Question: Do Brahmans have a special privilege to do Gayatri Sadhana ?
The professed proprietary right of Brahmans (by birth) on Gayatri worship is ridiculous. Credit for embodiment and elaboration of mysticism of Mahamantra Gayatri goes to rishi Vishwamitra, who belonged to Kshatriya caste by birth. Thus, even if the caste is considered essential for Gayatri worship, the Kshatriyas should have priority over other castes.
The concept of Brahmanism has an entirely different connotation. A Brahman is one who conforms to the wisdom of Brahma (Brahmaparayan) and has an exemplary character. Only such persons of refined character can derive maximum advantage from Gayatri worship. It has been said that Gayatri is Kamdhenu of Brahmans. In several Sanskrit couplets, Dwijs alone have been described as entitled to worship Gayatri.
Traditionally, the words Dwij and Brahman have been considered as synonymous. In this way each Dwij or Brahman was supposed to have the exclusive privilege of worship of Gayatri . Does it mean that individuals belonging to other castes were scripturally prohibited from worshiping Gayatri ?
The confusion has arisen because of misunderstanding of the meanings of words like Brahman, Dwij and caste, which are being misconstrued as hereditary distinctions conferred by God on various classes of society. Nothing can be more absurd than considering the Creator as discriminative and partial, making people take birth in a family of high or low caste.
When scriptures declare that Gayatri is kamdhenu of Brahmans i.e. Gayatri fulfills all desires of a Brahman, they mean that any human being who diligently aspires to be a Brahman by following righteousness in thoughts, words and deeds gets an access to the benefits of Gayatri . That is to say, Brahmanism is a per-requisite for Gayatri worship.
As regards the world Dwij it literally means ‘born again’. The initiation to Gayatri is the spiritual birth of a person, who has otherwise taken birth as any other animal. This initiation or Diksha is like ‘Baptism’ amongst the Christians and is akin to ad mission in the primary class of the school of spirituality . The concept of caste has been grossly distorted, misunderstood and misappropriated by vested interests. In Vedic times, division of civic responsibilities into four classes of people who were given education and training pertaining to their respective assignments was considered expedient. Each of this class was referred to as a varna. In course of time, when successive generations began to follow the same profession varnas got ossified into ‘castes’. With the change in social environment , certain castes assumed greater prominence in the society and in order to retain their supremacy propagated the concept of caste by birth as a God -given status.