by TRS Iyengar
0ne of the most important daily routines among the Brahman (Brahmin) is a prayer called SandhyaVandanam i.e. Nithya Anushtanam (Daily routine). There are three types of Karmas- Nithya, Naimithika, and Kamya karmas. Kamya karma is one which is done with a desire to achieve, like a yagya for long life etc .Even if kamya karmas are not done , there is no sin. Naimithika karma is one which is not shastra bound and not niyamic, i.e., a necessary duty , such as taking bath after an eclipse. Nithya karma is one which is `niyata nimitta' meaning ` that which is done which is shastra bound' . Sunrise and sunset are the reason for doing Sandhya vandanam. Hence this is classified in the Nithya karma, which has to be done daily , lifetime. This are the spiritual and profoundly scientific value one get by performing thrice a day, regular SandhyaVandanams. This known procedure is spelt in different way though pronounced as one; viz. Sandhyavandanam, Sandhyaa Vandanam, Sandhya Vandanam, Sandhyavandhanam, Sandyaavandhanam, Sandyavandanam, Sandyavandana Sandhyaavandhanam & Sandhyavandana.
This prayer is offered thrice everyday, once before sunrise, again at Noon and third at the time of evening before Sunset.
This prayer is a combined subject of Religion, Health, Concentration, Yoga, Meditation, Exercise and Prayer. In one topic, 'Sandhyaa Vandanam' is just the ancient Vedic scripture that has pictured the core element of healthy living.
A marvelous preventive medicine for every age and time, every Brahman in those days supposedly lived for more than 400 years of age, just by simply following these regular prayer offerings. Is it possible ? Can it be true ?
Yes, even in today's polluted environments of air, water and the ecological factor, this practice of daily Sandhyaa Vandanam can be a relief from many a disease that affects the Brahman society.
The first step taken in those days were, Performing thread wearing ceremony to every Brahman boy who attains the age of 7 then take him in a group of 5/7 boys to the Gurukulam, where a learned schollar will teach them this prayer. Here the boys were taught to develop their knowledge of Vedic Scriptures, to recite the hym and rhyms of Slokhas and stick to the principles of the faith they belonged to.
This routine includes Breathing exercises (inhaling/breathing from one nostril and releasing the carbon dioxode through other nostril and alternating vice versa) (praanaayaamam), thus expanding and enlarging his lungs, and improving his blood circulation level. Because of this routine practice every boy who undergoes this sort of training learns to control his breath and learns to control his entire body mechanism.
While doing so, he is made to recite the Supreme Japam called "Gayatri" (read the article based on proven scientific values about "Gayatri", a verse that cleanses the inner soul by repeated chanting. By reciting this "Gayatri" for a specific counts of times (say 108 or 1008 times, thrice a day) improves a persons skills and ability, increases ones memory power, and protects him from any major ailments.
In addition to above, they were made to sit in one place concentrating on above and making them to take control of their body and mind at once. Also the divine vibrations received from frequent chanting of the Vedic scriptures, and doing the Gayatri Japam, their brain neurons are strengthened and and their brain wave length passed on in a focused manner, and taking control of things in all their undertakings. Yes, the Gaayatri Japam vibrations are so powerful, if a person chants/recites it for one crore time, he gets a finer body, cleaner and very respectable look and people regard him as a powerful person.
Modern science has evolved the above conception as just and perfect for a healthy living. Many Yoga centres, that have spread all over the world now, teach and preach this today, even in the Western countries, where once they considered these Hindu practices as blind faith and foolish.
The practice of SandyaVandanam in itself is daily performed without fail at a calm peaceful atmosphere. This enabled the learners to control their emotions, temperament and anger to a larger extent and made them tolerant to others. Thus, a Brahman never got angry even in the worst of circumstances.
As everyone knows, the Sun being a Star, passes its rays all the time, whether day or night. Without its power, none on the earth can exist. Using these power for the good of human kind is taught in the Vedic scripts. The solar energy can be used not just to produce electricity for batteries etc., but also to recharge ones own body mechanism. As the body too produces electricity and magnetic phases, it is no wonder that ancient Brahman found it to live in his fittest way, healthier and longer.
During the noon prayer or Maadhyaanika Sandhyaavandanam, they used perform Soorya Namaskaaram (Worshiping the Star Sun), and there is a methodical way to seeing the Sun and to absorb the rays (solar energy ?) into their body. It is widely believed that Surya Namaskaram cleanses the eye lenses. This practice prevented them from early blindness. (Mind it, looking at the Sun directly may blind your sight and damage your eye lenses, so please learn it from a person who knows it well). While doing this too, they had to chant a prayer dedicated to the Lord and Star Sun, and this vibration, combined with viewing the Sun in a methodical way, increases ones physical strength.
Now let's see the perfect timing to perform the ritual. Sure, the benefit what one gets by doing this is clearly visible. One can experience this on performing it regularly. The right time to perform Sandhya Vandanam:
is the apt time for doing Sandhya Vandanam ? The name "Sandhya" means
the meeting time of Day with night, which is just before and during sunrise and
Ajyotisho darsanat sandhi, jyotisho bhanutare
Thus, the above Slokha means:- Sandhi is the time when the sun and the stars are together visible. The practical thing therefore will be to start :
i) In the morning before sunrise, give Arghyam during sunrise and finish just after sunrise.
ii) In the evening, begin before sunset, give Arghyam during sunset and finish later.
For those who always are inconsistent with their timings, Shastra says for praatha: (morning) Sandhyavandhan
Uttama tarakopeta madhyama lupta taraka
Adhama urya sahita prata: sandhya tridha mana
To do Praatha: ( morning) sandhyaavandanam, when the stars are visible, yet before full Sun rise, it is called Uttama (first grade.); Maddhyama is, (middle grade) when doing without
the stars; and Adhama ( least grade when Sun is visible) i.e. after full sun raise of the day.
Uttama suryasahita maddhyama anudita taraka
Adhma tarakopeta sayam sandhya tridha mata
To perform the Evening (Sayam) SandhyaVandanam , it is Uttama i.e. perfect to do while the sun is still shining; Maddhyama when doing before stars are visible; Adhama after the stars are fuly visible.
The morning and evening sandhis are more ideal since, practically, a person's stomach will be empty doing both sunrise and sunset. This one can be of sure, when a person takes his meals systematically and punctually everyday. An empty stomach is achieved after four hours of a solid meal. An empty stomach is a prerequisite for Sandhyavandanam since there are at least three sets of pranayama totaling 15 in one full routine. A loaded stomach will interfere with pranayama greatly resulting in indigestion, sleepiness etc. Even the madhyahnikam (noon) routine is done with an empty stomach before the meal.
Unless practicing these Vedic systems, one cannot just feel and experience its highest values. What one needs is a simple commitment to the ethos evolved in the ancient
Vedas and strict adherence to it in his day to day life. Then only can one gain the full value of peace, health and