Sandhya Vandanam

Hi,
sandhya – vandanam . sandhya means “junction” here it means the coming together of night and day, and that of morning and afternoon, and again the “coming together” of day and night.
vandanam means the process of saluting.

so sandhya vandanam is the process of saluting the twilight and the midday, and so it follwos that it needs to be done thrice daily, at sunrise, midnoon and at sunset.

for some perspective:
sandhya vandanam is supposed to be performed by Brahmins,(the preistly caste, or the caste that is actively involved in learning.) who have undergone Upanayanam.

Upanayanam is the process of declaring a child as fit to undertake vedic education. before upanayanam the child is a Prakrita purusha, or a natural or “wild” man. after being inducted in to Brahmacharya, he is on his way to becoming Brahmachary, or a person who seeks the Brahman(the essence of the universe)

Now, a brahmachari leads a very disciplined life, in tune with nature, following “Dharma”, which can be described as the “right way” to live life.

one of the things a brahmachary needs to do is practise Sandhya Vandanam thrice daily.

The Actual Process :

1.AchamanaM

the process of “bringing your body in tune with the elements” as i call it. the mantras(chants) below refer to various GOds and invoke them to occupy various important body parts.

Take little water on your right palm and swallow it uttering the above mantra(don’t sip the water). Wash the palm with water, wipe the lips with the clean palm, wash the palm again
With right hand fingers as described below touch the various parts of the body.

keshavaaya namaH (thumb to touch right cheek)
naaraayaNaaya namaH (thumb to touch left cheek)
maadhavaaya namaH (ring finger to touch right eye)
govindaaya namaH (ring finger to touch left eye)
vishhNave namaH (index finger to touch right side nose)
madhusuudanaaya namaH (index finger to touch left side nose)
trivikramaaya namaH (little finger to touch right ear)
vaamanaaya namaH (little finger to touch left ear)
shriidharaaya namaH (middle finger to touch right shoulder)
hR^ishhiikeshaaya namaH (middle finger to touch left shoulder)
padmanaabhaaya namaH (four fingers to touch navel and the chest)
daamodaraaya namaH (four fingers to touch head)

2.praaNaayaama

this is the process of controlling the breathing. with the thumb and the ring finger on either nostril, we hold the nostril pressed closed, or leave it open, breathing in and out in accordance to the rhythm of another mantra.

3.saN^kalpaM

With the palms together in the saN^kalpa posture

which is with the right palm facing down on the left palm, at right angles to it.
this part relates to “assuming” or saying what exactly you are going to do (which., of course is sandhya vandanam, that is you are going to do the sandhyavandanam and you are dedicating yourself to this task) Sankalpam is something that is done before doing any religious rite.

5.mantra prokshaNaM

(you invoke Gayatri, the Goddess of the sunrise)

aapohishhTheti mantrasya sindhudviipa R^ishhiH with right hand fingers touch the head
devii gaayatrii chhandaH touch the nose tip
aapo devataa touch the chest
naabhi sparshana

apaaM prokshaNe viniyogaH

(you sprinkle water over yourself, thus purifying yourself for the task)

oM aapohishhThaa mayobhuvaH prokshaNa of the Head
taa na uurje dadhaatana prokshaNa of the Head
mahe raNaaya chakshase prokshaNa of the Head
yovaH shivatamo rasaH prokshaNa of the Head
tasya bhaajayatehanaH prokshaNa of the Head
ushatiiriva maataraH prokshaNa of the Head
tasmaa araN^gamaama vaH prokshaNa of the Head
yasya kshayaaya jinvatha prokshaNa of the big Toes
aapo janayathaa chanaH again prokshaNa of the Head
oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH

Take little water on your right palm and throw around your head in clockwise direction like pradaxiNaM

6. praashanam (see 4 above)

suuryashchetyanuvaakasya agnir R^ishhiH touch the head
gaayatrii chchhandaH touch the nose tip
suuryo devataa touch the chest

apaaM praashane viniyogaH (place “tiirtham” in the hollow of right palm and recite as follows)

oM | suuryashcha maa manyushcha manyupatayashcha manyukR^itebhyaH |
paapebhyo rakshantaam.h | yadraatryaa paapamakaarshham.h | manasaa vaachaa hastaabhyaam.h |
padbhyaamudareNa shishnaa | raatristadavalumpatu | yatkiMcha duritaM mayi |
idamahaM maamamR^itayonau | suurye jyotishhi juhomi svaahaa ||

(after uttering the above mantra japa ingest(swallow and not sip) the water from the palm)

7. aachamanam.h
(see 1 above)

8.punaH proxaNam.h
(punah meand “again” so this is a repetition of 5 above.)

dadhikraavNNa iti mantrasya vaamadeva R^ishhiH touch the head
anushhTup.h chhandaH touch the nose tip
dadhikraavaa devataa touch the chest
apaaM prokshaNe viniyogaH

