The Mother Divine
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By Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath

External Worship

  • Despite the fact that external worship is not given a high status, even those having bona fide authority in external worship are not to be found nowadays. You have finely decked up your body, opened shop for your upkeep, you are enjoying yourself in the company of wife and child – you are so immersed in the most mundane pursuits of the external world! Don’t you experience discomfort in this situation? How come all the hesitations come up only at the time of daily worship?

  • As long as there is an aesthetic attraction and an awareness towards external objects, there is need for external worship.

Yathakaal Upasana/ Sandhya:

Wake Up in the Morning:

  • You will have to try and practice waking up at dawn. Nobody can end the animal propensities in a man who refuses to wake up early morning in the Brahma muhurta (pre-dawn).

  • Importance of Sandhya:

  • God is the dearest one for all; He is the most intimate one! That is why it is the duty of man to perform yathakaal upasana (timely prayers). With this, it is possible to remember Him uninterruptedly.

  • His first command is – ‘Aharahah Sandhyanupaasit.’ O twice-born class! Perform sandhya every day, those who desire to realize God genuinely must observe sandhya and upasana at appropriate times.

  • God’s first command is to observe sandhya. “Aharah sandhyaamupaasit”. There was no sadhana available in the Vedic times other than sandhya. Sandhya means ‘samyak dhyana’, which is an attempt to realize the fact there is One Supreme Being alone who assumes different guises and dwells in this world.

    • It is the bounden duty of the first three castes, starting with the Brahmins, to observe the Vedic sandhya daily; the members of lower orders should perform the Tantrik sandhya or the upasana outlined by one’s Guru.

    • Dear traveller! Always keep chanting ‘Krishna’, ‘Krishna’ and do your prayers at the appropriate time.

    • If sadhana (japa, meditation etc.) is done punctually at the appropriate hours, one reaps the result much faster.

    • Just as partaking of food at an appropriate hour aids in releasing gastric juices and digests the food, enhances blood in the body and increases its strength, in the same manner, sandhya at appropriate hour helps still the restless mind due to the beneficial influence of that hour, and turns it into the intellect which can touch the soul and gain supreme bliss. The body-consciousness of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ disappears.

    • Three-and-half-thousand-crore demons by the name Mandeha wage a war with the Sun in the morning (dawn), noon and in the evening (dusk) at the time of sandhya; the water consecrated through Gayatri mantra and thrown upwards during the three sandhyas, quells these demons. Those who fail to do this incur the sin of slaying the Sun.

God Appears at Sandhya Time:

  • In the morning (dawn), midday and in the evening (dusk), God appears in the heart of human beings, therefore it is the bounden duty of all men and women to be present much before the aforesaid sandhya hours and await His arrival. While waiting for Him, in due course one actually gets His vision, by His grace.

  • Morning (dawn), noon, evening (dusk) and midnight, these four are excellent hours for sadhana (spiritual practice). In these hours, the prana naturally turns towards the sushumna current and stabilizes there – it is in this period that God descends into the sanctum of one's heart.

  • Those who observe moderation in diet and perform sandhya upasana in the morning and night for six months are able to directly perceive Jyotirmaya Atma.

  • Those who truly wish to obtain a vision of God, it is necessary for them to try their best to perform japa, dhyana etc. in these four prime times with full devotion.

Neglect of Sandhya/ Upasana:

  • O Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas, Shudras and venerable women, sandhya upasana is everyone’s duty. To avoid sandhya or upasana is a great sin, by not doing yathakaal sandhya, the sin of suicide accrues.

    • When sandhya is not done at appropriate hours, the prana is deformed, the eyes are spoiled, and the power of sight diminishes. Non-performance of timely sandhya upasana results in diseases like high blood pressure, palpitation in the heart, increase in gastro-enteric wind formation, disorientation of mind, blindness etc.

    • Those who don’t follow the sandhya worship at the prescribed hours, in effect, show disregard towards God and Sri Gurudeva. They close the gates of their hearts and forbid entry to God and Guru.
    • Dear traveller! Do you really want peace? Do you really crave for God? If yes, undertake yathakaal sandhya; this is the first command of God. Do not be guilty of violating the first diktat of God. The fruit accruing from yathakaal sandhya is indeed limitless. Try it out and discover the great bliss which is in store for you.

    • Sandhya upasana is to be performed in the prescribed period alone. When the designated hour passes, sin is incurred. To do away with that sin, the shastras have prescribed atonement through repetition of Gayatri ten times before performing sandhya.

