Monday, January 16, 2017

Sandhyavandana - Part 5 - preparation for gAyatri mantra

[Through "arghya", we have invited / invoked auspiciousness inside us. "agni" lightens the world outside and the keep the body alive, 'surya' lightens everything and gives the energy for us to perform duties, and 'Saraswati' illuminates the mind and the intellect. We now seek the blessings of Goddess Saraswati and Gayatri devi, and all the deities to enable us to be enlightened. ]

आयातु वरदादेवि अक्षरं ब्रह्म सम्मितम् । छन्दसां मातेदं ब्रह्म जुषस्वमे । यदहन्नात्कुरुते पापं तदहन्नात्प्रतिमुच्च्यते । यद्रात्र्यात्कुरुतेपापं तद्रात्र्यात्प्रतिमुच्च्यते । सर्ववर्णे महदेवि संध्यविद्ये सरस्वति ।

May the boon-bestowing (benefactor, Goddess of benediction; Saraswati devi in this case), who resembles (same as, corresponding to, incessantly, perpetually) the imperishable (immutable, word) 'brahma' (supreme spirit, the Lord, absolute), enter (come near, approach) us | May you, the mother of the vedas (brahma, spirit, soul, absolute) formed in this sacred hymn (meter, will, intention, longing) be pleased (jushat - attach, be satisfied, be favorable, enjoy) [with me] | Whatever pApa (mischief, misdeed, sin, inauspiciousness, vile, evil, guilt) has been committed by the day (in light, intentionally, consciously), that has been freed by the day. Whatever pApa has been committed by the night (ignorance, darkness), that has been released by the night | Oh the all-colored (varna: letter, character, sound, beauty, form, quality etc), the "twilight science" (enlightening knowledge), supreme deity Saraswati |

ॐ। ओजोसि सहोसि बलमसि भ्राजोसि । दॆवानां धामनामासि । विश्वमसि विश्वायुः सर्वमसि सर्वायुः । अभिभोरोम् । गायत्रीं आवाहयामि ।  सावित्रीं आवाहयामि । सरस्वतीं आवाहयामि । छन्दर्षीं आवाहयामि ।  श्रीं आवाहयामि । बलम् आवाहयामि । गायत्र्याः गाय्त्रीश्छन्दः विश्वामित्र ऋषिः । सविता देवता । अग्निर्मुखम् । ब्रह्मशिरः । विष्णुःहृदयं । रुद्रः शिख । पृथ्वी योनिः | प्राणापान व्यानोदान समान सप्राण श्वेतवर्ण सान्ख्यान सगोत्र । गायत्री चतुर्विम्शत्यक्शरा त्रिपाद षट्कुक्षिः । पञ्चशीषोपनयने विनियोगः ॥

Om! You are the energy (vigor, bodily strength, power, vitality, strength, luster). You are the force (victor). You are the might (ability, robustness, stamina). You are the brilliance (glitter, shine). You are indeed the abode of the deities. You are the world (all gods collectively, omnipresent, whole, universal), the all pervading air (all people). You are everything, bestowing all life. We bow down to you. I invite/invoke goddess gAyatri (deity of the vedas). I invite/invoke goddess sAvitri (the ray of light from the Sun; one who stimulates). I invite/invoke goddess saraswati (one who enables knowledge). I invite/invoke the goddess of metrical science (who provides the rhythm). I invite/invoke goddess laxmi (fortune, success, radiance, glory, wealth, majesty, dignity). I invite/invoke the power of articulation (bala is also one of the vishvedevAs). Gayatri is the meter for this gAyatri mantra, and Vishwamitra the sage (the seer). savitA (the light in the Sun god) is the deity. agni (deity of fire) is the mouth (upper part, introduction, beginning, cause).  brahma is the head. vishNu the heart. rudra the tuft of hair (the root, the summit, pinnacle, chief, ray of light, flame). Earth is the reproductive organ (abode, home, uterus, womb, seed, home, seat).  [The sustenance through panchaprAnas - prAna, apAna, vyAna, udAna, samAna] Inspiration (inward air; the driving force), expiration (outward air; one that enables ejection and elimination; without the apAna vAyu one lacks motivation), the air that keeps us erect, the air that keeps us in balance, air that controls the metabolism, the very living (life), in the lineage of the one with the bright hued appearance [the spirit]. Through gAyatri, the 6-bellied, 5-headed, 23 syllable meter, I execute the sacred ceremony.

