DEVI BHAGAVATHAM XI (11) Skandha Ch.16.


Chapter XVI

On the description of Sandhyâ Upâsânâ

1-24. Nârâyana said :– Now I am speaking of the very holy Sandhyopâsanâ method of Sandhyâ worship of Gâyatrî, the Presiding Deity of the morning, midday and evening, and of the twice-born. Listen. The greatness of using Bhasma has been described in detail. No further need be stated on the subject. I shall talk, first of all, of the morning Sandhyâ. The morning Sandhyâ is to be done early in the morning while the stars are visible. When the Sun is in the meridian, the midday Sandhyâ is to be performed; and while the Sun is visibly going down, the evening Sandhyâ is to be recited over. Now again, the distinctions are made in the above three Sandhyâs :– The morning Sandhyâ with stars seen is the best; with stars disappeared, middling; and with the Sun risen above the horizon, inferior. So the evening Sandhyâ, again, is of three kinds :– best, middling, and inferior. When the Sun is visibly disappearing, the evening Sandhyâ is the best; when the Sun has gone down the horizon, it is middling and when the stars are visible, it is inferior. 

The Brâhmanas are the root of the Tree, the Sandhyâ Vandanam; the Vedas are the branches; the religious actions are the leaves. Therefore its root should be carefully preserved. If the root be cut, no branches or leaves of the tree will remain. That Brâhmana who knows not his Sandhyâ or who does not perform the Sandhyâs is a living S’ûdra. That Brâhmana after his death verily becomes a dog. Therefore the Sandhyâs must be observed every day. Otherwise no right comes at all to do any action. At the sunrise and the sunset the time for Sandhyâ is two Dandas (48 minutes) and if Sandhyâ be not done or rather neglected in the interval, the Prâyas’chitta (penance) is to he paid duly (performed duly). If the proper time for Sandhyâ expires, one more offering of Arghya is to be made in addition to the three Arghayas daily made or the Gâyatrî is to be repeated one hundred and eight times before the Sandhyâ is commenced. In whichever time any action ought to be done, worship, first of all, the Sandhyâ Devî, the Presiding Deity of that time and do the actions proper to that time afterwards. The Sandhyâ performed in dwelling houses is ordinary; the Sandhyâ done in enclosures of cows is middling and on the banks of the rivers is good and the Sandhyâ performed  before the Devî’s temple or the Devî’s seat is very excellent. The Sandhyopâsanâ ought to be done before the Devî, because that is the worship of the very Devî. The three Sandhyâs done before the Devî give infinitely excellent fruits. There is no other work of the Brâhmanas better than this Sandhyâ. One can rather avoid worshipping S’iva or Visnu; because that is not daily done as obligatory; but the Sandhyopâsanâ ought to be done daily. The Gâyatrî of the Great Devî is the Essence of all the mantras in the Vedas. In the Veda S’âstras, the worship of Gâyatrî is most definitely pronounced. Brahmâ and the other Devas meditate in the Sandhyâ times on this Devî Gâyatrî and make a japam of that. The Vedas always make japams of Her. For this reason the Gâyatrî has been mentioned as the object of worship by the Vedas. The Brâhmanas are called S’âktas inasmuch as they worship the Primal S’akti (Force) Gâyatrî, the Mother of the Vedas. They are not S’aivas nor Vaisnavas. Firstly make the ordinary Âchaman three times, and, while inhaling, drink a little of the water of Âchaman, repeating “Om Kes’avâya Svâhâ, Om Nârâyanâya Svâhâ, Om Mâdhavâya Svâhâ.” Then wash your two hands, repeating “Om Gobindâya Namah, Om Visnave Namah.” Then by the root of the thumb rub the lips repeating “Om Madhû sûdanâya Namah, Om Trivikramâya Namah.” So rub the mouth, repeating “Om Vâmamâya Namah, Om S’rîdharâya Namah.” Then sprinkle water on the left hand, saying “Om Hrisîkes’âya Namah.” Sprinkle water on the legs, saying “Om Padmanâbhâya Namah.” Sprinkle water on the head, saying “Om Dâmodarâya Namah.” Touch the mouth with the three fingers of the right hand, saying “Om Samkarsanâya Namah.” Touch the nostrils with the thumb and forefinger saying “Om Vâsudevâya Namah, Om Pradyumnâya Namah.” Touch the eyes with the thumb and ring-finger, saying “Om Aniruddhâya Namah, Om Purusottamâya Namah.” Touch the ears with the thumb and ringfinger saying “Om Adhoksajâya Namah, Om Nârasimhâya Namah.” Touch the navel with the thumb and little finger saying “Om Achyutâya Namah.” Touch the breast with the palm, saying “Om Janârdanâya Namah.” Touch the head saying “Om Upendrâya Namah.” Touch the roots of the two arms saying “Om Haraye Namah, Om Krisnâya Namah.”

