The Mantra-Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Part I
TSV is generally seen as a religious ritual in which one prays to different gods of Hindu pantheon. In particular it is seen as a ‘worshipping’ of Sun God. Hence in modern times, it has lost out is value, as people everyone including kids see it as a burden.
The aim of this blog series is to unravel the real content of TSV, which is hidden in its mantras and tantras, so that everyone can do it and benefit.
The mantras and tantras of TSV carry their own significance and offer various health benefits. Many of them could be used independently also. I plan to explain the elaborate TSV procedure with its meanings and then offer a shortened one for anyone to do it.
Achamanam – The Mantra part
Acamanam is a procedure of sipping small quantities of water. In the Sastras (and in the modern times too), we first drink water when we enter other’s home as a guest. We give water when we receive someone in our home, as a guest. This is the principle of Acamanam.
Here we drink water provided by the eternity as we enter the home of the eternal, infinite and life-giver. As we lift ourselves up in our mental plane into the abode Atma, moving away from our daily world mentally, we praise the host with kind words, as we take in the water.
Take a drop of water when reciting each one of these
Salutations to the imperishable one
Salutations to the boundless one
Salutations to the evolution-finder (Life-finder)
The Atma defined here as imperishable, boundless and life-giver is defined exactly same way in all religions of the world. In fact Science also says that it knows nothing of what led the Big-Bang, which has led to our evolution.
Achamanam – The tantra part
Drinking water in terms of few droplets invigorates us. It is scientifically proven now that drinking water improves cognitive performance immediately. It is advised that just before a presentation or taking a test, gulping down some water improves the brain performance.
Compared to drinking water in larger amounts, taking in few drops of water 2-3 times brings in more attention and focus while insignificantly acting on our physiology. Hence whenever we sip water as part of Achamanam, we are making ourselves to focus more for the job on the hand.
By sipping water three times saluting the eternal one, we have entered His abode mentally. We have also saluted and praised the host for offering us water.
Anga-vandanam – Tracing our creation to Atma – The Mantra part
Anga-Vandanam is a procedure where we link ourselves to that Atma by invoking the twelve names of Vishnu and linking ourselves to Atma in that way, as Vishnu is the link between the immortal Atma and us in the mortal form.
Aitareya Upanisahd – Steps of Evolution – Basis of Anga vandanam procedure
According to Aitareya Upanishad, Amba (which I had mapped to Primordial matter) and Purusha (which I map to Dark matter) evolve from the suffocations of Atma. Purusha protects and guides Amba through the evolutionary process. From this Atma, eleven different guiding forces appear (3 of Marici, 3 of Maram, 3 of Apa apart from force of Amba, Purusha).
Apart from these forces, Aitareya Upanishad says ‘tvaca’ (skin) crystallizes on Amba as it suffocates under extreme heat. That skin then becomes strings (which I map to Kesava) and grow in density (oshad) and height (vana). I map these strings to Kesava, the ultimate unit of matter.
Vishnu is the ‘Mara’ or ‘matter’ form. Rudra, the force emanating from Atma, vibrates these strings as different sub-atomic particles like quarks and leptons. These strings then evolve into three different Mara forms (Hrdaya, Manas and Candrama), which I map to protons, neutrons and electrons.
According to Aitareya Upanishad Apana came from Nabhi (fissure between Hrdaya and Candrama) and Mrtyuh (death) came from Apana. According to Science weak force originates in the fissure/space beween Proton (Hrdaya) and Electrons (Candrama). According to science this weak-force causes radio-active decay, which is ‘death’ in terms of matter. Radio-active decay is the first form of death.
Thus according to Aiteraya Upanishad, Death is born from Nabhi. Thus according to Science to too, the death is born from weak interaction that is born from the Nabhi.
Thus Creation (Brahma) of mortal matter is also ‘born’ from the ‘Nabhi’, as Mortality is achieved when ‘death’ is born.
Matter to Consciousness
The biological evolution seems to follow a similar pattern to that matter evolution. Kesava the string is the ‘holder’ and ‘receptor’ of all forces that emanates. This applies to biological evolution also which happens on top of the matter evolution. Biologically Kesava (probably the string is the RNA here) evolves into senses and consciousness that holds/receives the cosmic forces that emanate.
