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The Essence of Hindu Tradition & Culture

E-book from Kanchi Periva Forum

Volume – 2
Published: June 2012

Important Daily Rituals
Author: Subi Anna

© 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum

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Table of Contents
Introduction ............................................................................................................................. 3 About the Author ..................................................................................................................... 5 1.0 Why daily rituals? .............................................................................................................. 6 2.0 Prerequisites ..................................................................................................................... 7 3.0 Some examples................................................................................................................. 7 4.0 Periva‟s comments ............................................................................................................ 9 5.0 Lighting an oil lamp ......................................................................................................... 11 6.0 Sandhyavandanam ......................................................................................................... 12 6.1 What is a mantra? ........................................................................................................ 14 6.2 About Gaayatri Mantra ................................................................................................. 14 6.3 Other Aspects of Sandhyavandana ............................................................................. 17 6.4 Periva‟s advice ............................................................................................................. 19 7.0 A Simple Puja .................................................................................................................. 20 7.1 Shodasa Upachara - Sixteen Services ........................................................................ 23 8.0 Cooking and eating food ................................................................................................. 24 9.0 Conclusion ...................................................................................................................... 25 10.0 Suggested further reading ............................................................................................. 26

© 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum

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Shri Kanchi Maha Periva Thiruvadigal Charanam Introduction Hari Om! We are pleased to bring you the second edition of the e-book series from the Kanchi Periva Forum. it is very difficult to provide exact translations. we dealt with the question of “Why rituals are important?” Certain general principles pervade all religious rituals and our sanatana dharma is no exception to this rule. and “Sri Acharya Swamigal Upanyasangal” published by Kalaimagal. Like minded members of the Forum have come together realizing the need to insist upon the present generation to observe and keep alive the rich traditions of the Hindu Religion. We express our immense gratitude to the authors and publishers of these books for providing a treasure of information from Periva‟s discourses. we invite your attention to a few points relating to this e-book. Also. These quotes are drawn from Periva‟s discourses that have been published in various books such as “Deivathin Kural (Tamil).” English publications of the Bharatiya Vidya Page 3 of 26 . © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Please note that no uniform style is adopted in the use of these Sanskrit words. This e-book series is the result of efforts from the members of the Kanchi Periva Forum www. At the start of this edition. we wish to clarify that the word 'Periva' refers to Kanchi Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Swamigal. pronouncing and understanding the words used in this book.periva.periva. we have quoted Periva extensively. A basic knowledge of Sanskrit would be very useful in In the first edition (May 2012) of this e-book series. also known as Mahaperiva or as Paramacharya.proboards. However. We have also extracted relevant materials from the extensive archives and experiences of the author.periva. we present the basics of important daily rituals. some of them are italicized and provided with simple English meanings when used for the first time. You will find many Sanskrit words in this e-book. as prescribed in the Vedas and Sastras. In this sequel edition. In this www.

the moderators of the Kanchi Periva Forum for their assistance in the making of this e-book. India and Shri K. we welcome you to visit www. Raman from Santa Clara – USA. Please also register on the forum www.Kanchi Periva Forum Page 4 of 26 .com to stay updated on devotees‟ experiences and to receive our regular newsletters. We humbly submit this second e-book at the lotus feet of Shri Maha Periva. Feedback about the e-book may be shared with us at kanchiperiva@gmail.periva.periva.proboards. We welcome your views and feedback for enlarging the scope of future editions of the e-book and improve the quality of presentations. Administrator . We would also like to thank Smt Sumathi Agambaranathan from www.periva.proboards. USA for authoring this book. Hara Hara Shankara! © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum or with the author directly at the email addresses given in the profile that follows. For those who are not familiar about our website and Jaya Jaya Shankara.periva.We would like to express our profound thanks to Shri Sundaresan Subramanian from for a collection of rare videos and complete online library of upanyasams of Sri Maha Periva.

is an international consultant with an array of global experiences in the field of energy and environment.proboards. He was trained in Japan in corporate management and was conferred with a honorary doctorate degree by the University of Berkley.S. His professional accomplishments are recognized through several awards from both India and the U. In his long professional career. government agencies.S. a senior member of the Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE). His demonstrated success includes building US-Asia energy and environmental partnerships in cooperation with American and Asian government agencies. he has worked for many years in senior management positions with multinational corporations in India and later with U.S.” On the academic side. Green Business Council. He serves as a honorary member of the committee of “Sri Veda Vyas Gurukul” – a Veda PAtashala functioning on the lines of Gurukula system at the Kanchi Mutt in Pune. Subi Anna is based out of Chicago. He served as a member of the selection panel for Fulbright environmental fellowships. Subi Anna is Graduate in Electrical Engineering from the University of © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. qualified in Production Engineering. USA and can be reached at s. affectionately called as Subi Anna. Based on his continuing study and research.subi@yahoo. Deriving great inspiration from Maha Periva. Subi Anna developed a deep personal interest in religion and the ancient scriptures. USA. He has authored many articles and studies related to energy and environment and served for 3 years as an editor of “The Urja Watch” – a publication of the Indian Association of Energy Management Professionals (IAEMP). His honorary activities benefited several communities. the Sage of Page 5 of 26 .periva. Subi Anna is engaged in propagating Maha Periva‟s teachings and unfolding the secrets and wisdom of Sanatana Dharma. and as a LEED Green Associate of the U. USA. His published e-books include: “Mantras and Management” and “Managing Anger – Lessons from the Ancient. Xavier‟s Institute.About the Author Shri Sundaresan Subramanian www. Sundaresan Subramanian. Bombay. Maharashtra. non-government organizations and the corporate sector. in Business Management at St. and the Association of Energy Engineers. London.periva.

