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.

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