Sunday, November 02, 2014



The importance of Sandhya Upasana and the meaning relating to the Krishna Yajurveda Sandhya Vandana - Mantras therein.
Our Vedas propagate Santana Dharma (code of righteous conduct). They guide us to attain knowledge of the Self. Vedas show the way  to attain the desired objectives  and  for  removal   of  all  our  Sins  and  impediments  in  life.  They also show the way to know the   Real Truth which is beyond our perceptions and inferences. Dharma Bodha is the main ingredient that differentiates human beings from animals.  It is good for us to see that animal within us dies so that man within us lives.  It is well known that Vedas are   pramanam for   all our doubts. ( Veda  Akhilo Dharma  Moolam).Righteous  code  of conduct  as  prescribed  in vedas  is  Dharma.  Those who protect vedas will certainly get divine blessings.  Vedic injunctions are permanent and cannot be altered. (Dharmo Rakshati Rakhitah).
Vedas are treasure trove of Hindu religion; tradition and culture containing code of righteous conduct. They are eternal commands for shaping man’s good conduct and for developing impeccable character.  Smrithi has divided Dharma into 6 parts. They are Varna Dharma Ashrama Dharma, Varnasrama Dharma, Guna dharma, Nimitha Dharma and day to day Sadharana Dharma.
Ahimsa-Truthfulness-Non-stealing- Soucham-Control of mind- all come under normal Sadharana Dharma. According to Varna Dharma  the  daily  six routine duties  are  Sandhya,Japam, Homam,Devatha Poojanam,Adhithyam and  Vaiswadevam. The  duties ( karmas)  under the  head  of  Vedas are  classified  as  follows:-  NITHYAM- NAIMITHIKAM  - KAMYAM  AND  PRATHISHIDHAM.
Nithyakarma:- by  performing   this  no special  punya ( moral  good) is  acquired-But  by  not performing  the same  papas ( sins) are accrued.
Naimithikam: - Karma to be performed because of special occasions like Tharpanam during Eclipse etc.
Kamyam: - This is performed to obtain the desired result. Like invoking Lord Varuna in the sacrifice to get rain.
Nishidham: - Such karmas which should not be followed or performed.
By  performing  daily  karmas with  sradha and  devotion  one can  obtain Chitha  Sudhi  which  is  a  preliminary  requirement   to  progress  further  in  our  life.
Sandhya is the best time to perform Dhyana or meditation. The twilight time between the day and night is called Sandhya. Sandhya  is  also called  as  Sakthi from which  entire  world  has  come  into existence and  is beyond  Maya and  formed  out of  three tatwas  i.e.  Jeeva-Eswara- and Nature.  Sandhya  Upasana  is a vaidheeka  karma by which  one  pray the Supreme Lord  to  forgive  us   and to  remove  all  our  sins. Tejas is a derivative of Jnanam. Similarly water is the derivative of worship.  While  performing  Sandhya  Upasana we  offer  water  as  worship to  the Supreme  Lord and  by  doing  that  we  surrender  ourselves   to  Him in  totality. Long life ; Knowledge; Fame; Name; and  Brahma Tejas  can be  acquired  by  performing  Daily  Sandhya  with  Sradha  and  devotion. Sandhya  Anushtanam  is  a must  daily duty  and  the  real  strength  of  the  Brahmanism  is  in the  this  worship. Earlier days   ARGHYAM- GAYATHRI JAPAM- AND DHYANAM (MEDITATION) were the main ingredients for all followers of Veda.  But on  later stages different methods came into existence.
To  mention  a  few additions that  came  into existence  are    Jalaprathana  Mantra,  Devatha  Tharpanam, Slokas  from  puranas, Siva Vishnu  and  Yama Vandanams etc. Upasthana Mantras also vary from one Veda Shaka to another.  Whatever it may be the ultimate aim is to acquire Chitha Sudhi.   By  this  one  can   get  rid  of  one’s  sins and  this  lead  to  Jnanam  which  in turn leads  to Moksha  in the  end.
In Sandhya  Upasana a  person who  knows that the sun is the  same  as the  Supreme Brahman meditates  on the  sun  and perform  circumambulation  enjoys  all happiness. He who  knows  this  secret of    identity   that  he  himself  is  Brahman, attains  Brahman. Sandhya   means the time when day and night meet and vandanam means thanks giving   to the Lord Supreme. Performing of Madhyahnikam is an orthodox derivation.