Our daily rituals directly impact our behaviour. The choice of how to view a ritual. performance at work and productivity.periva. It is essential that the underlying principles behind the rituals are properly grasped to have a better appreciation of the importance of daily rituals.proboards. including religious rituals is entirely yours. the ceremonies degenerate into blind rituals and people lose interest in performing them. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. In a negative way. If these principles are not understood.” . you can see a ritual as bringing some order into your life or developing a systematic behaviour – like setting the alarm and sticking to a time schedule for activities.Aadi Sankaracharya in Upadesa Panchakam Shri Maha Periva वेदो ननत्यं अधीयत ं 1. In a positive way.0 Why daily rituals? Although the word “ritual” is commonly associated with religious Page 6 of 26 . Practice well the rituals prescribed therein. You can view a daily ritual in a positive or negative www. you can consider a ritual as an unnecessary hindrance to your freedom – the right to do whatever and whenever. we can use the same word to describe any established actions that we do as part of our daily activities – like brushing your teeth.IMPORTANT DAILY RITUALS Om Gurubyo Namah Salutations to the Guru तद उधधतं कर्म स्वनष्टीयत ं ु Vedo Nityam Adheeyataam Taduditam Karma Svanushtheeyataam “Study the Vedas daily.

3. There were no trees anywhere in sight and all I could see was just desert sand on either side of the long road. You do such activities almost daily as a matter of routine with no extraordinary effort.periva. One of the benefits of involvement in daily rituals is development of personal discipline and selfcontrol. the more deeply you will enjoy it. driving a car or chatting over the phone. His observations are without any prejudice and intended purely to provide some examples to reinforce the concept of faith and discipline for daily rituals: The first observation is an old one from my international trips. do you perform physical exercises every day? We all know that exercise is good for health.0 Some examples To illustrate the concept of faith and discipline and how it supports rituals. Think of some activities that you perform everyday like taking a bath. dressing up for work. you‟ll love it. The first and most essential one is that you must have faith that the ritual is for your good. So. The more you realize the value of physical exercises. Once you start doing it regularly. Suddenly.0 Prerequisites All religions are based on belief. it is with daily rituals. Before you perform any daily ritual. the more you will like it. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www.proboards. It relates to an incident that happened sometime in mid-eighties when I was traveling in a taxi from Dubai to Abu Dhabi. It was a very hot and humid day but the taxi was comfortably www. the driver pulled over to the roadside and stopped the car. The second is a personal discipline to effectively perform the ritual. Some people perform exercise regularly and build an agile body. A personal discipline is essential to our overall personal growth and spiritual Page 7 of 26 . For a moment. or playing games on the computer. reading a newspaper. the more you try to understand it.2. He got out of the car and went around to open the trunk. At the same time. there are two important prerequisites. there are many who are sluggish and prefer to spend their time in easy-going activities such as watching the TV. I thought the car had a flat tyre and the driver was probably taking out the tools to replace it with the spare tyre in the trunk.periva. But then. author Subi recalls some observations on how people display faith and discipline. Performing daily rituals is like doing physical exercises every day.

and kneeled down on it to perform his namaz (prayers) despite the most uncomfortable environment! An example of Periva‟s open mind and how he viewed the namaz may be relevant Page 8 of 26 . you can feel the people‟s faith in the Almighty in places where they congregate in millions to have a dip in a holy river or in temples to have a darshan of the Lord. there were some vendors selling flowers and udubathi (scented sticks). Peeping through the window of my room in the 17 th floor of the Sheraton hotel where I stayed. I was surprised to see the „gopuram‟ of a temple. Yet another example – This was in 2001 when I had visited Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The local people bought those and so did I. I saw pictures of various Hindu Gods and Goddesses on the walls. I found a sanctum sanctorum – just like in India. It seemed to me that almost all of the people offering prayers there were local Vietnamese. „In fact. I took a stroll and went in search of the temple. I learnt from a devotee that local Vietnamese believe that worshiping at this temple will bring them peace and good luck. at 4:30 am. and the main deity was Lord Muruga. Outside the temple gate. unrolled it on the sand. there are yet lots of people who have implicit faith in the Almighty and who display discipline to unfailingly perform the rituals without complaining. He said. In India. You can observe similar faith exhibited in many other places. The driver took out a rolled mat. I located it. when the call for namaz comes from the mosque. he vehemently opposed the idea. In the evening.periva. These experiences from various countries left deep impressions in me. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. There was a praakaram around the sanctum. People of all age groups stood or knelt with fragrant udubathis held between their folded palms. So. the mosque and local district authorities decided to relocate the mosque to some other place. it acts as a wake-up call for my divine duties. There were many devotees inside the temple.proboards. Entering the temple. On the walls. There was a mosque close to Kanchi www.‟ What many people might consider as nuisance in the morning was a welcome call for Periva! The regular daily call for namaz reflects faith and a discipline of the mind. Not far from the hotel. lighting the udubathi and praying with folded holds. When this news reached Periva.But I was wrong. A large number of people used to visit the historic mosque and there were huge gatherings of devotees at the matam too. What I saw at this temple was not just the devotees from Vietnam but the immense faith of the local people on Hindu deities displayed in the fullest measure through the rituals of offering flowers. They demonstrated that in this busy world. It was becoming increasingly difficult to manage the traffic. I was curious to know – is it really a Hindu temple in Vietnam? I decided to explore later.

