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In many (not all mind you) "How to do sandhyavandanam" videos and PDFs, the performer starts with the achamanam:

Achyutaya Namaha

Anantaya Namaha

Govindaya Namaha

The same procedure is also found in many "How to do a Puja" tutorials.

My question is: How valid are these mantras (or any other Vedic Mantras for that matter) when they are not preceded by the Pranava OM?

  • The word mantra means that what is uttered inside the mind - meaning not said loud or silent with lip movement. As far as I had learnt, since mantras are not supposed to be said loud the teachers say the naamaa as you had mentioned with out using the pranavam. It would be or should be understood that each naamaa should be prefixed with a pranavam to make it a mantra. Without pranavam the rest does not become a mantra at all. – Narayanan Sep 12 '17 at 8:57
8

The Upanishads say that the Vedas are Om. Om is the Vedas.

Why prayers and rites are started with Om is explained in Taittiriya Upanishad I.viii.1. (Swami Gambhirananda translator) - "...A Brahman, when about to recite the Vedas utters Om under the idea, 'I shall attain Brahman'. He does verily attain Brahman." At the end of his commentary on this verse, Sankara says: "The purport of the passage is that, since the activities that are undertaken with the utterance of Om become fruitful, Om should be meditated on as Brahman."

Also see Brahma Sutras 3.3.63-64 and Chandogya I.1.9.The Chandogya verse says (Swami Gambhirananda translator):

These Vedic rites are begun with it [Om]. After uttering Om (the Adhvaryu) chants the hymns (for the gods). (the Hota) praises (the gods). (the Udgata) sings. (These rites are meant) for the worship of this very Om. Through the greatness and essence of Om (are begun the rites enjoined by the Vedas).

So scripture says rites are always started with Om as they become fruitful with the recitation of the Om.

4

The reason why every rite should commence with OM is given in this passage.

The syllable Om is the root from which the Vedas have sprung. (Every rite, therefore, should commence with the utterance of that syllable of vast import). Of him who has uttered for him the syllables Om, Namas, Swaha, Svadha, and Vashat, and who has according to the extent of his ability, performed sacrifices, and other rites, there is no fear in respect of next life in all the three worlds.

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCLXVIII

3

This wiki article says that all Vedic rituals begin with the chanting of OM.

But it's actually more than that. Not only all Vedic recitations must begin with the Pranava (OM) but it should also end with its recitation.

Now, this concept of sanctifying the main mantra body, by applying OM both at the start and the end of the body, is widely known in the Agamas or the Tantras.

And, for Vedic mantras too, i found a similar evidence from the Manu Smriti:

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Manu Smriti 2.74. Let him always pronounce the syllable Om at the beginning and at the end of (a lesson in) the Veda; (for) unless the syllable Om precede (the lesson) will slip away (from him), and unless it follow it will fade away.

So, not only all Vedic recitals must begin with the chanting of OM but they should also end with its chanting.

  • How does mantra end with OM chanting? Can you give any examples? – The Destroyer Sep 6 '17 at 6:59
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    The Gayatri mantra itself is pranavantaka; OM bhur buvah.... dhiyonah prachodayath OM. This is the complete and correct form. @TheDestroyer Even before and after reciting stotrams one should ideally recite Om (but no one does that). This as per Tantras. – Rickross Sep 6 '17 at 7:07

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