The first and foremost function in the Sandhya upasana is Achamanam.  They  are  of  three types  ( Sruti – Smrithi-  Purana) Sruti  achamanam is  mentioned in  the  Taittareeya Aranyaka- where it is said that the  following  mantra “ Vidhyudasi Vidhya  may Papmanam ritaat  sathya  Mupaimi” is chanted and water is touched.  Meaning   of this rik is as follows: - You are lightening. Remove my sins.  Through truth I attain unto Truth. After washing  hands -Three time  achamanam  is  followed  by  two time  lips wash and  again after  washing  of palm  head,eyes,ears,nose,heart  etc.  are touched (This system is followed during Brahma Yagna).  Smrithi Achamanam is of two types. Srauta and Smartha.  In srauta,   achamanam is  followed by  recitation  of  three pada  Gayathri  then  21 parts  of  the  body  are touched. While  performing  mantras  are  recited- nine ablingas  by apohista mantra seven  vyakruthees-Three pada  Gayathri and ending  with  Om  apo jyotheerasa:  Amrutam Brahma. In Smartha  achamanam laid  down  by  Manu/Yajnavalkya  and  others-achamanam  is  performed  two times  then  lips  are washed twice and then  cleaning palm,  mouth and other sensory organs are touched. In Purana  achamanam-Water  is  sipped  thrice and  several  parts  of  body  touched. Each single operation being accompanies by repetitive   of a distinctive names or Lord Vishnu or Lord Siva. (practice differ from place to place).
After Lord Ganapathy Dhyanam, pranayama is done by mentally reciting the mantra. Sankalpa – determination  with  mental  resolve  to  perform the  Sandhya  upasana  is  followed  thereafter.( In some places  Jala Prarthana “ Apo   va  idagum Sarvam…”mantra is chanted that  too  only  for  the  morning  Sandhya).
MARJANA MANTRA: - It is well known that You the deities of water are the cause of great happiness. Please nourish us with the divine vision which brings glory and loveliness. Please make us worthy of imbibing the auspicious bliss even as a mother feeds her children. We approach you with eagerness for that bliss, to distribute, which you have taken a form and are shining. Bestow on us the boon of a next life sanctified by knowledge.
PRAASANAMANTRA: - They are three in numbers for each time zone. (Morning   Sun God- After noon Holy water and in the evening Lord Agni).  May Sun /Agni’/Varuna  and  the  God  of  anger and  the Lords presiding  over  anger; save me from the sins  caused by  anger. Whatever sins I have committed; by mind, speech, hands, feet, belly, and the sensual organ may the Lord of the departed night/day remove all that and whatever other sins that may be in me. I sacrifice in the Self, illuminous light, the eternal first cause. As an  emblem  of  such  sacrifice, I pour down this  consecrated water as  libation in my mouth , which  shall be  the  sacrificial fire. May  this sacrifice of mine become well offered.( Here  water  represents the  sinner and  all his  sins and  pouring down of water  typifies the  act  of  sacrifice)
It is said in the vedas that energy of the sun passes on to Agni in the evening.  Hence the substitution of Agni Lord for Surya in the evening Sandhya Upasana
In  Madhyahnikam  Sandhya  Upasana  praasana mantra  meaning  is  as  follows:-May the  waters purity  the  earth by pouring  down rain.  May the earth thus purified make me pure.  May  the waters purify  my spiritual preceptor  and  may the  Veda as taught  by  him purify me. Whatever  impure food  I may have taken, whatever  I may have  received  as  gift from the  unworthy, may  the  waters  destroy all that sins and purify me; and for  this purpose, I pour  this sanctified water  as  libation down my mouth  as  sacrifice.
Then  come  second  Marjanam (Punarmarjanam):- I make obeisance  to the Supreme Person who  supports, rules and  sustains all the worlds, who is ever  victorious  and  who has taken  the  form of  Hayagreeva the  repository of all knowledge. May He make our faces and other organs fragrant. May He protect our lives. (the remaining   meaning  - as stated in the   first Marjanam).
The performer  after attaining  his  outer  and  inner purification then offer Arghyam ( offering  water respectfully  to the  Supreme  Lord). The sanctified – water-consecrated-  by   chanting  of Gayathri  mantra  and thrown upwards with both hands ; becoming  thunderbolts, hurl the evil spirits to an island called  Aruna ;  where dwells  the evil spirits called  Mandehas. (By this act entire world is protected) 
Meaning of Gayathri Mantra: We meditate on the adorable light of the supreme creator of the universe. May He (existing in our mind in the form of light) guide our intellects in the pursuit of the Truth.