it is relevant to learn from Periva‟s educative discourses. that they must adhere to the practices pertaining to the tradition to which they belong and they must wear the symbols appropriates to the www. your outward actions and the symbols worn by you outwardly have an impact on the inner life. that conduct is a matter of the mind. Some people hold the view that all that is needed is conduct and character. etc. you can see crowds of people jostling with each other to get a spoonful of the prasada theertham (blessed water) or just vibhuti (holy ash) that have no monetary value. but it makes its own impact on his body. the rudraksha. there is still a large section of people in the Hindu community who discount rituals as useless and not consistent with modern ways of living. Often the outward appearance reflects the inner feelings. Outside my apartment complex in Chennai. I have often seen a rikshawala praying in the mornings and contributing a coin or two to the small Ganesha idol installed on the compound wall. say.0 Periva’s comments In the context of such questions.periva. They ask questions like: “Is it not enough if I just stick to doing my work with good conduct. Let me illustrate this truth. Faith is exhibited by people in different ways. We provide some excerpts from Periva‟s talks that illustrate the need for daily rituals: "I have stated again and again that the people must perform the rites (rituals) handed down to them from forefathers. One day. like the holy ashes or Tiruman. There is a relationship between bodily work and inner feelings. however. unexpectedly.Sometimes. His joy knows no bounds. a man comes to know he was won prize in a lottery. Many educated people do not seem to be clear on the need for performing daily rituals. In truth. one lakh rupees.proboards.periva. yoga (pranayama is one) develops lessons in breathing to create healthy and noble feeling and urges. A particular feeling creates a specific change in the process of breathing. that religious customs are but part of the external life. Despite such deep faith and the associated rituals that we observe around the world. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. From this practical observation. He becomes so excited that his breathing itself stops for a moment and he faints. earn money the right way and enjoy life? Why I should I waste my time in meaningless rituals?” Page 9 of 26 .

If you think that it is all a disguise so it will be.periva. showing all your teeth. The symbols worn outside. the wise have devised yogic postures that are calculated to nurture particular Atmic qualities. Will soldiers be less valorous if they do not wear their uniforms? All over the world members of the defense services wear uniforms and it is claimed that they keep them fighting fit and inspire courage in them. Let us perform the rites that keep us away from evil. realize bliss. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Based on this www. Let us wear the signs that remind us of the Supreme Truth. to the custom of wearing symbols like the sacred ashes. It is perhaps natural that I should give importance to samskaras.periva. between the body and the inner feelings.Universal Way of Life) Periva prescribed individual inner transformation as a precondition for a better world. experience It inwardly. Outward action helps you inwardly. So all these symbols that I wear serve a purpose in my case. You must resolve to wear the symbols in all sincerity and perform the rites too. When you are sorrowful your eyes become moist and you shed tears. But your case is different. etc. are inwardly beneficial.proboards. You will give me money for the conduct of the Mata.When you are angry your eyes become Page 10 of 26 . In our sanatana dharma. After all. You have your own means of livelihood and you may be able to perform samskaras even more sincerely than I do and make yourself pure by wearing the symbols of our religion." (Source: Hindu Dharma . If you are happy you are agape. your lips quiver. protection and support. I am the head of Mata and you will come to me only if I wear all these. all rites and ceremonies are intended not only to achieve better control of senses but also to aid the embodied soul called “Jeevatma” in making its journey towards its final goal of “Mukti” (liberation) easier. The soul is said to be encased in five sheaths. They also help in purifying them and in making them strong so as to enable them to resist all evil and also to shape external conditions to man‟s benefit. Thus there is a definite connection between the body and the mind. He suggested observance of rituals to bring about this change within individuals. Then they will truly cause purity within. Let us be of good conduct and character and cleans our consciousness. and the ceremonies help in bringing the sheaths to obedience. rudraksha. Kosas as they are called. the rituals (samskaras) performed outwardly. And let us meditate on the Ultimate Reality.

proboards. It is a routine in many Hindu www. easy to perform and do not require elaborate preparations or training.Lighting a simple oil lamp in front of the home altar is an important daily ritual. But it is necessary to highlight the ones that are important. Agni is considered as the divine witness in our ceremonies such as upanyana and weddings. Just as light removes darkness.periva. 1. Covering all the daily rituals in their entirety is beyond the scope of this edition. Many books and even DVDs are available to help people learn the associated mantras and perform the important daily Page 11 of 26 . In ancient days. But some might ask. fire was kept continuously burning in homes. We have provided some references elsewhere in this edition. Let‟s explain further. Agni is viewed as the messenger between humans and the celestials. light symbolizes knowledge. why light an oil lamp? Why not just use the electric lamp conveniently? The electric lamp too does the same job of removing darkness. knowledge removes ignorance. a protector against unseen hostile spirits and evil influences.periva. A simple Puja 4. Cooking and eating food 5.' We light the lamp in reverence to knowledge. Lighting an oil lamp 2. The Parsi's worship fire and in fact. Agni (Fire) is the most important constituent in our rituals.0 Lighting an oil lamp First thing in the morning . The flame of an oil lamp is nothing but Agni and lighting an oil lamp is akin to keeping the auspicious Agni alive at home. That's why the term 'enlighten' means to give 'knowledge. In this edition of e-book. we shall cover the following most important daily rituals. Sandhyavandanam 3. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. their temples are called fire temples.There are many rituals that are prescribed in our ancient scriptures. The Greek and the Romans had fire as the hearth of their rites. It is not just in India alone that it is so. Darkness represents ignorance.

