Śrīmad Devi Bhāgavatam | Book 11 Chapter 17
THE ELEVENTH BOOK
On the description of Sandhyā and other daily practices
1-5. Nārāyaṇa said:
If one divides or separates the pādas while reciting or making Japam of the Gāyatrī, one is freed from the Brāhmiṇicide, the sin of Brahmāhatyā. But if one does so without breaking the pādas, i.e., repeats at one breath, then one incurs the sin of Brahmāhatyā.
Those Brāhmaṇas who do the Japam of the Gāyatrī without giving due pause to the pādas, suffer pains in hells with their heads downwards for one hundred Kalpas.
Firstly, Gāyatrī is of three kinds: “Sampuṭā,” “Ekomkārā,” and “Ṣaḍomkārā.”
There is also the Gāyatrī, with five Prāṇavas, according to the Dharma Śāstras and Purāṇas.
There is something to be noted while muttering or making the japam of the Gāyatrī:
Note how many lettered Gāyatrī you are going to repeat (make japam):
When you have repeated one-eighth of that, repeat (make japam) the Turīya pāda of Gāyatrī (i.e., the fourth Pāda, the mantram parorajase Sāvadomā prāpat) etc., once and then complete repeating the Gāyatrī.
If the Brāhmaṇa makes the Japam (the silent muttering) in the above way he gets himself united with Brahmā. Other modes of making the Japam do not bear any fruit.
The Yogis who are Ūrdharetās (hold Brahmacharya, continence) are to make Japam of the Sampuṭā Gāyatrī (i.e., with Om). Gāyatrī with one praṇava and as well the Gāyatrī with six Prāṇavas.
The householder Brahmachāri or those who want Mokṣa are to make Japam of Gāyatrī with Om prefixed.
6. Those householders who affix Om to the Gāyatrī do not get the increase of their families.
7-8. The Turīya pāda (foot) of Gāyatrī is the mantra “Parorajase Sāvadomā prāpat.” (Brihad. up. v.14.7).
The presiding deity of this mantra is Brahmā. I am now speaking of the full Dhyānam (meditation) of this Brahmā so that the full fruit of the Japam (recitation) may be obtained.
There is a full blown lotus in the heart; its form is like the Moon, Sun, and the Spark of Fire; i.e., of the nature of praṇava and nothing else. This is the seat of the inconceivable Brahmā. Think thus.
Now on that seat is seated well the steady constant subtle Light, the essence of Ākāśa, the everlasting existence, intelligence and bliss, the Brahmā. May He increase my happiness.
9. Now I am speaking of the Mudra of the Turīya Gāyatrī:
(1) Triśūla, (2) Yoni, (3) Surabhi, (4) Akṣamālā, (5) Linga, (6) Padma and (7) Mahāmudrā. These seven Mudras are to be shown.
10-14. What is Sandhyā, that is Gāyatrī; there is no difference whatsoever between the two. The two are one and the same. Both are of the nature of Existence, Intelligence and Bliss.
The Brāhmaṇas would daily worship Her and bow down before Her with greatest devotion and reverence.
After the Dhyānam, first worship Her with five upachāras or offerings. Thus:
Om lam prithivyātmane gandham, arpayāmi namo Namaḥ.
Om Ham Ākāśātmane Puṣpam arpayāmi namo Namaḥ.
Om ram Vahnyātmane dīpam arpayāmi namo Namaḥ.
Aum Vam amritātmane naivedyam arpayāmi namo Namaḥ.
Om yam ram lam vam ham puṣpāṇjalim arpayāmi namo Namaḥ.
Thus worshipping with five upachāras, you must show Mudras to the Devī.
15-16. Then meditate on the Form of the Gāyatrī mentally and slowly repeat the Gāyatrī. Do not shake head, neck and while making japam, do not show your teeth.
According to due rules repeat the Gāyatrī one hundred and eight times, or twenty-eight times. When unable, repeat ten times; not less than that.
17-20. Then raise the Gāyatrī placed before on the heart (seat) by the mantra
“Gāyatrasyai kapadī Dvīpadī, etc., and then bid farewell to Her after bowing down to Her and repeating the mantra “Omuttame Śikhare Devī bhūmyām parvata mūrdhani brāhmaṇa ebhyobhya anujñātā Gachcha Devī yathāsukham” on the highest top of the mountain summit on earth (i.e., on the Meru mountain) dwells the goddess Gāyatrī. Being pleased with Thy worshippers go back, O Devī! To Thy abode as it pleaseth Thee.”
