Normally, the duration of the morning and evenings take two ‘dandas’ each or forty eight minutes. In case the Sandhya vandana is nor performed the Brahmana becomes bad and would become a dog in the next birth. The best form of Sandhya is when it is carried out on a river bank in a temple before Devi, the one executed in an enclosure of cows is of medium value and done in a household is of inferior nature. As Devi Gayatri is the Presiding Deity of Sandhya and as She is the Originator of Vedas, Sandhya is as good as meditating all Gods and other prayers might be optional.
Sandhya vandana is to commence with ‘Achamana’( Taking water into the right palm and sipping it thrice) as an opening action of Sandhya saying Om Kesavaya svaha, Om Narayanaya Swaha and Om Madhavaya Svaha while washing the hands; continue to recite Om Govindaya namah / om Vishney namah; touch the lips with right thumb from right to left saying Om Madhusunanayh /Om Trivikramaya namah; after wiping the lips, say Om Vamanaya namah / Om Sridharaya namah; sprinkle water on the left hand to say Om Hrishikesa namah; then say Om Padmanabhya namaha and sprinkle water on legs; Om Damodaraya namaha sprinkle water on head; Om Sankarshayana namah touch mouth with the three fingers of the right hand; Om Vasudevaya namah /Om Pradyumnayana namah touch nostrils with right forefinger; Om Aniruddhaya namah /Om Purushottamaya touch eyes with right thumb and ring finger; touch both the ears saying Om Adhoksaya Namah / Om Narasimhaya namah; Touch navel, right thumb and little finger and say Om Achyutaya namah ; say Om Janardanaya namaha while touching breast with palm; then Om Upendrayana Namah touch the head ; and finally Om Haraye Namaha / Om Sri Krishnayana Namah touching the two arm roots. Then perform Achamana by sipping pea size drop of water from the hollow of right hand palm, with the fingers tight and drawing the thumb and little finger together, silently recite Pranava Mantra and Pranayama comprising the processes of Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka three times minimum and reciting Om Bhu, Om Bhuvah, Om Svah, Om Mahah, Om Janah, Om Tapah, Om Satyam, followed by Gayari Mantra : Tat Savithuh Varenya Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi Dhiyoyona Prachodayat Om Apojyoti Rasomritam Brahma Bhur Bhuvavatsuvarom. This would be followed by Aghamasana Marjana Mantra: Om Apohishtha mayo bhuvah tana Urje tadhatana Maheranaya Chakshase/ yovassivatamo rasah tasya bhajahathehanaha usiteerivamatarah/ tasma aranga mamavaha/ Yassyakshayaya jinvadha Apojana yadhachanahah.
[ Paramatma! As you are kind to accept our prayers, do favour us with the means of our existence like Food and so on; do bless us with your endless kindness our sincere desire to have Your divine appearance which is blissful eternally]. Marjana Mantra is to be used along with Pranava, Vyahritis viz. Om Bhu, Om Svah etc. and Gayatri Mantra. Then follows Achamana Mantras preceding morning, mid-day and evening Gayatri Mantras viz. Suryascha mamanuscha manu patayascha manu krutebhyaha papebhyo rakshantam etc; Apah punantu prithiveem tha punatumam punantu BrahmanasrutirBrahma punatunam etc; Agnischa ma manuscha manupatayascha manu kritebhyah papebhyo rakshantam etc.respectively preceding morning, mid-day and evening Gayatri Mantra. Later on, Punah Marjana Mantra viz. Hiranya varnassuchaha pavakaya sujataha etc. Papa vimochana Mantra