Real Benefits, Steps & Secrets of Sandhya Vandanam

Real Benefits, Steps & Secrets of Sandhya Vandanam
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    The word sandhyA is infact a combination of two sounds sam = meaning good or well, and dhyA = meaning meditation. The etymological definition of sandhyA is samyak dhyAyatyasAm iti sandhyA, which means the time in which one can meditate well, is sandhyA. sandhyA vandanam is a series of steps which further facilitate this effortless transition into a profound meditative state. It is not a process that works based on faith or belief. It is a carefully crafted technique, designed observing the the natural phenomena and their effects on the human body. In this video let's take a deeper look at the process of sandhyA vandanam and try and remove some of the superstition behind it. The Sanskrit Channel is an effort to explore a vast variety of topics, from Original Sanskrit Literature. If you wish to support this effort, consider becoming a sponsor on Patreon, or make a one time contribution, through these options. Your support will help us create more of these videos more frequently on more number of topics. Do check out all the links, in the description below. Today sandhyA vandanam is widely understood as a routine ritual of worship one has to perform every day. Repeating any task without understanding it's purpose and significance, naturally turns it into a frustrating experience. A logical, thinking mind ofcourse wants to seek more answers, and if not found, naturally rejects the process completely. It is therefore very important to keep the understanding behind these processes alive and accessible to all. There are many articles on the internet on how sandhyA vandanam inculcates discipline, and brings about physical and psychological health benefits, but they entirely miss the point that at the core of it, it is a process of dhyAna, or meditation which is an experiential phenomena within. The outside practices are not a goal in themselves, they are just a means of creating an inner atmosphere. The process itself is quite elaborate, and varies slightly across traditions. But there are a lot of components which are common to them all. Let us now look at them step by step and understand their significance. The first and the most important component is kAlaH : or the time in which the process is performed. There are certain times of transition in a day which have a significant impact on the human body. If one is sensitive enough, the physical changes occuring within the body during these transition times, called as sandhyA kAlAs can be felt very clearly. Usually, the transition times at sunrise, noon and sunset are used for sandhyA vandanam, and are known by the names prAtaH sandhyA vandanam, mAdhyAhnikam and sAyam sandhyA vandanam The next component is Asanam : or the posture in which the process is performed. Postures which are most conducive for meditation like sukhAsana or the crossed legged posture, ardha siddhAsana, siddhAsana and padmAsana are employed. The next important component is Achamanam : or consuming sanctified water. In this process a small amount of water is taken into the palm and then sipped with a lot of reverence. Here, water is treated not just as a commodity to quench thirst, but as one of the most prominent building blocks of life, which influences the very way we feel and act on a daily basis. the next component of sandhyA vandanam is prAnAyAmaH : or breath control. In this process specific arrangement of sounds called mantras are synchronized with the breathing pattern which is conducted to a set ratio of inhalation, fullness, exhalation and emptyness, called as pUraka, kumbhaka, rEchaka and shUnyaka. Continuous practice of prANAyAma along with the mantra is the fastest way of internalising these powerful reverberations within the body. Next most important component is mudrA : The literal meaning of mudra is a seal. These are specific hand gestures which align the energy system, or the nAdi vyavastha of the body in a certain way. These are employed in either transmitting or receiving life energies. The next component is nyAsaH : or placement. This is the act of chanting specific mantras, and focusing on various parts of the body either mentally or through touch. The purpose of this, is to invoke specific deities and their attributes into the corresponding parts of the body. Two main types of nyAsa are anga nyAsa, which is invoking energies into different parts of the body, and kara nyAsa which is invoking them into one's palms. next comes shlOkaH : or verses which are recited throughout the process. Most of these describe the nature of either gods and goddesses being invoked, or natural elements like the earth, water, fire, wind and space. then there is mantra japaH : or reciting specific sounds. mantras are sounds which have an existential significance attached to them. Apart from carrying a deep sense of meaning at the level of words, they work at a more basic level, enhancing the practioner to a subtler level of existence within. and finally namaskAraH : is the process of bringing the palms together. This unites both halves of the body, and is the most prevalent symbol depicting yoga, or union. The literal meaning of namaskara is na=not and ma=myself. This is a process that helps in erasing one's rigid boundaries of identity, and in becoming one with the existence. All these steps done in a particular order in that time period, will naturally lead one into a state of profound meditativeness. The objective of sandhyA vandanam as i said before, is not to perform these actions as quickly as possible and be done with it, these steps are just a preparatory tool towards turning inward. Each of these steps inturn have many layers of meaning behind them. The kind of pranayama, mantra and shloka might slightly vary across different traditions, but sandhyA vandanam as a process is widely followed across the length and breadth of the country. This demonstrates the deep understanding our ancients had of the human system, and the ease with which they incorporated powerful yogic techniques into the very way we sit, stand, greet each other and start our day. I hope this video gave you a deeper insight into the process of sandhyA vandanam. I will make further videos explaining some of the components of sandhyA vandanam in further detail. I've already made videos explaning the significance of the gAyatri mantra. You can watch them here. If you wish to support the production of more videos like these, consider becoming a sponsor on patreon, or make a one time contribution, all through the links in the description below. Consider subscribing to the Sanskrit channel, where we explore hidden gems, in the Vast world of diverse sanskrit literature. See you in the next video, namaskaram
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