Monday, June 19, 2017

How to Do Sandhyavandanam | Surya Namaskaram in Eleven Steps

In the previous post, I have explained the meaning and importance of performing SandhyAvandanam. Now, I am going to tell you about the method of performing Sandhyavanadanam in a very simple manner. The whole process of doing it may take 10 minutes approximately through these 11 steps which I came to know through an elder member of our family.

The article may be long as I am trying to explain it in a clear manner. But, once you understand the method, it will become very easy for you to perform it quickly.

This SandhyAvandanam is to be performed only by men after they become eligible for it by way of undergoing the sacred thread ceremony (Upanayanam).

This sacred thread will be always on your body after once it is worn to you till your death. When it becomes old and torn, it needs to be replaced from time to time chanting the Gayatri mantra as prescribed by the Vedas. You need to wear the traditional men's dhoti and kanduva after having your bath in the morning and wear tilak on your forehead before performing the early morning session of Sandhyavandanam.

Items Required for Sandhyavandan

  • Dhoti and Kanduva (for wearing to perform the ritual)
  • YajnOpavita (this is essential for performing the ritual)
  • One vessel (rounded pot either of steel, bronze, copper, etc.) or even a tumbler for holding water
  • One empty plate for dropping water
  • Another deep plate or wide bowl containing water for 'TarpaNam' purpose

11 Steps for Performing Sandhyavanadanam 

While performing this SandhyAvandanam, face towards the east at the morning and mid-day times; and towards the north at the evening time.

Step 1
Take a vessel (of rounded pot shape, generally) filled with water and a spoon in it for doing the Achamana. Also, take another shallow, deep plate for dropping the water into it while performing the SandhyAvandanam particularly if you are doing it inside the room so as to not wet the room.

Step 2
Purify yourself chanting this hymn and sprinkling some drops of water on your head with your right thumb.

"Apavitra pavitrOva sarvAvasthAngatOpiva, yah smarEt PundareekAksham sa bAhyAbhyantara suchihi". 
Otherwise, you may simply say "PundareekAkshAya Namah" 3 times and drop water on your head 3 times.

Step 3

Sip water 3 times chanting these 3 names of God. You will take a little water each time into your palm with the spoon and sip it from the rear end of the palm.
The three names are "achyutAya Namah, anantAya Namah, and govindAya Namah".
Then, recite another 12 names of God knwon as the dwAdasha nAma of Lord Vishnu as below:

"Om kEsavAya namah, Om nArAyanAya namah, Om mAdhavAya namah, Om gOvindAya namah, Om vishnavE namah, Om madhusUdanAya namah, Om trivikramAya namah, Om vAmanAya namah, Om sreedharAya namah, Om hrisheekEshAya namah, Om padmanAbhAya namah, Om dAmOdarAya namah".

Step 4 
Pranayama (the breathing exercise)

Perform this exercise of prAnAyAmam chanting the below-mentioned mantra of Gayatri while inhaling and exhaling the air at each break of the mantra.

"Om bhooh, Om bhuvah, Om suvah, Om mahah,
Om janah, Om tapah, Om satyam,
Om tat savitru varENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi
dhiyO yOnah prachOdayAt"

Recite this one also: "Om aapO jyOti rasOmrutam Brahma bhoor bhuva suvarOm"

Step 5
Sankalpam (the act of determining to perform something)

This step states the location of your place, year, season, time, and your name etc.
"Hari Om, Sri MahaVishnO raajyayA  pravarta mAnasya adyah BrahmaNah dwiteeya parArdhE,
swEta varAha kalpE, vaivasvata manvantarE kaliyugE, prathama pAdE, jamboo dweepE, bharatavarshE, bharatakhandE, mErOh dakshiNa dik bhAgE, gangaakAvErOr madhya dEshE,
Sreerangasya uttara pradEsE (here you need to tell the location of your town or village), asmin grihE, asya vyavahArika chAndramAsEna, SaShtee savatsarAnAm madhyE, ..........(tell the year's name here), ......... (tell whether it is UttarAyan or dakshiNAyan), ............. (tell the season name), ....... (month's name), ......... (name of the fortnight), ........... (day's name), sree bhagavadAgNAyA bhagavat kainkarya roopam prAtah sandhyA upAshiSyE.

