Why Market SandhyaVandanam?

When I sent an email to Jeyaram, a dear friend (with whom I had lost touch for quite a long time) asking him to check out the post on the physical movements in SV, I did not expect a direct response.  More than the response itself, it was a 3 worded question in the PS that really intrigued me.

And that was “Why Market SV?” which is incidentally the title for this post as well.  I want to thank Jeyaram for inadvertently sparking a very different thought process than was originally envisaged.

I do not know what triggered the feeling that I was marketing SV.  Perhaps it was the email asking people to read the posts or the way the contents of the posts have been structured recommending people to try SV.  Be as it may, a thought has occurred to him and he has also shared it with me.

The logician in me is looking at this rather innocuous and perhaps innocent question from different angles.  Further I see it as an opportunity to look at my intentions and objectives in writing the series of posts themselves.

The question can be construed as “SV needs no marketing” or “what is the point in marketing SV”.

In the first scenario, my contention is that “SV needs marketing” because the people who ought to perform it regularly are not doing it, whatever their reasons may be.  I discovered my reasons when I started doing it and I wanted to share it with the larger world. If one were to read the few comments for the first post in the series, these were people who started and gave up and restarted because of an inspiration.  I guess that there are lots of people who gave up and would restart given the inspiration.  In today’s context, health can be a good motivation for people, given the mess we have landed ourselves in.  So if you look at the posts so far, I have been dwelling more about the benefits for the physical health from the various components of SV like Achamanam, pranayama and even the mere physical movements therein.  It is my fervent hope that SV becomes the default lifestyle for many people and help them be healthy and vital.  And for this, SV needs to be marketed as a scientifically designed exercise regimen to get people interested.

Now to address the “What’s the purpose of marketing?”, a part of it was covered in the previous paragraph itself.  I believe that once we regularly start doing SV to get the physical benefits, we will start noticing the other dimensions of this practice which will help us go deep spiritually as well. What we really need in today’s fast paced world is spiritual strength and that will be facilitated by SV.

Further, the current young generation in their teens and twenties cannot be commanded to do anything, even if it is for their benefit. So if we want them to get into the mode of prayers and physical fitness, we need to inspire them by doing it ourselves and explain to them the significance of the process of SV.

(Incidentally, my son Anirudh told me that he liked the scientific approach to SV and has expressed his desire to do it regularly)

I believe that this was a major gap between those of us in our late thirties and upwards and our fathers.  We were not courageous enough to tell them to mind their business when they asked us to do SV nor did we really comply.  We were looking for an opportunity to stop doing it and possibly so because our fathers did not bother to explain the greatness of our tradition.

In a way, I see this as a Renaissance not from a faith perspective but from understanding the depth and the meaning.

There are many  people who feel that Marketing is something of a con game and respectable products do not really have to be marketed.  I beg to differ because marketing is a process of communication and is vital not only for products but also for ideas.  If we stick to the earlier paradigm of “let’s make great things and the world will queue in front of our shop or business”, we are totally mistaken.

We need to highlight the importance of SV to people who do not know it so that they will start seeing it in a different light.

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15 Comments

  1. k.s. sreekanthj said,

    September 24, 2010 at 9:04 am

    Dear Badri

    I would rather call your endeavours as ‘spreading awareness’ and “sharing the benefits of SV from personal experiences’, which is very much needed today. In earlier times SV was performed in groups and this system was very helpful in sharing the benefits with one another.We are now disintgegrated into nuclear families and most of us are engaged in the rat race of survival. It is thus that the subject has literally”gone out of the air” and this is the main reason for even the people with good intention to practice SV unable to sustain. There is a lack of support from the “akasha Bootha”, which could very well be invoked by making people reflect upon the good effects of SV.Kodhai Nachiyar did the very same thing even 1000 years back to revive the ancient “pavai Nonbu” by impresiing upon the people the necessity of the practice as well as its benefits.

    In recent times, the famous Bhaja Govindam of Adi Sankaracharya is being taught to students more as a management treatise than as a devotional hymn,for, it is only then that the present generation is able to appreciate and assimilate the lofty principles enunciated.The very first verse summarises the need for timely action and avoidance of procrastination and very clearly states that “none would come to the rescue at the moment of crisis–nahi nahi rakshathi –…”

    I t is said that a book is written only for the benefit of one particular person, who is eagerly waiting for that material to get inspired. But, as we are not aware of who that person is, we print thousanda of copies, so that atleast one of them would reach that particular individual. Our duty is to help and support those people who are waiting to be inspired and in the process make available the material to as many as possibe. This is only a beginning …..Agni Kunjondru kandaen……All the best and always with willingness to support the great renaissance ,

    K.S. Sreekanth

    • badrirag said,

      September 24, 2010 at 10:12 am

      Sreekanth,

      I now understand why we are expected to keep the count under the vastra: a practice perhaps relevant at the time of “Goshti SV” lest other people get distracted by the speed (or lack of it) of your reciting the mantras.

      I find your theory of printing and distributing 1000s of books so that it reaches the one person for whom it was originally intended! With the virality inbuilt in any internet-based system, it is now perhaps easier and faster to reach people.

