Sandhyavandana (सन्ध्यावन्दनम्)

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Sandhyavandana (Sanskrit: संध्यावन्दन, sandhyāvandana) is a mandatory religious ritual performed, traditionally, by Dvija communities of Hindus[citation needed], particularly those initiated through the sacred thread ceremony referred to as the Upanayanam and instructed in its execution by a Guru, in this case one qualified to teach Vedic ritual. The Sandhyavandanam consists of recitation from the Vedas, accompanied by ritual. These rituals are performed three times a day- at morning (prātaḥsaṃdhyā), noon (mādhyāhnika) and evening (sāyaṃsaṃdhyā).

The Sandhyavandanam is the oldest extant liturgy in world religion. As a practice, it may be descended from the much older daily Agnihotra ritual.

Sandhyavandanam literally means "salutation to Sandhya". Sandhya, in turn, has traditionally been interpreted either as "the transition moments of the day" (namely the two twilights dawn and dusk), or as "the solar noon". Thus, Sandhyavandanam may be defined as the ritual "salutation to twilight or the solar noon".

The term sandhyā, when used by itself in the sense of "daily practice", may also refer to the performance of these rituals at the opening and closing of the day.[1][2]

[3][4] The steps in the Sandhyavandan always include the following essential components:

  1. Āchamana consists of Nama Sankirthana - taking the names of the Lord
  2. Prāṇāyāma is the ritual purification of internals via breathing exercises
  3. Mārjana is a ritual self-purification
  4. Mantra Prokshanam is a prayer for atonement of sins
  5. Aghamarshana (performed by some schools, especially Rig Vedins) is a prayer for forgiveness of sins
  6. Gāyatri japa is meditation
  7. Upastānam is a prayer to the Hindu deities Mitra (performed during the morning prayer) and Varuna (performed during the evening prayer)
  8. Abhivādana is a salutory introduction offered to all deities. It usually follows a prostration to the deities in each direction (dikpālas)

In addition to the above Vedic components of the Sandhyavandanam, many include the following Tantric component:

  1. Navagraha tarpana are offerings made every day to each of the nine planets.

The steps in the Rigveda Sandhyavandan are twenty-eight in number. The emerging need to perform the Sandhyaavandanam daily is increasing .[5]

Main components of the Sandhyavandanam


  • Āchamana and Angavandanam - Sipping water three times + purifying parts of the body
  • Ganapathi Dhyanam - Requesting Lord Ganeshaa for cessation of obstacles
  • Prāṇāyāma - (Prāṇā) Breathing (āyamaha) regulation exercise controls pranamayakosha ("physiological aspect"). The Pranamaya kosha includes five systems - Prana (respiratory system), apana (excretory system), vyana (circulatory system), samana (digestive) and udana (reversing system). Influences Anamayakosha (Anatomical aspect) and Manomayakosha (Emotional aspect). There are 2 types: Kevala pranayama (Done silently - focus is on body) and Sagarbha pranayama (recommended) (With mantra - health improves but we remain detached from body). Done 3 times to 10 times.

Meaning of Mantra - Pranava - Om means eeswarah (implying that God is everything). Vyahrithihi) - Bhu, bhuvaha etc. refer to 7 upper lokas (other 7 lower lokas are implied) are all God. Gayatri - Simple meaning - I meditate upon the light of the sun which activates our intelligent) Gayatri shiras (again says that God is everything - All waters (aapo), lights (jyothi), essences/nourishment(raso), God's nourishment (amrutham) is God).

  • Sankalpam - Taking the resolve - has benefit of auto-suggestion (telling yourself that this is your focus for next 15 odd minutes).
  • Prokshanam -
  • Jalaprashanam or Marjanam
  • Arghya pradanam
  • Navagraha Kesavathi Tarpana
  • Gayatri japam
  • Upasthaanam
  • Dik-Vandhanam
  • Abhivadanam
  • Samarpanam

Chanting of the Gayatri mantra, traditionally, is done 32, 64 or 108 times (it depends on the person doing sandhyavandana; he can chant any number of times. "YathaSakti Gayatri mantra japam karishye" was the sankalpam in Sandhya vandana), depending upon the prescriptions of the practitioner's Veda and Sutra, an integral part of Sandhyavandanam.[6] In addition to the mantra, the ritual of saṃdhyā includes other rites that are purifying and preparatory (Sanskrit: śuddhi mantras), serving to prevent distracting thoughts and bring focus to the mind. Some of these are propitiatory libations of water to the Gods of the planets and of the months of the Hindu calendar, atoning for Sandhyavandanams not performed and atoning for sins committed since the last hour of Sandhya. In addition, one of the most important rituals of Sandhyavandanam involves worshiping the Sun as Mitra in the morning and worshiping Varuna, in the evening.