This evolution from primordial matter to matter, consciousness, further creation and control happen in twelve steps. We trace these steps during Anga-Vandanam and proclaim to ourselves and the almighty that we are his derivatives.
Kesava and Narayana – Desire to express – Move across the face
Kesava indicates ‘hair’ or ‘strings’. Narayana (Nara + ayana) indicates one who resides in what is formed from him. (Nara means mortal that descends from immortal, ayana means resides).
Kesava the string becomes Narayana, when the ‘Atma’ comes to reside on it, with the desire to express itself.
We touch our right cheek and then left cheek with our thumb, thus moving across the face to indicate the transformation of Kesava to Narayana (Atma’s desire to express)
Madhava and Govinda – Becoming perceptible – Move across the eyes
Narayana who took residence in the ‘String’, meditates (consciousness alone works) and becomes Madhava, one who keeps meditating silently. This imperceptible Madhava then becomes perceptible Govinda means one who finds a place to evolve further.(Go- place to evolve, vinda-finder), initiating the evolution of matter. Meditating Madhava becomes evolution seeking Govinda. We touch our right eye and then left eye with our ring finger to indicate this.
Vishnu and Madhusudhana – Implicit action to explicit action – Move across the nose
The Govinda, who finds place to evolve starts working and becomes Vishnu. Vishnu means one who works or starts working. MaduSudhana means one who overcomes/kills stupor, slumber or implicit action. Working Vishnu slays the stupor of inaction in the first step or overcomes inaction. We touch our right nose and then left nose with our forefinger to indicate the movement from implicit to explicit action.
Trivikrama and Vamana – Basic Constituents – Move across head
Tri-vikrama means one who establishes order/laws in three ways. In the matter form, strings form three types of quarks. Vamana means the dwarf or the primitive/first complete thing. The same strings form the leptons, which are the vamana and which move across the universe.
The three types of quarks and leptons form the basis of the evolution of the entire ‘matter’ of Universe. We touch the lobe of right ear and then left ear with our little finger to indicate the basis of evolution.
Sridhara and HrsiKesa – Materials to consciousness – Move across body
Sridhara means one who holds Sri or who evolves Sri from Navel (Sri – materials, dhara – navel). Sri means atoms and elements. In lougiga terms it is different types of materials or wealth. From Tri-vikrama and vamana, Sri (different types of atoms, elements) is formed. Thus sridhara means one who ‘holds’ the material evolution by combining the Tri-vikrama and Vamana.
Hrsikesa means ‘excited impatient string or String that replicates’. Scriptures say Hrsikesa is the lord of senses, which is consciousness. Consciousness is what drives the evolution of senses and blooms on top of the senses in Human beings. It could be denoting the self-replicating RNA.
Thus the complete of body of Universe from matter to consciousness is formed. We touch the right shoulder and then left shoulder with our middle-finger to indicate the evolution from materials to consciousness (thus the body).
Note that the ‘Head’ indicates the ‘basis of matter’ and ‘Heart (left shoulder)” indicates the consciousness. A bit intriguing here that heart is where consciousness is situated and not brain!
Padmanabha and Damodhara – Further Creation and Control – Move vertically from Navel to top of head.
Padmanabha means one with an ‘open’ navel or ‘lotus’ navel, which means one which continuously producing matter/materials.
Science says evolution of higher order elements happen due to the contribution of ‘weak force’ between the protons and electrons (apart from other factors). It says this ‘weak force” contributes to radio-active decay. Aitareya Upanishad states that Creation originated from ‘Nabhi’ (space between Hrdaya/Core particle and Candrama/Satellite particle). It also says ‘Mrtyuh/Death/Decay’ originated from this Nabhi, thus triggering mortal creation.
As seen above it is from the ‘navel’ that creation proceeds as death evolves from it.
Damodhara means one who controls (Dama – control dhara – navel) We touch the navel and then the head with our entire hand.
We move our hand vertically across from navel to top of head to indicate that creation is ready to come out, as control is established.
Anga Vandanam – Drawing the Conch on our body
If we look carefully, during Anga-Vandanam we are drawing a ‘Conch’ on our body. Assuming the fingers give depth, with right thumb being the nearest one and little-finger being the farthest, we are actually drawing the Conch on our body when we do this procedure.
