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Dandvat Pranam is a ritual during which devotees offer their respects and surrender themselves to God and His gunatit sadhu by bowing down. ‘Danda-vat,’ a Sanskrit word, literally means lying on the floor like a stick. Devotees perform dandvat pranam by lying fully prostrate on the floor with their arms stretched out towards the murtis. It is a symbol of complete submission that reminds devotees to respect God and cultivate humility. All of mankind’s karmas are performed through mind, body, or speech, and every karma in life should be offered to Bhagwan. Eight specific parts of the body should touch the floor:

  • Jãnubhyãm – thighs
  • Padabhyãm – feet
  • Karãbhyãm – hands
  • Urasã – chest
  • Manasã – mind
  • Shirasã – head
  • Vachasã – speech
  • Drushtyã – eyes

In addition to the religious aspects, dandvat pranam, a combination of three yogic postures, tones the muscles of the neck, shoulders, chest, and lower back, relieves backaches, increases flexibility of the spinal column, increases the efficiency of the pancreas and adrenals, and helps prevent diabetes. At BAPS Swaminarayan mandirs around the world, devotees perform dandavat pranam after having darshan of the murtis and as part of the aarti ceremony.

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