jap . For Tantrik applications Rudraksh Malas are used.
Ordinarily, words are pronounced by the movement of throat, palate, tongue, lips etc., According to spiritual science it is also mentioned that there are some subtle centres, channels etc. within the human body which vibrate along with utterance of words.
As soon as the key of a type-writer is pressed, there is a stroke on the paper and the particular letter is typed on it. The letters of Gayatri Mantra have been selected in such a manner that by utterance thereof specific ultrasonic sound waves are created and positive attributes of Gun (virtues), Karma (action) and Swabhav (nature) get activated. A Sadhak gains spiritually as well as materially by this Sadhana .
Mental Jap without moving the lips can be performed during illness or in a journey when a person cannot take a bath and during the period of Sootak when there is birth or death in a family. It can also be done while walking on a the road or lying on the bed at night.