25-50. While sipping the Âchaman water on the right hand, touch the right hand with your left hand; otherwise; the water does not become pure. While doing Âchaman, make the palm and the fingers all united and close, of the form of a Gokarna (the ear of a cow) and spreading the thumb and the little finger, drink the water of the measure of a pea. If a greater or less quantity be sipped, then that would amount to drinking liquor. Then thinking of the Pranava, make the Prânâyâma, and repeat mentally the Gâyatrî with her head and the Turîya pâda, i.e., Âpojyotih rasomritam Brahmâ Bhurbhuvah svarom. Inhale the air by the left nostril (Pûrak), close both the nostrils (Kumbhak) and exhale the air, by the right nostril (Rechak). Thus Prânâyâma is effected. While doing Pûrak, Kumbhak and Rechak repeat the Gâyatrî every time; hold the right nostril with the right thumb and hold the left nostril with the ringfinger and little finger (i.e., don’t use forefinger and middle finger). The Yogis who have controlled their minds say that Prânâyâma is effected by the three processes Pûraka, Kûmbhaka and Rechaka. The external air is inhaled in Pûraka; air is not exhaled nor inhaled (it is retained inside) in Kûmbhaka; and air is exhaled in Rechaka. While doing Pûraka, meditate on the navel, the four-armed high-souled Visnu, of the blue colour (Syâma) like the blue lotus. While doing Kûmbhaka, meditate in the heart lotus the fourfaced grandsire Brahmâ Prajâpati, the Creator seated on the lotus and while doing Rechaka meditate, on the fore-head, on the white sin-destroying S’ankara, pure as crystal. In Pûraka, the union with Visnu is obtained; in Kûmbhaka, the knowledge of Brahmâ is attained and in Rechaka, the highest position of Îs’vara (S’iva) is attained. This is the method of Âchaman according to the Purânas. Now I am speaking of the all sin destroying Vaidik Âchaman. Listen. Reciting the Gâyatrî mantra “Om Bhurbhuvah,” sip a little water; this is the Vaidik Âchaman after repeating the seven great Vyâhritis Om Bhuh; Om Bhuvah, Om Svah, Om Mahah, Om Janah, Om Tapah, Om Satyam, repeat Gâyatrî and the head of the Gâyatrî Âpojyoti Rasomritam Brahmâ Bhurbhuvah svarom and practise Prânâyâma three times. Hereby all sins are destroyed and all virtues spring. Now another sort of Prânâyâma Mudrâ is described :– The Vânaprasthîs and Grihasthas would do Prânâyâma with five fingers, holding the tip of the nose; the Brahmâchâris and Yatis would do Prânâyâma with the thumbs, little finger, and ring finger (avoiding middle and fore). Now I am speaking of the Âghamasana Mârjana mantra. Listen. The Mantra of this Mârjana is “Âpohisthâ Mayobhuvah, etc.” There are three mantras in this. There are three Pâdas in every mantra, prefix Om to every pâda (thus nine times Om is to be prefixed); at the end of every pâda sprinkle water on the head with the sacrificial thread and the Kus’a grass. Or at the end of every mantra do so. By the above Mârjana (cleaning) the sins of one hundred years are instantly destroyed. Then making Âchaman (taking a sip of water to rinse the mouth before worship), repeat the three Mantras “Om Sûryas’cha mâ manyus’cha, etc.” By this act, the mental sins are destroyed. As mârjana is done with Pranava, Vyârhitis, and Gâyatrî, so make Mârjana by the three mantras ‘‘Âpohisthâ, etc.” Make your right palm of the shape of a cow’s ear; take water in it and carry it before your nose and think thus :– “There is a terrible sinful person in my left abdomen, his colour is dark black and he is horrible looking.” Recite, then, the mantras “Om ritamcha satyamchâbhîdhyât, etc.” and “Drupâdâdiva Mumuchâna, etc.” and bring that Sinful Person through your right nostril to the water in the palm. Don’t look at that water; throw it away on a bit of stone to your left. And think that you are now sinless. Next, rising from the seat, keep your two feet horizontal and with the fingers save forefinger and thumb, take a palmful of water and with your face towards the Sun, recite the Gâyatrî three times and offer water to the Sun three times. Thus, O Muni! The method of offering the Arghyas has been mentioned to you.

