Scriptural Authority (Pramanam)
There are references in the vedas regarding Sandyavandanam. A
reference occurs in "Second prasna, Second Anuvaka of Thaithria Aranyaka
(Yajur Veda)", explaining procedure of worship. The procedure of worship
indicated is by offering "Arghya" (water in the palms of both hands
thrown up), at the time of sunrise and sunset, meditating on Aditya (Sun).
Ishvashya upanishad of Shukla Yajurveda also refers to Sun
worship as above at sunrise and sunset.
Chandogya upanisad (Chapter 2 Section 6) discusses "Aditya
vidya" explaining the importance of meditation of Sun or Aditya at
sunrise and sunset, bringing out also the points mentioned above. Chapter 3,
Section 12 of this upanishad explains meditation of aditya through gayatri. It
also explains that the sun in the horizon outside and the sun element inside
us are one and the same and there is no difference. The identity should be
kept in mind while meditating through gayatri. This is the meaning of "Asavadityao
brahma" recited during sandyavandanam.
These views are also echoed in Aditya Hridaya of the
Yuddakanda of Ramayan. Agasthya explains to Sri Rama, the merits of
worshipping Aditya. Aditya protects everyone, helps them in their duties,
gives lustre, removes ignorance and provides happiness. He is friend of water
and resides in every living thing.
All vedic religions have given great importance to
sandyavandanam. It is said that one who does not perform Sandyavandanam is
ever impure and is thus rendered unfit to perform the vedic rites - the nitya
(daily) or naimithica (occasional) duties prescribed in the scriptures. If
however he did perform the duties once in a way in spite of self inflicted
impurity (due to non performance of sandyavandanam regularly) the said
performance will not yield any result. This point has also been brought out by
Poigai alwar (Mudal Tiruvandadi stanza 3).
Some additional observations maybe viewed at
Sri Mani Vardarajan's emails
Sri Sadagopan Iyengar's email
Meaning and Philosophical significance
Aditya represents pure sattwa characteristics and He is bright
(prakasa) and light (laghu). He is entrusted with the portfolio of health of
souls (chetanas) in our planet as per the distribution of duties during the
evolution of the universe. Our human body contains every element of the
universe and they get subdued or become invisible due to the character (Rajoguna
and tamoguna) of the individuals. However, it is possible to culture any of
the elements of the universe present within himself by providing suitable
environment. Worship through Arghyam is a process by which the element of
Aditya within us can be cultured and in turn acquire the qualities of Aditya -
namely lustrous and health preserving quality of the body and mind., light
body, high intellect with grasping power, high intuition, memory and many
The arghya should be offered seeing the sun in the horizon and
meditating (through gayatri) on aditya.
The Arghyas delivered skyward from the palms of the worshipper
serve as missiles to destroy demons known as Mantehars attacking the sun. This
statement in the vedas has a great significance. Vedas are also refer red to
as Thrayi - that is the statements have three meanings (external,
internal and philosophical). The philosophical meaning of this statement is
important. The element of sun in our body is clouded by our "Rajoguna"
and "Tamoguna". The Arghyams offerred as worship to Sun or Aditya at
sunrise and sunset will help free the sun element in us. The word Manteha also
means body, therefore the word mantehars refers to the devils in our body.
Format and Anatomy
|Statement of purpose
|Surrender and dedication
||Prokshanam, Prasanam, Achamanam, Punya Prokshanam
|Getting rid of demons
|Apology for any delay
|Thanks for benefits received
||Achamanam, japa vidhih
|Preparation for gayatri
||Pranayaman mantra japa, gayatri aavahanam
|Bringing in the Lord for protection
|Realization of the the presence of the Lord
|Salutations to the sandya gods
||sandyadi devata vandanam
|Expression of one's lineage
|Salutations to the directional gods
|Expression of one's lineage
|Surrender and dedication
|Getting rid of demons
|Remembering archa murthys
||SriRanga mangala manim
- The vedic references bring out the importance of worshipping Aditya
through Arghyam and meditation through Gayatri at sunrise and sunset.
