Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sandhya Vandana of Bengali Brahmins

The practice of Sandhya is an important part of the daily rites of a Brahmin.

Sandhya Vandana is primarily a means to evolve as an individual and move towards a higher level of mental refinement. Ritually it consists primarily of meditation on Savitr using the Gayatri mantra as a tools.

As the name implies it should be performed thrice daily:
a. at the junction of early morning and morning (during sunrise)
b. at the junction of morning and mid-day
c. at the junction of early evening and evening (during sunset)

But just reciting the Gayatri is not enough. In fact Gayatri should not be recited - it should be meditated on.

The first process is the cleansing of the body and mind. Only when the cleansing is complete can a person be considered ready to effectively meditate on Savitr. The steps for purification vary from school to school.

Bengali Brahmins generally  belong to one of the three Vedic schools given below:
a. Sama Veda Kauthuma Shakha
b. Shukla Yajur Veda Madhyandian Shakha
c. Rig Veda Shakala Shakha

Majority of Bengali Brahmins belong to the Sama Vedi or the Yajur Vedi school. Till date I have not seen any Rig Vedi Bengali Brahmin.

My family comes from the Madhyandina Shukla Yajur Vedic school, although over the ages we have also been heavily influenced by the Bengali Kauthuma Sama Vedic school.

In the next few posts, I'll describe the steps of the Madhyandina Shukla Yajur Vedic Sandhya process.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Subhodeep. Excellent initiative. As most Bangali brahmans are now quickly losing their brahminical culture and roots, it is in the nick of time that people like you start documenting our culture.

    I am (a foreign-born and based) Pashchatya Vaidik (father) - Varendra (mother) mix. Actually, we are Rig Vedi as far as I have been told by my elder family members, and as far as our family documents indicate.
    Warm regards
    // Bhattacharyya

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