Thursday, April 30, 2009

Why do Sandhyavandanam at all ?



Why do Sandhyavandanam at all ?

I know many Brahmin friends who ask me “ What is the use of Sandhyavandanam at all ? It is not like meditation which shows results instantly. In this we sprinkle water or partake it in some routine and murmur some hymns. What benefit at all do we get ?”

This is the Kali yuga and such words from Brahmins themselves are to be expected only. But in order to answer my friends, I have written this post . As I myself was an atheist in my twenties and who never did sandhya till about three years back, such knowledge is reassuring to myself first . Read on:

Nadis and the Sandhya time

Sandhya means the time of union of the day with the night. They usually are in the evening and early morning. But, why do Sandhya at this these times only ? It is these times that one is in an empty stomach which is a condition for any spiritual exercise.

The standard explanation of our acharyas on the Sandhya time is in this post.


The recent psychological experiments have confirmed the existence of the nadis of the spine viz “ Ida , Pingala and Sushumna”. These nadis are not physical entities but are part of our astral body and can be seen by those endowed with special vision. Even advanced yogis can see these nadis.

These nadis ida and pingala are the paths of flow of Prana or life force. They are in a continued state of agitation during the daytime but, tend to follow a uniform path during the sandhya periods. Hence such periods were chosen for Sandhyavandanam to derive maximum concentration.

Achamanam and mental focus

The achamanam is a scientifically proved technique of cooling our body and also in focusing our mind. Read this old blog post here on achamanam.

Pranayama and deep concentration

Pranayamam is the next. Pranayama is to be done with mentally chanting the extended Gayatri. The Puraka, Kumbaka and Rechaka type of Pranayama was originally suggested and practiced but nowadays even the Puraka and Rechaka themselves are sufficient to derive benefit. The kumbaka has to be learnt only with the help of Gurus who are becoming rare these days.

The steady intake of Breath is called Puraka and steady exhaling is called Rechaka. Usually Rechaka is best done at twice the time of Puraka. Let me illustrate the power of breath.

Prana regulates the temperature of the Body: In early morning even in cold climates, you can splash cold water on your body by taking a deep breath and keeping it inside while taking bath. You will not feel cold at all. Just remember those days when the oldies used to close the nostrils while taking a dip in the river or pond !

Next try this: Close your eyes, sit erect, but not stiff. Think of the sound AUM. Pronounce it mentally, very slowly. A…….U………..M. Do it for five to ten minutes. Now without opening your eyes, notice your breath. You will be surprised. It has become very slow, very rhythmic and feeble ! In the same way, notice how a child breathes in sleep. Very rhythmic , steady and VERY SLOW.

What do you gather ? when the thoughts are focused, the breath is slow and rhythmic. In the same way, when the breath is made rhythmic and slow, your thoughts (mind) will be focused and clear ! Apart from single pranayamas at the beginnings, the gayatri japa is tucked in between two sets of three pranayamas each at the beginning and end respectively. Look at the subtlety of our Rishis !

Gayatri Japa

The Gayatri chanting part is the central part of the Sandhyavandanam and many volumes can be written on this alone. Gayatri is a most sacred and mysterious mantra that can activate twenty four spots of the human body. Look at this picture where the individual sounds of the gayatri are marked on the body of the sadhak. The working of gayatri is very subtle and it was said that a Brahmin need not do any sadhna if he does gayatri.



Arghyam

Then there is Arghyam. This is a beautiful kriya in Sandhyavandanam and it is as subtle and scientific as Gayatri japa. Considering its beauty and importance, I am planning to bring it as a separate post.

Net links for Sandhyavandanam:

You can download this pdf book on Sandhya from this website.

My dear readers, I believe you enjoyed this post. If a good portion of you realize the import of doing Sandhyavandanam and start doing this, I will be happy. If you encourage others to do it, I will be doubly happy. If you enjoy doing it realizing its depth , I will be most happy. It is just a twenty minute routine in the morning and evening.

(pictures taken from the internet)

49 comments:

Gayathri said...