Each Shakha of the holy Veda has its own unique way of sandhyavandanam. Shatatapa Smriti says a Dwija who doesn't do sandhyavandanam at least once will be a dog in the next birth. During Ashoucham (during death of any relative or birth of a child) sandhyavandanam is done without water and Darbham (Kusha grass). On Trayodashi, during sayam sandhya minimum gayatri japam and silence is prescribed by some vedik scholars. There are few additional mantras in Navagraha Kesavathi Tarpana for Bodhayana Sutra. They include Yama mantras, in addition to Navagraha Kesavathi mantras.

Daily duties of Brahmins

Doing Sandhya vandhana first creates the eligibility for a brahmin to do all rituals following it. Rituals done without doing sandhyavandhanam are regarded as fruitless by Dharmaśāstra. Thus, sandhyavandhana forms the basis or regarded as the foundation for all other vedic rituals. After doing Sandhyavandhana dhyannika Sandhya to get rid off sins occurred due preparation of lunch like boiling rice,cutting vegetables, burning firewood etc. In Vaishvadeva homa rice cakes are offered to vishvadevas (all devatas).


Other aspects of the ritual, though, speaking strictly, not to included in Sandhyavandanam, may include meditation, chanting of other mantras (Sanskrit: japa), and devotional practices specifically for divinities that are preferred by the practitioner.[7] Regarding the connection with meditation practices, Monier-Williams notes that if regarded as an act of meditation, the sandhyā may be connected with the etymology san-dhyai.[8]

Depending on the beliefs — Smartha, Sri Vaishnava, Madhva — these mantras or procedures have slight changes, while the main mantras like marjanam (sprinkling of water), prashanam (drinking water), punar marjanam and arghya pradhanam remain the same in 95% of the cases. Smarthas (Advaithins) have Aikyanu Sandanam, where they (Yajur Vedins) recite the verse from bruhadaranyaka Upanishad (Brahmir vaa Aham Asmi).Sivaprasad Bhattacharyya defines it as the "Hindu code of liturgical prayers."[9]

See also

[10] Rigved Steps

  1. For use of the term saṃdhyā as meaning "daily practice", see Taimni, p. 7.
  2. For saṃdhyā as juncture of the two divisions of the day (morning and evening) and also defined as "the religious acts performed by Brahmans and twice-born men at the above three divisions of the day" see Monier-Williams, p. 1145, middle column.
  4. ==Sandhya Vandana==
  6. For chanting of the Gayatri mantra as part of saṃdhyā practice see Taimni, p. 1.
  7. These are entirely at the discretion of the performer and carry no ritualistic sanction whatsoever. For meditation, japa, and chosen deity practices, see Taimni, pp. 171-204.
  8. For san-dhyai see Monier-Williams, p. 1145, middle column.
  9. For a definition see Bhattacharyya, Sivaprasad. "Indian Hymnology", in Radhakrishnan (CHI, 1956), volume 4, p. 474. Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , Bangalore have brought out a book on Sandhyavandanam modelled as a Guide with all the hymns in Devanagiri , Tamil and Kannada scripts and the meanings of each hymn and explanations in English for better appreciation . For more details please visit the sabha website



  • Balu, Meenakshi (2006). Rig Veda Trikaala Sandhyaavandanam. Chennai: MB Publishers. ISBN 81-8124-071-5.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (fourth revised & enlarged edition).
  • Balu, Meenakshi (2008). Yajur Veda Trikaala Sandhyaavandanam (Abasthampam & Bodhayanam). Chennai: Giri Trading. ISBN 978-81-7950-451-2.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (First Edition).
  • Apte, Vaman Shivram (1965). The Practical Sanskrit Dictionary. Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 81-208-0567-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (fourth revised & enlarged edition).
  • Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli (Editorial Chairman) (1956). The Cultural Heritage of India. Calcutta: The Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> Second edition, four volumes, revised and enlarged, 1956 (volume IV).
  • Taimni, I. K. (1978). Gāyatrī. Adyar, Chennai, India: The Theosophical Publishing House. ISBN 81-7059-084-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Second Revised Edition).
  • Taimni, I. K. (1978). Gāyatrī. Adyar, Chennai, India: The Theosophical Publishing House. ISBN 81-7059-084-1.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Second Revised Edition).[1]