As per the Hindu tradition, morning is the most auspicious part of the day. A promising start is the key to a successful end. Hence, much importance is given to the beginning of the day in Hindu rituals and customs. All pious and religious work is suggested to be performed during the wee hours of the morning.
Worshiping of deity is also suggested during the early morning hours of the day. Scriptures have suggested that, one should get up early in the morning, take a bath and worship deities. It is only after performing the morning worship that one should lay his/her hands on the daily chores.
However, apart from the above ritual, there are some sacred prayers which are chanted early morning, at the time of leaving bed.
The first prayer upon waking up in the morning
1. After getting up in the morning and before leaving the bed, one should remember or honor deities by reciting the following verse,
Brahme muhurte chotthaya chintayedatmano hitam. Smaranam vasudevasya kuryat kalimalapaharam
(Translated as – One should get up early in the morning and think about the wellbeing of oneself. Also, one should remember Lord Vasudeva who removes all types of ignorance.)
2. At first, one should look at the palms (hands) by reciting following verse,
Karagre vasate lakshmi karamadhye saraswati
Karamule tu govinda prabhate karadarshanam
(Translated as – The base of the hand is the abode of goddess Laksmi; middle part is of goddess Saraswati; tip is of Lord Govind; hence, one should look at the palms in the morning.)
Reason behind this act – Hands are the samartha capable limb of the body. The hands play a vital role in achieving purushartha. They are the Nirmitikshama.
Hence, one should honor the hands in the morning saying “These hands should perform good karmas throughout the day.” One should imagine the residence of deities on the palms and salute them in the early morning, after getting up from the bed.
3. Scriptures have given the order of the deities for the Pratah Smarana. It is as follows,
Adityam gananatham cha devim rudram yathakramam
Narayanam vishuddhakhyamante cha kuladevatam
(Translated as – Sun, Ganesha, goddess Durga, Shiva, and Vishnu should be worshiped in the morning as per their order.)
4. Then recitation or remembrance of Navagraha (nine planets), seven Lokas, seven Oceans, seven Kulaparvata, Saptarshi, Saptachiranjiva, Stripanchaka, Five Pandavas, Punyashloka Kings, and Holy Cities is also suggested in the scriptures. Few verses of this recitation are as follows,
Ashvathama balirvyaso hanumanshcha vibhishanah
Krupah parshuramashcha saptaite chiranjivinah
(Translated as – Ashvathama, Bali, Vyaso Hanuman, Vibhishana and Krupa these are the five Chiranjivis.
Ahilya draupadi sita tara mandodari tatha
Panchakanya smarennityam mahapataka nashanah
(Translated as – The remembrance of five great ladies, Ahilya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari removes all the sins
iii. Punyashloka Kings
Punyashloko nalo raja punyashloko yudhishthirah
Punyashlokashcha vaidehi punyashloko janardanah
(Translated as – Nala, Yudhishthirah, Vaidehi and Janardanah are the most virtuous kings.)
iv. Holy Cities
Ayodhya Mathura maya kashi kanchi awantika
Puri dwaravati chaiva saptaitah mokshadayika
(Translated as – Visiting the holy cities namely Ayodhya, Mathura, Maya, Kashi, Kanchi, Awantika, Puri and Dwaravati gives final liberation.)
5. Another most important prayer to be chanted in the morning is ‘Bhumi Parthana’, i.e. the prayer for the earth. Following verse is recited as the prayer for the earth,
Samudravasane devi parvatastanamandale
Vishnupatni namastubhyam padasparsham kshamaswa me
(Translated as – O, the wife of Vishnu who is wearing the cloth of the great ocean and having the breast of mountains, salutations to you. My legs are touching you, hence kindly forgive me.)
The reason behind this prayer – Earth is the mother of everyone. She is going to bear our presence and weight for the whole day. Hence it is a salutation to her and is an act of apology for touching her by legs at the beginning of the morning.
6. Then at last Sun, preceptor and elders in the family should be saluted and the ‘Pratargnim’ hymn should be recited.
Reasons behind chanting the prayers
The first prayer upon waking up in the morning helps one’s mind to concentrate right from the beginning of the day. This concentration creates positive energy in one’s health triangle, i.e. mind, body and soul.
The positive energy brings a positive attitude for the whole day and it helps the person to become a better perceiver and conceiver of the happenings around him. It is highly believed in the Hindu scriptures that the vibration one gains via first morning prayers guards him against pessimism and evil surroundings.