- Keeping the above in view, the sages of the past have given a
format for the performance of sandyavandanam (using vedic hymns) during
sunrise, midday and sunset. In Yagna prakarana, vedas also bring out the
importance of 'Sudhikarana' or purification. The purification covers both
inside and outside of our body. Hence the format includes the purification
process. "Prokshanam" is an external purification process, Prasanam
and Pranayanam are internal purifiation processes.
Who can perform
- Sandyavandanam is performed by an individual after "Upanayanam".
Upanayanam is a vedic ritual prescribed for Brahmins, Khshatriyas and
Vaishyas. it includes wearing of Yagnopavitham and learning of gayathri
- The upanayanam entitles one to learn and recite vedas and perform rituals.
- Yagnopavitha is a thread going around the body from left shoulder to navel
and back to left shoulder via our back. Thus it symbolises a thread going
around our Antaryami or vishnu seated in our heart.
- Yagnopavitha orthe sacred thread is a thread with three strands, each
strand containing three threads. The nine threads correspond to the nine
deities installed (Prithvi, aap, tejas, vayu, ether, prana, atman,
antaratman, paramatman). The installation of the deities is done as per the
- The three strands of the yagnopavitha are knotted together. This
symbolises the conjunction of the three tattvas of the Srivaishnava
philodsophy - namely Cit, Acit and Eswara. This also brings out that cit,
acit and eswara cannot be shown separately.
- The three strands also exhibit the presence of satwa, rajas and tamas
gunas or characteristics of an individual. The deities installed help to
improve our sattwa character. Though the installation of the deities is done
only once before wearing, this charge is continued or recharged through
recitation of gayatri everyday during sandyavandanam. Only a thread on which
the deities have been installed will be yagnopavitham or sacred thread or
- The knot in the yagnopavitha is said to symbolise Pranava or Om which
comprises the three letters namely Aa (denoting Vishnu) Uu (denoting Goddess
Lakshmi) and Ma (denoting soul or self).
- Vedas and Smrithis prescribe the age of upanayanam for Brahmins at seven.
The age should not exceed sixteen in any case.
When to perform
- The Vedas prescribe prayers at sunrise and sunset.. Sunrise constitues a
change from darkness to light and hence a sandhya time (that is a time of
junction). This is referred to as Pratha Sandhya. The Sun set constitutes a
change from light to darkness and hence a sandhya time, this is referred to
as Sayam Sandhya. To these two our sages have added a third known as
Madhyanika or midday, constituting a change from an ascending sun to a
descending sun in the sky. The addition of Madyanika has yet another
significance, during this time we can see offer our prayers seeing the sun.
- The benefits of Pratah sandyavandanam is best when performed before
sunrise and stars are visible; average when performed before sunrise but
stars have disappeared; poor after sunrise. Similarly for 'Sayam
sandyavandanam'; it is best before sunset; average after sunset but before
stars appear and poor after stars appear.
- The above view has also been reflected in the hymns forming part of
sandyavandanamSamaveda hymns for upastanam the rising sun is saluted (udyantan
thvaditya anudiyasam) in Pratha sandyavandanam, while setting sun is saluted
(Pratithishtantam thvaditya anupratithistasam) in Sayam sandhyavandanam.
- This pratah sandyavandanam should be started before sunrise and concluded
at sunrise.imilarly the sayam sandyavandanam should be started before sunset
and concluded at sunset (at local time)
- Again in Yajur veda Prasanam hymns, we have "Ratristadava lumpatu
yatkunchaduritam mayi" (May the sins committed by me be wiped out
by the deity controlling the night) in Pratah Sandyavandanam, while in Sayam
Sandyavandanam it is 'Aahastadava lumpatu yatkincha duritam mayi" (May
the sins committed by me be wiped out by deity controlling day).
