It is a part of the daily routine for many Sanathana Dharma (Hinduism) followers to start the day with a prayer – the Karadarshanam. Some people do this only because they have been habituated to do so from their childhood. But, unbeknownst to many, this simple and short prayer is very powerful and gives us both physiological and psychological benefits. Let us look at how the prayer is performed and then look at its benefits.
The Karadarshana Prayer
This is how the Karadarshana prayer is performed: upon waking up in the morning, sit up straight on the bed, open the palm of the right hand in front of you and, looking at the palm, recite the following.
Karagre Vasate Lakshmi
Karamule Sthitha Gowri*
Prabhate Kara Darshanam
* “Karamule Sthitha Gowri” is sometimes replaced with “Karamule Tu Govinda”
The translation of the prayer is:
On the tip of my palm lives Lakshmi (the goddess of wealth)
In the middle lives Saraswathi (the goddess of knowledge, music, art and science)
And at its base lives Gowri (the goddess of power)
So I see my palm in the morning
Psychological Benefits of Karadarshana
The palm symbolizes the five karmendriyas or the organs of action. Looking at the palm, one invokes the lord in the form of various deities, thus sanctifying all the actions, and the fruits of those actions, that will be performed during the day. Understanding the meaning and reciting this prayer helps start the day with the positive affirmation that we have the capacity to do everything we need during the course of the day. When we routinely and deliberatively repeat the positive affirmations on a daily basis, it reinforces the connection between the neurons and strengthens their bond. These neurons will automatically be set off whenever a trigger is presented in our life, enabling us to make use of many opportunities to enhance our lives positively. Starting with this positive affirmation empowers us to perform our daily duties.
Physiological Benefits of Karadarshana
The Karadarshana prayer also has physiological benefits. When we move from horizontal to vertical position, the body adjusts itself by constricting the blood vessels and prompting the heart to beat a little faster (around 10 extra beats per minute). This will force blood back to the head and continue to keep the brain well nourished. Obviously, the extra beats and the constricted blood vessels will exert more effort on the heart. In addition, according to Time, the most dangerous times of the day for heart attack and other cardiovascular emergency (such as cardiac death, rupture of the aorta and stroke) are in the morning hours. So it is advisable for us to sit for a few seconds before standing. By sitting for some time before going about our daily chores, we are giving our body a few seconds of time to gradually transition from a horizontal to a vertical position.
What can we do?
This prayer gives us many benefits and it is on our best interest to practice it on a daily basis. We should try to do the following:
- Recite this prayer, as described above, every day. Encourage all our family members to do so.
- Teach our children this good practice and make them aware of the benefits when they are old enough to understand it
- Laura Blue. (July 2008). When Are You Most Likely to Have a Heart Attack? Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1825044,00.html
- Christen Brownlee. (Apr 2012). Why you get the dizzies when standing up too fast. NBC News. Retrieved from http://bodyodd.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/04/30/11472426-why-you-get-the-dizzies-when-standing-up-too-fast?liteSamudra Vasane Devi – in sanskrit with meaning – Kshama Prarthana sloka. Green Message. Retrieved from http://greenmesg.org/mantras_slokas/others-samudra_vasane_devi.php
- Prof. Prasanna Kumar. Daily Prayers for a Happy Living. Hindu Society of Minnesota. Retrieved from https://www.hindumandirmn.org/Portals/0/Documents/General/Daily_Prayers_for_a_Happy_Living.pdf
- Lauren Robins. (February, 2009). The Indefinite Body. Massage Today. Retrieved from http://www.massagetoday.com/mpacms/mt/article.php?id=13934