Friday, December 23, 2016

Sandhyavandana 2 - significance of water.

<Continued from the previous post where we set up the stage:>

मम उपात्त समस्त दुरितक्षयद्वार  श्री परमेश्वर प्रीत्यर्थं प्राथः संध्यां उपास्ये ।

I engage in morning sandhyavandana for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord so as to remove all my accumulated impediments (sin, evil, discomfort).

[At this time we look at the water, sprinkle it all over us body and appreciate its role in our existence]

ॐ आपॊहिष्ठा मयो भुवः । ता न ऊर्जे दधातन ।  महे रणाय चक्षसे ।  यो वः शिवतमॊ रसः ।  तस्य भाजयतेह नः । उशतीरिव मातरः। 

Om! Its on water (or pious actions) alone that this world is sustained | That [water] gives (preserves) the vigor to make one refreshed (to live, to be happy, to be powerful) | For the radiantly (clear*) abundant pleasure (delight, joy, movement) | Oh water, you bestow the most auspicious (prosperous) essence (nectar) that gets distributed in this [body of] ours just like a wishing mother [who sustains the child willfully] |

[I discovered here that chakshas could also refer to a spiritual guru who opens one's eye to see] 

तस्मा अरं गमाम वः। यस्य क्षयाय जिन्वथ। आपो जनयथा च नः॥
[तस्मै॑  अर॑म्  ग॒मा॒म॒  वः॒  यस्य॑  क्षया॑य  जिन्व॑थ  आपः॑  ज॒नय॑थ  च॒  नः॒ ॥]

We swiftly (suitably, readily) move towards (to partake, to perceive, to receive) for the consumption (diminution, establish) of that [rasa] that you enable (impel, help, incite, promote, animate, liven, refresh) us to, and water helps us beget (produce, create, generate). 

[It is water that enable us, gives the vigor to move, to be happy, to live, to gain clarity and abundant pleasure. It is water that creates auspiciousness and prosperity, that is distributed [as blood] within us satisfying the various wishes (of the various organs) like a mother (satisfying her children). We swiftly partake in the consumption of that essence because it enables us to*, and to also help us procreate (generations)].

*We forcefully, helplessly move towards water and it is energy in the water that enables us to... It is no surprise that water was central to our activities, and civilizations always prospered around water. 


It took me a while to wholly appreciate the beauty of this composition. It is literally impossible to translate as it is because these verses manifest in various forms depending on how we see them and put them together. Its like bouquet of flowers. It is like a jigsaw puzzle. Your ability to put them together will reveal something that best suits your abilities at that time. 

Sarvam Shri KrishNArpaNam! 

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Sandhyavandana - 1

Doing Sandhyavanada everyday is a discipline that I have been cultivating for the past few years. In the next year or so our son will be ready for upanayana, so I wish to be a role model to him as my father was to me. First step towards that I thought was knowing the meanings of what we chant because my son has already started to express keen interest in the meaning. This blog is more for myself than anyone else so that I can help my son if he needs.

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Sandhyavandana is a way to salute and thank the Sun for his contribution to our existence. It is not just the external sun that Sandhyavandana salutes. It is the sun within. Hindu ideology believes that what is outside is within, so whatever is done externally is also to be internalized.

It involves multiple phases:

  1. Purification and Conviction: begin with purification - external (bAhya) through water and Internal (abhyantara) through bhagawad nAma and prANAyAma; making the sankalpa (determination)
  2. Invocation and Welcome: preparing the stage and inviting the auspicious deities within; welcoming; giving the arghya (respectful reception of a "guest")
  3. Meditation or mantra japa: gAyatri japa is central to the sandhyavandana, and the above preparations are vital before doing gAyatri; offer oblations
  4. Conclusion: thank all the deities, give a graceful sendoff, re-invite them the next time, extend apologies for any shortcoming and conclude by offering everything to the Lord, Sri Krishna.