Your efforts to make brahmins understand the importance of sandhyavandhanam is very appreciable. I wonder why you have not included Madhyanikam as a part of daily routine. Thrikala Sandhyavandanam is a must.

Holmdel Investment Club NJ said...

Thank you but if it is good for some subset of people why not all?

Why just Brahmins? Why cannot every human being benefit from Gayathri?

Harish said...

Good write up.

Raman's said...

Nice write up. I saw the link where it covers santhiyavandhanam. i suggest separate pdf for morning, noon and evening are given separetly will be useful as pdf.

Good work for the welfare of people.

K.Raman

Venkatasubramanian said...

Namaskar (Holmdel...)

Yes, every human being must do Sandhya and gayatri. The three varnas were ordained to do that. But with Varnas gone, it is imperative that everyone must do that whether harijan or brahmin, Indian or foreigner.

I had emphasised this in my post o Sandhyavandanam an overview. Please click on Sandhyavandanam link on the left side.

Venkat

Venkatasubramanian said...

Thanks Raman ji, Harish ji, Gayatri ji,

Welcome to my blog and thank you again for your encouragement. Only such comments induce me to move forward with more vigorous writing.

Keep visiting.
Venkat

Bala said...

Thanks for the details.

I understand that the effect of chanting is doubled if we chant knowing the meaning of what we are chanting.

Because of you so many Sandhyavandhanam shall have double effect on the Brahmins.

Thanks again....Balakrishnan

Dr said...

Really a very good one and timely too.With such elucidation the focus and concentration will substantially increase.In this Kaliyuga even doing once a day will help in preserving our rich heritage which is under constant attack not only by other religions but more so by what is fashionably called 'secularists',an euphemism for 'antihinduism'

Janakiraman said...

Sir,

Nice to see these type of useful information about our culture.

Dr said...

Each human is made up of two parts-'Pramatma' and 'Jeevatma' Parmatma being the tiny part of our creator the God ,the spiritual part or the inner self.Jeevatma being the material part- the outer self the body - is made up of the five basic elements chiti ,jal,pavak gagan sameera .What food is for the outer self the body similar is the purpose and function of Sandhyavandanam for the jeevatama part of the self. Not feeding the inner self will mean killing the jeevatma leading to anger, violence ,jealousy and destruction.

pranay said...

HI,

I am curious to know, during sandhya vandanam should one do namam on forehead ie a U shaped tilak or one should do the 3 line of vibhuti like lord shiva,
I have also seen people apply vibhuti on there arms and torso or body . can you tell me why people apply vibhuti and also if any mantra's to be said while appling

pranay said...

HI,

I am curious to know, during sandhya vandanam should one do namam on forehead ie a U shaped tilak or one should do the 3 line of vibhuti like lord shiva,
I have also seen people apply vibhuti on there arms and torso or body . can you tell me why people apply vibhuti and also if any mantra's to be said while appling

Dr said...

Re. 'namam' or 'vibhuti' it all depends upon whether one is 'vaishanavite' or 'shaivite'.

urbanmonkdiaries said...

Very informative Venkat. Thanks for sharing this.

Ritesh Vasudevan said...

Hello Everybody
Can someone gve a translation of the whole sandhyavandanam ..its always good to know what you are chanting .
My Sanskrit isnt that good and one mantra could have more than a meaning.
This is a kind request
Thanks a bunch

snowboarder said...

Mr Venkat,
I have recently started to perform sandhyavandanam and found this blog thru google. Very informative. Thanks for spreading the wealth. I am a fan of your blog and your cause 'Hinduism'

Sincerely.
Another Hindu

Ba said...

Even if I can find a hundred similar sites, I like this for the writers attitude in the simplicity of the preaching. Unlike other controversial articles, you have distinguished the established facts from the intangible concepts thus getting a good probability of acceptance.

Pradeep said...