follows. The next step is Arghya pradana Mantras relevant to morning :Udyantamantam aditya mabhidhyanan etc. while performing ‘Pradakshina’; noon time: Hagumsasuchishadva surantariksha etc. and evening: sama sankalpa as morning west faced. The Common Pradakshina Mantra for morning, noon and evening is: Udyantamastam Adityamabhidhyayan kurvan etc. Thereafter Achanamam and Sandhyanga Tarpanam is as follows:- Morning: Sandhyam Tarpayami, Gayatreem Tarpayami, Brahmeem Tarpayami and Nimrujeem Tarpayami; Mid day: Sandhyam Tarpayami, Savitreem Tarpayami, Roudreem Tarpayami and Nimrujeem Tarpayami; Evening: Sandhyam Tarpayami, Sarasvateem Tarpayami, Vaishnaveem Tarpayami. Then the Key invocation or ‘Avahana’ to Gayatri Devi and other manifestations of the Super Energy is as per the following Mantra: Omithyekaksharam Brahma Agnirdevataa Brahmaityarsham Gayatram Chhandam Paramatmam saarupam Sayujyam viniyogam Aayatu varada Devi Aksharam Brahma Sammitham Gayatreem Chhandasammatedam Brahamajushasvame adahnat kurutey papam thadahnat pratimuchyatey yadratrya kuruthye papam tadratyat pratimuchyatey Sarvavarnye Maha Devi Sandhya Vidye Sarasvati Ojosi Sahosi balamasi bhraajosi Devaanam dhaamanamasi Visvayurssarvamasi Sarvaayurabhi bhurom Gayatrimavahayami Savitrimavahayami Sarasvatimavahayami Chhandarshinamavahayami Sriyamavahayami Gayatrya Gayatichando Visvamitr Rishi Savita Devatagnirmukham Rudrassikha Pridhiviyoni Pranapana vyanodana samanasaprana sveta varna Samkhyaya Sa Gotraa Gayatri Chaturvigamsat AksharaTripada Shutkuscchih Pancha Sirshopa Nayane Viniyogaha. [ The word OM is Para Brahma, Agnihotra is Devata, Brahma is Rishi, Paramatma is Svarupam; this Mantropasana is the fruit of Salvation. Gayatri Mother, we are your meditators, kindly fulfil oue desires. You are the Mother of Vedas and Vedantas; let our sins committed during the day and night be abolished at once. You are the Energy of our limbs and sensory organs, the entire source of our Being.We have the honour of inviting you to our prayers as Lakshmi, Sarasvati, Savitri, Vedas and their Meters, Visvamitra and other Rishis. Gayatri Mantra’s Chhandas or Meter is Gayatri Herself, Rishi is Visvamitra, Sun is the Deity, Fire is the Face, Brahma is the head, Vishnu is the heart, Rudra is the tuft, Earth is the Creative Force, the Five types of Air,viz. Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samana; Fair Complextion, Samkhyaya Gotra, Comprising Twenty four Letters, three feet or steps, Six Stomachs, Five Faces ( Manas, Buddhi, Chitta, Ahamkara and Pragna indicative of five directions of north, east, west and north plus the above)]. After the Ahvana or welcome, Sroutachamana and Apohishta Mantra, Anganyasa is presented. The Mantras are as follows: Om Bhu padabhyam Namaha ( touch legs),Om bhuvah Janubhyam Namah(touch two knees), Om Svaha Katibhyam namah (touch hip),Om Maharnabhyai namah ( navel), Om Janat hridayaya namah ( heart), Om Tapah Kanthyaya namah (throat), Om satyam Lalataya namah ( forehead). Karanyasa of the six body parts is executed viz. Om tatsavithuh : Brahmatmane Angushtham Namah Hridayaya namah; Varenyam Vishnatmane Tarjaneebhyam namah Sirase Svaha; Bhargo Devasya Rudratmaney Madhyamabhaym Namah Sikhaya vashat; Dhimahi Satyatmaney Anamikabhyam NamahaKavachaya hum; Dhiyoyonah Jnatatmane Kanishthikabham Nanah Netra trayayavoushat ; Prachodayat Sarvatmane Karathala prushthabyam Namah Karathala prushthabhyam namah