Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 04 05 Why We Chant Mantras at Sunrise and Sunset

In particular, the times of sunrise and sunset hold special significance which is why I offer the Mantra Yoga Chanting practices at 6:30 on Thursday evenings. This time falls into the category of Sandhi Prakash. In Sanskrit, Sandhi means “period between day and night” and Prakash means “light” and indicated the sunrise/sunset times of day. The hours of Sandi Prakash are defined as 4:00 - 7:00 am and pm. However, IMO, following Nature is the best way to go, chanting at actual sunrise/sunset.

Indeed, at the three ashrams I stayed at in the fall of 2012, Babaji in Haidakhan, Yogananda in Dakshineswar, and Sai Baba in Puttaparthi, we sang around the hours of sunrise and sunset. (See the link is the sidebar to my book Pilgrimage To India to learn more about the ashrams!)

Photo by Shellie Wood, Boise ID April 8 2014

In Classical Hindustani music, the times of the day call for different tunes and notes to be played for the physical, emotional, and spiritual harmony of the listeners. (Hindustani Ragas by Vijay Banaz Razdan, 2009) In Mantra Yoga Chanting, I play the prescribed musical notes for the sunset time of day.

I was tickled to find the following information on p 86-7 of The Turning Point by Gregg Braden (Hay House Inc., 2014) which explains in detail why this time of day is especially significant and powerful.

“In many indigenous traditions, it's understood that the mysterious space between things holds the power of new possibilities. In North American native traditions, for example, it's the space between day and night that's believed to open the door to all paths and new outcomes for our lives. …

“Two times each day, something remarkable happens with respect to Earth's location in space and the effect it has upon us. When the evening sun disappears from the sky as it sets on the horizon, the doorway to a mysterious period of time briefly appears. Although the sun is no longer visible, the sky is still light. It's not really daytime any longer, yet it's not quite night. It's this space between day and night that was called the crack between the worlds. The crack between the worlds appears again at dawn, when the sky is no longer the darkness of the night, yet hasn't become the light of day.

From the description of ancient Egyptians and Peruvian shamans to those of healers from America's Desert Southwest, the theme of these turning points is the same. Twice each day, nature gives us a time when our prayers may be offered with the greatest potential to shift our lives.

The beauty of knowing that a turning point exists is that it holds the opportunity for us to change before we experience something that we don't want in our lives...”

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