Who all should perform Sandhyavandanam? Let us hear what Periva says: “Only Brahmins.periva. Dvi-ja (Twice-born in English. the fire god. They merit the second birth only when they become qualified to learn the Vedas. "iru-pirappalan" in Tamil) is the name given to a Brahmin. In many public functions these days. Performing this ceremony at the right time is the responsibility of the parents. In short. in the form of a lighted lamp. brilliance. Kshatriyas and Vaisyas have the upanayana ceremony. Vandanam means offering thanks. There is nothing discriminatory about this nor is there a need for any quarrel over the same. Almost all rites and rituals have been presided over by Agni. One more perspective – It makes a lot of sense to light an oil lamp in these days of erratic electric power supply! 6. symbolizing Page 12 of 26 . Such a birth is meant. we see that „lighting an oil lamp‟ symbolizes inauguration of a new activity.proboards. It is gratifying to note that it is the same prayer that was performed by our ancestors thousands of years ago. health and wealth. and it is through the upanayana ceremony that they become qualified for it. it means a prayer of thanks to God in the morning and in the evening twilight.0 Sandhyavandanam Another important daily rituals is the “Sandhyavandanam. our human weaknesses and ego too get destroyed when lit by spiritual knowledge. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. as mentioned earlier. There is also the age-old belief that a lamp is a manifestation of Goddess Lakshmi. Just as the oil in the lamp and the wick get burnt gradually.The traditional oil lamp has more significance.periva. to spread the divine power all over the world. People belonging to the fourth varna do physical work to serve the world and in the process acquire inner purity. Kshatriya or Vaisya.” What is Sandhyavandanam? It is essentially a Vedic prayer. What does it mean? Sandhya means the time when day and night meet.

Pranayama is considered as a yogic practice that helps in concentrating our mind on the Supreme Being and launching ourselves on a path of devotion. we must make a resolution .org Page 13 of 26 .periva. During the process. It means that you should rise early in the morning . It is followed by a short prayer to Lord Ganesha. Pra. drawing in the breath through one of the taking a vow. Yudhishtira who were Kshatriyas performed Sandyavandhnam even when facing distress. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. you should wear the sacred marks of your faith (vibhuti or gopi chandana). In order to achieve any activity.” In present days. So. After the pranayama comes Sankalpa or www. it becomes easy to wake up early.a difficult task for many! Once a habit is formed. 2 anu) mentions that the person who meditates on the rising and setting sun as the Supreme being enjoys all happiness. It is binding on all except the people who do hard labor. and we have always had only 24 hours a day! One way of finding time is to rise a little early in the morning. we never shall have any more time.proboards. The next step is pranayama that has three components to it. Sandhyavandanam begins with performing Achamana or sipping water from the right palm with accompanying mantras.periva. one can find references on how divine personalities like Rama. supposedly to clean the internal organs of the body. We have. Taittreya Upanishad (Aran II. Sandhyavandanam should be performed before sunrise. the sankalpa helps to make a resolution to perform the Sandhyavandanam. It is done three times. Kumbhaka. facing east. In the Ramayana and Mahabharata. many people ask questions like:    "Who has the time for performing Sandhyavandanam everyday?" “What‟s the purpose of throwing a few spoonfuls of water around?” "Is this something worth doing?" These questions may sound legitimate but what is not understood is that our 'smritis' and 'puranas' (ancient scriptures) emphasize the necessity of performing this daily service. In contrast. a mantra beginning with „Om Bhoo’ is recited.At present. holding the breath and Rechaka. After bath. people had faith in the scriptures and acted according to their dictates. in matters like this. expelling air through one of the nostrils. The first called Puraka. As regards time. In the morning. in the old days. no regard is paid to the canons.

It is believed that a person who chants the mantras in a prescribed method reaps desired benefits. the mother of the Vedas. The Gaayatri Mantra is a part of the Rigveda Samhita. 6. The first is "manas" or "mind. In his own unique style. syllable. Mantras help steady the mind and focus one‟s" The word mantra is derived from two Sanskrit words." which provides the "man" syllable.periva. anger or resentment. You may refer to the following link for more details including demo videos on Sandyavandanam: http://www. That leads us to a question." A mantra is one that offers protection by repetition in the www. Periva talks about Gaayatri Mantra: © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. word. mantras are viewed as instruments for spiritual advancement and high attainment. Gaayatri is known as Vedamaatha. patience and love towards other living beings.1 What is a mantra? Mantra is a Sanskrit word.periva. 6.2 About Gaayatri Mantra One of the most important mantras in our sanatana dharma is the Gaayatri Mantra that forms part of Sandhyavandanam. Kanchi Periva Forum has presented a lot of useful information on Sandhyavandanam. Mantras are ancient. repeated in prayer or meditation as an invocation to the gods. It is a sacred phrase of Hinduism.There are many more steps in Sandyavandhanam but we are not describing the full ritual in this edition as there are many books and videos providing details on how to perform Sandhyavandanam. The second syllable is drawn from the Sanskrit word "tra" meaning to " Page 14 of 26 . free mind from baser instincts. In mainstream Vedic practices of Hinduism.cgi?action=display&board=general&thread=115&page=1#1142 The most important and the center piece of Sandhyavandanam is the Gaayatri Mantra which is believed to contain the sum and substance of Vedic teaching.proboards. or group of words that are considered capable of "creating transformation. third mandala. and develop inner strength.proboards. Wikipedia defines mantra as a sound. sukta 62 and verse 10.