(This "prAtah Sandhya" word is applicable at morning sandhyAvandanam only. At midday, you will tell madhyAhna sandhyA upAshiSyE and at evening time, you need to tell sAyam sandhyA upAshiSyE)

Step 6
SamprOkshaNam and Surya namaskAram

Sprinkle water on your head with your right thumb reciting the following:
"AapOhistA mayO bhuvah, tAna oorjE dadhAtana, mahE raNAya chakshasE yOvashshivatamOrasah,
tasya bhAjayatE hanah, ushateeriva mAtarah, tasyAm arangamAmavO, yasyakshayAya jinvadhA, AapOjanayadhAchanah".

Folding your hands to Sun God,
"sooryascha mAmanyuscha, manyu patayascha, manyu krutEbhyah, pApEbhyO rakshamtAm,
yadrAtryAt pApamakArSam, manasA, vAchA, hastAbhyAm, padbhyAm, udarENa, shishnA,
rAtri stadavalumpatu, yatkincha duritam mayi, idam aham mAm amruta younau,
soorye jyOtiSi juhOmi swAhA"

Take water with your both hands and drop through your fingers towards Sun.

Step 7
Repeat the Aachamana process as mentioned at step 3 and do prAnAyAmam also.

Step 8
Arghya PradAnam

This is the process of welcoming Sun God offering water.

Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA, sri bhagavad kaimkaryArtham, sandhyAm uddishya, arghya pradAnam kariSyE".

Take water into your hands and recite this "Om bhoorbhuvassuvah, Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargO dEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOnah prachOdayAt". Now drop the water through your fingers.

Perform this act of offering water another two times.

Now welcoming the GAyatri:

Recite "Sri bhagavadAjnayA sri bhagavad Kaimkary roopam GAyatri mahAmantra japam kariSyE.

Touch water with your middle finger and fold your hands to Goddess while reciting these lines:

"praNavasya parabrahma rishihi, dEvi GAyatri chandah, paramAtmA srimannArAyaNO dEvatA,
aayaatu varadA dEvi, akSaram brahmasammitam, GAyatrim, chhandasAm, mAtEdam brahma rishah svamE OzOsi, sahOsi, balamasi, bhrAjOsi, dEvAnAmnAma nAmAsi, visvamasi, vishvAyuh, sarvamasi, sarvAyuh abhibhoorOm".

Pointing your hands towards your heart, recite the following:
"Om gAyatreem AvAhayAmi, Om sAvitreem AvAhayAmi, Om saraswateem AvAhayAmi,
daivee gaayatree chhandah prANAyAmE viniyOgah".

Step 9

Recite this mantra 10 times:
"Om bhoorbhuvassuvah Om tatsavitruvarENyam, bhargOdEvasya dheemahi, dhiyOyOna prachOdayAt".

After 10 times, do the prAnAyAmam again.

Step 10
Tarpanam (offering water with both hands)

"sri bhagavadAjnayA bhagavatkaimkarya roopam dEvatA tarpaNam kariSyE"

Touch the water with your middle finger. Then take water each time with your both hands and offer it to the Gods after each name while chanting the below-mentioned names.
Om kEshavam tarpayAmi
Om nArAyaNam tarpayAmi
Om mAdhavam tarpayAmi
Om gOvindam tarpayAmi
Om vishNum tarpayAmi
Om madhusoodanam tarpayAmi
Om trivikramam tarpayAmi
Om vAmanam tarpayAmi
Om sreedharam tarpayAmi
Om hrisheekesham tarpayAmi
Om padmanAbham tarpayAmi
Om daamOdaram tarpayAmi
Om sarvE dEvAnAm tarpayAmi
Om pitru dEvatAm tarpayAmi

Step 11
SandhyOpasthAnam (Requesting Goddess GAyatri to return to her abode after blessing us)

Recite the following with folded hands:
"uttamE shikharee dEvi, bhoomyAm parvata moordhani
brAhmaNEbhyO anujnAtA gachcha dEvi yAdAsukham
chatussAgara paryamtam gObrAhmaNEbhyah subham bhavatu"

This ending sloka is about the affirmation of performing everything with a pure heart and dedication to God expecting no results
"kAyEna vAchA manasEndriyairvA bhudhyAtmanAvA prakritE svabhAvAt
karOmi yadyat sakalam parasmai nArAyaNEti samarpayAmi".