The wise men never mutter nor recite the Gāyatrī mantra within the water. Because Mahāṛṣis say that the Gāyatrī is fire-faced (agnimukhī).
After the farewell show again the following mudras Surabhi Jñān, Sūrpa, Kūrma, Yoni, Padma, Linga and Nirvāna Mudras.
Then address thus:
“O Devī! O Thou who speakest pleasant to Kaśyapa! O Gāyatrī! Whatever syllables I have missed to utter in making Japam, whatever vowels and consonants are incorrectly pronounced, I ask Thy pardon for all my above faults.”
O Nārada! Next one ought to give peace offerings to the Gāyatrī Devī.
21-33. The Chhaṇda of Gāyatrī Tarpaṇam (peace offerings to Gāyatrī) is Gāyatrī; the Ṛiṣi is Viśvāmitra; Savitā is the Devatā; its application (Niyoga) is in the peace offerings.
“Om Bhūḥ rigveda Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhuvah Yajurveda Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Svaḥ Sāmavēda Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Mahaḥ Atharvaveda Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Janaḥ Itihāsa Purāṇa Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Tapaḥ Sarvāgama Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Satyam Satyaloka Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhuh bhūrloka Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhuvah bhuvoloka Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Svaḥ svarloka Puruṣam tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhūḥ rekapadām Gāyatrīm tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhuvo dvītīyapadām Gāyatrīm tarpayāmi.”
“Om Svastripadām Gāyatrīm tarpayāmi.”
“Om Bhūr Bhuvaḥ Svaśchatuspadām Gāyatrīm tarpayāmi.”
Pronouncing these, offer the Tarpaṇams.
Next add the word Tarpayāmi to each of the following words:
“Ūṣasīm, Gāyatrīm, Sāvitrīm, Saraswatīm Vedamātaram, Prithvīm, Ajām, Kauśikīm, Sāmkritīm, Savajitīm, etc.,” and offer Tarpaṇams.
After the Tarpaṇam is over, offer the peace-chants, (Śāntivāri) repeating the following mantras:
“Om Jāta vedase sunavāma romam, etc.”
“Om Mānastoka, etc.”
“Om Tryambakam Yajāmahe, etc.”
“Om Tachchhamyoh, etc.”
Then touch all the parts of your bodies, repeating the two mantras, “Om atodeva, etc.” And reciting the mantram “Svonā Prithivī,” bow down to the earth, after repeating one’s name, Gotra, etc.
34-45. O Nārada! Thus the rules of the morning Sandhyā are prescribed. Doing works so far, bid farewell to the above-mentioned Gāyatrī.
Next finishing the Agnihotra Homa sacrifice, worship the five Devatās, Śiva, Śiva, Gaṇeśa, Sūrya and Viṣṇu. Worship by the Puruṣa Sūkta mantra, or by Hrīm mantra, or by Vyahriti mantra or by Śrīschate Lakṣmīścha, etc.,
place Bhavāni in the centre; Viṣṇu in the north east corner, Śiva in the south-east corner; Gaṇeśa in the south-west corner, and the Sun in the north-west corner; and then worship them.
While offering worship with the sixteen offerings, worship by repeating sixteen mantras.
As there is no other act more merit- giving than the worship of the Devī, so the Devī should first of all be worshipped. Then worship in due order the five Devatās placed in five positions.
As the worship of the Devī is the chief object, so in the three Sandhyās, the worship of the Sandhyā Devī is approved of by the Śrutis.
Never worship Viṣṇu with rice; Gaṇeśa with Tulasī leaves; the Devī Durgā with Durba grass and Śiva with Ketakī flower.
The under-mentioned flowers are pleasing to the Devī:
Mallikā, Jāti, Kuṭaja, Panasa, Palāsa, Vakula, Lodha, Karavīra, Śinśapa, Aparājitā, Bandhūka, Vaka, Madanta, Sindhuvāra, Palāśa, Durbhā, Śallakī, Mādhavī, Arka, Mandāra, Ketakī, Karṇikāra, Kadamba, Lotus, Champaka, Yūthikā, Ṭagara, etc.
46-47. Offer incenses Guggul, Dhūpa and the light of the Til oil and finish the worship.
Then repeat the principal (male) mantra (make Japam).
Thus finishing the work, study the Vedas in the second quarter of the next day; and in the third quarter of that day feed father, mother and other dependent relatives, with money earned by one’s own self according to the traditions of one’s family.
Here ends the Seventeenth Chapter of the Eleventh Book on the description of Sandhyā and other daily practices in the Mahāpurāṇam Śrīmad Devī Bhāgavatam of 18,000 verses by Mahāṛṣi Veda Vyāsa.