periva. Gaayatri mantra is very simple to read and easy to recite every day. So. It is only then that the heart is truly tuned to receive the divine grace." "Sings" is not used here in the sense of singing a song. Thus Gaayatri is the essence of Rigveda.periva. There are many translations to the Gaayatri Mantra. healthy. each foot of eight syllables. Each foot is the essence of a Veda. "Chandas" means the Vedas. intellect and the inner self. It has the potential to transform the mental framework of a person to a systematic. Just as darkness has no independent existence but caused by the absence of light. Yajurveda and Samaveda. The Gaayatri mantra should be recited with true humility and sincere reverence and not in a spirit of indifference. That is why the mantra is called "Tripaada Gaayatri". It means intoning or chanting (the mantra) with affection and devotion. The mantra reads as follows: ॐ भभवः स्वः । ू ुम Om bhur bhuvah suwah Tat savitur varenyam Bhargo devasya dheemahi Dhiyo yo nah prachodayat तत ् सववतवरेण्यं । ु म भर्गो दे वस्य धीमर्ह । धधयो यो नः प्रचोदय त ् ॥ It is believed that Gaayatri mantra serves as a faithful protector of all those who recite the mantra with sincerity. Worshipping Gaayatri regularly is to seek true knowledge and wisdom. It has twenty-four aksharaas (letters or syllables) and three feet. The worship should be made with an implicit faith in the spiritual efficacy of the mantra. unhappiness is nothing but absence of true knowledge. Gaayatri is the mother of all Vedic mantras (that is the Vedas proclaim them so). "Gaayantam traayate yasmaat Gaayatri' tyabhidhiyate. We do not wish to discuss the details of these meanings as there are many interpretations by different scholars that might confuse © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. While speaking about this mantra the Vedas use these words: "Gaayatrim Chandasam mata". A stable and well developed mind produces healthy thoughts that eventually lead to contentment and happiness.(Quote) "Whoever sings is protected. People who chant the Gaayatri in this manner are protected.” (End of quote) Reciting Gaayatri Mantra is known to provide extraordinary benefits to its devotees. righteous and balanced Page 15 of 26 . Gaaytri is said to influence the mind.proboards." that is "Gaayatri".com www.

the prayer clearly means seeking knowledge from the Almighty. Knowledge alone is believed to confer supreme bliss. The Gaayatri mantra is silently recited in mind many times – generally 108 times. In the universe. Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat: Dhiyo – the intellect. You will observe that the Gaayatri mantra emphasizes lays importance on knowledge and deploying it on the right path.the reader. Considering such a vast universe. there is a Galaxy called Milky Way or Akash-Ganga that contains hundreds of thousands of to right Direction. Tat Savitur Varenyam: Tat . prachodayat. Deploy our intellect on the right path.(manifesting as) the sun. "Oh Lord! I think of Thy glory.the in meditation or yoga." Even for those who do not understand Sanskrit.the other world of planets. Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi: Bhargo. yo -who. During the recitation. the mind should be kept straying on other thoughts. We know that the moon moves around the earth and the earth moves around the sun along with the moon.periva. Each star has its own planetary system like the sun. Page 16 of 26 . Bhur .the light. this mantra conveys a prayer.proboards. In simple words. the mantra means: We meditate on the adorable light (Sun) of the Supreme Creator of the Universe. devasya.that (God). dheemahi. varenyam worthy of bowing or respect. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Enlighten me with Thy divine grace and guide my intellect in the right direction.we meditate.the third world Galaxy. bhuvah. All planets revolve around the sun. Each of the above bodies revolve around at its own axis as well. suwah. May He guide our intellects.of the deity. In a nut shell. Gaayatri Mantra reflects: Om Bhur Bhuvah Suwah: It is believed that the word „OM‟ refers to the celestial sound caused by the three worlds in www. The concentration gradually induces a steady mind . All galaxies including ours are moving at terrific high speeds. nah -we all. The mantra has a great scientific significance too.periva.

spear. "Astra" is what is energised by a mantra into a weapon. As a matter of fact sandhyavandana is to be performed holding one's breath. the mind becomes one-pointed. The breath is controlled for this purpose. Knife. Sastras are also discharged similarly with mantras. is the same as the libation offered during sandhyavandana. May those obstacles that keep the sun of knowledge dim in us to be demolished. " It means. We exclaim "Ha" and the breath stops for a moment. There must be such concentration of the mind to turn water into a weapon(astra). thrown or hurled? What is the "Astra" which is to be thrown or discharged [by the twice . the praana itself or the life force. Do it somehow " holding your breath" When a person does a job earnestly and whole-heartedly. We learn from this www. the astra. Does not "Astra" mean that which is discharged. "Whatever you do or do not do. "Pranamayamya.periva. club and so on-real weapons-come under the term "sastra".born]? We throw water so as to drive away or destroy the demons or evil forces that have taken hold of the minds of people. This water. the mind becomes one-pointed. Then we heave a sigh-take a long breath-making up for the momentary stoppage of breathing. The sastras do not say. All work must be done with one-pointedness. Nowadays all we do is to hold our nose with our fingers. instead of merely holding the nose. When our wonder is aroused. If you hurl something at a object or person muttering the mantra proper to it. If you discharge just a darbha or a blade of grass chanting or muttering the appropriate mantra it will be turned into a weapon.proboards.6. May the sun of knowledge shine brightly. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. If we do this all the evil forces will be destroyed.periva. we say that he does it "holding his breath".org Page 17 of 26 . but say. when breathing momentarily stops. We must keep this purpose in mind when we offer arghya : "May sinfulness and falsehood be annihilated. The twice-born (Brahmins. But soon we breathe fast. You will ask: "How is it that if you control your breath the mind will be still?" We see that when the mind is still the breath also stops. We do not stop breathing with any effort on our part-the stopping is involuntary. arrow. We provide excerpts from his discourses: (Quote) "Astra" and "Sastra" are terms used in Dhanurveda (military science) to denote two types of weapons. control the vital breath. The mind stops when it is enwrapped or absorbed in something. you must perform this arghya thrice a day. Kshatriyas and Vaisyas) have the duty of discharging "Astras" every day to destroy asuras or the evil forces besieging mankind. the object or person will be destroyed when hit. libation. "Nasikamayamya". is offered. This is the reason why the breath is controlled when arghya. when we are grief-stricken or when we are overjoyed.3 Other Aspects of Sandhyavandanam Periva talks in details about certain other aspects of Sandhyavandanam.

