[Query 1] How many sandhyas does a shreevidya upasak observe?
[Query 2] Should one add tritari before ganapati mantra also?
prAsAda parameshvarAya namaH
Apologies for the delay in replying to these posts as it seems our reader was expecting an answer before navarAtra. Thanks to all our readers who lovingly wished us before and during navarAtra and replies will follow soon. I have a big backlog of email due to a period of inactivity during the last fifteen days and the speed with which I am getting to them is nowhere close to agni’s attack on the khandava vana
Here, I would assume that the reference is to tAntrikI sandhyA? There are some who think there are only two sandhyA-s that are to be observed even in the case of shrauta and smArta practices. shrI shatAvadhAnI R Ganesh had a long series of arguments with my late gurunAtha Brahmasri ‘AsthAna vidvAn’ KPS and gurunAtha produced more than sufficient evidence to rubbish Ganesh’s claims regarding two sandhyA-s. I assume the question here is not related to that famous episode, ha ha.
From the perspective of parashurAma kalpasUtra, it is not easy to conclude whether the sUtrakAra intends a single sandhyA as described in shrIkrama or four different sandhyA-s at four times as related to the lalitA, vArAhI, mAta~NgI and parA; and if he does, are these only during the svatantropAsti of the anga vidyA-s (i.e. during the initial panchAngaka purashcharaNa) or even past this stage? rAmeshvara and umAnandanAtha differ here in their opinions. However, various other tantras such as baDabAnala, UrdhvAmnAya, parA, rahasyArNava, paramAnanda etc. as also works such as shrIvidyArNava, saubhAgya ratnAkara, dakShiNAmUrti samhitA, dattAtreya samhitA, saubhAgya lakShmI kalpa etc. clearly prescribe the worship of four sandhyA-s through the recitation of vAgbhava, kAmarAja, shAkta and turIya gAyatrI mantras. This is also the krama followed by most living lineages today.
While I cannot speak for others, the following is the pramANa we follow:
vA~nChAkalpalatAyukto chatushcharaNasaMyutaH ||
mahAvidyAsamAyuktaH pAdukAdashakAnvitaH |
chatuHsandhyAsamAyuktaH pa~nchapArAyaNAnvitaH |
pa~nchaShoDhAsamAyuktaH kAdihAdimateShvapi ||
Due to a separate reference to the five ShoDashI-s here, the word mahAvidyA here is traditionally interpreted as pancha samayAs or five mahAvidyAs of kAlikA (dakShiNA, guhyA, kAmakalA, chitAmaNiH and nirvana kAlikA).
Thus, the observance of four sandhyA-s is clearly indicated here.
As for gaNapati mantra, there are two aspects to consider here:
a. Does one apply tritArI (if at all he does) to the mantra/s during japa or saparyA (and tarpaNa) or both?
b. If he does, would it be the same tritArI as in shrIkrama or a different one?
One should examine the following sUtras:
a. sarve.api parAkrama manavaH sauH varNapUrvAH kAryAH |
b. vAchamucchArya glaumiti cha paddhatAvasyAM sarve manavo japyAH |
c. shyAmAkramamantrANAmAdau tritArI-kumArI yogaH |
d. sarveShAM mantrANAmAdau tritArI saMyogaH |
It is clear that while the sUtra defines what needs to be added in the case of parA, vArtALI, shyAmalA and lalitAmbikA, it remains silent in the case of gaNapati. umAnandanAtha adopts tantrAntara and prescribes the addition of ramA-mAyA-kAma bIjatraya which hardly seems to go with the original intent of the sUtrakAra, as rightly pointed out by rAmeshvara sUrin. My copy of an alleged commentary on the kalpasUtra by the great bhAskararAya himself (ratnAloka) is missing a few pages of the gaNanAyaka paddhati but from what remains, it may be safe to assume that he agrees with rAmeshvara.
As for adding these bIjas during actual mantra japa, there seems to be no relevant pramANa within the sUtra and especially outside of it. Many tantras such as parA and paramAnanda prescribe dvi, tri and chatuH tArI-s but during saparyA, tarpaNa and homa prayogas per say and not during the mUla mantra japa itself. There are some who seem to include tritArI before panchadashI and ShoDashI even during japa and this practice seems to be simply arising out of ignorance. umAnandanAtha takes the ‘sarveShAM mantrANAmAdau tritArI samyogaH’ blatantly out of context and applies it in every possible place. For example, he even includes it during rashmimAlA, activities prior to the junction where this sUtra actually occurs in shrIkrama and even during pUrvAnga and uttarAnga japa of various mantras which are not even faintly referred to by the sUtrakAra. If this logic were to be true, he would then need to apply to same to vArAhI, mAtangI and parA mantras as well, which he does not. If one takes the example of parA, he would either need to prescribe tritArI+sauH or sauH+sauH (considering the first sUtra listed above) for japa. One would also need to examine the case of mahAshAmbhava manu in the rashmimAlA and consider rules such as dvirukti, mantra doSha etc. discussed at length in kAdi mata or tantrarAja, vArAhI tantra etc. Generally, those who rely almost completely on umAnandanAtha’s interpretation of the kalpasUtra are the ones who insist on adding these bIjas indiscriminately and some such examples we see include lalitArchanachandrikA of nIlakaNTha joshi, shrIvidyArchana dIpikA of Kumbhakonam Parameshvara Aiyer etc. But even umAnandanAtha does not seem to prescribe the addition of these bIjas during japa and only does so for the pUrvottarAnga mantras. He prescribes nothing similar for shyAmA or vArtALI however. If one were to follow the method of recitation of the mahAmantra following the method prescribed in varivasyA rahasya or nityAShoDashikArNava (on which bhAskararAya comments as well), it is easy to see that umAnandanAtha’s prescription poses a contradiction to the teaching of his own guru. An appendix to trikandasararthabodhini had a brief but scholarly discussion on this topic from a different angle but I cannot locate my copy currently.
- Nothing needs to be added before or after mantras, including praNava, be it lalitA, parA, shyAmalA, vArAhI or mahAgaNapati – during japa. We have heard discussions before on how a certain mahAn X added pranava before chaNDI and attained Siddhi or a certain Y attained siddhi adding tritArI before gaNapati manu. There is no way to verify if these personalities did attain siddhi for a fact and even if they did, it was in spite of an incorrect conjunction of the bIjas and not because of it.
- Even during pUjA or tarpaNa prayogas, one following the sUtra to the core needs to add no bIjas in the case of gaNanAyaka paddhati.
raktIkR^itAM cha pralayAtyaye tAM
namAmi vishvAkR^iti-raktakAlIm ||