Prayaschitha Arghyam is followed   for not offering   the arghyam on time.
Aikyanusandhanam:  Asavadityo Brahma Brahmmaeva Ahamasmi. Means:-The Sun is Brahman and I too am Brahman.
Next  comes Tharpanam  to  Navagraha and  Dwadasa names  of  Vishnu, This  Tharpanam is considered  as Puranic  additions and no reference  is made  to them  in the  Taittareeya Aranyaka (  as opined  by  learned people) Hence  it  is  stated  that  these  additions  are inconsistent with the spirit of   the  Vedic Sandhya- which is  a  prayer  directed  to theone  alone “ without  a second.
(Here  ends  the  first  part  of  the Upasana called  Sandhya . The  second  part is called  Japam.)
It  is  reported  by  learned  people  that   popularly  known  as  Three pada Gayathri  has  got  a turiya ( Fourth)  pada  also. This  should be  revealed only to the one who is properly initiated.  Meaning  of  this  pada  “PARORAJASE  ASAVADOM” -  He who is beyond  all  phenomenon, He is  Bliss , He is eternal  OM. This fourth pada is  hidden  in the  Vedas-Hence  not  visible. (  Mantra Drashta for the  turiya pada of the Gayathri  is  Vimala  Rishi- Chandas  is  Tureeyam and  Devatha  is  Paramatma.)
Gayathri Avahanam: May  the  Goddess Gayathri Devata-who grants  all  our desires come to us  to make  known to us  the eternal Lord, who is  revealed to us only  through the  scriptures. May  the  Gayathri  the mother  of all  the vedas reveal to us  the  eternal  Truth.
Devi Gayathri – you  are the source  of all spiritual strength . You  are  the power  that  drive away the evil  inclination  which  are  my enemies You  are conducing  to   a sound   mind which conduces to a  sound body. You are the light  of  the Gods; that  dispel  my  intellectual darkness and  illuminate my heart with  divine wisdom.  You are everything. You are  Eternal Truth that destroys  all  our sins.  You  are  the  pranava that reveals  to me  the  unknown, Come to me Oh! Goddess Gayathri and make me wise.
After  invocation of  Gayathri comes  enumeration of  the  four  principal  characteristics of the  Gayathri Rik. Mantra Drashta: (Rishi)- Chandas ( metre) –Devatha  ( praise  of the  Devatha  it  sings)- Viniyoga( The purpose  to which  the Rik is  applied)
For  Gayathri  Mantra consists of Pranava ( OM)-  Vyakruthees  ( Bhu: Bhuvaha: Swaha:) and Savithri mantra- which   already  existed . This  combination  was revealed  to  Sage Viswamitra who  in turn  gave  this to the  world. He  is   the  mantra  Drashta –Chandas  ( metre)   the  number  of  letters in the  Savithri mantra  equally  divided  into three parts of  eight  letters each and has  24  letters. Devatha for Gayathri is   Savithri- the  supreme Lord  Paramatma. Viniyoga: Prayer for sayujya  or  absorption through  knowledge  into  the  universal  soul. (  There are  Angannyasa and karannyasa that are followed by few, before    chanting  of  Gayathri mantra- elders  say that  these  are   of  tantric  origin).
After  completion of   Gayathri  Japa   Gayathri Upasthana  follows:-
The Goddess  Gayathri  resides  on  a  lofty peak on the  summit of mount  Meru in the  earth.  Oh! Goddess take  leave  from the persons who have  worshiped  you and who have  been blessed with your  grace  and  go back  to your  abode  as  comfortably  as  possible.
Morning  Upasthana  Mantra  Meaning:-  We sing  the  adorable  glory  of the  Sun God, who  sustains  all men by  causing  rain, which  glory is eternal and  most  worthy  of being  adored  with wonder.
The sun well knowing  the  inclinations of  several men directs them to their  several  pursuits, the  sun upholds both heaven and   earth. The sun observes  all creatures  and  their action  ( Karma Sakshi) without ever winking  to  this  eternal being . We  offer  the  oblation mixed  with  clarified  butter. Oh! Sun God  may  that man who through such sacrifice  offers oblation to you become  endowed with  wealth for he who is under your protection is not cut-off by  untimely  death. He is not vanquished by anybody and  sin has no hold on this man either  from near  or  from  far.