Can anybody provide me explanations of the different body actions which we follow while doing Sandhyavandhanam.

gopalan said...

it is interesting to see this. snadyavandanam is for our well being. Not doing is a sin. for all other " PUJA or any ritual" if you do not do sandyavandam, it is null and void. in other words, Not doing is ZERO and any mulitiplication is zero. for most of the sufferings in spite of God fearing individual,are due to this. if you do then you will see the differences.
secondly for persons who could not do mandyandigam can do around 8.30 am. ( as per Maha periyava).let us find reasons for doing and not rasons for not doing.

Raj said...

Sir,

In rigvedic sandhyavandanam, there are some small differences that I have noticed in your writeup.

Eg. In my home (we are madhwa brahmins), we do achamanam as:

keshavaya swaaha
narayanaaya swaaha
maadhavaaya swaaha

and then govindaayanamaha, vishnavenamaha,......

However, your achamana procedure is different.

Can you please throw some light on this. I will be grateful.

Thanks
Rajeev

pranay said...

How does one know if he is a vishuite or shivaite? But then another questions comes to my mind if all the gods are one then why vishuite or shivaite?

siva said...

Thank you very much for the detailed explanation. Really helps

Pradeep Sreeram said...

Really mesmarized. Your are enlightening us. Carry on. All the best.

prakarthi said...

Dear Sir,

Namaskkaram,

Actually i am nair boy. Whether can i do sandhyavandhanam. (i m a pure vegeterian). if yes, tell me the procedure.
kindly mail me at prakarthi@gmail.com

Balaji V said...

I am inspired to do sandhya every day. Thanks for this post. I would like to know the meaning of the mantra as that would lead to better concentration of mind.

Venkatasubramanian said...

Dear Prakriti

Yes, you can. But you have to get the upanayanam ceremony done. I heard Gayatri Pariwar if Rishikesh is doing it.
Regards

Venkatasubramanian said...

Dear Mr Balaji

In the post itself I have given a link for a detailed meaning of mantras. The best other way is to get a book from Sringeri Sarada matt on this. Pujya Sankaracharya swamy has written a book on it. There is also an old comment left by a visitor contents are
Talk 1/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?fnv7l0f1tnt

Talk 2/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?d5wdeznyyte

Talk 3/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?6mldmkxnopa

Talk 4/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?emtyev2mx79

Talk 5/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?4j3zndmbwuh

Part 6/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?c12wwcz2pgv

Part 7/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?1exdjwxzbzd

Part 8/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?fdzzgn3lszy

Part 9/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?8mhmw9vockv

Part 10/10
http://www.mediafire.com/?0ljvmkymndn

also a lovely booklet is available for download
http://books.google.com/ebooks/reader?id=xhWsqfYpvsYC&dq=the+sandyavandanam+of+rig+yajus+and+sama&printsec=frontcover&output=reader

Regards

Sarav said...

Can a non-brahmin try this?

Unknown said...

Can any body above give me PDF of Sanskrit sandhya vandanam.....

Sagar2512@gmail.com

harish said...

Hi the pdf link above is not working..

Venkatasubramanian said...

Hello Harish,

Yes, Saksi recently have recently changed their web design and this document seems to have been changed to some other location. I have the pdf file . Please mail me your email id and I will send it to you.

You can also look at my previous reply in which I have given many links for sandhya books.

TheRealInesh said...

does not seem to help me at all

maheshssy said...

Dear Mr. Venkatasubramanian,

Can you please mail me a pdf of the Sandhyavandhanam procedure? My email is: maheshssy@gmail.com

Thank you.

maheshssy said...

Dear Mr. Venkatasubramanian,

This is a wonderful service that you are doing bringing out the importance of our Vedic rituals. Can you please mail me a pdf of the Sandhyavandhanam procedure? My email is: maheshssy@gmail.com

Thanks.

maheshssy said...

Dear Mr. Venkatasubramanian,

Can you please mail me a pdf of the Sandhyavandhanam procedure? My email is maheshssy@gmail.com

Thanks.

Anirudh Suresh said...

