Srivaishnavism recognizes three realities - namely Chit ( Sensuous objects) , Achit ( Non Sensuous objects ) and Eshwara ( God) .This is referred to as "Tatwa Thraya" . Achit is of 24 types , such as Prakriti , etc . Achit has no capacity to show itself .It is dependent on Chit for this purpose .Both Chit and Achit are subordinate to Eshwara. Saranagathi is the main process for "Moksha "- that is redeeming of Samsara.
Thus , according to Srivaishnavism , every individual in this world is an inseparable combination of Soul (Chit) , Prakriti ( Achit) and Eshwara ( Antaryami ). Every soul gets a body ( evolved out of prakriti ) in accordance with his Karmas. the soul and body are inseparable and interdependent in an individual. Eshwara ( Antaryami) resides in the body but does not take part in the worldly activities of the body .However , His help is available for the soul to cross the Samsara.
Sandhyavandanam & its significance
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.
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.
Keeping the observations in Upanishads , our sages have evolved a format for Sandhyavandanam covering:-
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:-
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.
Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, Bangalore has brought out a book on 'Sandhyavandanam' (119 pages) explaining the above aspects in details. It covers general background , detailed notes explaining appreciation and correct procedure for various constituents such as Achamanam , Pranayamam , etc . The meaning for various Hymns has been given in English . Tamil , Kannada and Devanagiri script has been used for various hymns and the book covers the three veda sakas viz Yajur , Sama and Rig veda . It is modelled as a self instructor especially for people without any specialized knowledge . Interestingly , it also includes procedure for changing sacred thread and performing Special Gayathri Japam. This book has proved to be very popular especially for those who want to gift something to relatives staying abroad or during Upanaynam ceremony.
Pranayamam & its significance
Our predecessors realised that respiration held the key to health and personality of humans .Thus ,respiratory control or 'Pranayamam' was evolved.
This view of the Indian sages was not acceptable to Scientists and the Western world. Hence , these remained as a mere ritual . Around 1960 , some studies of the brain and the Kirlian photography brought about a revolution .The approach of our sages received recognition .Since then lot of progress has been made.
The discussion in this book titled ' Vedic Pranayamam - An Elixir to Health & Prosperity ' is limited to 'Vedic Pranayamam' , taught at the time of 'Upanaynam' and also forming part of 'Sandhyavandanam' or Sandhya Prayers. This is also used in all Vedic rituals . Our sages have given a format for 'Pranayamam' .This format is discussed in the light of research of human body through Kirlian photography , brain studies etc. . It will be seen from these discussions , that the format for 'Pranayamam' given by our sages is indeed unique and helps a great deal in preserving our physical health and also develop personality .
While chanting , it is prefixed by 'om' ( pranava ) and 'bhur bhuvaswah' ( vyahriti )
Bhur Bhuva Suvah
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
Gayatri Japam or meditation through Gayatri Mantra has a unique place in vedic tradition.The benefits are immense .It helps one to acquire high personality , high mental quality , etc .
Akbar was ruling India . Birbal was his minister .Akbar and Birbal would often travel incognito to collect first hand information about the various happenings within the country.On one occasion , they noticed a brahmin going begging from house to house .Akbar pointed this out to Birbal .Birbal noticed the beggar and kept quiet. after reaching home he sent word for the brahmin to meet him.
When the brahmin called on Birbal , Birbal said , " Oh ! Brahmin - You collect your daily earnings through begging from me every day . In lieu of begging please chant Gayatri Japam during the three sandhya periods 108 times everyday." The brahmin agreed and after collecting the money from Birbal , started chanting Gayatri Mantra. after a few days , he thought , why not increase the chanting to 1008 times , since he had a lot of time. Very soon , people started giving him charity in the form of food and cash . In this way the brahmin stopped going to Birbal's house for begging . His daily meditation earnt him the power to acquire knowledge , acquire an attractive personality and soon he transformed into a good expounder of knowledge. More and more people started coming to him and he became a well known personality . Birbal also heard about him . One day Birbal visited the brahmin and asked him as to why he had stopped coming to his house . The brahmin profusely thanked Birbal for for putting him on the right path by guiding him at the right time.
One day Birbal mentioned to Akbar that a saintly person had come to town and Akbar promptly invited the person and honoured him.Birbal then asked Akbar whether he remembered this saintly person but akbar could not recollect. Birbal then reminded Akbar about the brahmin beggar episode . Akbar after hearing this exclaimed " Oh ! what a change " . This episode appears in the Akbar Nama and brings out the virtue and greatness of the Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Mantra is extolled by one and all . It is a simple and small mantra but with huge benefits .
Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, Bangalore has brought out a book on 'Sandhyavandanam' (115 pages) explaining the above aspects in details. It covers general background , detailed notes explaining appreciation and correct procedure for various constituents such as Achamanam , Pranayamam , etc . The meaning for various Hymns has been given in English . Tamil , Kannada and Devanagiri script has been used for various hymns and the book covers the three veda sakas viz Yajur , Sama and Rig veda . It is modelled as a self instructor especially for people without any specialized knowledge . Interestingly , it also includes procedure for changing sacred thread and performing Special Gayathri Japam. This book has proved to be very popular especially for those who want to gift something to relatives staying abroad or during Upanaynam ceremony. Please contact Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha, e-Mail [email protected]
Swanishte : One who has full knowledge of Saranagathi and has realized God , can do saranagathi directly to Lord.
