Wake Up to a Spiritual Awakening
The time early in the morning, one and a half hours before sunrise, is called Brahma-Muhurta (Hour of God). It is recommended that one rise from bed at that time and take to spiritual activities by performing meditation and chanting sacred mantras. This period is very convenient for the execution of all spiritual activities. Any spiritual activity performed early in the morning has a greater effect than in any other part of the day.
Here are a few reasons to set the alarm clock to wake us up early.
Get Spiritual Goals into Focus – Go Deeper!
Waking up early can help bring higher life goals immediately into focus for the whole day. It is the most effective way to get serious about our spiritual evolution. It is understood by the yogis that the mind is a repository of different impressions and memories, known in Sanskrit as samskaras. These impressions within our mind give rise to our various desires. As we all know, desire is the main driving force behind all action. After waking up early and bathing, one can immediately begin to chant sacred mantras, such as chanting the Hare Krishna Maha Mantra, and start the process of re-spiritualizing the mind.
Brahma Muhurta is the perfect time to meditate because the passionate flow of city life has not yet begun. Nothing is stirring at this time and things are in a state of positive, high potential as the sun rises. As the sun begins its journey overhead, it tends to shift our mental energy to a more externally oriented working state, in which it becomes harder to concentrate more internally, more deeply.
One can also learn a few notable Sanskrit prayers and recite them at this time as part of a routine to build up more of the good spiritual impressions, which will ultimately help the mind to focus on higher aspirations.
Get Your Lifestyle into Balance – Get Shakti!
There is something to be said about the harmony and balance we can feel when aligning our sleep cycle with the natural patterns and movements of nature. “Early to bed, early to rise, makes a person healthy and wise” is an old adage in reference to this point. Far too often, in chasing our passions, we slip into a highly unregulated lifestyle, in which we sleep at random times, eat at random times, and so on. This is not at all healthy for the body, as our physical system is at its optimum when there is continual regulation. Having a set schedule in general is not only good for the functioning of bodily rhythm, but good for the mind as well. The mind will know when it is time to flow into different activities, thus ultimately helping us become more productive.
Srila Prabhupada, a great spiritual master in bhakti-yoga said, ”If a person rises everyday during the brahma muhurta for twelve years and chants the Hare Krishna maha-mantra, then everything that person does and says will be perfect.” Thus, to sleep and wake at a designated time also trains the mind in self-control, which builds our will power and can give us a special power of perception to be more in tune with the energies of life and their higher source.
Universal Influences – Align with Cosmic forces!
One metaphysical aspect that yogis have taught for thousands of years is that our environment influences our behavior in subtle ways according to the quality of people, places, foods, and times of day we most associate with. In the Vedic stories it is stated that those who are inclined to a demoniac nature, or the “dark side,” feed off the energy of night. Consequently many crimes are committed in the dead of night, and the night is often associated with drunkenness, loneliness, etc., whereas the morning environment is more notably a time of peace and serenity. It is understood that the qualities of the morning environment can actually influence similar characteristics within our mind and behavior.
While living in the ashrama in Pacific Beach, a San Diego college town, together with monks and residents there, I would rise early to do chanting and meditation. During this time I would hear people wandering the streets, making their way home after a long night of indulgence and revelry. Yet, to us, our world of consciousness was just beginning. In this experience I would see first hand how the various environments and times of day activated various mental states of passion, ignorance, or goodness.
In summary, imagine spending your whole life staying up late and sleeping in late. You may never experience an entirely different spectrum of life on Earth, namely the godly hours of the morning. Thus, it is said in the Bhagavad Gita, “What is night for the spiritually awake, is day for the materialistic person. And what is night for the materialistic person is day for the spiritually awake.”
If you would like to start fresh and add more momentum to your sadhana or spiritual practice, then observing the Brahma Muhurta is definitely worth experiencing.