Hi, very nice post that you made. I have started to try to get back into the Sandhyavandanam process recently, and I feel that I do not have time early in the morning or in the evening. I am busy around the time when one does Madhyanikam. Whenever I do Sandhyavandanam, the process takes me about 30 minutes with 10 Gayathri Mantra. I know this is too long, but I do not know how to fix this. Can you make a post regarding how to do Sandhyavandanam quickly and correctly? Otherwise, can you email me at anirudhtx@gmail.com?

Thanks,

Anirudh

Ramesh said...

Dear Sir,

Namaskarams.Thank you for your complete and comprehensive info about
the science and philosophy involved in sandhyavandanam.Can you please send me the pdf file to my email
hariharanramesh@hotmail.com? Your post is marvelous.

hari kishan mantrvadi said...

i am doing sandyavandanam three times a day . very beatiful experience and u can never get such a pleasure by any thing superb ancient indian rushisgreat indian culture

Anill said...

Dear Mr. Venkatasubramanian,

This is great that you are bringing out the importance of our Vedic rituals. Can you please mail me a pdf of the Sandhyavandhanam procedure? My email is: anillmaharaj@gmail.com

Thanks.

K S Iyer said...

Yudhishtir in his conversation with Yaksha said that the caste system and 'Brahminism' is not by birth but by deeds. Keeping this in mind perhaps, Mahakavi Bharathi initiated young group of boys other than Brahmin to perform Sandhyavandanam. I agree with his point of view. In Kali Yuga no one is Brahmin.

Some thoughts came to my mind and I am now working on New Dimension to Sandhyavandam - wherein I wish to bring out real signification and need for doing this practice by one and all irrespective of caste, sex, religion or sect.

Will you mind giving your opinion in this matter to my mail address: ksiyer05@gmail.com

I am K Subramanian Iyer took VRS as AGM from RBI and Ex Professor of Business School.

drnbhashyam said...

Sandhyavandanam, I feel, has nothing to do with caste or even religion etc , it is basically a tool to encourage promote and aid meditation for better mental health and personality development ...

Inquiring Mind said...

/** Yudhishtir in his conversation with Yaksha said that the caste system and 'Brahminism' is not by birth but by deeds
**/

Pls quote the relevant text here with original source..

Birth is a critical part of varna and jathi setup..

Manu smriti categorically says that a person can acquire a varna only if he is born to a brahmin..

/* Some thoughts came to my mind and I am now working on New Dimension to Sandhyavandam - wherein I wish to bring out real signification and need for doing this practice by one and all irrespective of caste, sex, religion or sect.
**/

YOu dont have any rights to tamper with existing rituals or modify it. Pls stop corrupting what our rishis gave us..

Ganesh Rangaswamy said...

Hi Mr. Venkatasubramanian, Your post on Sandyavandanam is very informative. The link to the pdf appears to be broken. Will you be kind enough to send the pdf to my email rgans1@hotmail.com. Thanks.

Senthil kumar said...

The great ancient poets Auvaiyar and Thiruvalluvar were from Parayar community (so called lower-caste) and Neduram Godse who killed Mahatma Gandhi was from Brahmin community (so called upper-caste).So act of every individual to be viewed as his/her own karma and not caste based. Let us eradicate casteism from Hindu community for the well-being of all Hindu Community people. Aham Brahmasmi.

Hardik said...

Gayatri Sandhya Mudras : https://viraktimat.wordpress.com/

Parameswaran vadakanchery parameswaran said...

