Prostration is an integral aspect of Sanatana Dharma. Hindus, prostrate before elders or people in the renounced order, to seek their blessings. Paying obeisance through prostration, is an effective means towards one’s higher journey. It is in the Hindu faith, that one’s life goal is towards attaining the Supreme. Other than this there is no purpose to life; only such a person is a true Hindu. In the golden old days of yore, prostrations, offering the body full length with the body stretched, fully on the ground, in front of saints and elders, was a common practice. With changing times, this practice has been forgotten. Foreign invasions and British influence on the common man, has killed this practice, which then considered to be an expression of the higher journey. Let us investigate the gesture of paying obeisance through prostration a little further.
When the body is aligned vertically with the palms joined, facing each other, in a stretched condition, above the head, lying on the chest, with the knees, wrists, chest, thighs, genitals and toes resting against the ground, it represents a powerful energy meridian. When the inner mood of the heart, is that of prayer and surrender, this pose shall immediately attract, the vital energy force of the universe and align the bodily currents, just as electricity aligns the electrons, in an electric conductor. This alignment, calms the mind and energizes the chakras. It supports the awakening of kundalini without fail.
This practice of prostration, takes the form of sadhana, when associated with the Supreme. In holy sites connected with Sanatana Dharma, there is a sadhana or spiritual practice of paying obeisances through prostrations around holy structures like mountains and rivers. People offer 108 prostrations in front of rivers like the Ganges and Sarayu Devi in Ayodhyaji. People make many prostrations to Goverdhanji hill and the river Yamunaji in the Mathura district, in Uttar Pradesh, India. These rivers and mountains are fully spiritual by Nature. They are a store house of other-worldly energy. Undertaking a spiritual routine of prostrations is known as “Vandanam”. “Vandanam” is one of the 9 main processes of Bhakti Yoga. This practice, breaks the unnecessary and unhealthy body vibrations and harmonizes the bodily vibrations in such a way that the chakras or energy centers become capable of raising the overall consciousness of the individual offering prostrations. This process is also known as “Dandavat” or the act of “falling like a stick”. The more one subscribes to the habit of offering prostrations, the more, humility grows within one’s heart and one becomes capable of becoming a vessel to spiritual grace.
It is a practice that females, offer “Dandavat” without touching their chest to the ground. only their knees and head are supposed to touch the ground with their knees folded and body crouched. The process of “Dandavat” can be life changing, if taken up as a process of spiritual practice. People undertaking spiritual practices, offer something known as “Surya namaskar” at dawn which also means offering prostrations to Sun-God. When one offers obeisances to the Sun, one’s vitality and personal power is multiplied. One becomes the owner of a healthy body and one also gains immense fame and wealth, if one were to do Surya namaskar for a year, at dawn, without fail. Offering obeisances through prostrations, is an act of sadhana or spiritual practice, that can bless one with the highest benefits incomparable to any material gains.