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There are many rituals and practices in everyday life of Hindus. There will be slight variations according to the regions. Even though there are some common practices to be followed by everyone. What are they? How should one Hindu spend one day? What does scriptures say about this?

For example, One should wake up at ___ time. Then touch the earth with certain mantra, then do things like surya namaskar, exact food timings and other such important practices until we go to sleep.

  • Their is book called 'Nitkarma', which narrates the daily routines. But to include everything will not be possible. You can just have a look to that. – Mr. K Sep 28 '14 at 20:53
  • Are you looking for the rituals and practices only for men? If there are any that are meant for women, I would like someone to answer that :) – Suhasini Jul 23 '15 at 9:46
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The daily rituals of a Man is described in Vishnu Purana, Book 3, Chapter 11.

Let the wise man awake in the Muhúrtta of Brahmá. (or in the third Muhúrtta, about two hours before sunrise), and with a composed mind meditate on two of the objects of life (virtue and wealth), and on topics not incompatible with them. Let him also think upon desire, as not conflicting with the other two; and thus contemplate with equal indifference the three ends of life, for the purpose of counter- acting the unseen consequences of good or evil acts. Let him avoid wealth and desire, if they give uneasiness to virtue; and abstain from virtuous or religious acts, if they involve misery, or are censured by the world. Having risen, he must offer adoration to the sun; and then, in the south-east quarter, at the distance of a bowshot or more, or any where remote from the village, void the impurities of nature. The water that remains after washing his feet he must throw away into the courtyard of the house.

Let him perform these actions in silence, and without delay; covering his head with a cloth, and the ground with grass. Let him not take, for the purposes of cleanliness, earth from an ant-hill, nor a rat-hole, nor from water, nor from the residue of what has been so used, nor soil that has been employed to plaster a cottage, nor such as has been thrown up by insects, or turned over by the plough. All such kinds of earth let him avoid, as means of purification. One handful is sufficient after voiding urine; three after passing ordure: then ten handfulls are to be rubbed over the left hand, and seven over both hands. Let him then rince his mouth with water that is pure, neither fetid, nor frothy, nor full of bubbles; and again use earth to cleanse his feet, washing them well with water. He is to drink water then three times, and twice wash his face with it; and next touch with it his head, the cavities of the eyes, ears, and nostrils, the forehead, the navel, and the heart. Having finally washed his mouth, a man is to clean and dress his hair, and to decorate his person, before a glass, with unguents, garlands, and perfumes. He is then, according to the custom of his caste, to acquire wealth, for the sake of subsistence; and with a lively faith worship the gods. Sacrifices with the acid juice, those with clarified butter, and those with offerings of food, are comprehended in wealth: wherefore let men exert themselves to acquire wealth for these purposes.

As preparatory to all established rites of devotion the householder should bathe in the water of a river, a pond, a natural channel, or a mountain torrent; or he may bathe upon dry ground, with water drawn from a well, or taken from a, river, or other source, where there is any objection to bathing on the spot. When bathed, and clad in clean clothes, let him devoutly offer libations to the gods, sages, and progenitors, with the parts of the hand severally sacred to each. He must scatter water thrice, to gratify the gods; as many times, to please the Rishis; and once, to propitiate Prajápati: he must also make three libations, to satisfy the progenitors.

He must then present, with the part of the hand sacred to the manes, water to his paternal grandfather and great-grandfather, to his maternal grandfather, great-grandfather, and his father; and at pleasure to his own mother and his mother's mother and grandmother, to the wife of his preceptor, to his preceptor, his maternal uncle, and other relations, to a dear friend, and to the king. Let him also, after libations have been made to the gods and the rest, present others at pleasure for the benefit of all beings, reciting inaudibly this prayer; 'May the gods, demons, Yakshas, serpents, Rákshasas, Gandharbas, Pisáchas, Guhyakas, Siddhas, Kushmáńd́as, trees, birds, fish, all that people the waters, or the earth, or the air, be propitiated by the water I have presented to them. This water is given by me for the alleviation of the pains of all those who are suffering in the realms of hell. May all those who are my kindred, and not my kindred, and who were my relations in a former life, all who desire libations from me, receive satisfaction from this water. May this water and sesamum, presented by me, relieve the hunger and thirst of all who are suffering from those inflictions, wheresoever they may be.'