      Thank you

      • Lakshminarayanan K said,

        May 14, 2011 at 4:18 pm

        I just saw your blog an hour ago. I am able to fully appreciateall your experiences. Like some of the sharings here, I started doing the SV since Jan this year only after my son’s upanayanam was fixed for Feb. During this period I have found some amazing changes in my health. In the initial days when I started doing SV, I use to get the feeling that I have either fallen asleep or lost count. Now, I realise that when I do the pranayama 10 times properly with the right inhalation and exhalation, I am able to keep track of the entire duration when I chant the gayathri mantra. Also, when I attended a training program on NLP I learnt a few things about the functioning of the un conscious mind. I am able to relate that with SV. While chanting the gayathri mantra, we are actually doing two things at the same time. One the mantra should not be chanted but we have to observe ourselves chanting it, another one is the counting that we do. When our conscious mind is busy in these two activities, our unconscious mind is free and it brings about all that we have been wanting to happen in our lives. Likewise, when we do the pranayama 10 times, we are doing several things at the same time-they being chanting the mantra, keeping track of inhalation and exhalation, alternating the inhalation from one nostril to the other, keeping count.

        The method I am following during pranayama is inhalation and exhalation only without holding of breath. I want to know whether it is correct, or there are more than one method.

      • badrirag said,

        August 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Lakshminarayanan, thanks for sharing your experiences and the progress you have achieved with SV. Perhaps you tried to recite Gaathri 108 times and hence were feeling sleepy. Suggest that you increase it gradually from 10 to 28 to 108.

        I agree that mostly we perform pranayama without much of awareness and in a ritualistic manner. Once we begin to bring consciousness to it, the entire process is magical but it takes effort every time to stay awareful.

        I do not think I’m competent to advise you whether to hold the breath or merely do exhalation and inhalation. Suggest you speak to some yoga guru and get clarity.

  2. Ram said,

    September 24, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Badri,

    Agree with you totally.

    Ram

  3. kavya said,

    June 15, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    Please answer this? Why women are deprived from this practice? Does that mean women should not gain any health benefits?

    • badrirag said,

      July 30, 2012 at 3:19 am

      Kavya,

      You have raised a very valid question and my apologies for responding to it so late.

      You would have observed that the women in the families in the early times had no washing machines, grinder or even a tap!! That meant that they had to draw water from the well and do all the activities relating to cooking, washing and grinding by themselves manually. They perhaps did not need the physical activities that are in-built in SV.

      You would have also observed your mother or grandmother reciting some prayers while cooking or carrying on the household duties. Prayers were not something then to be said at a particular time.

      I therefore deduce that the ancient rishis felt that the men needed the physical exercises and the prayers more than their mothers or wives and hence included them in SV.

      But there is no denying that an element of male chuvanism has been present in all traditions from the earliest days!!

      • Venkat Viswanathan said,

        November 3, 2013 at 11:44 am

        Hi Badri,

        I came across your blog today and really loved reading it. I completely agree on your point that women if yesteryears did so much of physical activities that they might not have needed SV. However I believe that our forefathers were anything but male chauvinists. If they have prevented women from not doing SV, may be SV could have some potential hazard if women do it. I have seen old women do it which makes me believe it could be something to do with the reproductive system in women which may have some side effects. I am not sure about the reason but I am pretty sure there would be a scientific reason for this!

      • badrirag said,

        November 3, 2013 at 12:12 pm

        Venkat,

        Thanks for your comment. I am sure there will be sound reasons because SV was not conceived in a day by someone in a hurry!! Every time I come across some aspect of SV, my respect and reverence to those visionaries grows multi-fold. I also believe that there have been some distortions in every aspect of our culture in the last 2 centuries and that has sadly become our reference point.

        If you look at it, there are certain yogasanas that are not recommended for some categories of people given their physical condition and the exclusion of women from Sabarimala yatras, I guess their menstrual cycles are perhaps taken into consideration in SV as well.

        I also read somewhere that the uttering of mantras can have an impact on the reproductive systems in women and hence they are expressly forbidden from learning Vedas!! Cannot confirm it, though!! Given that most men (including me) are shying away from even SV, we need a revival there rather than ask the women folk to get into it!!

    • Selva said,

      July 24, 2017 at 9:03 am

      I guess women are allowed to do it once they do not go through menstrual cycle at all. Not sure why 🙂

  4. Sri said,

    September 29, 2011 at 8:26 am

    All my attempts to get my husband to do SV has been in vain. He suffers from sleeplessness. He would rather pop pills than do some rituals.
    Sir, do you think SV would help one sleep better ?

    -A worried wife

    • badrirag said,

      September 29, 2011 at 12:15 pm

      I do not know specifically if SV will help a person sleep better (never faced that problem so far) but if done properly and regularly it is known to make body more supple and mind calmer. i guess that would help the person to get quality sleep.

      Do let us know if your husband got any benefits!

  5. Selva said,

    July 24, 2017 at 8:56 am

    In my experience, Sandhyavandhanam, once we do it for even a month without a miss, restores a sense of breath awareness and relaxation through out the day. Also, the breath takes in a totally different quality and penetration after you complete pranayama and begin peforming the japa. I guess the trick here is to strike the right kind of balance between maintaining focus and remaining aloof 🙂


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