Following Achars associated with washing of hands, feet and rinsing of mouth are prescribed :
1. Hands should be washed after urination or defecation with cowdung-ash or mud, till they are odour free. You can use soap otherwise.
2. This should be followed by washing the feet and rinsing the mouth.
3. Then, water should be taken in cupped hands to wet the face and wash the eyes.
4. Conclude with Achaman and Vishnusmaran (Remembrance of Shrivishnu).
Underlying science : ‘Washing of hands and feet is associated with external cleansing, while rinsing of the mouth, Achaman and Vishnusmaran are necessary for internal cleansing of the body.
We will now examine these acts one by one to understand them in depth.
Cleaning the hands
Let us understand the spiritual reasoning behind rubbing hands with mud in order to eliminate the foul odour :
1. Mud has fragrant earth waves associated with the Pruthvi-tattva (Absolute Earth Principle) and Apa-tattva (Absolute Water Principle) in a dormant state. Urinating and defecating processes originate in the excretory odour process related to the Pruthvi-tattva and Apa-tattva in the body. This relation stimulates the desire to urinate and discharge faeces.
2. Hence, to get rid of these wasteful odour waves, the hand polluted in the process is washed by rubbing it with mud. The massage like touch of the mud results in destruction of the wasteful odour waves by the fragrant waves associated with the Pruthvi-tattva and reduces the contact of the wasteful odour waves with the physical body.’
– A Scholar (Through the medium of H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 12th December 2007, 2.55 p.m.)
Science underlying the reason for using substances
predominant in Pruthvi-tattva for eliminating foul odour
Why is the use of water, meaning, the Apa-tattva not effective in eliminating waste odour associated with the Pruthvi-tattva when compared with mud, which itself is Pruthvi-tattva?
Washing hands with water can also eliminate the waste odour associated with the Pruthvi-tattva. However, to eliminate the inertia-oriented and foul character of the waste odour that has concentrated on the skin, the subtle odour of mud is utilised. By applying mud, the remedy of making the mind fresh by the odour of mud, as well as making the effect last at the mental level is achieved. Along with elimination of the foulness concentrated on the skin, the subtle pores of the skin are also filled with the odour of the earth, helping the individual eliminate the aversion felt for the foul odour at the mental level. Thus, to destroy the gross foul odour having inertia, substances with predominance in Pruthvi-tattva are used.
On the other hand, to eliminate the subtle foul odour related effect arising out of the activity of waste gases, the help of the Apa-tattva is sought.
(Through the medium of H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 12th December 2007, 2.55 p.m.)
Washing the feet
‘By washing the feet, the Raja-Tama predominant waves coming into contact with the feet while urinating or defecating are released into the water, and purify the physical body.’ – A Scholar (Through the medium H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 11th December 2007, 2.34 p.m.)
Why should feet should be washed while facing the west?
1. Let us take a look at a shloka (Shlokas) related to this subject:
प्राङ्मुखोऽन्नानि भुञ्जीत्तोच्चरेद्दक्षिणामुख: ।
उदङ्मुखो मूत्रं कुर्यात्प्रत्यक्पादावनेजनमिति ।। – Apastambadharmasutra, 220.127.116.11
Meaning : Have meals facing the east, defecate facing the south, urinate facing the north, and face the west when washing feet.
Science underlying washing of the feet facing the west
A. ‘According to the achars prescribed by Dharma, if specific activities are performed in the corresponding atmosphere of that specific direction, a balance is struck between the corresponding active Shakti (Divine Energy) waves in the Universe, without disturbing the state of the atmosphere.
B. The western direction encourages karma (Action which gives rise to destiny), meaning,
rajasik activity in thoughts. Hence, by washing the feet in this direction and getting purified, a train of thoughts conducive to activities that follow, is generated in the mind of the individual and imparts momentum to action.
C. Performing a particular activity at the level of contact with specific waves by facing a particular direction helps in acquiring merits and eliminating sins.’
– A Scholar (Through the medium of H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 2nd June 2007, 1.59 p.m.)
Rinsing the mouth : How & Why?
Rinsing the mouth on waking expels tamasik gases
that have accumulated in the mouth during the night
1. ‘Upon waking up, after washing the hands and the feet, bend forward and take a mouthful of water from the cupped right palm.
2. Repeat this action thrice, discharging the water each time.
3. Recitation of the shloka, ‘कराग्रे वसते लक्ष्मी:..’ before sipping the water from the cupped palms causes it to quickly absorb these Divine waves.
4. Rinsing the mouth with this water charged with divinity helps in expelling the tamasik gases that have accumulated in the mouth throughout the night.
Rinsing the mouth by bending forward cleansesthe void of the mouth
and the body, and fills them with Chaitanya (Divine consciousness)
1. Rinsing the mouth by bending forward activates subtle gases flowing in the upward direction in the voids of the body.
2. This helps in expulsion of the other waste gases collected in the void of the body, by means of an upward flow process.
3. Due to this, the voids of the mouth and the voids in the physical body are cleansed, and are endowed with Chaitanya.
Purification of the eyes
Applying Holy water enriched with divinity to the eyes purifies the void of the skull
1. When water in the cupped palms, enriched with a Divine nature is applied to the eyes, it endows the hollows of the eyes with Chaitanya and activates the Adnya-chakra.
2. This, in turn, begins the purification process of the void of the skull.
3. Awakening of the Adnya-chakra is indicative of awakening the physical body at the level of Kriya (action). Due to this, all spiritual practice performed during the day takes place correctly and as per the Achars.’
– A Scholar (Through the medium of H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 29th October 2007, 9.46 a.m.)
‘Through the act of Achaman Raja-Tama-predominant waves in the voids within the physical body are disintegrated, effecting internal purification of the body.
Remembering Shrivishnu with bhav (Spiritual emotion) helps in creating a protective sheath around the physical body. This helps the individual get ready to carry out further activities in a purified state.’
– A Scholar (Through the medium of H.H. (Mrs.) Anjali Gadgil, 11th December 2007, 2.34 p.m.)