MADHYAHNIHA  UPSTHANA  MANTRA :- The Lord  Savita  daily appears  in the heaven. He  sustains Gods and Men ( He  confers  on men eternal Bliss  or  a mortal body once more  accordingly  as  they  acquit  themselves on earth) He comes  in golden chariot illuminating  all worlds. Adoring  the Sun  God  among  the  Gods, the loftier light  that rests  above  darkness or Sin, we attain most  excellent  light. His rays bearing him a lot, the God who knows the ways of all living beings; Surya, that all my look on Him adore Him- and become wise. The  wonderful collection of rays  has  risen ( the orb of light). This  orb is the eye of  the earth, air, and heaven. This orb has filled the earth ,air, and heaven with light everywhere. Sun God  is  the soul of all things that move and  all that move not. This  brilliant eye the  orb  of the Sun ,on whom as  lord  of  sacrifices; the devas depend for their oblations, rises  in the east. May we live  a hundred years  to see Him. May we live   plenty  through His grace. May we  be happy  in  His  presence for a hundred years. May we through His grace live secure in our homes. May we learn the  secrets  of  Vedic  theosophy from our  guru, and may we  gladly  impart  the same  to our  disciples. May we never meet the  reverses, and may we  long live  to see and adore  Him. May He who rises with resplendent glory from the midst  of  waters, out of the eastern ocean- the  bright eyed and all wise Surya, who shower all blessings on His worshipers,  may  make me  pure  in mind.
EVENING  UPASTHANA MANTRA:-  Hear  Oh!  Varuna  Lord this prayer of mine. Be gracious  unto me this day, longing  for your protection. I pray to you. ( This  prayer  rik is said  to have been taught  by  Sage  Viswamitra to Sunassephah, when he was  tied  to the  sacrificial post and about  to be  immortalized by  Harischandra to appease  the  wrath of  Lord  Varuna. This prayer saved him from death.)  Adoring you with prayer, I beg  long life  from you, the sacrificer does the same  with oblations he offers to you; therefore, Lord  Varuna without indifference  in this matter,  take  my prayer  into your kind consideration and do not cut off our lives. Oh! Lord Varuna, whatever law of yours we, as men, violate day after day,  forgives us  for those trespasses. ( The ethical consciousness  of human frailty and the appeal for mercy and forgiveness based on such consciousness find a beautiful  and simple earnest expression  in this  Rik). Oh! Lord  Varuna  whatever  offence we, as men, have committed against divine beings, whatever work of yours, we have neglected through  ignorance, do not destroy us, for such sins. Whatever  offence  is attributed to us by our  enemies as by gamblers at dice, whatever sins we may have really committed  and what we may  have done  without knowing , please destroy all those sins. Also pray that we shall become  beloved to You.
Then  follows  prayer  to Gods  residing  in  all directions. Kamam Akarsheet  Manyu Akarsheet  mantra  follows. This  a  shortened version of  the  actual  mantra  in the  Veda. Whatever  sins  I have  committed,  has been done by passion  or  anger and not by me- hence forgive me. Oh! Lord  I bow to you again  and  again.
Sandhya  prayer now closes  with  Abhivadanam  or salutation. The practice of reciting  at this  stage  a few slokas  from puranas and  slokas  in  praise  of  Lord  Vishnu, Siva, Yama  does not form integral part of  Vedic  Sandhya  Upasana.  After Raksha mantra  the whole ceremony is brought to a close by an internal purification of  the body by  Achamanam and dedicating the entire service gone through to  Para Brahman.
Summing  up: -  Sandhya  Upasana service  is simply a thanks giving and  a prayer to the Universal Lord. It begins with external purification of  body by sprinkling  of water by chanting  few hymns,  and internal  purification by sipping  few drops  of  consecrated water. We  pray all sins  committed during the preceding  12  hours be washed  away.
After  conducting purificatory functions, the worshiper feel that he is worthy of  approaching  the Supreme Lord and pays his  adorations to Him, by offering of water according to traditional  usage. He  looks at the  Sun Lord  and makes his offering.  His offerings are  really to the Paramatman,  the  nameless one. Sun is only  visible  symbol of God’s power and  glory. He praises with Vedic hymns and  implores  Him  to forgive him; his  sins and vouch safe to him- His grace and Blessings.
Sandhya  Vandanam  is one of the few  remaining links that unite us to a  glorious past. It is  duly rendered imperative by solemn  voice of  Vedic injunction. It is a  distinctive  badge for us.