There is no bar for ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras for performing sandyavandanam. But they were given exemption because of their nature of daily work, say for example - kshatriyas (ruling), Vaisyas (trading) and sudras (work related to physical labour like farming). Whereas brahmins were given the work of learning vedas and rituals for the welfare of the universe. This is the reason why sandyavandanam must be performed by brahmin community. There is no eligibility criteria for any particular caste, it is only exemption to other castes based on the works undertook by other castes in those days. This exemption is given to other castes because if they do not do their duties and focus on sandyavandanam and rituals, their part of work will be pending, thereby the welfare of society can not be achieved. The main purpose of division of work among the castes is if every caste performs their duties, there will be overall welfare of the society. Coming to present times, now brahmins who are learning vedas and rituals, must perform sandyavandanam. Even for them, the exemption is suppose during madyanam time a brahmin is performing ritual like shradham or marriage in any other's house, in the middle he cannot give break to that, hence he need not do madyanam since the work he is doing is better work than doing madyanam. Now a days, irrespective of castes, people are undertaking works, say for example, vaisya is ruling, sudra is trading, kshatriya is doing physical labour and brahmin is also doing any of these works. Because of this change in daily activities of all castes, only brahmins who are learning vedas and rituals must do sandyavandanam. Other brahmins who are not learning vedas and rituals automatically gets exemption since their nature of work is changed from learning vedas and rituals to ruling, trading and physical labour. However, brahmins who are not in the line of learning vedas and rituals, can do sandyavandanam when they are free during sandya times, but it is again useless because they do not know the meaning of mantras they are chanting since they are not learning vedas. They can only understand the vishnu namas like kesava, narayana, madhava etc. In that case, they need not do sandyavandanam and rather chant vishnu sahastranamam. A man should change with times. In those times, invariably brahmins must learn vedas and knowing the meaning of sandyavandanam mantras was nothing for them. Now the case is different. We do not know sanskrit, we are not learning vedas, then why mechanically do sandyavandanam. (continued)

Parameswaran vadakanchery parameswaran said...

There is no bar for ksatriyas, vaisyas and sudras for performing sandyavandanam. But they were given exemption because of their nature of daily work, say for example - kshatriyas (ruling), Vaisyas (trading) and sudras (work related to physical labour like farming). Whereas brahmins were given the work of learning vedas and rituals for the welfare of the universe. This is the reason why sandyavandanam must be performed by brahmin community. There is no eligibility criteria for any particular caste, it is only exemption to other castes based on the works undertook by other castes in those days. This exemption is given to other castes because if they do not do their duties and focus on sandyavandanam and rituals, their part of work will be pending, thereby the welfare of society can not be achieved. The main purpose of division of work among the castes is if every caste performs their duties, there will be overall welfare of the society. Coming to present times, now brahmins who are learning vedas and rituals, must perform sandyavandanam. Even for them, the exemption is suppose during madyanam time a brahmin is performing ritual like shradham or marriage in any other's house, in the middle he cannot give break to that, hence he need not do madyanam since the work he is doing is better work than doing madyanam. Now a days, irrespective of castes, people are undertaking works, say for example, vaisya is ruling, sudra is trading, kshatriya is doing physical labour and brahmin is also doing any of these works. Because of this change in daily activities of all castes, only brahmins who are learning vedas and rituals must do sandyavandanam. Other brahmins who are not learning vedas and rituals automatically gets exemption since their nature of work is changed from learning vedas and rituals to ruling, trading and physical labour. However, brahmins who are not in the line of learning vedas and rituals, can do sandyavandanam when they are free during sandya times, but it is again useless because they do not know the meaning of mantras they are chanting since they are not learning vedas. They can only understand the vishnu namas like kesava, narayana, madhava etc. In that case, they need not do sandyavandanam and rather chant vishnu sahastranamam. A man should change with times. In those times, invariably brahmins must learn vedas and knowing the meaning of sandyavandanam mantras was nothing for them. Now the case is different. We do not know sanskrit, we are not learning vedas, then why mechanically do sandyavandanam. (continued)

Nainy Singh said...

Caste is never determined by birth but occupation. This is given in our Shastras.

For some reasons during the medieval period, it was kept away from other people because it is a very powerful pooja.

many men did not want the females/wives to get it coz it made them very powerful.

However, today, it is offered to women also especially by Art of Living, By Sri Sri Ravishankar Ji. There is no discrimination of where you come from, who you are, male or female. it is for everyone

Music Lover said...

Sir, can I have the copy of the sandhyavanthanam pdf please to
Radhikakasturi99@gmail.com