In connection with the forthcoming Avani Avittam, Veda Upakarmas, an interesting write up on the importance of Sandhyavandanam has been posted in Andavan yahoogroups today. The same is now added to this blog also for facilitating wider coverage and spread the awareness of the same, Our thanks are due to Sri Rangaraj Ramaswamy.
Subject: Sandhyavandanam & its significanceOur planet not only goes around the sun but also rotates on it's own axis. Sun rise and Sun set are caused by the rotation of earth on it's own axis. At every instant of time , there will be Sunrise at one place and Sunset at another place. At Sunrise , rays of Sun will hit that part of the earth for the first time for that day , resulting in release of energies .Similarly at Sun set there will be withdrawal of energies.
Sun rise constitutes a change from 'darkness' to 'light' and hence constitutes a 'Sandhya' i.e junction. Similarly sun set is also a 'Sandhya' i.e. a junction.
Upanishads speak very highly of Sandhya times. It says that benefits are far more during Sandhya times than that at other times. Recent researches have also brought out abundant release of beneficial energy at sun rise and withdrawal of non-beneficial energy at sun set.
Though Upanishads refer to two Sandhya-names Sun rise and Sun set , the sages have added one more 'Sandhya' namely 'Madhyanika' or mid-day. Sun rises in east , moves upward , reaches zenith , and then descends to west. The point at zenith represents change from upwards to downwards.This sandhya is considered to be beneficial for worship of 'Pithru Devatas' - that is devatas who are instrumental for one to get son , grandson , etc and also one to be a son or grandson , etc
Prayers at Sandhya time are called "Sandhyavandanam" .The main objective of Sandhyavandanam is to avail benefits of Sandhya for an individual.Vedic References
References are there regarding 'Sandhyavandanam' in Thaithria , Ishavasya and Chandogya Upanishads. They all bring out the importance of offering 'Arghya' meditating on 'Adithya'. This form of worship will help an individual to acquire the qualities of 'Adithya'- namely lustrous and healthy body and mind , high intellect with grasping power , high intuition , memory etc.Chandogya Upanishads brings out also the importance of worshipping 'Adithya' through Gayathri Hyms.Format
Keeping the observations in Upanishads , our sages have evolved a format for Sandhyavandanam covering:-
Purification, Offering Arghyam, Meditation through Gayathri
Purification : The purification measures in sandhyavandanam are essentially to strengthen this aspect and condition the body , to receive the beneficial cosmic radiation
The purification essentially tunes the body to receive cosmic radiation's available at Sandhya time.The purification measures are:
- Achamanam Pranayamam
- Prasanam Prokshanam
The present day studies of Naturopathy , like Pranic Healing , Reiki etc have brought out the role of Bio- electricity in humans in regard to health. The purification measures in 'Sandhyavandanam' are essentially to strengthen this aspect and condition the body to receive the beneficial cosmic radiations.
'Achamanam' helps in the flow of bio-electricity within the body.
'Pranayamam' helps to activate the chakras.
'Prasanam' is swallowing energized water and
'Prokshanam' is sprinkling of energized water.
'Sandhyavandanam' starts with purification process so that the benifits of 'Arghyam' and 'Gayathri' are realised.
Though Sandhya time refers to sun rise and sun set , it's benefit spreads on either side of this point.Under Indian situations , approximately two hours on either side is beneficial.
A 'Hymn' or 'Mantra' is a prayer ( With words and alphabets specifically chosen) addressed to God or Deity . It is supposed to have mystic and supernatural powers. The energy from the universe is present everywhere . By reciting a Mantra either orally or mentally , we tune ourselves to receive this energy .The hymns chosen for Sandhyavandanam are meant to realize the benefits of Sandhya.
Every Mantra has a Chandas - the Chandas explains the potential of the Mantra or the power it can create in our body by receiving it.
What is the meaning of the word Sandhyavandanam?
Vandanam means worship. Both worship and meditation are involved in Sandhyavandanam.
What is the meaning of Sandhya?
Sandhya means the time of union. The time which relates to the union of two things, i.e. the time between the night and morning (first junction Dawn), between forenoon and afternoon (second junction Noon) and between afternoon and evening (third Jn. Dusk); Sandhya means dawn, noon and dusk. Sandhyavandanam means a ritual done at the time of three junctions, Dawn, Noon and Dusk.
Sandhyavandanam is a junction between the devotee and the Lord. Between Jeevathma and Paramathma.
Sandhyavandanam is an amalgamation of meditation and rituals. The principles of Yoga are the basis on which the rituals of Sandhyavandanam are designed. Being an integral ritual connected with Indian Culture in a very prominent manner, Sandhyavandanam reveals the cultural identity of the person performing it.
What are the benefits we get out of Sandhyavandanam?
According to Veda, Nityakarmas are to be done purely for the sake of spiritual upliftment. If done regularly, we will get spiritual progress - Chitta Suddhi, Bhagavad-anugraha and Chitta Visaradha. Even though we are not supposed to ask for material benefit, still there are many material benefits through Sandhyavandanam. In the prayers that form part of the Sandhyavandanam, we ask the Lord for long life, health and prosperity and ultimately, we ask for more jnana. All these are included in the mantra. The very performance itself gives the result.
The second benefit is, since Pranayama and Japam are involved, physical health is gained. It has been proved that Pranayama is very good for physical health. To-day Pranayama is taught as a therapy. The greatest problem is stress. Sandhyavandanam is the best method because Pranayama not only helps the physical system but also helps the mind. It is a relaxation exercise, a tension relieving exercise. But we are not supposed to do that for that purpose. Relaxation should be a by-product; the primary purpose should be spiritual benefit.