Having then rinced his mouth, he is to offer water to the sun, touching his forehead with his hands joined, and with this prayer; 'Salutation to Vivaswat, the radiant, the glory of Vishńu; to the pure illuminator of the world; to Savitrí, the granter of the fruit of acts.' He is then to perform the worship of the house, presenting to his tutelary deity water, flowers, and incense. He is next to offer oblations with fire, not preceded by any other rite, to Brahmá 8. Having invoked Prajápati, let him pour oblations reverently to his household gods, to Káśyapa and to Anumati, in succession. The residue of the oblation let him offer to the earth, to water, and to rain, in a pitcher at hand; and to Dhátri and Vidhátri at the doors of his house, and in the middle of it to Brahmá.

The householder is then to remain at eventide in his courtyard as long as it takes to milk a cow, or longer if he pleases, to await the arrival of a guest.

Let a man therefore be assiduous in discharging the duties of hospitality; for he who eats his food without bestowing any upon a guest feeds only upon iniquity.

In the next place the householder must provide food for a married damsel, remaining in her father's dwelling; for any one who is ill; for a pregnant woman; for the aged and the infants of his house; and then he may eat himself.

Having eaten sufficiently, the householder is then to rinse his mouth, with his face turned towards the east or the north; and having again sipped water, he is to wash his hands from the wrist downwards. With a pleased and tranquil spirit he is then to take a seat, and call to memory his tutelary deity; and then he is thus to pray: 'May fire, excited by air, convert this food into the earthly elements of this frame, and in the space afforded by the etherial atmosphere cause it to digest, and yield me satisfaction! May this food, in its assimilation, contribute to the vigour of the earth, water, fire, and air of my body, and afford unmixed gratification! May Agasti, Agni, and submarine fire effect the digestion of the food of which I have eaten; may they grant me the happiness which its conversion into nutriment engenders; and may health ever animate my form! May Vishńu, who is the chief principle of all invested with bodily structure and the organs of sense, be propitiated by my faith in him, and influence the assimilation of the invigorating food which I have eaten! For verily Vishńu is the eater and the food and the nutriment: and through this belief may that which I have eaten be digested.'

Having repeated this prayer, the householder should rub his stomach with his hand, and without indolence perform such rites as confer repose, passing the day in such amusements as are authorized by holy writings, and are not incompatible with the practices of the righteous; until the Sandhyá, when he must engage in pious meditation.

At the Sandhyá, at the close of the day he must perform the usual rites before the sun has quite set; and in the morning he must perform them before the stars have disappeared.

In the evening, then, having again dressed food, let the wife of the householder, in order to obtain the fruit of the Vaiśwadeva rite, give food, without prayers, to outcasts and unclean spirits. Let the householder himself, according to his means, again shew hospitality to any guest who may arrive, welcoming him with the salutation of evening, water for his feet, a seat, a supper, and a bed.

After eating his evening meal, and having washed his feet, the householder is to go to rest. His bed is to be entire, and made of wood: it is not to be scanty, nor cracked, nor uneven, nor dirty, nor infested by insects, nor without a bedding: and he is to sleep with his head either to the east or to the south; any other position is unhealthy. In due season a man should approach his wife, when a fortunate asterism prevails, in an auspicious moment, and on even nights, if she is not unbathed, sick, unwell, averse, angry, pregnant, hungry, or over-fed. He should be also free from similar imperfections, should be neatly attired and adorned, and animated by tenderness and affection.

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As I discuss in this answer, the wearing of the sacred thread Is the duty of all Dvijas (members of the first three castes). And as I discuss in this answer, there's one daily duty that's common for all wearers of the sacred thread: the daily Sandhyavandhanam ritual.

Chapter 2 of the Manu Smriti includes a discussion the various duties of Dvijas; here is what is says about the duty of the daily chanting of the Gayatri mantra, which is the central activity of Sandhyavandhanam:

  1. Let him stand during the morning twilight, muttering the Savitri until the sun appears, but (let him recite it), seated, in the evening until the constellations can be seen distinctly.
  2. He who stands during the morning twilight muttering (the Savitri), removes the guilt contracted during the (previous) night; but he who (recites it), seated, in the evening, destroys the sin he committed during the day.
  3. But he who does not (worship) standing in the morning, nor sitting in the evening, shall be excluded, just like a Sudra, from all the duties and rights of an Arya.

Note that the Gayatri mantra is called the Savitri here because it's a mantra to Surya, and Savita is another name for Surya.

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