51-80. Then circumambulate, repeating the Sûrya Mantra. The one thing to be noted in offering Arghyas is this :– Offer once in the midday, and three times in the morning and three times in the evening. While offering the Arghya in the morning, bend yourself a little low; in offering the arghya in the midday, stand up; and while offering the arghya in the evening, it can be done while sitting. Now I will tell you why the Arghya is offered to the Sun. Hear. Thirty Koti Râksasas known as the Mandehas, always roam on the path of the Sun (the mental Sun also). They are great heroes, treacherous and ferocious. They always try to devour the Sun, while they assume terrible forms. For this reason the Devas and the Risis combined offer the water with their folded hands to the Sun, while they perform the great Sandhyâ Upâsanâ. The water thus offered, becomes transformed into the thunderbolt and burns the heads of the cruel demons (and throws them on the island Mandehâruna) Therefore the Brâhmanas daily do their Sandhyopâsana. Infinite merits accrue from this Sandhyâ Upâsanâ. O Nârada! Now I am speaking to you of the Mantras pertaining to the Arghya. No sooner they are pronounced the full effects of performing the Sandhyâs are obtained. I am That Sun; I am That Light; I am That Âtman (Self); I am S’iva; I am the Light of Âtman; I am clear and transparently white; I am of the nature of all energy; and I am of the nature of Râsa (the sweetness, all the sweet sentiments). O Devî! O Gâyatrî! O Thou! Who art of the nature of Brahmâ! Let Thee come and preside in my heart to grant me success in this Japa Karma. O Devî! O Gâyatrî! Entering into my heart, go out again with this water. But Thou wouldst have to come again. Sit thus on a pure seat and with a single intent repeat the Gâyatrî, the Mother of the Vedas. O Muni! In this Sandhyopâsanâ, the Khhecharî Mudrâ ought to be done after practising the Prânâyâma. Hear now the meaning of the Khhechâri Mudrâ. When the soul of a being leaves the objects of senses, it roams in the Âkâs’a, i.e., it becomes aimless when the tongue also goes to the Âkâs’a and roams there; and then the sight is fixed between the eyebrows; this is called the Khhechâri Mudrâ. There is no Âsana (seat) equal to Siddhâsana and there is no Vâyu (air) equal to the Khumbaka Vâya (suspension of air in the body). O Nârada! There is no Mudrâ equal to the Khhechâri Mudrâ. One is to pronounce Pranava in Pluta (protracted) accents like the sound of a bell and, suspending his breath, sit quiet motionless in Sthirâsana without any Ahamkâra (egoism). O Nârada! I am now talking of Siddhâsana and its characteristic qualities. Hear. Keep one heel below the root of the genital and the other heel below the scrotum; keep the whole body and breast straight and motionless; withdraw the senses from their objects and look at the point, the pituitary body, between the eyebrows. This posture is called the Siddhâsan and is pleasant to the yogis. After taking this seat, invoke the Gâyatrî. “O Mother of the Vedas! O Gâyatrî! Thou art the Devî granting boons to the Bhaktas. Thou art of the nature of Brahmâ. Be gracious unto Me. O Devî! Whoever worships Thee in the day gets his day sins destroyed and in the night, night sins destroyed. O Thou! Who art all the letters of the alphabet! O Devî! O Sandhye! O Thou who art of the nature of Vidyâ! O Sarasvatî! O Ajaye! O Thou immortal! Free from disease and decay. O Mother! Who art all the Devas! I bow down to Thee.” Invoke the Devî again by the mantra “Ojosi, etc ,” and then pray :– “O Mother! Let my japam and other acts in Thy worship be fulfilled with success by Thy Grace.” Next for the freedom of the curse of Gâyatrî, do the things properly. Brahmâ gave a curse to Gâyatrî; Vis’vâmitra gave a curse to Her and Vas’istha also cursed Her. These are the three curses; they are removed in due order by recollecting Brahmâ, Vis’vâmitra and Vas’istha. Before doing Nyâsa, one ought to collect oneself and remember the Highest Self; think in the lotus of the heart that Purusa (Person) who is Truth; who is all this Universe, who is the Highest Self and who is All knowledge and who cannot be comprehended by words. Now I am speaking of the Amganyâsa of Sandhyâ; Hear. First utter Om and then utter the mantra.