Astraya phut /Bhurbhuvassoromiti Digbandhah. Gayatri Mantra Japa Samkalpa is then made. Main Dhyanam is as follows: Muktavidruma hema nila dhavala chhayirmukhayir streekshanayir yuktamindu nibaddha ratna makutam tatvartha varnatmikam Gayatrrem varadabhayam kuskasassubhramka palam gadam sankham chakra dharavinda ugalam hastyirvahanteem bhaje. [Devi Gayatri’s five faces are white like pearl; one is red like coral, second is yellow like gold, third is blue like neelam, fourth white like milk, and the fifth is of ‘trinetra’ or three eyed. We meditate Her gem studded headgear with half- moon like jewel on Her Head, and eight hands with Benedictine mudras, ‘Ankusam’, Gada (mace), Sankham, Chakram, Skull, and TwoLotuses.] The Mudra Dharana or performing Twenty four Mudras, as taught by Guru would be next step in the Gayatri vandanam. The relevant Mantra is: Sumukham Samputamchaiva vitatam vistrutam tadha/ dvimukham trimukhamchaiva chatuh Pancha mukham tadha Shanmukhotho mukhamchaiva vyapakaamanjalim thadha sakatam Yama Pasamcha gradhitam sanmukhom pralambam mushtikam chaiva Matsyah Kurma Varahakou Simhakrantam Mahakrantham mudgaram pallavam tadha. Lamityadi Pancha Puja to Five Elements viz. ‘Lum’ Prithivi tatvatmane Tripada Gayatri Devatayi Namah-Gandham parikalpayami; ‘hum’ Akasa tatvatmane Pushpam samarpayami; ‘yam’ Vayu tatvatmane Dhupam aghrapayami; ‘Ram’ Vahni deepam darshayami; ‘Vam’ Amrita tatvatmane Amrita Naivedyam; and ‘Sum’ sarvatvatmake Sarvopachara Pujaam parikalpayami namah. Before performing Gayatri Japam, the permission of Guru be obtained.[ The word-by-word meaning of Gayatri Mantra is: Om : Almighty God; Bhur ( Embodiment of Vital Energy); Bhuvaha ( Destroyer of Suffering);Svaha ( Embodiment of Happiness); Tath ( That Almighty); Savitur ( Bright like Sun); Varenyam ( The Supreme); Bhargo ( demolisher of Sins); Devasya ( the Divine Force); Dhimahi ( May receive); Yo ( Who); Na ( Our), Prachodayat ( Let inspire in right direction). In other words : Oh Almighty, You are the Creator of Life, Slayer of Sorrow, Bestower of Happiness and Creator of the Univerese. May we receive Your Supreme Energy to raze our sins and guide us in our intellect in the right direction.] While performing Gayatri Japam mentally, one should not shake head and neck or show teeth.The number of the Japam could be hundred and eight times or fifty eight timed or at least ten times.The Japam is not performed while bathing, for Gayatri is like Fire or ‘Agnimukha’. Soon after the Japam, recite the Mantra of ‘Mukta vidruma hema neela etc.’ keeping a mental picture of Gayatri as just mentioned earlier and then perform Eight Mudras reciting Surabhi Jnana yonischa nischa sankham chakram cha Pankajam Linga nirvana mudraschyeshta Mudrah prakirtithah. ‘Triachamanam’ - Achamanam thrice- follows and then proposing ‘Suryopasthanam’ or taking leave of Sun God in the morning and afternoon Sandhyas and in the Evening Sandhyas propose ‘Varunopasthanam’ as per Mantras relevant to morning, mid-day and in the evenings respectively. Dik devata namaskaram or salutations to the Deities in charge of six directions of East, South, West, North, Upper and Nether Regions is executed followed by concluding Dhyanam, Tri achamanam and the concluding and formal Salutation from Brahma downward : Aa Brahma lokadaseshadaa lokaloka parvatat / ye santhi Brahmanaa Devasthebhyo nityam Namonamaha. Ae tatbhavam tat Parameswara arpanamastu.
