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I daily listen to Gayatri Mantra at work, at home and even while sleeping. I rarely chant this mantra. Does listening the Gayatri mantra have any effects same as chanting?

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    You never know how the seed of spirituality, which lies dormant in the individual, will suddenly awaken upon listening or chanting. Everything is possible. However in practical life, listening < chanting < meditating < realizing. Because when you listen, you are usually doing other things. So you are just keeping the mantra on the back of your mind. You are not giving full attention. When chanting, you are trying to put a lot of attention on the mantra. This helps to sublimate your mind. While Meditating, you are trying to put complete attention to the mantra! All best – Sai Mar 10 '16 at 16:16
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    The tradition says that for Vedic mantras one should have certain qualifications: should be a brahmana, initiated into chanting and get the mantra from his guru. If someone does not have these qualifications then he should not listen to and recite Vedic mantras such as Gayatri mantra. But today it seems that no one cares about these things any more. It is a sign of the age of Kali (Kali-yuga), the age of degradation and ignorance. That's not good. – brahma jijnasa Mar 10 '16 at 17:11
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    @brahmajijnasa your means to say only brahmana can chant mantra not anyone else? only brahmana have right to chanting and worship God? – Azad Chauhan Mar 11 '16 at 6:20
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    @AzadChauhan Everyone has the right to worship God, but not everyone has the right to chant vedic mantras such as the Gayatri mantra. One who is not initiated brahmin, who has no guru, he can chant many other mantras that require no brahmanical qualifications. Everyone, and even Shudras, has right to chant holy names of the Lord such as Vishnu, Narayana, Rama, Krishna, Vasudeva, Shiva, etc. You could listen to chanting these holy names by experienced devotees of the Lord, and eventually you may want to chant these holy names by yourself. That would be good thing to do. – brahma jijnasa Mar 11 '16 at 16:54
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    hahahah in which yug you are living @brahmajijnasa why you have such mentality? just change it. Everybody have right to chant any name and mantra.. I hope you have read the bhagwat geeta... If not go and read it... I am rajput and I read everyday bhagwat geeta. And nobody can stop me to do so – Azad Chauhan Mar 12 '16 at 11:12
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No, listening does not have the same effect as chanting. Listening is a step only. In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Yajnavalkya say to his wife Maitreyi that there are three steps - hearing (sravanam), reflecting (mananam), and meditating (nididhyasanam). These three steps have been echoed by all the commentators. As Swami Vivekananda has pointed out, one does not learn chemistry by repeating the word 'chemistry'; one has to go into a lab, mix chemicals together and burn yourself a few times to learn chemistry. Physical, mental, ethical, and spiritual disciplines must be exercised. Listening is a good first step, but it is only a first step. What good will come of listening if your mind is running uncontrolled on worldly matters at the same time?

Narada says in his Bhakti Sutras 36-37 (Swami Prabhavananda translator):

(Supreme love is attained) by uninterrupted and constant worship of God.

By hearing of and singing the glory of the Lord, even while engaged in the ordinary activities of life.

Narada says this repeatedly throughout the Bhakti Sutras - not only hearing but also speaking.

Patanjali says in his Yoga Aphorisms I. 28. (Swami Vivekananda translator):

The repetition of this (Om) and meditating on its meaning (is the way).

So why is hearing not the same - not as effective - as praising, or chanting, or repetition? If you have two bells and you strike the first, it will vibrate and give out a loud sound. The second bell nearby will feel the vibrations from the first bell and start to vibrate in harmony a little but it will not give off any sound, and will stop vibrating well before the first bell that was struck. It is only by striking the second bell that a large vibration and sound can be had. Similarly, listening to the gayatri may startup some small vibrations inside a nearby person that are in harmony with it, but once it stops, the vibrations stop with no lasting effects.

Krishna says in Gita 9.34:

Fix your mind on Me, be devoted to Me, sacrifice to Me, bow down to Me. Having thus disciplined yourself, and regarding Me as the Supreme Goal, you will come to Me.

All schools of the Vedanta stress the repetition of the name of God. If you want to have your mind fixed on God it is only through your own practice. There is no shortcut.

  • Yajnavalkya's words to his wife does not refer to the comparison listening-chanting which is the main point of this question.Even there is no point in chanting a mantra when you are thinking about something else – Rickross Mar 11 '16 at 7:28
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    @Rickross I have added some more references to my answer. There is a point to chanting even if your mind is trying to go elsewhere. This is an excuse being made by a mind to not chant. Chant and eventually the mind will come around. You do not break a horse by not riding it when it objects. – Swami Vishwananda Mar 11 '16 at 14:28
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To put in simple words, not only for chanting Gayathri mantra, I say this for chanting any sloka - the difference is just like film and books. When you listen to sloka or watch a film, we could just see the someone's feel when they enjoy rain shower, whereas when we sit in front of pooja room or enchant sloka in our voice is like reading a book, that is we ourselves feel the freshness and peace when we stand in rain shower.

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Chanting helps in focusing concentration,improves breathe system of the body and the associated vibration acts as a positive points to the immune system. Listening needs more attention for achieving body and mind synchronisation. Hence listening and chanting both have their merits and demerits. Effect will be same if both listening and chanting done with devotion.

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The mantras and shlokas are very carefully composed. Apart from the meaning and the tune, the experience and effect its chanting creates on body and mind is also considered. Your vocal cord that generates the sound is in direct contact with your body, so when it vibrates to create sound, it also transmits this physical vibration into your body which affects us in lot of ways. Try chanting Om mindfully. Observe your neck and your spine. It vibrates with the humm. Ask a flutist how it feels after playing some raaga.

Chant Gayatri mantra or atleast OM for some time and sit with eyes closed. Your body resonates under the vibrations of the chant. It is not possible to effectively recreate this experience when listening to it.

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