How many Omkars
Question: How many Omkars are included in the Gayatri Mantra ?
Gayatri Mantra is complete in itself. It is not at all necessary to supplement it by assigning three or five ‘Oms’ by way of beej Mantra or samput. This is done only in the Tantrik system. The common man should not bother about some odd references in scriptures which justify prefixing, inter-fixing or suffixing more than one Omkars (Om) with the Gayatri Mantra The practice of using more than one Omkar was probably adopted by different sects as a mark of distinction (as followers of various sects use uniform, Tilak chhap marking on forehead etc. to identify themselves).
The standard Guru -Mantra, Gayatri comprises of three Vyahritis and three phrases of eight letters each pre-fixed by Om. Om is in fact, a symbol of reverence preceding all Ved Mantras, as Mr., Mrs., Miss, etc. are prefixed to the names of persons. However, there is no restriction in using more than one Omkars though the standard practice of per-fixing one Omkar (Om) is recommended for maintaining uniformity.