Achamana And Prokshana
Achamana is sipping water three times, repeating the Names of the Lord. Prokshana is sprinkling water over ones body for the sake of purity, when a bath is not possible. This is for internal as well as external purity. While sipping water, the following Mantras are repeated: - Achyutaya Namah - prostrations to the immutable Lord; Anantaya Namah - prostrations to the unlimited Lord; Govindaya Namah - prostrations to the Lord who is known by the Name of Govinda. - Then the various Names of the Lord - Kesava, Narayana, Madhava, Govinda, Vishnu, Madhusudana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Hrishikesa, Padmanabha and Damodara - are repeated, touching the various parts Of the body, viz., the eyes, the ears, the face, the navel, the head, etc. One becomes pure by doing Achamana after he answers calls of nature, after walking in the streets, just before taking food and after food, and after a bath. This reminds you of the Lord now and then. Every act, every ritual, every symbol has a deep philosophical importance. They help you in changing the mental substance from Rajas and Tamas to Sattva. They give you an opportunity to think of God frequently.
The steps involved in the Rig Vedic Sandhyavandana are
- ShubhaArambha-Chanting of OM followed by a sloka declaring that the very thought of the Lord Pundarikaksha would cleanse internally as well as externally, whatever our dispositionmay be
- Achamana-Visualising the all- pervading Lord Vishnu's presence in different parts of the body and cleansing them with water symbolically.
- Sankalpa-Chanting of Gayathri (mentally) while doing Pranayama, a Yogic method of breathing, which enables one to strengthen and focus the mind. Then declare the intention to perform morning, noon, or evening Sandhyavandana.
- Marjana- meaning bath. Symbolically carried out by sprinkling few drops of water on one self while chanting sukthas calling on the Ap (Water) Devathas.
- Manthrachamana-chanting a mantra and drinking couple of spoons of water from the palm, intending to release all the sins -mental, verbal and physical committed during night or day, in to the energy stream of the Sun.
- Achamana- Same as in step no.2.
- Punahmarjana-Repeat bathing-while offering prayers as in 4.
- Papapurusha visarjana-Symbolically smelling and releasing a spoon of water, intending to release the papa purusha (negativity of our personality.)
- Achamana- Same as in step no.2.
- Sankalpa-Pranayama while chanting Gayathri mantra, and declare your intention to make morning, noon or evening offerings. (Arghya)
- Arghya pradana-offer a palmful of water while chanting GayathriI- Three times, symbolizing physical, mental and spiritual planes of our existence.
- Achamana-Same as in step no.2.
- Bhoothochatana-Driving out all forms of obstructions/distractions. (mentally)
- Asana Pranayama- Pray to mother earth, who bears every living entity on this earth, to bear us and to sanctify our asana (seat/ posture).
- Avahana-Pray, and invoke the Divine Gayathri, Savithri, Saraswathi, Chandarshi, Sri, and Bala, to merge in to us.
- Sankalpa-Pranayama with Gayathri followed by declaration to engage in Gayathri Japa.
- Digbandhana-Pray to Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Sathya, Jnana, to create a shield preventingdistraction from all directions, and protect against all negative entities.
- Dhyana and japa- Visualise Mother Gayathri, and repeat the mantra the pre decided no. of times. Dhyana means to remain fixed to one thought-Gayathri.
- Digvimochana-Pray and dismantle the shield created as in 16. (mentally)
- Upasthana-This consists no of mantras and slokas conveying reverence to various Deities, and seeking their blessing.
- Abhivadana-Identifying one's Gotra, Vedashakha, and prostate to the Divine.
- Achamana-Same as in step no. 2
- Bhagavadarpana-Dedicate the entire act of Sandhyavandana and appeal to the Divine to accept all, including short comings/lapses.
- Achamana- Same as 5.