Significance Of Brahma Muhurta

Words: Dr Divya SONALI & Dr Bijendra SHAH

Ayurveda is not merely the science of life, but the science of longevity too. It deliberates on the purpose of good health and a long life by maintaining equilibrium in the doshas, dhatus, mala, and agni. It also deals with the ways of living in healthy ways. It elaborates on the preservation of health and prevention of disease by following a daily regimen, viz., Brahma Muhurta jagarana, malotsarga tyaga, dantadhawana, kawal, gandusha, anjana, nasya, dhumpana, tambula sevana, abhyanga, vyayama, udwartana, snana, dhyana and ratricharya.

Brahma Muhurta is the first step of dinacharya.

Brahma Muhurta is considered the most appropriate time for waking up — this is the 14 muhurta of ratri.  Its definition today has changed for all the wrong reasons — where waking up late, eating fast-food, avoiding exercise, and indulging in late-night work are prioritised to gaining the ‘supremacy status.’ This is harmful for physical as well as mental health.

Waking up in Brahma Muhurta is beneficial for us. During Brahma Muhurta, the environment comprises of pure and fresh air. This acts as the nectar sprinkled from the moon at night; it also helps to increase our lung capacity. Fresh air simply energises the body.

Brahma Muhurta comprises of jeeva amruta, because the emerging oxygen rejuvenates our tissues; it also boosts our immune system, sharpens our memory and increases our energy level. Air, at this time, has a mixture of life-giving strength with a sense of peace and calmness. Thus, it is the proper time for meditation and breathing exercises.

Early morning is a vata-dominating time slot. Vata promotes the movement of the external, along with the internal body system, as also easy evacuation of the bowels. Physical activities, like yoga and asana, can be performed with benefit during vatakala. Regular practice has a beneficial, also therapeutic, effect.

Brahma Muhurta [time of Brahma], refers to a period of one-and-a-half hours before sunrise, or more precisely 1 hour 36 minutes, i.e., 96 minutes = two muhurtas, or four ghatikas. Muhurta is a time fraction that is derived from yaamas. One day and night consists of eight yaamas and one yaamas corresponds to three hours, in which the day consists of four yaamas and the night four yaamas.

Aruna-datta, indu, and hemadri are of equal time duration; each consists of fifteen muhurtas. Hence, a muhurta is of 48 minutes. Brahma Muhurta is nectar time for every individual.

Brahma Muhurta: The Credentials

According to indu tika, it is time for ‘awakening.’ It is the best time period for study as knowledge can be retained properly during the awakened state, but is a hindrance in a dormant state. The soul has the ability to acquire knowledge. The soul receives knowledge through the senses; it helps the mind.

Aadhibhautika gyan comes from buddhi with the help of the senses. Buddhi is known as the ‘Third Eye.’ Knowledge is perceived through buddhi. As a consequence, work done in this period with the help of buddhi is productive and successful.

According to Atharva Veda, the person who wakes up early in the morning will be free from all miseries. While Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita mentioned that the person who follows proper aahara, vihara, and has a proper sleep schedule will be devoid of all disease.

According to Astanga Sangraha, one should access their digestion before waking up in Brahma Muhurta. According to Astanga Hridaya, waking up at Brahma Muhurta helps to protect ayu. It helps to protect life too by maintaining equilibrium in dosha, dhatu, and mala.

In Charaka Samhita, the word Brahma Muhurta is not mentioned directly, but in Maatrashitiya Adhyaya, it is mentioned that scholars must wake up in Brahma Muhurta for good health and a fit, vibrant mind. This is also mentioned as an auspicious time for prayer in Bhavaprakash and Yogartnakara. This time period has the highest prana level. Prana percolates throughout the body; it helps in concentration.

According to Swami Shivananda, Brahma Muhurta refers to the time period between 3:30am and 5:30am. According to Swami Gourangapada, every muhurta acts as a precious time, while Brahma Muhurta starts 1 hour 36 minutes to 48 minutes before sunrise.

Waking up late? After 6:00am, there is a dominance of kapha. People who get up in this period tend to be dominated by tama guna. The ascendancy of tama guna remains throughout the day causing depressive thoughts, and indolent, listless feelings. Kapha dosha causes stagnant bowel movement leading to constipation, foul smell, indigestion, headache, and eye disease.

Scientific Evidence: Waking Up In Brahma Muhurta

Respiratory system. Brahma Muhurta boosts oxygen capacity. In the early morning, 41 per cent of oxygen and 4 per cent of carbon dioxide are present in the environment — this helps to increase our lung capacity. During Brahma Muhurta, nascent oxygen is available in the environment — this combines with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin which reaches the remote tissues and boosts immunity.

Excretory system. Brahma Muhurta is important in the maintenance of physiological homeostasis that is achieved in part through co-ordinated, timed regulation of the channel and transported sodium ions in the channel. It is evidenced to be a critical regulator of renal function.

Genetic system. Telomeres, which are capable of extending our lifespan and chromosomal length, surge during meditation in Brahma Muhurta.

Reproductive system. Melatonin decreases during morning/daytime. Melatonin is responsible for both spermatogenesis and folliculogenesis. It exerts an inhibitory effect on the GnRH pulse generator [essential for fertility] and decrease gonadotropin secretion.

Endocrine system: Endorphin and serotonin levels increase during Brahma Muhurta.

Nervous system [Role of the pineal gland]. According to Ayurveda, hridaya is shaped like pundarika [Lotus]. The opening and closing of the petals of the lotus are based on sunrise and sunset, respectively. In the same way, the pineal gland works on the basis of sunrise and sunset.

In Ayurveda, satwa guna relates to light, while tama guna is a sign of darkness. Satwa guna results in lightness, confidence, a sense of wakefulness, and clarity, while tama guna results in sleep, depressive thoughts, negativity, and loss of confidence. This is also how serotonin and melatonin, secreted by the pineal gland, work.

Role Of Circadian Cycle

The circadian 24-hour internal clock, located in our brain, has a governing effect on alertness and sleepiness by responding to light changes in the environment. It is known as the brain’s master clock that ‘fires’ our 24-hour clock to influence the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus. It affects rhythms, and the physiological processes, by receiving signals from the retina during daytime and melatonin from the pineal gland during night-time.

Role Of Hypothalamus

It plays an important role in the fluctuation of circadian cycle by influencing the adrenocorticotropic hormone [ACTH]. Our body and mind correlate with each other, just as our body and the universe do. When sunlight reaches the earth it spreads its charged particles. This generates a powerful magnetic effect; it also causes chemical changes in the body.

Discussion 

Waking up during Brahma Muhurta has a cogent effect on our physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. It is not just limited to Ayurveda literature, it also has scientific evidence. Many quintessential elements and statements about Brahma Muhurta are found in the Samhita of Ayurveda.

Dr DIVYA SONALI, BAMS, is Intern Physician [Ayurveda Campus] and Dr BIJENDRA SHAH, BAMS, MS [Shalya Tantra], FARC, is Teaching Assistant & HoD, Department of Shalya Tantra, Ayurveda Campus, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University, Kirtipur, Kathmandu, Nepal. This article [Importance of Brahma Muhurta: A Scientific Review] was first published in The Healer: The International Journal of Ayurveda & Integrative Medicine, under Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License 4.0.

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