Gayatri Punascharana is a step forward from simple and regular Tri Sandhya Gayatri to higher category, after reciting Gayatri Japa by twenty lakh times. This has to be executed in the presence of a Guru at a Holy Place, Temple or River bed and afer stringently following dietary and other restrictions such as prohibited months, days, Stars, Tithis, and so on. Similarly, those who have a penchant for Vaisva Deva Worship by way of Five Yajnas viz. Deva Yajna, Brahma Yajna, Bhuta Yajna, Pitri Yajna and Manushya Yajna. Other stringent penances are to practise Vrats viz. Prajapatya Tapta Krichchra, Santapana, Para Krichchra and Chandrayana. The Prajapatya Vrata of the four mentioned is for twelve days of which food is taken first three days as one mid-day meal, next three days as evening a day, further next three days any one meal unsolicited and the final round of three days without food at all. Santapana Vrat is for two days, first day consuming cow’s urine, dung, milk, curd, ghee and water of kusa grass and the second day on full fast. Tapta Krichchra Vrat is for twelve days, each three days consuming hot milk, hot water and hot ghee and final three days only air respectively during each three days duration.The Ati Krichchra Vrat is to eat one mouthful food a day for three dayas and next three daysful fast. Para Krichchra Vrat is to abstain food for twelve days. Chandrayana Vrath is to decrease one mouthful a day from the day after Amavaysa, which would be a complete fast, to Pournami and increase mouthfuls each day during the next fortnight. To repeat Gayatri twenty four thousand times is as good as one Tapta Krichchira and sixty eight times is equal to one Chandrayana. Simply performing Gayatri hundred times each along with Pranayama during morning and Evening Sandhyas would qualify him for destroying sins. If he accomplishes three thousand Gayatri Japas during the ‘Trisandhyas’ every day and offers Arghya to Sun God, even Devas would worship him, let alone co-human beings. Sage Narayana enlightened Narada Muni and through him the posterity about the twenty four letterd Gayatri related Rishis. The twenty four Rishis are: Vama Deva, Atri, Vasishtha, Sukra, Kanva, Parasara, and the family of Visvamitra, Kapila, Saunaka, Yajnyavalka, Bharadvaja, Jamadagni, Gautama, Mudgala, Veda Vyasa, Lomasa, Agastya, Kausika, Vatsya, Pulasta, Manduka, Durvasa, Narada and Kasyapa. The twenty four Chhandas are Gayatri, Usnik, Anushthup, Bhrihati, Pankti, Trishnup, Jagati, Ati Jagati, Sakkari, Ati Sakkari, Dhriti, Ati Dhriti, Virat, Prastara Pankti, Kriti, Prakriti, Akriti, Vikriti, Samkriti, Akshara Pankti, Bhu, Bhuva, Svaha and Jyotismati. The twenty four Gayatri related Devathas are Agni, Prajapati, Soma, Isana, Savita, Aditya, Brihaspati, Mitravaruna, Bhagadeva, Arya, Ganesha, Tvasta, Pusha, Indragni, Vayu, Vamadeva, Mitra Varuni, Visva Deva, Matrika, Vishnu, Vasudeva, Rudra Deva, Kuvera and the twin Awini Kumaras. The twenty four Gayatri related Saktis are : Vama Devi, Priya, Sathya, Visva, Bhadravilasini, Prabha Devi, Jaya, Santa, Kanta, Durga, Sarasvati, Vidruma, Visalesa, Vyapini, Vimala, Thamopaharini, Sukshma, Visvayoni, Jaya, Vasa, Padmalaya, Parasobha, Bhadra and Tripada. Tattvas are Pancha Bhutas ( Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Sky); Panchendriyas or Sensory Organs ( Smell, taste, form, sound, touch); male organ, anus, legs, hands, tongue, eyes, skin, ears, speech, Life giving vital Energy and five types of Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana and Samana. The twenty four Gayatri Mudras have been aleady described as Sumukham, Samputam, Vitatham, Vistrutam, Dvimukham, Trimukham, Chatur -mukham, Panchamukham, Shanmukham, Adho -mukham, Vayapakam, Anjalim, Sakatam, Yamapasam, Gradhitam, Sanmukon mukhamVilambam, Mushtikam, Matsyam, Kurmam, Varahakam,Simhakrantam, Mahakrantam, Mudgaram and Pallavam.
Gayatri Stotra was explained by Sage Narayana to Narada as follows: ‘ Devi Gayatri is the Mother of the Whole Universe and the Primeval Energy that is all- pervading and all-knowing. She is the Time, Space and distance. She is Sandhya, Sarasvati, Savitri, Brahmi, Vaishnavi and Rudrini. She is seen by ascetics as Brahmani riding Hamsa, Sarasvati riding Garuda and Savitri riding a Bull. They find Rigveda manifested as Savitri, Yajurveda as ‘Antariksha’ ( Outer Space) and Samaveda as Rudraloka-all evident by Gayatri. She is Brahmani in Brahmaloka, Vaishnavi in Vishnuloka and Rudrini in Rudraloka. She is Durga Devi noticeable by the Ten Rupas as Varenya, Varada, Varishtha, Varavarnini, Garishtha, Varada, Vararoha, Nilaganga, Sandhya, Moksha, and Bhoga Mokshada. She is Bhagiradhi on Earth, Bhogavati in Patala and Mandakini in the Milky Way ( Heavens). She is the all enduring Earth in Bhuloka, Vuyu Sakti (Air Energy) in Bhuvarloka, TajoSakti ( Power of Light) in Svarloka, ‘Siddhi’ in Maharloka, Jana in Janaloka, Tapasvini in Tapar Loka,Truth in Satyaloka, Lakshmi in Vishnuloka, Gayatri in Brahmaloka and Gauri in Rudraloka. She is Om Mahat Tatva Prakriti and Samyavastha Prakriti. She is Tri Sakti combined vix. Icchha Sakti (Will Power), Kriya Sakti (Power of Action), Jnana Sakti (Power of Knowledge). She is the various Rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Vipasa, Sarasvati, Sarayu, Devika, Sindhu, Narmada, Iravati, Godavari, Kaveri, Kausiki, Chandrabhaga, Gandaki, Tapini and Gomati; She is Kundalini, Muladhara, Vyapini, Madhyasana and Manonmayi in Brahmarandhra.