- The question arises as to how much before sunrise or sunset. For the
purpose of vedic rituals the duration of day (Sunrise to Sunset) is divided
into 5 parts, the first part called pratah, second sangava, third madhyahna,
fourth Aparahna and the last sayam. Under Indian conditions one fifth part
of day or night varies from 2h 10m to 2h 20m (It will be more in higher
latitiudes). Thus the benefits of Sabdya extend for a duration of about 2h
10m on either side of sunrise or sunset.
- Under Indian situations it can be broadly indicated that the best period
for Pratah Sandyavandanam is between 5 & 6AM while for Sayam
sandyavandanam it is between 6 & 7 PM. For Madhyanika it is the third
fifth part of the day for maximum benefits.
- The timings above are from considerations of maximum benefit. However it
is important to note that benefits will be there even when there are
departures and this has been recognized in the smrithis. Every individual
should therefore strive to perform Sandyavandanam at a time as close to
sunrise or sunset as possible but should not give it up due to
circumstances. In these cases, the individual should mentally contemplate on
Aditya by reciting one gayatri at the time of sandya from wherever he is
place at the time. A person who is unwell can perform Sandyavandam mentally
without water from his sick bed.
Things you need
- Vessel: Studies in naturopathy have shown that water kept in copper,
silver or gold vessels help to improve bio-electricity in our body. Hence it
would be preferable to use copper or silver vessel for sandyavandanam.
- Clothes: Studies in naturopathy have shown that wool and silk are not good
conductors of bio-electricity while cotton is. Hence it is desirable to wear
cotton clothes while performing sandyavandanam (as we acquuire bio-energy
- Sandyavandanam should be performed outdoor as far as possible.
- Pratah Sandyavandanam is performed facing east. Madyanukam is performed
facing east or north. Sayam sandyavandanam is performed facing east upto 'Arghya
pradhanam' and facing west beyond that. (Japam is done sitting).
- Manasika snanam and mantra snanam
Snanam means bath. The normal bath we take by pouring water on our body is
called "Varuna snanam". Vedas recognize varuna snanam is not
possible everywhere and under all circumstances. Hence vedas recognise
several alternative forms of bath. (All forms of bath are equal in merit).
Whenever conventional bath i.e. varuna snanam is not possible, one can
perform manasika snanam instead. The procedure for manasika snanm is
"Mentally comprehend the lotus feet of the Lord is on your head and
water of virija (Heavenly river) from his feet flowing all over your body.
Recite the hymn below and sprinkle water over your head.
Apavitrah Pavithro va Sarvavastam gato apiva |
Yah Smaret Pundarikaksam sa Bahyabhyantarah sucih ||
This means "One who meditates on pundarikaksha is cleaned both
internally and externally irrespective of the purity earlier.
- Mantra snanam is a bath where in we sprinkle water on our head reciting
hymns. Incidentally, this has been included in the sandyavandanam process
itself. Prokshanam is a "mantra snana".
- Manasika sandyavandanam means performing the sandyavandanam mentally
without water. This can be done under extraordinary circumstances like a
long journey etc. Even those who have performed sandyavandanam normally but
not within the prescribed limits should offer Arghyam mentally at the
Sandhhya time, wherever he is (irrespective of dress etc.)
- In circumstances where Madhyanimikam cannot be performed it can be
performed alongwith Pratah Sandyavandanam.
- Further reading: Manthra /Maanasa/ Mukhya/GowNa SnAnams, V. Sadagopan Dec 1997
Recitation of Mantras
- A Hymn or mantra is a prayer (with words and alphabets specially chosen)
addressed to God or deity. It is supposed to posess mystic and super natural
powers. For best results correct recitation of the mantras is
- The energy from the universe is present everywhere. By reciting a mantra
either orally or mentally, we tune ourselves to receive this energy. This is
very similar to tuning a radio receiver to receive the electromagnetic waves
- Our sages through meditation have asessed the power of the various mantras
and their applications to different situations and purposes.
- The Chandas explains the potential of the mantra or the power it can
create in our body by reciting it. It is for this purpose that the mantras
must be recited in sanskrit only (as given by sages) and any equivalent
translation will have no effect.