ॐ भूः । ॐ भुवः । ॐ सुवः । ॐ महः । ॐ जनः । ॐ तपः । ॐ सत्यं । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गोदेवस्य धीमहि धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ।

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sandhyavandana - Part 4 - arghya pradhAnam

अर्घ्य प्रदान (respectful offering to something valuable; water offered at the respectful reception of a guest)

[Sun is an important part of human existence. The Sun that lightens the world outside, enlightens the world within. This is the process of inviting and invoking the Sun within. The water that is being offered is sanctified with the energy of the same Lord who energizes the sun. In the previous section we saw how the fire is visualized in the water, and here we offer water to the supreme fire; the source of both is the same pundarikAksha anyway]

<keshavAya swaha .....>

मम उपात्त समस्त दुरितक्षय द्वार श्रीपरमेश्वर प्रीत्यर्थे अर्घ्य प्रदानं करिष्ये ।

I engage in the arghya process (respectable welcome to Sun in the horizon and into our hearts) for the pleasure of the Supreme Lord so as to remove all my accumulated impediments (sins, evil, discomfort).

ॐ भूर्भुवस्सुवः । ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरॆण्यं भर्गो दॆवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् । भास्कराय नमः । इदमर्घ्यम् ॥ (3 times)

[taitariya upanishad provides an interesting perspective of Om Bhurbhuvahsuvah! 

१) ऒमिति ब्रह्म । ओमितीदं सर्वम्  | 

Om is Brahma, Om is everything that is there.

२)  भूरिति अयम् लोकः । भुवः इति अन्तरिक्षं । सुवः इति असौ लोकः । भूरिति अग्निः । भुवः इति वायौ । सुवः इत्यादित्ये । भूरिति वै प्राणः । भुवः इति अपानः । सुवः इति व्यानः: 

There are many ways to look at these ideas, the most popular are "Bhu is this world. Bhuvah is the interspace. Suvah is the heavenly (far off, spirit world). Or, they could be seen as "agni" (deity of fire), vAyu (deity of air), and aaditya (the all absorbing deity of Sun) 

There are many ways to translate the Gayatri but the easiest one according to me would be].

[meditating upon] "Om" (shabdha brahma; the all pervading cosmic sound), the gross physical universe (earthly planetary system), atmosphere, and the heavenly planets. I meditate upon that Lord, who is the source of the most excellent effulgence of that Sun, [may He] inspire our intellect. 

[Please note that "ॐ तत्सवितुर्वरॆण्यं भर्गो दॆवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्" is the actual Gayatri Mantra]

ॐ इत्येकाक्षरं ब्रह्म | अग्निर्देवता ब्रह्म इत्यार्षम् । गायत्रम् छन्दम् । परमात्मं स्वरूपं सायुज्यं विनियॊगः ॥

Om, thus is the sacred monosyllable supreme spirit [in Gita, Krishna says it is Him alone that one needs to remember when chanting Om] | "Fire [vaishvAnara, who presides over the digestive faculty; the all purifying prakriti of the Lord] is the deity", thus is the declaration of the Rishi's (sages) | "gAyatri", the meter [the deity that is to be invited / that is worthy of praise]. The mandate is the oneness in the form (one should meditate upon) of the Supreme Lord Himself.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Sandhyavandana - Part 4

In this we will continue on the previous partial discussion around punarmArjanam: Sandhyavandana - Part 3

यासां देवा दिवि कृण्वन्ति भक्षंया अन्तरिक्षे बहुदा भवन्ति । या पृथ्वीं पयसॊऽन्दन्ति शुक्रस्तान अपःशग् स्योना भवन्तु ।

[It is this water - the nArAyaNa udaka] through which the "gods" in the heavens know to nurture, to make the rain waters much giving (munificent) that makes the earth fertile (strong) to spring out and enable the seed [giving ability] of animals, May this water be the bed of auspiciousness.