Touch the two legs, saying “Om Bhuhpâdâbhyâm namah”
Touch the knees, saying “Om Bhuva Jânubhyâm namah”
Touch the hip, saying “Om Svah Katibhyâm namah”
Touch the navel, saying “Om Maharnâbhyai namah”
Touch the heart, saying “Om Janah Hridayâya namah”
Touch the throat, saying “Om Tapah Kanthâya namah”
Touch the forehead, saying “Om Satyam Lalâtâya namah”
Thus perform the Vyârhiti nyâsa.

Next perform the Karâmganyâsa thus :– Om Tat savituh ramgusthâbhyâm namah (referring to the thumb); Om Varenyam Tarjanîbhyâm namah (referring to the forefinger); Om bhargo devasya madhyamâ bhyâm namah (referring to the middle finger); Om Dhîmahi anâmikâbhyâm namah (referring to the ringfinger); Om dhîyo yonah, Kanisthâbyâm namah (referring to the little finger); Om prachodayât kara tal pristhâbhyâm namah (referring to the upper part and lower part of the palm and all over the body).

81-106. Now I am speaking of the Amganyâsa. Hear. Om tat savitur Brahmâ tmane hridayâya namah (referring to the heart.) Om Varenyam Visnvâ tmane S’irase namah (referring to the head); Om bhargo devasya Rudrâtmane S’ikhâyai namah (referring to the crown of the head); Om dhîmahi S’aktyâtmane Kavachâya namah (referring to the Kavacha); Om dhîyoyonah Kâlâtmane netratrayâya namah (referring to the three eyes); Om prachodayât sarvâtmane astrâya namah (referring to the Astra or armour, protecting the body). Now I am speaking of the Varnanyâsa. O Great Muni! Hear. This Varnanyâsa is performed by the letters in the Gâyatrî mantra. If anybody does this, he becomes freed of sins.

“Om Tat namah” on the two toes; (touching them).
“Om Sa namah” on the two heels; (touching them).
“Om Vi namah” on the legs;
“Om Tu namah” on the two knees;
“Om Va namah” on the two thighs;
“Om re namah” on the anus;
“Om ni namah” on the generative organ;
“Om ya namah” on the hip;
“Om bha namah” on the navel;
“Om Rgo namah on the heart;
“Om De namah” on the breasts;
“Om va namah” on the heart;
“Om sya namah” on the throat;
“Om dhî namah” on the mouth;
“Om ma namah” on the palate;
“Om hi namah” on the tip of the nose;
“Om dhi namah” on the two eyes;
“Om yo namah” on the space between the eye-brows;
“Om yo namah” on the forehead;
“Om nah namah” to the east;
“Om pra namah” to the south;
“Om cho namah” on the west;
“Om da namah” on the north;
“Om yâ namah” on the head;
“Om ta namah” on the whole body from head to foot.

