Sandhyavandanam Contents


Scriptural Authority (Pramanam)

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  • 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 

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  • 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 other qualities.

  • 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 

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  • Anatomy
    Purification Achamanam, pranayanam
    Statement of  purpose Sankalpah
    Surrender and dedication Satvika Tyaga
    Purification Prokshanam, Prasanam, Achamanam, Punya Prokshanam
    Getting rid of demons Arghyam
    Purification pranayanam
    Apology for any delay Prayaschita Arghyam
    Purification achamanam
    Thanks for benefits received Kesavadi Tarpanam
    Purification Achamanam, japa vidhih
    Preparation for gayatri Pranayaman mantra japa, gayatri aavahanam
    Bringing in the Lord for protection Gayatri Japam
    Purification Pranayamam
    Realization of the the presence of the Lord upastanam
    Salutations to the sandya gods sandyadi devata vandanam
    Expression of one's lineage Abhivadanam
    Salutations to the directional gods Dikvandanam
    Expression of one's lineage Abhivadanam
    Surrender and dedication satvika tyaga
    Getting rid of demons arghyam
    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

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  • 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 mantra.
  • 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 prescribed procedure.
  • 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 charged thread.
  • 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

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  • 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

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  • 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 from surroundings).
  • 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).



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  • 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

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  • 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 necessary. 
  • 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 around us.
  • 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 contexts.


Science, electricity and health

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  • 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 etc.
  • 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 efficiency.
  • 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 pranic healing.
  • 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 frequencies.
  • 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 points.
  • 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 mouth.
  • 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.