Samdhya Meditation and Agnihotra

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Thu Nov 1 16:43:02 CST 2001

On Wed, 31 Oct 2001, Sunny Bhardwaj wrote:

> In the end, while I've now gotten a lot of information on the negatives of
> the organization, I still don't know then how to perform the Sandyha or
> Havan. Maybe someone could help direct.

Each of the four vedas Rk, Yajus, Sama, and Atharva is divided into
shakhas or branches.  Each Brahman family has the responsibility of
learning a particular shakha.  One of the vedangas attached to each shakha
is kalpa which is divided into two sections, Shrauta and Grhya.  The
sandhya is part of the grhya rites.

There is no one standard way of doing the sandhyavandana.  It depends on
the vedic shakha you belong too, regional, and sectarian differences.
This by the way was another of the distortions of the Arya Samaj -- the
idea that the Vedas are the be-all and end-all of shastras.  In fact all
the Vedas have to say about sandhya is "day to day one should observe the
sandhya."  No explanation of what that means.  For that you *have* to go
to the smrtis.

So step 1 you have to find out your shakha, gotra, and pravara.  Your
gotra I'm taking a wild guess is Bharadvaja.  In which case your pravaras
(ancestral Rshis of your gotra) are Bharadvaja, Brhaspati, and Angiras.
Perhaps some elder of your family knows which shakha you belong to?  If
not one source on these matters is a Sanskrit book (It has been published
with a Hindi translation) called Brahmanottpatimartanda by Harikrishna
Venkatarama Joshi.  He was a 19th century Gujarati Pndit who lived in
Maharashtra.  as a result his information gets less accurate the further
away you get from those regions but it still could be useful.

Step 2 is if you didn't have upanayana (janoi) you need to have that
sanskara performed.  If you had it done by Aryasamajist rites, you need to
have it done again by a sanatani priest.  Sorry to belabor the point but
the Arya Samaj are nastikas and their rites are invalid.  As we discussed
on the list earlier, mere birth in a Brahmana family is not enough, one
must also do the proper actions to have the adhikara to study Vedas.

Step 3 is to learn the actual ritual.  This is the tricky part.  It is not
impossible to do so even in America but might be difficult. It is
definitely worth your while if you can go to India for a few months to
Rshikesh or Kashi or somewhere where there are learned scholars who can
help.  If not at least Stig and Arun have given you some internet
resources that can help.  The problem you'll face is most of those
resources have South Indians in mind so they are not necessarily
appropriate for you.  Another thing if you noticed in the link Arun
mentioned is the Shastriji put ... instead of the Vedic mantras.  This is
because mantras should only be learnt from the Gurus mouth.  Books may be
used as an aid to memory but are considered a poor substitute.

If all this seems to present insurmountable obstacles (and I hope you
don't feel it does) don't feel guilty.  Remember that Bhagawan has said
whoever offers Him even a single leaf or drop of water with devotion gains
His favor.  In the case of sandhya, the main element is the recitation of
Gayatri mantra.  If you can't do the whole thing yet you can atleast
recite the Gayatri at the sandhya times.  The point is not to give up
trying but to remember that the rituals are not ends to themselves bt a
means towards purification and then mukti.  It is better to do a little
but do it well and steadily increase rather than try and do everything at
once haphazardly.

Hope this helps.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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