शिवेनमा चक्षुषा पश्यतापश्यिवया तन्वोऽप स्पृशत् त्वचं मे । सर्वाग्ं अग्नीग्ं रप्सुषदॊ हुवेवो मयि वर्चो बलमोजो निधत्त ॥

[Its beautiful how Sanskrit verses manifest different meanings depending on the arrangement of words and their meanings. One of the many meanings of chakshus  is "eye of mitra and God of Water" that I will use in this context, however it can also mean the very faculty of seeing, or it could mean light or the very act of seeing. So, we could focus on the act of seeing and pray for focus, or pray to our faculty or the deity which presides over the faculty by enabling it for inner insights. pashyat often is translated as "seeing" but beholding seems more relevant in the given context; remember that we are holding the water in our hands and beholding through our eyes - bhAhya and antar perspectives acting together.

sarvaga means water that goes everywhere but it also manifests in many ways such as omnipresent, all-pervading, spirit, soul. However it gets more interesting when we observe that sarvagm is the adjective for agnigm, and that is followed by "apsuShadah", i.e. which dwells in water.]

Oh Mitra, the deity of water, behold me by your blissful grace, your auspicious sight, and may my self and skin be sanctified by your touch. May the all pervading, the water dwelling agni [the vaishvAnara] install (and preserve) brilliance (energy, form), strength and vigor (vitality, luster, splendor, bodily strength, emphatic expression) within me. 

पाप पुरुष विसर्जनं

["paapa purusha" can be observed at two levels: cause and effect. First it is all in the mind, and influences all the sinful actions we engage in, including the negative thoughts. Its effects can be experienced as karma, in the body and mind; in the form of pride, pain, sweat, mucous, negative thoughts etc. Interestingly, we start with the easier option, i.e. the external and then address the internal root cause and pray that we are cleansed at both levels. "paapa purusha" manifests again and again, and this is why one is advised to do Sandhya three times to cleanse him like we cleanse sweat and other impurities]

द्रुपदादिव मुञ्चतु । द्रुपदादिवेन्मुमुचानः । स्विन्न स्नात्वी मलादिव । पूतं पवित्रेणॆवाज्यम् ।आपश्शुन्धन्तु मैनसः ॥

May I be liberated from pain and other tortures, be delivered from arrogance (pride, madness), through this ablution (process of getting wet) just as a bath cleanses the sweat (svinna) and other impurities. May this water cleanse [me] by the sacred prowess [of this process; like the clarified butter] from sins [and sinful inclinations] of the mind.

[Till now we would have touch the eyes, ears and other aspects with the water during aachamana, here we smell the water to cleanse from within; some people seem to indicate that "paapa purusha" resides at the edge of the nose, that I may not completely agree with but take the spirit of the idea]

aachamana .... <keshavAya ....>

To be Continued ....

Sandhyavanada - 3

Continued from the previous 2 posts:
Sandhyavanadana - Part - 2 
Sandhyavanadana - Part - 1

[After the initial purification, we keep water in our palm and chant these prayers pleading deities to destroy the sins; which is an internal cleansing process]

ॐ सूर्यश्च मा मन्युश्च मन्युपतयश्च मन्युकृतेभ्यः पापेभ्यो रक्षन्ताम् । 
यद्रात्र्या पापमकार्षं मनसा वाचा हस्ताभ्यां पद्भया्मुदरेण शिश्ना रात्रिस्तदवलुम्पतु। 
यत्किञ्च दुरितं मयि इदमहं माममृतयोनौ सूर्ये ज्योतिषि जुहोमि स्वाहा ।।

Om! May Surya, pride, and the faculties that preside over emotions (i.e. "gods of emotions") protect (save, guard) me from "rage" (resentment, meanness, anger, distress, grief, wrath, passion, mood), and from the all the sins perpetrated out of "rage".

May rAtri/"night" (the presiding deities of darkness; "one of the forms of Brahma") crush (devour, swallow, suppress) whatever sins that I [may have] committed at night through mind (thoughts, will, intention, intelligence, temper), through speech (sound, language, voice, words), hands, legs, belly (stomach), genital organs.

Whatever minute wickedness (evil, sin, discomfort) that reside in me, this ego (conceit, pride, arrogance) and myself, I offer them as oblations in sacrifice into the effulgence of Surya.

This is an important purification process. "paapa prajna" (guilt) can stop us from making progress. It will hold us back. So, it is important to cleanse the mind before proceeding further. Interesting to see how emotions are seen as a way to guard against emotions. 

