Shivakumar Viswanathan, Thursday, July 30, 2015 11:49 am

Notes on Sandhya Vandanam Lectures of Swami Paramarthananda – 2


Benefits of Sandhya vandanam:

The elders say that prayojanam anudishya na mandopi pravartate – even the fools will not enter an activity without knowing what they will get out of it! So lets look at the benefits of sandhya vandanam.

It is purely for spiritual uplift.

If someone asks ‘what will I get‘ he automatically, through that attitude, converts it to a kAmya karma, an action to fulfill desires!

Performance of sandhya vandanam gives


Chitta shudhih
purity

chitta ekagrtaH concentration

chitta vishalataa expansion

Ishwara anugrahaM God’s grace etc.

The material benefits, like long life, health, prosperity, are obtained as by products, avAntara phalam though they are not the goal of the seeker. He seeks purity and through that purity moksha. The performance of sandhya vandanam itself gives certain physical results such as removal of laziness, good health etc. How is this accomplished?


Alasyam
, laziness, is due to tamo guNaa. It can be eliminated only by karma, rituals. Hence the daily performance removes tamas. The prANayama during sandhya vandanam steadies both the annamaya and manomaya koshas. Thereby physical and mental health are improved. The performance of the divine Gayathri mantra blesses one with everything including moksha.


Japa vidhdiH:

A couple of points that Swamiji mentions about the Gayathri japa vidhih:

It has panchAvasanah, that is, it is to be chanted with 5 stops (Om BhurbhuvasuvaH tat savitur varenyam bhatgo devasya dhimahi dhiyoyonah prachodayat.)

During japa, the nicchrid gayathri chandah is used. In this meter there are only 23 letters (and not 24) in the Gayathri mantra. The word vareNyam should be chanted and not vareNiyam.


Niyam
is Gayathri cchandah

Nyam is nicchrid Gayathri cchandah

{ekAkshara vihinAtu nicchrid Gayathra uchyate is the rule Swamiji gives.}

This nicchrid Gayathri is used for pranayama, arghyam, and japa

Note, there is no need to hold the yajnopavitam, the sacred thread, during the japa though it is a practiced in certain places.


Meaning of the Gayathri mantrah:

The Gayathri mantrah can be seen in two ways:

  1. The samanya arthah or common understanding or meaning and

  2. vishesha arthah or Vedantic meaning or understanding

Note, the actual Gayathri mantrah is only from tat savitur varenyamOM and vyAhriti are appendages only.

OM is the praNava. Swamiji gives a beautiful definition of the word praNava:

prakarshena nuyate abhidiyate brahma anena iti praNavaH

that name by which Brahman is well known is called praNavah


vyAhritih
are bhuh, bhuvaH, suvaH.


vyAhritiH
are 3 words uttered by Brahma and hence auspicious. These words remove all sins when uttered by a student. They are a great purifier and also refers to the 3 lokas as the manifestation of the Lord.

Therefore Om bhurbhuvasuvaH means I remember Om, the Lord, who manifests in the form of the 3 lokas. From a Vedantic angle, OM represents nirguna turiyam and bhurbhuvasuvah represents the saguna vishwa, taijasa and prajna, vide Mandukya Upanishad & karikas.


Tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi dhiyoyonah prachodayat
is the actual Gayathri mantrah.


What is the samanya arthah?

It is the invocation of Surva devata, the Sun God.


yaH naH dhiyaH prachodayAt savituH devasya tad vareNyam bhargaH dhimahi


dimahi
= meditate upon

On what?


vareNyam
= the sacred, auspicious bhargaH = brilliant effulgence

Of whom?


devasya savituH
= of the Sun God

In what way is it sacred?


yaH naH dhiyaH prachodayaat


yaH naH
= which effulgence, light, brilliance


prachodayAt
= enlivens, activates, energizes

Enlivens, activates , energizes what?


dhiyaH
= our buddhi, intellect

So the simple running meaning of the Gayathri mantrah is:


We meditate upon that sacred effulgence of the Sun God which activates and enlivens our intellect


What is the vishesha arthah?


dhimahi
= we meditate, nidhidhyasanam.

What kind of nidhidhyasana? abhedena dhyayamaH we meditate on the abhedha or undifferentiated


tat bhargah vareNyam
the sat chit ananda svarupam

Of what?


savituH devasya
of the Lord, Ishwara who is the tat padarthaH in the mahavakya (tat tvam asi)


savituH
is that which procreates the universe and is the material cause or the upadana karaNam

devasya refers to the intelligent principle or the intelligent cause which is the nimittta karaNam

Therefore, savituH devasya means abhinna nimmitopAdAna kArana bhUtasya brahmaNah, that is, Ishwarasya, of Ishwara

…which is the tat pada vachyarthah or the implied meaning of the tat pada in the mahavakya of tat tvam asi!


tat
means the sat svarupam or the Existence.


bhargaH
means the effulgent awareness, the chaitanya svarupam, which removes darkness, samsara


vareNyam
(varaNa yogyam = that which is worth choosing by all) is happiness, ananda

this tat, bhargah, vareNyam belongs to who?


savituH devasya
, the abhinna nimmitopadana karana bhutasya brahmaNah, Ishwarasya that we saw earlier!


yaH
which chaitanyam is in us as the sakshi svarupam

naH dhiyaH = all our intellects

prachodayAt illumines

Therefore the meaning now becomes


That Brahman, which is of the nature of sat chit ananda and is the cause of this world, that Brahman alone illumines my intellect as the innermost Self or the Atma in me!

Therefore tat savitur varenyam bhargo devasya dhimahi refers to Brahma chaitanyam


dhiyoyonaH prachodyaat
indicates Atma chaitanyam


dhimahi
refers to abheda dhyanam!

So we meditate upon the Atma chaitanyam which is nothing but Brahma chaitanyam. Thus daily meditation on the Gayathri mantra is svarupa dhyanam alone. Which is why it is considered to be a great mantra!



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