Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!

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Betwixt Between

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.

The role of sandhyaavandanam was pointed out last week. Now let us look at the traditional steps involved in the ritual. Each of the steps would be accompanied by a mantra.

AACHAMANAM; sipping water for purification of the body and mind
GANESHA DHYAANAM; a meditation on the elephant Lord to ward off hindrances/obstacles
PRAANAAYAAMA; purification of the vital airs
SAMKALPA'H'; reciting the intention and purpose behind the ritual
MAARJANAM; cleansing by sprinkling water on various parts of the body
PRAASHANAM; drinking water to remove undesirable attitudes and actions
AACHAMANAM and MAARJANAM; repetition of these two steps
ARGHYA-PRADAANAM; offering water to the sun
AIKYA-ANUSANDHAANAM; contemplation on the identity of the individual and the Truth
DEVA TARPANAM; offering water to the nine planets and twelve deities of the twelve months
JAPAM; starting with a meditation on Lord Ganesha, praanaayaama, samkalpa, invoking goddess Gayatri, establishing the power and essence of the Gayatri mantra in the hands and body, chanting the Gayatri mantra and bidding farewell to goddess Gayatri and Lord Surya
VANDANAM; respectful prostrations to Gayatri, the deities of the directions, Lords Yama, Vishnu and Surya
SAMARPANAM; offering the entire ritual to the Lord.

Quite often you will see pictures of India which include people standing in water and hands raised or with kumbha (pot) pouring water… it is likely that they are in sandhyaavardanam at that time. You do not have to find such places. This offering can be in your own bathroom… it is the intent which counts.

As Vedantins, we may not necessarily go through these steps physically, but they definitely ought to be acknowledged mentally. Further;
:: when we chant the Lord's name in japa, the mind is able to reach a state of absorption an focus such as it cannot at any other time. Japa is a key practice of the Vedantin for this reason. Without japa, the mind is reckless and distracted. The mind quietened by japa is not lost, but is at optimum awareness and function and this, with much practice, is retained in daily life.
:: When we sleep, the mind is dormant, and when we are awake it is busy (vikshepa). In practicing sandhyaa in the morning we ought to become as aware of the world as if freshly opening our eyes after sleep, but before the world hits us - that blissful moment of knowing we exist but without the wildness of the day which will ensue. In the evening, practice sandhyaa as about to fall asleep, the world gone but still aware of our existence. Nothing is present but that existence.
:: Knowing that the mind is a flow of thoughts, practice finding the end of one thought and attempt to be there before the next thought hits. Seek to be in the gap between thoughts.
:: In similar fashion, this meditation can be practiced by observing the gap between two mantras, to breaths, two moments of time…

The ego is sustained by the concepts of time, place, objects and so forth. We must seek to remove these from the ego's vision when we are in sandhyaa/contemplation, because only in that thoughtless state can we come close to Truth. Mankind is adept at avoiding the voids of life. More and more it seeks to fill the spaces with things and sounds and all sorts of stimulation. Those who are here reading now have come to the realisation that there must be a better way to get more from the life we are living, as well as working to the longer 'life' which is the spiritual existence. Sandhyaa offers the chance to reach a state of pure awareness where desire cannot touch or defile us.

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Hari OM
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