.If we practice pranayama we will train ourselves to have mental concentration. speech and body. We must do pranayama according to our ability. There must be onepointedness in it and no mantra must be left out. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. By our neglect we should not sever the thread. They must have lived long and secured knowledge. in the gotras concerned. maarjana. then realizing it: this process may be repeated without controlling the breath for too long a time. we mention the name of the sage from whom we are descended. we must perform Gaayathri-japa. not more. When we practice pranayama as a part of sandhyavandana we must stop our breath for 30 seconds or so. Indeed it could mean a cure for the illness and a prescription for long life. speech and body. The water that we pour or throw when our mind is still will turn into a weapon to destroy all evil.sankalpa. We must perform sandhyavandana as an offering to Paramesvara and must do so understanding its meaning and with faith and devotion. arghya-pradaana. www. there were three sages. For some rites it is performed three times as a preliminary step. After employing the arghya weapon against the evil forces. All the steps in sandhyavandana . This is what the Manusmriti stanza means. sandhyavandana is dedicated to Paramesvara and pranayama is an important part of it.proboards. the mind will become still. This means that breath-control is not such as to cause trouble or discomfort. I told you that these sins must be washed away by performing rites with the same mind. We use the terms "trayarseyam". We sin with our mind. When the vital breath stops. fame. If we had practiced pranayama regularly from the time of our upanayana we should have become yogisvaras by now. holding the breath for a while. 94 In abhivaadana.Manusmrti. It is our duty to observe Vedic rituals at least for the fact that we belong to the gothra of that sage. abhivandanahave for their purpose the blessings of Isvara: this is stated in the sankalpa that we make at first. According to the sastras even the sick must do pranayama three times a day.periva. Brahmic lustre and spiritual eminence by performing sandhyavandana. Practicing pranayama for long is difficult and it must be done under the guidance of a guru. fives sages. meaning that. What we do we must do properly. "pancarseyam". Rsayo dirgha-sandhyatvad dirghamayuravapnuyuh Prajnam yasasca kirtim ca brahmavarcasameva ca . If the arghya is offered in this state the evil forces will be truly be driven away. After him there have been so many rishis in the line. handed down to us uninterruptedly. From beginning to end. stotra. . japa. one Page 18 of 26 . This is important to yoga. In sandhyavandana we do it only ten times. the tradition.periva. "ekarseyam".

Arghya must be offered before sunrise at noon and at sunset. It is more essential to your inner being than medicine is to your body. Sandhyavandana is karmayoga. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Without Gaayatri-japa. you must perform it. Gaayatri-japa can be practiced by all of us without much effort and without spending any money. we meditate on it with our mind and in such rites as „marjana‟ (sprinkling of water) we acquire bodily purity. We may cease to perform a rite if the fruits yielded by them are enjoyed exclusively by us. The Vedas proclaim Gaayatri to be such a mother.In sandhyavandana we mutter the mantras with our mouth and. devotion and knowledge]. All that you require is water. even as we repeat the „Gaayatri‟. Sandhyavandanam must be performed without fail every day. Gaayatri-japa and "arghya" (offering libation) are the most important rites of sandhyavandana. Women benefit from the men performing the japa.4 Periva’s advice To conclude the description of Gaayatri and Sandhyavandanam rituals.periva. But we cannot do so if others also share in them. bhaktiyoga and jnanayoga combined [it unites the three paths of karma. When you run a high temperature you have to take medicine. Of all the forms in which Bhagavan manifests himself that form in which he is revealed as mother is most liked by us.periva. Gaayatri must be worshiped as a mother. Indeed it imparts power to other mantras. the chanting of all other mantras would be futile. similarly Gaayatri is essential to the self and its japa must not be given up at any time. Mother loves us more than anybody www. Only by the intense repetition of Gaayatri shall we be able to master all the Vedic mantras. (End quote) 6. Similarly when the three varnas practice Gaayatri-japa all other jaatis enjoy the benefit flowing from it. we reproduce the words of advice from Periva: “Gaayatri contains in itself the spirit and energy of all Vedic Page 19 of 26 . Sandhyavandanam is indeed an easy means to ensure your well being. So long as there is life in you. The other parts of this rites are "angas" (limbs). This japa of Gaayatri and arghya must be performed everyday without fail. We know no fear before her and talk to her freely. This mantra is to be repeated only by men.

