Sandhyavandhanam and, hence, the chanting of the all-important Gayatri Mantra is the single foundation stone for being Brahmin. Sandhyavandhanam is a Nitya Karma Anushtaanam or "Mandatory Daily Ritual" In the Paramacharya's own words:
"If the Gayatri has not been chanted for three generations in the family of a Brahmin, its members lose caste (they cease to be Brahmins). The quarter where such Brahmins live cannot be called an "agrahara". It is perhaps not yet three generations since Brahmins gave up the Gayatri. So they still may be called Brahmins.
In the same way if the Brahmin family has not performed sacrifices for three generations its members will be called "Durbrahmanas", degenerate Brahmins. Even though degenerate the label "Brahmin" sticks to them. There are prayascittas (expiatory rites) by means of which the corrupted Brahmins will be remade true Brahmins. But there is no such hope for a Brahmin in whose family Gayatri has not been chanted for three generations. A member of such a family ceases altogether to be a Brahmin and cannot be made one again. He is just a "Brahmana- bandhu", a kin or a friend of Brahmins. The same rule applies to Ksatriyas and Vaisyas with regard to the Gayatri mantra; they become "ksatriya-bandhus" and "Vaisya-bandhus" respectively."
About the Gayatri Mantra, the Paramacharya states:
"Whoever sings is protected; that is Gayatri. Gayatri Japa is essential to all rites performed according to the Shastras. Any other prayers, rituals, rites or Vedic recitations are useless without the Gayatri, which is regarded as the Mother of the Vedas."
The Gayatri Mantra is an extremely potent and powerful incantation. It was used extensively by the king-turned-sage Vishvamitra who amassed enough spiritual power to create a rival galaxy of stars. Many of today believe that this is the Andromeda galaxy, a counterpart to our Milky Way.
Provided below is a link to download a PDF version of Sandhyavandhanam in Sanskrit. It must be repeated here that Sandhyavandhanam is only for the twice-born Brahmin males who have already undergone Upanayanam, i.e., investiture with the sacred thread.
The Sandhyavandhanam is to be performed thrice a day:
- Praathah Sandhya: Performed before sunrise
- Maadhyaahnikam: Performed at midday
- Saayam Sandhya: Performed at sunset
Each version of Sandhyavandhanam has subtle differences that are explained in further detail in the video tutorials provided below:
Praathah Sandhya (click for video tutorial):
Maadhyaahnikam (click for video tutorial):
Saayam Sandhya (click for video tutorial):
The consolidated Sandhyavandhanam tutorial can also be downloaded as a PDF, as provided below. The following download is intended for those who have already obtained "Brahmopadesam," i.e., Upanayanam and initiation with the Gayatri Mantra. All credits to the preparation of this document go to the devotees of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.