Some Jâpakas (those who do the Japam) do not approve of the above nyâsa. Thus the Nyâsa is to be done. Then meditate on the Gâyatrî or the World-Mother. The beauty of the body of the Gâyatrî Devî is like that of the full blown Javâ flower. She is seated on the big red lotus on the back of the Hansa (Flamingo); She is holding the red coloured garland on Her neck and anointed with red coloured unguent. She has four faces; every face has two eyes. On her four hands are a wreath of flowers, a sacrificial ladle, a bead, and a Kamandalu. She is blazing with all sorts of ornaments. From the Devî Gâyatrî has originated first the Rig veda. Brahmâ worships the virgin Gâyatrî; on the idea of S’rî Parames’varî Gâyatrî has four feet. The Rig Veda is one; the Yajurveda is the second, the Sâmaveda is the third and the Atharva veda is the fourth foot. The Gâyatrî has eight bellies; the east side is the one; the south is the second; the west is the third; the north is the fourth; the zenith is the fifth; the nadir is the sixth; the intermediate space is the seventh and all the corners are the eighth belly. Gâyatrî has seven S’iras (heads); Vyâkaranam (Grammar) is one; S’iksâ is the second (that Amga of the Veda, the science which teaches the proper pronunciation of words and laws of euphony); Kalpa is the third (the Vedânga which lays down the ritual and prescribes rules for ceremonial and sacrificial acts); Nirukta is the fourth (the Vedânga that contains glossarial explanation of obscure words, especially those occurring in the Vedas); Jyotish or astronomy is the fifth; Itahâsa (history) and Purânas is the sixth head; and Upanisadas is the seventh head. Agni (fire) is the mouth of Gâyatrî; Rudra is the S’ikhâ (the chief part); Her gotra (lineage) is Sâmkhyâyana; Visnu is the heart of Gâyatrî and Brahmâ is the armour of Gâyatrî. Think of this Mahes’varî Gâyatrî in the middle of the Solar Orb. Meditating on the Gâyatrî Devî as above, the devotee should shew the following twenty-four Mudrâs (signs by the fingers, etc., in religious worship) for the satisfaction of the Devî :– (1) Sanmukh; (2) Sampût; (3) Vitata (4) Vistrita; (5) Dvîmukha; (6) Trimukha; (7) Chaturmukha; (8) Panchamukha; (9) Sanmukha; (10) Adhomukha; (11) Vyâpaka; (12) Anjali; (13) S’akata (14) Yamapâs’a; (15) fingers intertwined end to end; (16) Vilamba (17) Mustika; (18) Matsya; (19) Kûrma; (20) Varâha; (21) Simhâkrânta; (22) Mahâkrânta; (23) Mudgara; (24) Pallava. Next make japam once only of one hundred syllabled Gâyatrî. Thus twenty-four syllabled Sâvitrî, “Jâtavedase sunavâma, etc.,” forty-four syllabled mantra; and the thirty two syllabled mantra, “Tryamvakam Jajâmahe, etc.” These three mantras united make up one hundred lettered Gâyatrî. (The full context of the last Mantra is this :– Om Haum Om yum sah – Trayamvakam yajâmahe Sugandhim Pusti Vardhanam. Urbhârukamiva bandhanân mrityo mûksiya ma mritât Bhur Bhhuvah. Svarom Yum Svah Bhurbhuvah Svarom Haum.) Next make japam of Bhurbhuvah Svah, twenty four lettered Gâyatrî with Om. O Nârada! The Brâhmanas are to perform daily the Sandhyo pâsânâ repeating Gâyatrî, completely adopting the rules above prescribed and then he will be able to enjoy completely pleasures, happiness and bliss.

Here ends the Sixteenth Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the description of Sandhyâ Upâsânâ in the Mahâpurânam S’rî Mad Devî Bhâgvatam of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyâsa.
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