Sprinkle (prokshaNa)water on the Head while reciting the following each time

oM dadhikraavNNo akaarishhaM
jishhNorashvasya vaajinaH
surabhi no mukhaakarat.h
pra Na aayuu{\m+}shhi taarishhat.h
aapohishhThaa mayobhuvaH
taa na uurje dadhaatana
mahe raNaaya chakshase
yovaH shivatamo rasaH
tasya bhaajayatehanaH
ushatiiriva maataraH
tasmaa araN^gamaama vaH
yasya kshayaaya jinvatha prokshaNa of the big Toes
aapo janayathaa chanaH again prokshaNa of the Head
oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH

Take little water on your right palm and throw around your head in clockwise direction like pradaxiNaM

9.Achamanam.h
achyutaaya namaH anantaaya namaH govindaaya namaH

10.praaNaayaamaH

11.saN^kalpaM

shrii bhagavadaaGYayaa shriimannaaraayaNa priityarthaM praataH sandhyaa arghyapradaanaM karishhye

12.arghyapradaanaM

(oarghyam- ffering water to the elements)

nyaasaH
arghyapradaana ma.ntrasya vishvaamitra R^ishhiH touch the head
deviigaayatriichchhandaH touch the nose tip
savitaa devataa touch the chest
arghyapradaane viniyogaH

mantraH
oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH tatsaviturvareNyaM
bhargodevasya dhiimahi dhiyo yonaH prachodayaat.h (First arghyaM)
oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH tatsaviturvareNyaM (Second arghyaM)
oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH tatsaviturvareNyaM (Third arghyaM)
(Recite the mantra thrice and offer arghyam thrice once after each recitation)

13.praaNaayaamaH
oM bhuuH oM bhuvaH oM suvaH

14.praayashchitta arghyaM
(this is offering water to compensate for lapses in duty on your part)

saN^kalpaM

shrii bhagavadaaGYayaa shriimannaaraayaNa priityarthaM praataH sandhyaa
kaalaatiita praayashchittaarthaM turiiya arghyapradaanaM karishhye

turiiya arghyapradaana mantrasya saandiipanii R^ishhiH touch the head
deviigaayatriichchhandaH touch the nose tip
savitaa devataa touch the chest
turiiya arghyapradaane viniyogaH

oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH tatsaviturvareNyaM bhargodevasya diimahi dhiyo yonaH prachodayaat.h

(invoke the above mantra and offer praayashchitta arghyam once)

15. oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH

Take little water on your right palm and through around the head in clock wise direction

Turn around yourself in clockwise direction as pradaxiNa
asaavaadityobrahmaa (Salute the sun with anjali mudra)(a MUDRA is a particular position of the hands. in the anjali mudra the two hands come together with fingers intertwined, so that you get a small gap between the fingers through which you can see the sun without hurting the eyes)

16.aachamanam
achyutaaya namaH anantaaya namaH govindaaya namaH

17.keshavaadi tarpaNam
Sit in a squatting posture and offer one tarpam (one tarpam is a little water flowing off the palm)
while reciting each mantra similar to arghyam
keshavaM tarpayaami
naaraayaNaM tarpayaami
maadhavaM tapayaami
govindaM tarpayaami
vishhNuM tarpayaami
madhusuudanaM tarpayaami
trivikramaM tarpayaami
vaamanaM tarpayaami
shriidharaM tarpayaami
hR^ishhiikeshaM tarpayaami
padmanaabhaM tarpayaami
daamodaraM tarpayaami

18.aachamanam.h

achyutaaya namaH anantaaya namaH govindaaya namaH

19.japavidhiH
(do the japam, which is chant the mantra below)

oM aasanamantrasya pR^ithivyaameru pR^ishhTha R^ishhiH touch the head
sutalaM chhandaH touch the nose tip
shrii kuurmo devataa touch the chest

aasane viniyogaH

(Sit down in padmaasana with palms folded in praNaama/namaste
posture after sanctifying the place by lightly sprinkling water)

pR^ithvi tvayaa dhR^itaa lokaa devitvaM vishhNunaa dhR^itaa |
tvaM cha dhaaraya maaM devi pavitraM kuruchaasanam.h ||

20. Gaayatri japam

20(a).nyaasam.h

(perform praaNaayaamam thrice and hold the palms in saN^kalpa posture)

oM praNavasya R^ishhi brahmaa touch the head
devii gaayatrii chhandaH touch the nose
paramaatmaa devataa touch the chest

oM bhuuraadi sapta vyaahR^itiinaaM atri bhR^igu kutsa vasishhTha
gautama kaashyapa aaN^girasa R^ishhayaH touch the head
gaayatrii ushhNik.h anushhTup bR^ihatii paN^ti tR^ishhTup jagatyaH chhandaa{gm}si touch the nose
agni vaayu arka vaagiisha varuNa indra vishvedevaaH devataaH touch the chest