Na  annam  udagam  dhanam   na  thithir  dwadasee  samaha:  Na Gayathrya  paro mantrah:  Na  Mathur  daivadam param.
The  highest  Dhanam  on earth is   Anna  Dhanam.  Similarly   nothing  is more  important than Dwadasee  Thithi,  Gayathri Mantra, and Mother.
Achuta Ananta Govinda Namocharana Bheshajad Nasyanthi Sakala Rogath Sathyam Sathyam Vadamyaham.
Chanting of  Glory of  God is  considered  as medicine for all diseases. Hence  the importance of  achamanam by chanting  the Lord’s name. This  is  called  Nama Trayee Vidhya.
As  we  are  doing  the  Nithya karma  without expecting  any  result in return and  by totally surrendering  to the Lord  and  in  a  samarpana Bhavana  we  invoke  the  Lord  name by chanting  Parameswara    Preethyartham  in the  Sankalpa. 
Gayathri  mantra protects  the person one who sings His Glory. Another version  is  Gayan  Pranan  trayatheethi  Gayathri. i.e.  Mantra  Gayathri protects the   pancha  pranas. It  contain  24  vaidheeka  Chandas. Hence  it  is  called  Gayathri. Each  8  padas  are  taken  from  the   Rik,Yajus and Sama  Veda  respectively in that order. Sarva Veda Saram is  Gayathri Mantra.  Gayathri mantra  is hidden inside  the  Vyakruthees and  Vyakruthees are  hidden inside   Pranava  “OM”. And  that  OM is  Paramatman.
There  are  three  types  of  methods  to do Gayathri Japam.
Vachikam- Upamsu- Manasam.
Chanting  letters and padas clearly  with  swaras like  Udhatham,Anudhatham,swaritam and Prachaya  is called  Vachikam.
Moving  the  lips and  the chanting  can be  heard by only  the  kartha is called  Upamsu.
Reciting in the mind without producing  any  sound  whatsoever is called  Manasam. Maximum result and  effect  can be obtained by this  method.
Sandhya Upasana   is a  sadhana ( spiritual practice)  to bring about the  conjunction  ( Sandhi) of the individual  self  with  the Cosmic Self to realise  the  unity  of both. ( Aham  Brahmasmi)  (  Brahmeva  Sathyam).Sandhya  Vandanam  is  a Yoga  Sadhana for union  of  the  individual  with  Supreme  Reality. Sandhya  Upasana incorporates  the  elements or  features of all the  four main  ingredient   of Yoga, such  as Karma, Bhakthi, Dyana and  Jnana. This  upasana  as such  is devised  to lead  one  to both physical and spiritual advancement.
The Supreme divinity is within oneself. Whatever one intensely thinks or meditate upon that one becomes is the psychological law (Yath Dhyathi Tat Bhavathi)
In  Raksha  Mantra that  comes  in the  end  of  Sandhya  Upasana prayer to the Supreme Lord to bestow  prosperity including  many children, prayer  to remove  the cause  and the  effect of bad dreams, prayer to remove all sins and  to bestow  on us  what is  good  for us are  included.
Present Sandhya   Upasana practices  for  Yajur Vedees  contain the following::- 
1Achamanam  2. Ganapathy  Vandanam  3. Pranayama 4. Sankalpa 5. Jala Prarthana ( selective) 6. Marjanam/Prokshanam 7. Prasanam 8. Punar Marjanam9. Arghya Pradhanam 10. Prayaschitha  Arghyam 11. Atma Pradakshinam12.  Atma Anusandhanam 13. Navagraha/ and  Devatha Tharpanam 14. Brahmarpanam.
Japa parts  consist of  the  following:-
Achamanam 2. Ganapathy Vandanam 3. Sankalpa 4.Pranayamam 4. Gayathri Avahanam 5. Gayathri Japam 6. Gayathri Upasthanam 7. Surya Upasthanam 8. Samasti Abhivadanam 9. Dig Devatha Vandanam 10. Yama Vandanam 11.Harihara Vandanam  12. Suryanarayana  Vandanam 13 Samarpanam 14.  Raksha .

References: Commentary  on Sandhya  vandanam  by   Prof: Sri. Kameswara Iyer- professor of  English  at  Maharaja’s College-Pudukkottai in the year  1898.
Sandhya Vandanam in Malayalam by   Brahmasri P.S.Ramanathan-Disciple of Brahmasri. Sangameswara Sastrigal published in 1985 at Calicut Following Sayana Bashyam. Subham bhavatu.

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