Night is a great opportunity to reboot our system, to get rid of any disasters of the day. "Night" also represents ignorance, so a lot of the "sins" are committed due to ignorance, and ignorance can only save us from ignorance. So, in essence four level refuge is sought for relief from "sin": Surya (cleansing agent, energizer, that represents enlightenment and knowledge), emotions, emotional roots, and night. 

<keshavAya swaha ... >

[As we sprinkle the water over us we need to realize that we invoke the pundarikAksha rupa or the paramapurusha who resides in the sanctified waters to purify us internally and externally, so "yaH smareth puNdareekAksham" is essential part of the process]

ॐ दधिक्रावण्णो अकारिषम् । जिष्णोरश्वस्य वाजिनः । सुरभि नो मुखाकरत् । प्राण आयूँषि तारिषत् । 

Om! I have sung the praise of dadhikrAvan [the swift strong horse] (or, Lord Hayagriva; Sun in the form of a horse born in the east from the mahodadhi, the curd ocean) | I thus sprinkle this potent (procreative, spirited) [water, in the name] of this 'horse' (ashva also refers to number seven, that represents the 7 reins of the Sun God) | May our faces be lightened (or, may this take us to the peak of excellence, may this help us excel in our speech and pronunciation) | May it also fulfill (save, rescue) our life and lifespan |

[I found in some old discussions on the topic that dadhikrAv is the agni devata or agni rupa purusha avatara of paramatma that presides over dadhi - curd. This deity is often invoked for purity in speech or vaak shuddhi and as such the following verse subrabhi no mukhAkarat. This is also probably why there is a practice of eating curd in some places before going for an exam or a presentation.]

ॐ आपो हि ष्ठा मयो भुवः । ता न उर्जे दधातन । महे रणाय चक्षसे । यो वश्शिवतमो रसः । तस्य भाजयतेह नः । उशतीरिव मातरः । तस्मा अरं गमाम वः । यस्य क्षयाय जिन्वथा । आपो जनयथा च नः ।

Om! Its on water (or pious action) alone that this world is sustained | That [water] preserves the vigor to make one refreshed (to be happy, to be powerful) | For the radiantly abundant pleasure (movement) | Oh water, you bestow the most auspicious essence (nectar) that gets distributed in this [body] of ours, just like a wishing mother [who sustains the child] |  We swiftly move towards (to partake) for the consumption of that rasa that you enable us to, and water helps us beget (reproduce, generate).

हिरण्यवर्णा शुचयः पावकाः यासु जातः कश्यपोयास्विन्द्रः | अग्नि आगर्भं दधिरेविरूपा स्तान अपःशग् स्योना भवन्तु ॥ 

[HiraNyavarNa literally means "golden colored" and it also means "a river". Interestingly it is used in context of a "paavaka" - typically "fire", which is also hiraNyavarNa. We need to remember that we are holding in hand a few drops of "purifying water". Some tests praise fire or heat or sun as the source of water. And, taking into considering the Rigveda texts such as 1.59.5 आ सूर्ये न रश्मयो धरुवासो वैश्वानरे दधिरे.अग्ना वसूनि in context .... syOna is a beautiful word that means several things such as tender, happiness, sun, delight, comfortable seat etc but given that it is in association with staana I am taking the last of the meanings listed. And, I also found somewhere that "hiranyavarnah" is nArAyaNa rupa udaka which is also of the form of agni, cleanses all sins, and thus He and His names alone is purifying - "hiraNyavarNaah suchayah"]. 

It is from the all purifying fires that Kashyapa Muni and Indra were born. May this water that was born of that fire be a comfortable seat to all the variegated purifying and sanctifying / auspicious qualities [or in simple words "may all the purifying and auspicious qualities come and reside in this water with delight"].

यासाग्ंराजा वरुणोऽयाति मध्ये सत्यानृते अवपश्यं जनानाम् । मधुःश्च्युतः श्युचयोयाः पावका स्तान अपःशग् स्योना भवन्तु ॥ 

In the middle, Varuna Deva, the adhipati (the presiding deity of water) of the sanctified water, enters as a witness to the truth and untruth of the human beings. May the all purifying Lord in the form of madhuschyuta (agni rupa paramAtma in the divine blissful form) take a comfortable seat in this water to sanctify and create auspiciousness.

..... To be continued ....