So, this is the procedure of doing the sandhyavandanam in a simple manner which takes only 10 minutes of your time when you become habituated by performing it continuously for 4, 5 days.

Recently, I found a very detailed, in-depth information regarding all the rituals performed by Brahmins including Vaishnavas at page no. 267 to 322 of this link:

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Sandhyavandanam | Six Components of Sandhyavandanam Ritual

SandhyAvandanam is a ritual performed by all Brahmins or Dvijas of Hindu faith. It is the oldest ritual in existence and in practice of this world. One needs to have gone through Upanayanam to observe this practice. I will discuss regarding Upanayanam in a later post.

Meaning of Sandhyavandanam
Sandhyavandan is a Sanskrit term which is more popularly referred to as Sandhyavandanam to suit people of all dialects.

The word "Sandhya" means or refers to the twilight time of a day. It may also be interpreted as the joint or transition period between the different phases of Sun during a day.

"Vandanam" means Salutation or offering respect with folded hands.

So, when both words are combined it becomes "SandhyAvandanam" and refers to the practice or ritual of offering salutations to the different transition times of the Sun.

There are three transition periods of the Sun in a day. The early morning time, the noontime, and the evening time.

So, SandhyAvandan is to be performed 3 times a day. These three periods are also known as "PrAtah Sandhya", MadhyAhnik Sandhya", and "SAyam Sandhya".

Importance of Performing Sandhyavandanam
There is much importance of SandhyAvandanam as it involves purification of the body and mind and boosts the concentration of the mind. It develops a discipline of the body and mind. Thereby, you are able to execute your daily jobs with increased efficiency and attention.

Six Components of SandhyAvandan Ritual

1. Achamanam and Angavandanam. This comprises the sipping of water to purify body and mind, and the touching of the various body parts chanting 12 names of Lord Vishnu.
2. PrAnAyAma. This is the breathing control exercise performed after Angavandanam and again at prescribed intervals during the whole process of Sandhyavandanam.
3. Sankalpam and Surya namaskaram. This step involves the affirmation of the determination to perform the worship of Sun God and other Gods with a peaceful mind and the procedure of the worship itself chanting some hymns.
4. Gayatri Japam. This is the main component involving the reciting of Gayatri Mantra 10 times after invoking the Goddess.
5. TarpaNam. Tarpanam consists of offering water to the Gods by both hands chanting God's names and also to our deceased elder members of the family.
6. UpasthAnam. This is the ending part of SandhyAvandanam whereby we appease and pacify the Gods for the happiness of our family. During the morning, we address Mitra (a cool friendly God for willpower and peace of mind). At noon, we address the glowing Sun (for power and energy) and in the evening, we address to Varuna (the God of clouds and water).

Benefits of Performing Sandhyavandanam

  • SandhyAvandanam is the ritual which makes you self-controlled and determined. You are able to develop good healthy habits of rising early and control your body and mind perfectly.
  • It provides peace of mind and freedom from stress.
  • PrAnAyAma is a great exercise for your body which solves breathing problems and keeps you away from heart problems. It helps a good circulation of blood in your body.
  • Aachamanam purifies your body as it is believed that touching water again and again and sipping the water frequently during this ritual cleanses your hands and mouth and thereby your stomach also. Some supernatural powers are also associated with this process.
  • Gayatri Japam makes you concentrate on your goals and helps you achieve tasks more easily with the help of that concentration power gained by you.
  • As you are performing this ritual at early morning and evening hours, you benefit from the peaceful mind and the determination of it either for concentrating in your studies or performing some complicated tasks involving much concentration and peace of mind.
  • When you are performing this ritual in open spaces in front of the Sun, you are receiving the sun rays direct on your body which are a rich source of Vitamin D besides enjoying the beautiful nature.
  • The ritual can connect you with the elderly family members and relatives, if performed jointly, and thereby increase your confidence and communication skills.
In my next article, I will deal with the actual process of performing SandhyAvandanam, step by step, in a simple manner.

I hope you may like to view some beautiful images of children performing SandhyAvandanam and other Vedi rituals at this Link of (Vedic Schools) website.