or worship. While we all see Puja being performed every day by a priest in temples.periva.periva. Before we start chanting any of them.” In the present scenario when many other daily rituals have almost vanished.proboards. We must never miss the daily sandhyavandanam unless we find it absolutely impossible to perform. repeatedly stressed by Periva. Some say “we have no time to perform a puja at home even though we believe in it. The mantras are numerous. Many people are not aware of how to perform Nithya Puja – the daily worship at www. adoration. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Sandhyavandanam is one that still remains as a link to unite us to the glorious past. we must ask our relative or friend to perform sandhyavandanam on our behalf. Let us all pray to God that he will have mercy upon us so that the fire of mantras is never extinguished in us and that it will keep burning brighter and brighter. It is an imperative duty by Vedic injunction. Even in these days it is not difficult to perform sandhyavandanam both at dawn and dusk. The benefit we derive from the Gaayatri mantra is the cleansing of the mind (chittasuddhi). In Sanskrit. Office goers and other workers may not be at home during midday.0 A Simple Puja Puja is an important part of daily rituals. most people perform Puja at home only on certain special occasions and that too under a priest‟s guidance. humility and faith! Is it too much to ask our brethren to follow this injunction? Is it not possible for you to allot a few minutes of your time for performing this important daily ritual? 7. If they fail in their duty of trustees. Puja means Page 20 of 26 . He describes a simple puja that everyone can do easily. When we fall ill. in our helplessness we ask others for water or kanji in the same way. They may perform the madhyahnika (the midday vandana) 2 hours 24 minutes after sunrise that is called "sangava kala". it means they are committing an irremediable offence.” Periva offers an excellent solution to this problem.Those entitled to Gaayatri mantra are to regard themselves as trustees who have to mutter it on behalf of others like women and the fourth varna who are not entitled to it. we say why we are doing so. mention the "fruit" that will yield. And what simple and noble words the mantra provides to cultivate the qualities of reverence. but chittasuuddhi is the direct result of Gaayatri-japa. Even other mantras have this ultimate purpose.

The “sonabhadra” stone for Vinayaka is obtained from the Sone www. Page 21 of 26 . Shiva. (top left) 2.periva.periva. What is the specialty of these stones? Periva continues: “None of these five stones has eyes. near Thanjavur. Surya and Vinayaka. Others need perform only a brief puja. Those who find it convenient to do so may conduct elaborate types of puja after receiving proper initiation into them. Since they have no corners that become untidy.” is obtained from the Gandaki River in Nepal. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. The sacred bell must ring in every home. not lasting more than ten minutes or so.proboards. no graven images [images with limbs] are used but instead naturally found objects are used to represent the five deities (see picture below). The “svarnamukhi” stone with a golden streak on it representing Ambika is taken from the bed of the Svarnamukhi river in Andhra Pradesh. “salagrama. or any limbs. No big puja hall or room is necessary.The following are excerpts based on Periva‟s talks: “Every family must perform puja to Isvara. A small casket is enough to carry them. The "baana-linga" representing Siva is obtained from the Omkara-kunda of the Narmada River.” One does not have to go all the places mentioned to get these stones. Images must be installed to worship Siva. This is called "panchayatana puja. ears. Nowadays. Being small they do not occupy much space. (top right) 4. they are easy to bathe and dry. Vallam. 1. nose. Ambika. and Surya. Vinayaka." According to one custom. Amba. (center) 3. a tributary of the Ganga. Office goers must offer at least this brief worship. (bottom right) These five stones are symbolic of the unity of India (as they are drawn from all over India) and represent the five main deities we generally worship viz. Vishnu. (bottom left) The crystal stone representing surya is got from 5. you can buy them from leading stores that sell religious items. The symbol of Vishnu.

To enjoy what he has given us without first presenting it to Him would be tantamount to stealing. in your compassion you have given us this food. If you fail to do so you must be regretful and make amends for the same. Perform at least those you can without prejudice to your office or professional work. As the creator of the Shanmata system (the worship of six deities). "Nivedana"does not mean making the Lord really "eat" what is offered.Panchayatana puja was revived by Sankara Bhagavatpada. So with the five stones we may add a small spear to represent Velayadah (Subrahmanya) who bears the spear. He who is present everywhere must be present where we want Him to be present so that He may be grasped by us. But are they capable of making one grain of rice? What is called synthetic rice is made out of materials already created by Isvara. We would have no need for him otherwise. The Lord must be worshipped in every home. You must speak thus to Isvara:"O Lord. He does not have to eat. Our sense organs take delight in the various objects in creation.periva. Without His grace how does the rice grow? Experts may conduct research and write big tomes on rice. earth. If you have the will.” © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. it could be performed wherever you happen to be. must be offered to the Lord [symbolically] before being partaken of by us. all that is beneficial in creation. We ourselves will come to possess good qualities. thinking of Page 22 of 26 .proboards. do we really give it away to Him? We just place it before Him and then partake of it ourselves. So all that seems to be made of man must be finally traced to God's creation. whether the Lord himself eats what is offered to Him. He added Subrahmanya to the five. If we keep doing so. scornfully. All that gives us joy. The Lord has created the entire cosmos for our sake. Some www. copper. Puja is meant to make us inwardly pure and the Lord does not have anything to gain from it. we will in due course have the wisdom not to use in puja things not fit to be offered to Him. He will do so out of His compassion and He has the power to do so." Then you must eat the food thus offered. When we offer any food as naivedya to Him. "Nivedayami" means "I am making it known to you (informing you)" and does not mean "I am feeding you". Whatever the material out of which His image of symbol is madestone.he will come to us in that material and in that image or symbol. At home when you do the puja you have to present to the deities cooked rice called "mahanaivedya". He must be invoked and it must be made known to Him that we are using nothing but what he has made over as a gift to us. Not much effort is needed for the puja.