Gayatri Kavacham ( Protective Armoury) which is a certain means of obliterating sins, is to precede Anganyasa, Karanyasa and Dhyanam as in the prepages. The Text of Kavacham reads as follows: May Gayatri protect my frontage, Savitri Dvi my rightside, Sandhya my backside and Sarasvati my leftside. May Devi Parvati protect my abode, Jalasayani my south east, Yatudhana Bhayankari the south west, Pavana Vilasini my north west and Rudrarupini Rudrani my north east. May Brahmani safeguard my top and Devi Vaishnavi secure my nether regions. May the Word ‘Tat’ in the Gayatri Mantra defend my legs, ‘Savituh’ guard my knees, let ‘Varenyam’ shield my loins, and ‘Bhargah’ my navel. May the Word ‘Devasya’ protect my heart and ‘Dhimahi’my neck, ‘Dhiyaha’ ensure safety of my eyes, ‘Yah’ my forehead, ‘Nah’ my head and ‘prachodayat’ my tuft on the rear side of my head. An alternative version is:let the word ‘Tat’ safeguard my head, ‘Sa’ my forehead, ‘Vi’ my eyes, ‘Tu’ my cheeks, ‘Va’ nostrils, ‘re’ my mouth, ‘ni’ my upper lip, ‘yah’ my lower lip, ‘Bha’ my entire face, ‘rgo’ cheeks, ‘De’ my throat, ‘va’ shoulders, ‘Sya’ my right hand, ‘Dhi’ my navel, ‘ma’ my throat,’hi’ my belly, ‘Dhi’ naval, ‘Yo’ loins, ‘yo’ anus, ‘nah’ my thighs, ‘pra’ my knees, ‘cho’ my shanks, ‘Da’ my heels , ‘ya’ my legs and ‘at’ my sides. This powerful Gayatri Kavacham wards off all evil forces from the physiques of the readers and the listeners alike, provides immense peace of mind, huge contentment life long and finally divine bliss at the termination of life.
Gayatri Hridaya, explicitly mentioned in Atharva Veda, is the core of Gayatri, the Mother of Vedas and its ‘Pathanam’(reading), ‘Sravanam’(hearing), ‘Uccharanam’ ( reciting) or ‘Mananam’ ( meditating) is of excellent value. Maha Vishnu Himself is the Sage of the Mantra, it is in Gayatri ‘Chhanda’ and its Devata is Maha Gayatri Herself. The ‘Nyasa’ or the alignment of the Deity and meditator has to visualize the person’s head as that of Gayatri, the twin Asvini Devatas as the two rows of teeth, Sarasvati as the tongue, Brihaspati as the neck, ‘Ashtavasus’ or th Eight Vasus as represented on the person’s chest, Parjanya or Varuna Deva on the heart, Akasa on the belly, Antariksha on the navel, Indra and Agni as the loins, Brahma as Vijnana on hip joints, Kailasa and Malaya mountains as thighs, Visvadevas on the knees, Visvamitra on the shanks, Sun’s two movements to North and South viz. Uttarayana and Dakshinayana on the anus, Earth on legs, Vanaspati on fingers and toes, Rishis on body hairs, Muhurtas on nails, Planets on bones, Rithus or Seasons on blood and flesh, Years on twinklings of an eye, Sun and Moon as day and night. ‘ Gayatri, may I seek your shelter; do protect me from my sins.’