CHAPTER 8 – Gayatri Mantra
Caught up as we are in the ‘everydayness’ of living, we still need clear and sharp perception to comprehend the deeper significance of our mundane facts and problems if we are to face them effectively and practically. Intellect or reason is often incapable of providing us the desired clarity and the result is invariably an attitude of: ‘The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.’
Les us look at the world around us. Is it lack of intellect or reasoning capacity that has taken us where we are? Certainly we do have knowledge on the superficial, surface level. How, otherwise, can one explain the aberrant behavior of even some of our great philosophers? Or scientists? Or leaders? They constantly present a dichotomy in their lives; for example, a public persona of moral rectitude and a private life of moral turbidity. What is patent is that both the thinking man and the unthinking man in the street are the same when it comes to their basic attitude towards life; all suffer from the same malady — the lack of discrimination.
And, discrimination, according to our scriptures, especially Vedanta, is only possible when a faculty higher than the intellect is employed. That faculty is buddhi, which can be loosely defined as intuition tempered with intellect. And Gayatri is vehicle or mode to reach this source of discrimination or viveka. The development of discrimination through buddhi is essential, not only in preventing us from being adharmic, but in propelling us towards the ultimate enlightenment.