It is said that Gayatri Mantra should be chanted in the mind only. Even though there are three ways of doing Japa, then why such presumption about it? Please explain.
Aharahaḥ sandhyāmupāsita, meaning, a Brahmin must perform Sandhyā (prayers at dawn and dusk) every day. During sandhyā, worship of the Sun-god as well as Gāyatri japa (chanting of Gāyatri mantra) is very important.
Vedas contain mantra whilst Purāṇas contain śloka. Gayatri mantra is present in all the four Vedas.
The meaning of the word Mantra itself is ‘mananāt trāyate iti’, meaning, that which protects you when you regularly contemplate on it, is called Mantra.
Where one talks of mantra, confidentiality comes with it which is why there should be concealment. That increases its power.
Amongst the types of japa, there are:
- Vācik japa (audible),
- Upānśu japa (lips move but very little sound is produced such that it is audible to oneself only),
- Mānasik Japa (mentally) and above all three,
- Mānasik japa with focus and meditation on the meaning, which is considered as the best among all.
Mentally chanting the mantra, rhythmically, continually, whilst meditating upon the deity of the mantra and thus, chanting with connection to the meaning of the mantra is considered best.
Even if a Sadguru may have given the same mantra to all the disciples, confidentiality is necessary. Almost everybody knows the Gayatri Mantra. Even children know it. However, we still try to keep it confidential. This also means keep bhajan (worship and such virtuous deeds) as confidential as possible. Love is also something not to be bragged about. Just as we try to keep privacy there, bhajan should also be concealed.
When we do japa on a mālā (rosary of beads) we usually cover it with some cloth or in a bag made for the mālā. Important things are always kept confidential. You keep all your expensive things in a closet safely and carefully. You make sure everybody cannot see it. You also consider yourself wealthy that you have jewellery of worth lacs of rupees. Just like you keep all that confidential, similarly, this mantra is also very precious and by keeping it confidential its power increases.
Just like there is a difference between secrecy and privacy. In the relationship between Meera and Lord Krishna, there is no secrecy. Meera herself reveals her relationship with Him. However, there is a lot of privacy in this relationship.
Thus, confidentiality of a mantra increases its power and this holds great importance.