Nasadiya Suktam says a ‘conch-like’ structure appeared at the night of the Universe, when everything was consumed and it is from this conch the creation of universe happened. It says this Conch is the abode of the Atman.
By drawing the conch on our body we depict the evolution of Universe on our body and declare our body to the abode of Atman.
Four arms (functions) of Vishnu
Thus evolution from primordial matter to matter, evolution from matter to consciousness, further creation of matter and control of that creation happen in twelve steps. These four are called the four arms (functions) of Vishnu.
We trace these steps during Anga-Vandanam and proclaim to ourselves and the almighty that weare his derivatives.
Five births of Vishnu (Panchajanya)
Panchajanya is ‘Conch’ of Vishnu. It means five births. (Conch is always associated with Birth/Creation. More about it in next blog). Vishnu’s Conch, Panchajanya indicates Vishnu manifests in five domains. They are Primordial matter, Matter, Chemical, biological and intellect.
In primordial matter, Vishnu takes birth as Kesava/Narayana (the string/string with Atma).
In matter, Vishnu is Upendra, the proton (I had mapped Indra to hydrogen ion(proton and neutron here). Hence Vishnu becomes Upendra (protium), the first matter to be formed.
In Chemical world, Vishnu is Sudarshana, the Carbon, the carrier of metabolism that drove biological evolution. He is called the Sudarshana, the good-looking one. Carbon has 6 electrons, protons and neutrons, is known to form the hardest substances with which anything can be cut down. Sudarshana chakra has 6 tips and can cut down anything.
In Biological world, Vishnu takes birth as HrsiKesa, the RNA that can replicate itself.
In intellect world, Vishnu takes birth as kRSna, the lord of the senses, that is consciousness. kRSna means one who pulls, drags, draw towards, furrows etc. kRSna the consciousness is the one that pulls us up. krSna is equivalent to Purusha, the dark-matter as both are hidden. kRSna thus is also meant to indicate black or dark in color.
Anga Vandanam – The Tantra part
While performing Anga Vandanam, we use thumb to touch the cheeks, ring finger to touch the edge of eyes, fore-finger to touch the nose, little finger to touch the ears, middle-finger to touch the shoulders and the entire right hand to touch the navel and head.
If we observe it keenly, we will be using alternate fingers as we progress from cheeks to eyes to nose to ears to shoulders to navel. And we will be reciting the names of Vishnu in the above sequence.
This kind of recitation requires co-ordination between mind and the body. In other words Anga-vandanam is a nice little exercise in mental co-ordination between primary motor cortex, cerebellum (the clock), cerebrum and broca’s area parts of our brain. This exercises our brain to bring in focus and concentration.
Achamanam and Anga-Vandanam – Training to focus anytime anywhere
Thus these two procedures simply bring in a ‘Big Picture and better ‘focus’ physically and mentally. Sipping few drops of water re-invigorates the brain physiologically. Exercise involved in Anga-Vandanam procedure provides a co-ordination exercise between cerebrum, cerebellum and primary motor cortex.
To get optimal benefit this procedure needs to be done exactly as prescribed (synchronizing the recitation and touching of body parts with appropriate fingers)..
One can repeat this procedure at any stage when it is needed to bring better focus. In fact this procedure of sipping water in small quantities and doing Anga-Vandanam can help us even in our daily work.
Try out doing this procedure of sipping water, reciting the three mantras and doing an anga-vandanam before a critical task. You can feel better focussed.
Let’s say you are tense at a time and you are about to react in a tense mood, you can practice these two by sipping few drops of water, reciting the three mantras and then doing a anga-vandanam.
I have observed Achamanam and Anga-vandanam instantly reducing the tension and give a balance of thinking before I respond to that situation. TRY IT OUT. IT WORKS.
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Next in Series
TSV Series – Part II – Ganapati Dyanam – Invoking peace
More posts by this author:
- The Mantra-Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Ganapati Dyanam
- The Mantra-Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Punar Marjanam
- Trikala Sandhya Vandhanam (TSV) series – Introduction
- The Mantra-Tantras of SandhyaVandanam – Finishing the Bath
- The Mantra Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Harihara Vandanam