It was 11th January, ten years back, in 2003 when Jaya & I took our diksha from our Guruji in the holy city of Varanasi, near the bank of the holy river – Ganga. It was a very chilly morning, with temperature hovering around 1°C when we bathed ourselves in cold water and got us ready for the diksha ceremony. The day was fixed before by our Guruji and we went to Varanasi from Jamshedpur for our diksha. Our Guruji stays in Varanasi. He had also made all the necessary arrangements for the rituals. We were then staying in the steel city of Jamshedpur.
Diksha is a ceremony of initiation and the entering of a religious order. It involves a guru giving a mantra to a disciple and having the disciple agreeing to follow a certain religious practice. During diksha, a Guru provides a disciple with a Guru Mantra. The sole aim of the Guru Mantra is to control the senses and set the individual in the path of Brahman consciousness.
That day was a memorable day for us having received our Guru Mantra and also the training for sandhyavandanam, a mandatory religious ritual that needs to be performed after taking diksha in Hinduism. The term, sandhyavandanam, is a Sanskrit compound consisting of sandhyā, meaning “union”, or more specifically the union or junctions of day and night which takes place in the morning or evening twilight, and vandanam meaning worship. In addition to dawn and dusk, noon is considered the third juncture of the day, and hence meditations and prayers are performed daily at those times.
It’s now been ten years that we are doing our sandhyavandanam regularly. It does give us some mental peace in the time of distress. It gave us a new meaning to our life. Our son, Babai, also took diksha from our Guruji a couple of years back.
Incidentally, it was also our Guruji, who performed our marriage ceremony as per Vedic traditions, amidst chanting of Vedic mantras at Sarnath, near Varanasi, in 1991. Sarnath is the deer park where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha came into existence.