Samdhya

The Vaidiki samdhya is the rite performed by the twice-born castes thrice a day, at morning, midday, and evening. The morning samdhya is preceded by the following acts. On awakening, a mantra is said in invocation of the Tri-murti and the sun, moon, and planets, and salutation is made to the Guru. The Hindu dvi-ja then recites the mantra: “I am a Deva – I am indeed the sorrowless Brahman. By nature I am eternally free, and in the form of existence, intelligence, and bliss.

He then offers the actions of the day to the Deity, confesses his inherent frailty,(1) and prays that he may do right. Then, leaving his bed and touching the earth with his right foot, the dvi-ja says, “Om, O Earth! salutation to Thee, the Guru of all that is good.” After attending to natural calls, the twice-born does acamana (sipping of water) with mantra, cleanses his teeth, and takes his early morning (2) bath to the accompaniment of mantra.

He then puts on his castemark (tilaka) and makes tarpanam, or oblation of water, to the Deva, Rsi and Pitr. The samdhya follows, which consists of acamana (sipping of water), marjana-snanam (sprinkling of the whole body with water taken with the hand or kusa grass), pranayama (regulation of prana through its manifestation in breath), agha-marsna (expulsion of the person of sin from the body; the prayer to the sun, and then (the canon of the samdhya) the silent recitation (japa) of the Gayatri-mantra, which consists of invocation (avahana) of the Gayatri-Devi; rsinyasa and sadanganyasa (vide post), meditation on the Devi-Gayatri in the morning as Brahrnani; at midday as Vaisnavi ; and in the evening as Rudrani; japa of the Gayatri a specified number of times; dismissal (visarjana) of the Devi, followed by other mantras.(3)

Besides the Brahminical Vaidiki-samdhya from which the Sudras are debarred, there is the Tantrikisamdhya, which may be performed by all. The general outline is similar; the rite is simpler; the mantras vary; and the Tantrika-bijas or “seed” mantras are employed .

1. “I know dharma and yet would not do it. I know adharma, and yet would not renounce it .” The Hindu form of the common experience-Video meliora proboqu; deteriora sequor.
2. The householder is required to bathe twice, the ascetic at each of the three samdhyas.
3. The above is a general outline of the Sama Veda samdhya, though as each Hindu is of a particular sect and Veda, the samdhya differs in detail. See Kriya:kandavaridhi and the Purohita-darpana, and S’risa Chandra-Vasu, ” Daily Practice of the Hindus.” The positions and mudra are illustrated in Mrs: S.C. Belnos’ “Samdhya: or Daily Prayer of the Brahmin. ” (1831).