Sandhyavandanam & its significance
Our planet not only goes around the sun but also rotates on it's own axis. Sun rise and Sun set are caused by the rotation of earth on it's own axis. At every instant of time , there will be Sunrise at one place and Sunset at another place. At Sunrise , rays of Sun will hit that part of the earth for the first time for that day , resulting in release of energies .Similarly at Sun set there will be withdrawal of energies.
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.