saavitryaa R^ishhiH vishvaamitraH touch the head
deviigaayatrii chhandaH touch the nose
savitaa devataa touch the chest

gaayatrii shiraso brahma R^ishhiH touch the head
anushhTup chhandaH touch the nose
paramaatmaa devataa touch the chest

sarveshhaaM praaNaayaame viniyogaH
(perform aatma aavaahanam and fold the palms again in praNaama/namaste posture)
muktaavidruma hemaniila dhavaLachchhaayaiH mukhaistriikshaNaiH
yuktaamindukalaa nibaddhamakuTaaM tatvaartha varNaatmikaaM |
gaayatriiM varadaabhayaaM kushakashaM shubhraM kapaalaM guNaM
shaN^khaM chakramathaaravindayugaLaM hastairvahantiiM bhaje ||

(meditate on the form of gaayatrii devi)

omaapo jyotiraso.amR^itaM brahma bhuurbhuvassuvarom.h

(while chanting the above mantra perform aatma parishuddhi with the two palms by gently touching from head to toe)

arkamaNDala madhyasthaM suuryakoTisamaprabham.h |
brahmaadi sevya paadaabjaM naumibrahma ramaasakham.h ||

(meditate on gaayatrii devi)

praaNaanaayamya 3 times

oM bhuuH oM bhuvaH oM suvaH oM mahaH
oM bhuuH oM bhuvaH oM suvaH oM mahaH
oM bhuuH oM bhuvaH oM suvaH oM mahaH

(perform praaNaayaamam thrice and hold the palms in saN^kalpa posture)
ahobila mutt sishyas have to skip this sankalpa since it was done already for gayatri japam

shrii bhagavadaaGYayaa shriimannaaraayaNa priityarthaM praataH sandhyaa
ashhTottara shata sa.nkhyayaa (108)
(alternately)
ashhTaaviMshati sa.nkhyayaa (28)
gaayatrii mahaamantrajapaM karishhye||

20 (b) gaayatrii aavaahanam

aayaatu ityanuvaakasya vaamadeva R^ishhiH touch the head
anushhTup.h chhandaH touch the nose
gaayatrii devataa touch the chest

gaayatrii aavaahane viniyogaH

(hold the palms together in praNaama/namaste posture)

aayaatu varadaa devii aksharaM brahma sammitam |
gaayatriiM chhandasaaM maatedaM brahma jushhasvanaH |

ojosi sahosi balamasi bhraajosi devaanaaM dhaama naamaasi
vishvamasi vishvaayuH sarvamasi sarvaayuH abhibhuuroM

gaayatriiM aavaahayaami ( aatma aavaahanam)
saavitriiM aavaahayaami ( aatma aavaahanam)
sarasvatiiM aavaahayaami ( aatma aavaahanam)

praatardhyaayaami gaayatriiM ravimaNDala madhyagaam.h |
R^igvedamuchchaarayantiiM raktavarNaaM kumaarikaam.h |
akshamaalaakaraaM brahmadaivatyaaM haMsavaahanaam.h ||

saavitryaa R^ishhiH vishvaamitraH touch the head
deviigaayatrii chhandaH touch the nose
savitaa devataa touch the chest

(hold the palms together in praNaama/namaste posture)

yodevo savitaasmaakaM dhiyo dharmaadi gocharaaH |
prerayet.h tasya yadbhargaH tadvareNyamupaasmahe ||

aaditya maNDaledhyaayet.h paramaatmaanamavyayam.h |
vishhNuM chaturbhujaM ratnakunDalair.h maNDitaaN^ganam.h ||

sarvaratna samaayukta sarvaabharaNa bhuushhitaam.h |
evaM dhyaatvaa japennityaM mantramashhTottaraM shatam.h ||

gaayatrii japaH

oM | bhuurbhuvassuvaH |
tatsaviturvareNiyaM |
bhargodevasya dhiimahi |
dhiyo yonaH prachodayaat.h ||
oM | bhuurbhuvassuvaH |

(Recite gaayatrii japa 108 times or at least 28 times)

nyaasaH

shriimad.h aShTaakshara mahaa mantrasya naaraayaNa R^ishhiH ##with right hand fingers touch the head ##
devii gaayatrii chhandaH ##touch the nose tip ##
shriiman.h naaraayaNo devataa ##touch the chest ##

dhyaanaM
savyaM paadaM prasaarya shriitaduritaharaM daxiNaM ku~nchayitvaa
jaanumyaadhaaya savye taramitarabhujaM naaga bhoge nidhaaya.
pashchaad.h baahudvayena pratipaTa shamane dhaarayan.h sha~Nkha chakre
devii bhuuShaadi juShTo janayatu jagataaM sharma vaikuNTha naathaH..

Do japam 28 or 108 times as per sankalpam

aachamanam

oM bhuurbhuvassuvaH Sprinkle water on the floor where the japam was made

sarvaM shriikR^ishhNaarpaNamastu

Shrii aShTaakshara japam sampoorNam

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