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Here are some of the most important elements of Sandhyavanadana:

[start by purification process: external through water and internal through the Lord's names]

अपवित्रः पवित्रः वा सर्व अवस्थां गतॊपि वा ।
यः स्मरॆत् पुण्डरीकाक्षं सबाह्य अभ्यन्तर शुचिः ॥

Whether one is pure or impure (bathed or unbathed, wearing the sacred thread or not, sinful or sinless), whatever state (jAgrt/swapna/shushupti, bAla/kaumAra/yuva/vriddApya/mrityA, brahmacharya/grihasta/vAnaprastha/sanyAsa etc) one has reached, one who remembers (remembers, recollects, recites, thinks of, is mindful of) the Lotus Eyed One (the Lord, Sri Krishna, Sriman Narayana), he/she is purified (shines, glows, gleams) from outside and from within.

केशवाय स्वाह | नारायणाय स्वाह | माधवाय स्वाह |

केशवाय स्वाह - offering to Lord with fine luxuriant hair (hair likened to the rays of the Sun; the Supreme Being) i.e. to Lord Sri Krishna 

नारायणाय स्वाह – offering to the Lord who pervades us from within (described as one who keeps the blood warm and responsible for circulation; He is described as the eye of the world, the world itself, the indestructible, supreme abode, eteral, unending, soul of the universe, last resort, the ultimate one who is to be known, the root, imperishable, supreme brahman, infinite, limitless, all knowing etc.), i.e. to Lord Sri Krishna

माधवाय स्वाह – offering to the Lord who is sweet like honey (the all attractive, the most fragrant one), i.e. to Lord Sri Krishna.

(offering made to the external aspect, the internal aspect and the deep inner core which is likened to honey)

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गोविंदाय नमः – Salutations to the one who gives pleasure to the senses (one who is the chief herdsman), i.e. to Lord Sri Krishna

विष्ण्वॆ नमः – Salutations to the one who is all pervading, all embracing, i.e. to Lord Sri Krishna

मधुसूदनाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who slayed Madhu demon, i.e. to Sri Krishna (who like the bee collects honey for the living beings to consume)

त्रिविक्रमाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who strides over the 3 worlds (bhu, bhvah, suvah; who can push His devotee out of the 3 worlds and the 3 modes of material nature)

वामनाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who came in the form of a dwarf (complementing trivikrama)

श्रीधराय नमः – Salutations to the Lord of Fortune (one who is all splendor, intellect, fame, glory, grace, luster, virtuousness, excellence; posseses all wealth)

ह्रिशिकॆशाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord of the organ of senses (one who delights, and creates happiness)

पद्मनाभाय नमः – Salutations to the Lotus Navel'd Lord (the causal root of the entire creation)

दामोदराय नमः – Salutations to the Lord with a rope around the waist (Sri Krishna)

संकर्शणाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who beholds the entire universe (Lord from who all the manifestations or incarnations supposedly happen; Anantashesha, who is born as Lord Balarama) (Sri Krishna)

वासुदॆवाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord of Soul (vAsu: “The Soul”; the soul of the universe; the supreme being), the son of Vasudeva (Sri Krishna)  

प्रध्युम्नाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord of Intellect, of love, the per-eminently mighty one, who radiates or illuminates (also, the son of Krishna and Rukmini, and Krishna Himself) (Sri Krishna)

अनिरुद्धाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord one who cannot be suppressed, stopped, confined, i.e. who is self-reliant and self-willed (also, the son of Pradhyumna, said to have close resemblance to his grandfather Sri Krishna )

पुरुशोत्तमाय नमः – Salutations to the Supreme Spirit (highest being, best among all that is) (Sri Krishna)

अधोक्षजाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who never falls down or dishonored or undermined (Sri Krishna)

नारसिम्हाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who is nArasimha (man-lion), the great warrior (Sri Krishna)

अच्युताय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who is imperishable, firm, fixed, permanent; almighty being; (Sri Krishna)

जनार्दनाय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who excites, motivates, inspires all that is born; one who annihilates all that is born. (Sri Krishna)

उपेन्द्राय नमः – Salutations to the Lord who as the younger brother of Indra descended as vAmana; who is Indra Himself. (Sri Krishna)

हरये नमः – Salutations to the Lord (also the Lion, Indra, Brahma, beautiful, fire, wind, the sun) (Sri Krishna)

श्री कृष्णाय नमः – Salutations to Lord Sri Krishna (the all attractive; who is in essence all the above names and more).  

<to be continued>