Exact Time for Sandhya/ (Daily Prayers)

  • There is a designated time for every activity. Sandhya upasana too has a designated time. In the mornings, from 24- minutes before sunrise to twenty-four minutes after sunrise is the prime duration for morning sandhya; at noon, it is at midday, roughly 24-minutes before the sun is overhead (around 12 o’ clock) and twenty-four minutes after; in the evening, the principal hour of sandhya is 24-minutes before sunset to 24-minutes after sunset.

  • From four in the pre-dawn to eight in the morning is the first time-slot for spiritual practice. The second time slot begins half an hour before sunset and continues till two hours after the sunset. In the afternoon one must try to do japa according to one’s ability.

  • Yathakaal upasana (timely act of devotion), first of all, provides you the power of the mantra; secondly, the power also comes from time. During these periods sattvik paramanus rain down from the sun and the mind is inevitably turned inwards. When one practices sitting at all the three sandhya periods, there is a rise in sattva quality and sleep is reduced. Then it is possible to sit in the nights. The three periods are: just before dawn, when the night retreats and the day breaks, at twilight, when the day retreats and night sets in and in the afternoon, twenty-four minutes before twelve o’ clock and twenty-four minutes after.

  • Place Detrimental to Prayers:

    • It is detrimental to live in places where strong wind is blowing. Prana does not function smoothly in these places; the mind is unable to turn inwards due to the winds; it keeps playing around the body. In places near the seashore and the altitudes of mountains, powerful winds bring about obstacles in meditation.

    Praayaschitta (Atonement) for Time Transgression:

    • The meaning of the term praayashchitta is ‘naitat paapam punah karishyaami’ – I shall not commit such sins again. To perform sandhya after the expiry of the prescribed time-slots is akin to ridiculing God.


    • Prarthana (daily prayer) is obligatory for everyone. Prarthana is a special spiritual practice like yoga and jnana. It is possible for a person to obtain bliss by practicing just prarthana (daily prayer) and no other sadhana.

    • It is the duty of those who cannot put into effect prarthana (daily prayer), to do uninterrupted Naam japa. You know, the essence of all these is to keep the mind permanently anchored to Me in one way or the other.

    Morning, Afternoon and Evening Rites:

    • Rising early at pre-dawn (brahma-muhurta) and sitting up on the bed, meditate on Sri Gurudeva between the eyebrows and your Ishta deva (favourite deity) in the heart, then do japa according to your capacity, go to the washing room after bowing down to earth.

    • Your morning rites shall include morning sandhya, Guru Puja, Shiva Puja, recitation of stava and stotras, other prayers, reading and study of Gita, Ramayana, Srimad Bhagawad, Chandi etc. and at least two hours of japa followed by a singing Naam samkirtan of ‘Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare, Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare’ with kartaal for sometime. You shall offer arghya to Surya, and pranaam to Surya, Gurudeva, and Ishta deva, thus accomplishing morning rites.

    • At noon – perform the midday sandhya, chant Gayatri japa according to your ability, japa of Ishta mantra and make due offerings in panch mahayajnas – 1. Brahma Yajna (study of Vedas) 2. Dev Yajna (worship of deity and homa) 3. Pitri Yajna (Pitri shraadh tarpan) 4. Bhoot Yajna (Vaishwadevabali) 5. Nri Yajna (worship of guest). The guest should be given something. If the guest is residing in the house, the food offered to the deity should be given to him and subsequently had by the host. Do not eat anything that has not been offered to God.

  • In the evening, after sandhya prayers and repetition of Gayatri Japa according to one’s ability, one must sit in mauna (silence) at least for five minutes. Thereafter, performing the mantra japa according to one’s ability, and recitation of stavas or stotras in the end, one must sing kirtan of the Mahamantra (Hare Krishna…) to the accompaniment of dance for at least one or two hours. Sins incurred by the body are destroyed through dance. Thereafter, subsequent to having dinner, contemplate Guru in the forehead and Ishta in the heart on the bed and, chanting Guru mantra and Ishta mantra as also the Mahamantra, go to sleep. This will help you attain your supreme essence.

  • Before taking food, one should wash hands, feet and mouth and then with pure food nourish the body, which is the temple of God. Don’t forget: you are not the one who is eating the food; you are serving God who resides within the body.

  • Observing mauna (silence) and contemplating upon God, make an oblation to God in the form of vaishvanara. Serving God in this manner with food over a period of time, you will have the vision of Jyortirmaya Atman and His call will be evident to you. Even in the present yuga, it is necessary to undertake Brahminical duties to the extent possible.