The services in the Puja follow the ancient tradition set in sanatana dharma. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. 11. Vastram. 13. Dhyanam. we consider the deities to be our revered guests and offer them various services. 7. 4. 12. Aavaahana: We meditate. Snaanam: We bathe the idol with water. Any drink sweetened with honey is called Madhubarka. extend a formal and respectful welcome and install the deity as our guest. Naivedyam: Announcing/offering food." Upachar means service. Mantrapushpam.proboards. any new doctrine or belief.Taamboolam: Offering betel leaf. 9. Your thoughts cause your feelings. Madhubarkam: We then offer a drink. Aasana: We offer a seat to our divine guest. However.periva. Arghya: Offering water to wash the hands 5.In performing the Puja at home. Aachamana: Offering three sips of water. From generation to generation our forefathers performed them and earned happiness and Page 23 of 26 . There are many books that provide the mantras for each of this service. there are generally 16 upachars to be performed for worship. 7. 6. Upaveetam: We offer clothes and upaveetham. Paadya: Offering water to wash the feet. Worship is a means of attaining concentration of mind.Sixteen Services 1. Deepam: Deepam means showing a lamp –usually lit with oil or ghee.periva. we like to provide a summary of the sixteen services for the reader‟s benefit. Dhoopam: Offering incense for a pleasant fragrance. These are simple rites the performance of which will free you from inner impurities. Pradakshina: Offering flowers with Vedic chanting and going around the deities. 8. They follow a set order and sequence called "Shodasa Upachar. 2. which is essential for Self-knowledge to dawn. 15.1 Shodasa Upachara . 10. 14. It is a complete ritual by itself. Thoughts that bring about good feelings mean that you are on the right track. Pushpam: We offer different flowers while chanting the different names of www. We must follow in their footsteps. This is called as Aasana Samarpana 3. Aarati: Lighting camphor light. Gandham: We apply sandal paste (gandha). 16. We do not have to go in search of any new way of life.

and individual are all inextricably connected."Annam Brahmeti Vyajanat. and paachaka shuddhi. the poor and the needy. Taittriya Upanishad. meditating on his food. one of the revered Sanskrit scriptures says-. Annadanam or the offering of food is considered as essential and sacred ritual. notices a subtle life force permeating the entire cosmos. A mystic. they become food. Food is offered to the birds and animals as part of the rituals. Those who meditate upon Brahman (the Almighty) as food will obtain all food. All may not be able to do puja in their www." and these three shuddhis. directly transfer to the eater. or qualities of Page 24 of 26 . It almost sounds like techniques used in the modern Total Quality Management (TQM) adopted in industries. Food is called the medicine for all (aushadam uchayate sarvam). The Sanskrit word 'Annam' refers to food. So. The least they can and should do is offer what they cook as Naivedyam to the God they worship." –It summarizes several scriptures on the topic. Food is offered to guests. Food that we eat is a sacrifice to the Supreme. verily food is the oldest of all creatures.0 Cooking and eating food In our sanatana dharma. Hindu scriptures point to three forces that influence food's nutrition: paathra shuddhi. Food is an important component in religious rituals. It describes: All beings that exist on earth are born of food. they live by food.periva. cooking and eating are considered daily rituals. says a lot about food. Taittreya Upanishad. object (food). Thereafter. the cleanliness of the cooking vessels. Eventually. Hinduism believes in "you are what you eat. paaka shuddhi. one of the ancient Hindu scriptures. Food is announced and offered to gods during Pujas. © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. the chef's cleanliness and mental attitude. the quality of ingredients used in cooking. unified by the recognition that process (cooking).periva. and not to waste it. It is also considered an important duty to respect food.8.

as a manifestation of the Lord. including www.periva. books and some friends can help you.0 Conclusion If you really want to perform the important daily rituals. your words and thoughts. “It is Divinity that shapes. All you may have to do is to rise a little earlier and extend your day a little longer! We end this edition with a nice quotation that reflects the sum and substance of sanatana dharma. The internet. you need to make some changes in your daily habits.proboards. Your duty is to treat everybody.” -Swami Sivananda (1887-1963). not only your ends. founder of Divine Life Society. Rishikesh Sarve Janah Sukhino Bhavanthu! © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum Page 25 of 26 . but also your acts. Reprogram your schedules in such a way that you allot some time for the essential rituals. You can easily learn to perform the rituals in a simple way. have faith in them.9.

periva. published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. (This book is available in Tamil. Mumbai 4. Ganapathy. Telugu and Sanskrit versions) © 2012 Kanchi Periva Forum www. Laghu Panchayathana Puja – published by Giri Trading www.0 Suggested further reading 1. Bharatiya Vidya Page 26 of 26 .Ramachander 6. The Vedas. Hindu Samskaras by Dr.10.proboards. How to Live on 24 Hours a Day by Arnold Bennett 7.R.Universal Way of Life.Rajbali Pandey . Varnashrama Dharma Prakaranam (The Dharma of different Varnas) Translated by P. Vanathi Publications 2.Motilal Banarsidas Publishers 5. “Deivathin Kural” (in Tamil) – Ra. Hindu Dharma .periva. Mumbai 3.