Vaishnava Dinacharya — The Daily Routine Of Srivaishnavas
The things which we ought to follow day-in and day-out as required in our Sampradaya have been prescribed in various books. Known as ‘Ahnikam’ the instructions found therein vary from ‘very easy’ to ‘extremely complex’ in respect of what we need to do from the time we wake up till we go to bed. One must at least adhere to the simpler ones, if the more difficult ones are not practicable. It must be mentioned here that the exemption does not apply to mandatory things such as Sandhyaavandanam, etc.
Recently came across an immensely useful book written by Vaikuntavaasi Mahavidwan Purisai Nadadhur Krishnamacharya Swami on the subject. Thought I would share some of the important points dealt with in it, for your benefit. Many of us may be following several of these points. In any case, the following may be deemed to be a check-list as to where we stand, and a motivation towards improvement. Here we go:
- We must slowly wake up uttering ‘Hari’, the Lord’s name and repeat the name seven times in succession.
- When opening the eyes, we must ensure that we see the images of the Lord and meditate Him. If not, at least we must look at our right palm wherein Mahalakshmi lives (Karaagre Vasathe Lakshmi…).
- Must make it a point to place our left foot first on the ground, and plead with Bhu Devi for forbearance and pardon for foot-contact.
- Whenever leaving home, we must chant ‘Kesavaaya Nama:’ and meditate Him.
- At the time of attending to nature’s call, must circle the Yajnopaveetham over the right ear and cover the head with cloth. Then should wash the hands and legs and rinse the mouth with water six times/12 times as the case may be. This should be followed by Achamanam twice after wearing the Yajnopaveetham properly.
- Should do Achamanam twice each before and after brushing the teeth.
- Should perform Sankalpam with Thithi, Vaara, (day) and Nakshathram when taking bath.
- When bathing in a pond, lake, etc., or at home, we should always face the Sun. However while bathing in a river, the head should point towards the direction of the water source (that is, from where the water is flowing).
- Should never bathe without clothes.
- Should not spit while bathing in a river, pond or lake.
- When wearing Vasthram, should always circle the Yajnopaveetham over the right ear and cover the head with Uththareeyam.
- Should always wear the Vasthram with Kachcham. Then should wash the hands and legs and put on the Yajnopaveetham properly and do Achamanam.
- Then, should wear the Thiruman (12). Thiruman is the Lord and Srichurnam is Piraatti. They protect us while dwelling in our body. Therefore, it is known is ‘Thiruman Kaappu’. It is also known as ‘Urdhva Pundram’, because, ‘Urdhva’ means ‘upward’. Since Thiruman is suggestive of taking us to Srivaikunta.
- Should chant and meditate on the 12 names each of the Lord (starting with Kesava) and Piraatti (starting with Sri).
- In case, it is not possible to wear the 12 Thirumans, at least the one on the forehead should be worn. The height of Thiruman and Srichurnam should be equal.
- Should not wash off the hand after wearing the Thiruman/Srichurnam.
- Should meditate on Acharyas and recite their Thaniyans after wearing the Thiruman.
- Then comes the most important thing — Sandhyavandanam. One who does not perform it, is unfit to do any Karma. If one worships the Lord without performing Sandhyavandanam, He will not accept it.
- At the end of Sandhyavandanam, the Rahasya-thrayam — Ashtaaksharam, Dhvayam and Charama Slokam — must be chanted.
- Then Brahma-Yajnam (chanting at least a small portion of the Veda) must be performed.
- Then should enter the Lord’s Sannidhi and prostrate before Him, followed by prostrating before one’s parents.
- Then should do Vedantha Kaalakshepam.
- Should assemble the things for Bhagavath Aradhanam, like flowers, Thulasi, sandalwood paste, ourselves.
- Sundays, Tuesday, Fridays, Amavasya, Maasa-Pirappu, Dvaadasi, Sraadhdha days are not suitable for plucking Thulasi.
- It is ideal to have Thulasi plant at home use those leaves for Thiru Aradhanam.
- Only fragrant flowers must be offered to the Lord.
- Maadhyahnikam must be performed before Thiru Aradhanam.
- Thiru Aradhanam must be performed with earnestness and utmost devotion. It must be noted that a house without at least one Saalagraamam is equivalent to burial ground.
- One should not eat food without offering to the Lord. Also, we must eat only those which are approved in our Saasthras.
- After Thiru Aradhanam, we must take in Perumal Theerththam, consume Thulasi and wear flower.
- Pithru Tharppanam must be done only after Bhagavath Aradhanam.
- When Sraadhdham day and Amavasya coincide, the Tharppanam must be done only after performing Sraadhdham. In case of Maasa-Pirappu coinciding with Sraadhdham, the Tharppanam may be done before or after Sraadhdham.
- Vysvadevam (only for those who have been initiated into it) should be performed after Bhagavath Aradhanam.
- Should go for eating food after washing the legs and doing Achamanam twice.
- Should not eat along with with sick and unorthodox people.
- Pariseshanam should be done both in the morning and evening and always only after ghee is served. Praanaahuthi should be done after taking in Perumal Theerththam. Should chant ‘Govindaaya Nama:’ and then start eating.
- When eating food with salt, Pariseshanam is not done.
- Uththara Aposanam has to be done after eating with Perumal Theerththam.
- Then should sash the hands and legs, rinse mouth with water thrice and again wash the hands and rinse mouth. Then should wash the legs twice and do Achamanam twice.
- After doing Sandhyavandanam in the evening, should prostrate before the Lord and elders, and chant Sahasranaamam.
- If a temple is nearby, should go there and worship the Lord.
- Finally, when going to bed, should chant the following Sloka and chant ‘Maadhavaaya Nama:’ and meditate Him.
க்ஷீரஸாகர தரங்க சீகராஸார தாரகித சாரு மூர்த்தயே! போகிபோக சயநீய சாயிநே மாதவாய மதுவித்விஷே நம:!!
- Always the head should be kept to the east or south when sleeping.
Meet you in the next Note.
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