- The mantras should be recited with due weightage to the characteristics of
the alphabet namely Hasva (short), dheerga (long), alpaprana (less weightage),
Maha Prana (heavy weightage). The vibration characteristics of a mantra is
very important. The words and alphabets have been chosen to achieve this
objective. This is akin to combining the seven notes to produce different
ragas or tunes.
- Every mantra is preceded by a verse indicating the name of sage, chandas,
deity to whom the hymn is addressed and the purpose for which the mantra is
used. The name of the sage indicates the sage who has achieved god
realization through this mantra. The chandas indicates its potential. The
purpose is also indicated as the same hymn can be used in different
Science, electricity and health
- There is a flow of electricity in the human body (this characteristic is
used in ECG electrocardiogram). This is referred to as bio-electricity.
Electric currents pass through10 sets of lines corresponding to 10 fingers
and toes. Finger tips and top of head constitute terminal points of these
electric lines. Bio-electricity gets charged through water, earth, ether
- It must be appreciated that Sandyavandanam is not just reciting hymns or
mantras, but it includes certain actions like stance, touching or making
contact of different organs etc.
- All natural therapies are based on the principle that human body has a
self healing property. Further if the flow of bio-electricity is normal the
body remains fit and healthy. Every person has a natural aura around him (an
invisible body of charged particles also called bio-plasmic body). Flow of
electricity within our body causes emission of electrons which in turn
causes the aura. This field has been photographed through a process known as
kirilian photography. This was known in ancient India and was used for
health. The inner aura follows the contour of the body while the outer aura
is shaped like an inverted egg. and may stretch away from the body some 8-10
inches. Our sages have developed a science known as Vastu shastra where by
an environment conducive to this electromagnetic field will help in better
concentration, meditation etc. This ancient Indian science has been taken up
by modern scientists. A new subject known as geo-biology based on the above
priciples is being used in the design of factories etc. to improve
- The best application of this principle is in health which was also
practiced in ancient india. This ancient science has been developed by one
Choa-kuk-sui (The ancient science and art of pranic healing Cho-kuk-sui pub.
Health Accecories Manila, Phillipines) for curing diseases also known as
- The healing method is one of the naturopathy systems. Detailed
investigations and kirilian photography have shown that any disease first
enters the bio-plasmic body and then our visible physical body. Hence the
healing process attempts to rectify the bio-plasmic body through induction
of bio-energy at specific points of the body known as chakras. Remedial
measures also include use of energised water.
- Studies have shown that meditation has great influence on the bio-plasmic
body. Brain cells are known to produce electric waves of different
- In ancient india, one more system of natural therapy i.e. acu-pressure
therapy existed. This system also recognises the existence of electricity
which is responsible for our health. This system recognises our palm and
finger tips as control boards for manipulation or alteration of
bio-electricity. Healing is achieved by applying slight pressure to specific
- In vedic rites water is used for purification. Modern scientists by
passing sound waves through water have produced gas bubbles emitting blue
light with very high temperature inside. These studies indicate the capacity
of sound waves to energise water.
- A vedic rite known as udakashanti is performed in which water is kept in a
copper vessel and vedic hymns are chanted by a group of vedic scholars, some
vedic scholars have found that the temperature of water in the vessel has
gone up substantially. Punyahavchanam is another vedic rite where in water
is energised through vedic hymns. This approach in a miniature has been used
in Sandyavandanam i.e. prokshanam, prasanam, achamanam etc. Hence while
performing these rituals sound waves must be produced emnating from the
- Vedic rituals like pranayanam or japam have impact on bio-electricity.
Electro cardiograms taking in a normal state, during pranayanam and during
pranayanam mantra japam have been taken and they indicate substabtial
changes during prnanayanam and japam confirming the fact that we absorb
bio-electricity during these rituals.
- Sandyavandanam is essentially prayers to the Supreme Lord at sandya time.
Though god realization is the main objective the importance of healthy body
and mind have been duly recognized. Apart from reciting hymns it also
includes karanas - namely stance, touching different parts of the body etc.
They help to achieve the twin objectives of god realization and health.