Long long ago, may be more than six thousand years ago, students of your age (8 to 20-25 years) took education at the residence of their teacher. In the Guru-Kul there were students from humble families as well as from honourable and royal families. The syllabus consisted of all arts and all types of vocational courses. Scriptures were the recommended books and the ‘World Citizen’ was the final aim of education. In those days ---- just try to reach the past time of six thousand years before. Try to locate the dear and near persons of your family in the past. You can remember your grandfather or grand grandfather. You can’t trace the time and persons back for more than 100 or 150 years. But your father knows the name of your ancestor who lived thousands of years before. The GOTRA of your family and the PRAWARA OF THE GOTRA both indicate the names of the ancestors and the teachers, the Guru of the family. These gurus and their ancestors preserved the four Veda by way of recitation and passed this age old knowledge to the next generation. This is why we are in know how of all the “Fourteen Vidya And Sixty Four Kala” described in the Veda. We are indebted to all of them and will ever carry their memory with great respect and reverence.
So, in those days, in the Guru Kul, the day started long before sunrise. And the first session was that of Suryopaasana / SuryaNamaskar (Worshipping the Sun God), Sandhya Vidhi and the Gaayatri Japa. Today we are going to learn something about SuryaNamaskar. We are going to learn ‘what, why and how’ of the SuryaNamaskar, step by step.
Let’s pray to the Sun God.
- It is early in the morning.
- The sun is rising on the horizon.
- You have taken bath and you feel fresh and strong.
- Take the morning air deep into your lungs.
- Refer to ‘Step Ahead to Excellence’ Warming up exercise.
- Stand straight. Be at ease.
- Fold your hands in Namaskar Mudra.
- There is no muscle tension anywhere on your body.
- There is no tension on your head and hair.
- No tension on your face – forehead, nose, cheeks, chin, ears.
- There is no tension on your neck.
- Remove the tension, if there is any, on your neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, palms, fingers.
- Keep the muscles - of the stomach, abdomen, back - loose.
- Relax the muscles of the thighs, knees, ankles, feet, toes etc.
- Be at a relaxed position.
आचम्य प्राणानायम्य || विष्णुर्विष्णुर्विष्णुः ||
अद्यपूर्वोच्यारित एवंगुणविशेषण विशिष्टायां शुभपुण्यतिथौ ||
मम शरीरे आरोग्यता प्राप्त्यर्थं श्रीसवितासूर्यनारायण प्रित्यर्थं (Confirm the number of SuryaNamaskar ) सूर्यनमस्कारन् करिष्ये ||
Meaning of the Shlok
Aachaman: Open the palm straight. Keep away the thumb and the ladyfinger. Close the remaining three fingers and raise them a bit. A scoop is formed on the palm at the end of the fingers. Take a spoonful of water in the scoop. Release the water, from the wrist end of the palm, in your mouth.
Significance: SuryaNamaskar generates heat and energy. Breathing becomes deep and hard. Aachaman prevents dry throat and keeps the throat and food pipe clean smooth and wet.
Pranayam: Controlling the breathing is called Pranayam. All our activities, physical,mental and voluntary are based on breathing. Inhaling is absorbing Prana Tatwa / life force in the body. Air is the carrier of Prana Tatwa / Cosmic Energy. At this stage take a deep breath and gradually release it out. Take a longer time to exhale. This time sense can be easily attained if you concentrate on the abdomen to breathe out completely.
Significance: This is just a start to control breathing and to tune it with the body movements to be performed ahead in the practice of SuryaNamaskar.
Meaning: The name of Lord Vishnu is repeated thrice – Awaahan, Staapana, Wandan (Iinvitation, Welcome, Worship)
Significance: This body of flesh is the legacy of Lord Vishnu, the Supreme self, the Paramaatma. The meaning of the word ‘Vishnu’ is omnipresent - one who is continuously and simultaneously present as a whole, at all time, everywhere. Our body is made of five elements – the earth-fire-air-ether-water. The omnipresent entity was there before the creation of the five elements. Hence one who created the elements created our body. We are above the Elements we are the Supreme self, the Paramaatma. In Bhagwad Gita Lord Vishnu Bhagwan says “I am the (seed) source of birth and growth of all the beings. I am the originator of all intellect and courage” (Chapter 7 shloka 10) In this way our body in flesh and blood is the heritage of Him. This ‘call for’ Lord Vishnu is just to remind us of this inheritance.
Meaning: The outstanding quality of SuryaNamaskar is that it is in practice since from time immemorial. On this auspicious day I perform SuryaNamaskar in order to make my body healthy. I undergo this age old practice in the honour of Lord SuryaNaraayana.
Significance: This is Sankalpa, the resolution or decision that you are going to do certain thing. This is done to make your mind alert and to urge it to give all possible strength to all the parts of the body, involved in the action, to perform the activity. The Sankalpa makes all your actions result oriented. It gives desired direction to your tongue, mind and body. If you keep on walking, for example, without any goal you will reach nowhere. Hence Sankalpa is a must before every action.
My parents and grand parents and ancestors have practised this art of SuryaNamaskar. I also must have done it in the previous lives. Hence worshipping the Sun God is the part of my body, mind soul. It is the part of my personality. Whatever is done is done for Him. It is done in His honour. Nothing is mine. Everything belongs to him. The possessive sense of ‘me-my-myself’ is to be put on regressive mode.
The opening shloka: (The prayer.) Dhynam
Dheyah sadaa savitru mandala madhyawarti
Naaraayanah sarasij sannivistaha
Keyurawaan makara kundalawaan kireetee
Hari hiranya-maya-vapur-dhruta shankha chakrah ||
ध्येयः सदासवितृ मंडल मध्यवर्ती
केयूरवान मकर कुंडलवान् किरीटी
हारी हिरण्यमयवपुर्धृत शंखचक्रः ||
- Oh! Surya Naaraayana YOU are the crowning glory of everything that goes with the nature.
- Your are carrying shankha chakra in your hands.
- YOU are the creator of joy and destroyer of sorrows.
- YOU cover the entire universe with the golden twilight.
- YOU are the Master, the Provider of the entire universe.
- Oh! Sun God, make all my efforts as bright and brilliant as the sun in the solar system.
- Oh! Sun God you are the source, the centre figure in the cosmos. You are seated on the seat of lotus, wearing a crown on the head, ornaments round the wrist, and crocodile shape-earrings in the ears. You are the creator, the master of all mirages. Your complexion is as that of pure gold. You have a shankha-chakra in your hands. Oh Sun God, let all my efforts be as bright and brilliant as the Sun in the sky.
Significance: The contents of all the pages ahead describe the importance of this prayer.