Uktinishte : One who cannot do Swanishte , should approach an "Acharya "or teacher and request his guidance. Acharya recites sentences conveying full surrender , and the sentences uttered by Acharya are repeated by the individual.
Acharyanishte : One who cannot do any of the above methods , will surrender to the Acharya himself.
Panchasamskara are five purificatory ceremonies which one should go through to become a Srivaishnava . These are performed by one's Acharya. They are
Embossing the impressions of conch ( Sankha ) and wheel ( Chakra ) on the left and right arms by an Acharya.
Wearing twelve Srivaishnava marks on the body reciting appropriate names of the Lord as taught by Acharya.
Adding " Dasa " to one's name.
Learning from the Acharya the three Srivaishnava mantras with their invocatory slokas. The three Srivaishnava mantras are
This is an important Samskara and should be performed with full devotion .These mantras connote Saranagathi . Chanting these mantras with devotion everyday will enable to earn the grace of the Lord.
Learning of " Aradhana " or worship of the Lord.
Mantra Snanam and it's Relevance
Apohistadibi Mantram Mruda lambasthu Parthivam |
Agneyam Bhasmana Snanam Vayavyam Goraja Smrutam ||
Yattu Saatapa Varshena Divyamtatsnanamuchyate(Yaattu Saatapa Varshena Divyam+tat+snanam+uchyate)|
Varunam chaavagahastu (Varunam+cha+Avagahastu) Manasam Vishnu Chintanam ||
meaning sprinkling water on head and feet chanting the hymn 'Apohistha' is 'Mantra Snanam ', smearing pure earth to body and limbs is 'Partiva'(Mrithika) snanam , smearing ash of fire is Agneya Snanam , smearing the dust from the feet of cow is 'Vayavyam' snanam , bathing in rain during sunshine is 'Divya' snanam ( As if holy Ganga is coming from heaven) , bathing by immersing one self in water is 'Varuna' snanam , meditating on Lord Vishnu is 'Manasika' snanam.
Wash hands and feet and change your clothes
' Achamanam '
' Pranayamam '
' Sankalpah' - ' Sri Bhagavadajnaya Sriman Narayana Prithyartham Pratah Sandhya Mantra Snanam Karishye'
' Mama Upatta Samastha Dhurita Kashya Dwara Parameshwara Prithyartham Pratah Sandhya Mantra Snanam Karishye '
' Snanam' - (Take small quantity of water in your right hand palm and chant )
Om ! Apavitrah Pavithro Vaa Sarvavastahyam Gatopivaa |
Yaha Smaret Pundarikaksham Sa Bahyabhyantarah Suchihi (Sa Bahyabi+Antarah+Suchihi)||
(And then sprinkle water on your head )
'Prokshanam' - Prokshanam as in Sandhyavandanam is to be done chanting the hymn - ' Om ! Aapohishtaa Mayobhuvah .......................... ......................................Om ! Bhu Bhurva Suvah.
Mantra Snanam Ends here . After this the desired ritual can be continued.
Sandyavandanam means prayers perform at Sandhya periods to avail energies released at Sandhya time and consists of three parts - i) purification ii) worship through Arghyam iii) Meditation through Gayathri Mantram or Gayathri Japam. Arghyam and Gayathri Japam are detailed in all books. Gayathri Mantra is a very powerful mantra and benefits are immense. This mantra protects those who recite it. It should be chanted in Gayathri Chandas “Tatsaviturvarenyam – Bargo Devasya Dhimahi – dhiyo yo nah Prachodayat”is the Gayathri Mantra’ “OM” (Pranava)and “Bhur Bhuva Suvah” are prefixed for chanting. Gayathri is considered as mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to Vedas. It has power to improve Tejas, Physical and Mental strength and ward off all sins. When chanted correctly with devotion at Sandhya times, the benefits are immense. This is chanted 10 or 28 or 108 times during Sandhyavandanam depending on time availability. In the purification aspect, Achamanam’ and ‘Pranayamam’ are very important. Achamanam balances Bioenergy in our body and helps in efficient functioning of organs. This should be done to the specification though it may take some time. Pranayamam is a very powerful one. It has influence on endocrine glands and also helps in energy supply to all organs. According to Sage Hamsa Yogi, Pranayamam not only cures all ailments but also eradicate them. An important aspect of Pranayamam is that it helps to build immune system against infection and environment (pollution). This should be done to specification though it may be difficult in the beginning.
Thus, Sandyavandanam has not only great influence on the health of the individuals but also on his personality, intellectual ability, etc. This should be performed at 6.00 a.m. + 2 hours and 6.00 p.m. + 2 hrs preferably as close to 6 am or 6 pm (or atleast first thing in the morning). It is a time oriented ritual. Hence the procedure starts with Mantra Snanam to cover all exigencies. Even if one is not performing Sandyavandanam the past, it is no disqualification and he can start.
The above points have been discussed in detail in the books ‘Sandyavandanam’,‘Srivaishnavism’ and ‘ Vedic Pranayamam’ by our Sabha .
Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha's book on 'Upanayanam - Significance and importance is modelled as a handbook with lots of useful information .
This holy place where one can seek the benevolence of Lord Narasimha , would not have been available to Mankind but for Sri.Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan.
Sri Adivan Satagopa Maha Desikan