Achars (General conduct) associated with bathing

1. Importance of a bath

‘A bath rids a person of the black energy enveloping him and destroys the Raja-Tama in his body, thus making every cell of the body helpful to absorb Chaitanya (Divine consciousness). The distressing components generated during brushing of the teeth and evacuation of faeces, which are yet not removed by the body, are destroyed through a bath.’ – A Knowledgeable One (Through the medium of Mr. Nishad Deshmukh, 19th June 2007, 3.51 p.m.)

 

2. Gross and subtle benefits of bathing

A. Reduces the Raja-Tama predominant particles in the body

Bathing reduces the Raja-Tama predominant particles in the body of a person and assists it in absorbing sattvik waves from the atmosphere with ease.

B. Stabilizes the external environment of a person

A bath helps in stabilizing the external environment of a person. That is why, while performing puja (Ritualistic worship), the person can become introverted, become one with the atmosphere quickly and absorb waves of the Deity based on the conduciveness of the atmosphere. – A Knowledgeable One (Through the medium of Mr. Nishad Deshmukh, 16th April 2007, 6.13 a.m.)

C. Benefits of bathing in the morning

1. A bath in the morning increases strength, radiance and bestows longevity. It also gets rid of nightmares.

2. If the person has an auspicious bath before sunrise, its conscious and subconscious minds get purified and can absorb the sattvik waves during that period. – Sri Ganesh (Through the medium of Mrs. Prarthana Bua [Ms. Megha Nakate before marriage], 11th October 2005, 12.25 p.m.)

 

3. Types of bath

Before understanding these, it is necessary to understand their underlying science. Dawn is the transitory period between darkness and the beginning of a day and emerges two ghatikas (48 minutes-An ancient Bharatiya measure of time, 1 ghatika = 24 minutes) before sunrise. At this time the sky appears red. The period before dawn consisting of three ghatikas (72 minutes) is called the Brahmamuhurtkal. Both these periods change with the time of the sunrise.

A. Bathing at Brahmamuhurt

Bathing at Brahmamuhurt amounts to following of religious traditions by the person. This helps the person in the following ways.

1. Sanskars of chastity, holiness and purity are created on the person

During Brahmamuhurt, the mental body of the person is in a stable state. That is why, if a person bathes during this period, the sanskars of chastity, holiness and purity are created on the person.

2. During Brahmamuhurt, the person becomes capable of absorbing Chaitanya and waves of Deities

At Brahmamuhurt, waves of Deities are several times more active than at other times. Gross and subtle impressions are created on the person through bathing. These help the person absorb Chaitanya and waves of Deities emitted at Brahmamuhurt.

3. Uniting with the Absolute Chaitanya of God

Chastity, holiness and purity are the three sanskars through which a person gets the three Shaktis (Divine Energy) of sankalpa (Resolve), ichha (will) and kriya (Physical performance of a deed). With the help of these three Shaktis, we are also able to imbibe Dnyan-shakti (Energy of knowledge) and unite with the Absolute Chaitanya of God.

– A Knowledgeable One (Through the medium of Mr. Nishad Deshmukh, 7th October 2006, 5.59 p.m.)

B. Abhyangsnan

1. Meaning

Abhyangsnan means bathing at dawn with lukewarm water, after massaging the scalp and body with oil. A bath by a person for its own well-being is also abhyangsnan.

2. Importance of an oil massage in abhyangsnan

Oil massage to the body before bathing provides momentum to the chetana (That aspect of Divine consciousness that governs the functioning of the mind and body) in the individual and bestows immortality upon him. By applying oil to the body before a bath, the muscles and the body voids get stimulated and activate the Panchaprana (Five vital energies). As a result, the unwanted energy in the body is expelled in the form of burping, yawning etc. and the cells, muscles and voids in the body become conducive to absorbing Chaitanya. This unwanted gas-waste from the body is sometimes expelled through the eyes, nose, ears and skin pores in the form of waves. That is why after applying oil, at times the eyes and face become red. – A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil, 12th September 2007, 2.08 p.m.)

Spiritual experiences – Feeling exhausted after applying oil to the body, enthusiastic after a bath, and realizing the greatness of Bharatiya culture

On 11th September 2007 I felt like having an abhyangsnan. After massaging the scalp, hands and feet with oil for nearly five minutes, I felt exhausted. This feeling grew as I applied oil to the rest of the body. However, after bathing with warm water my enthusiasm grew. The exhaustion was caused by a decrease in the black energy. However, this experience taught me the objective of abhyangsnan in the Bharatiya culture and also of following religious norms. – Adv. Yogesh Jaltare, Sanatan Ashram, Ramnathi, Goa

3. Benefits of abhyangsnan

A. Oil massage causes activation of the Suryanadi (The sun channel) due to the rubbing and also makes the vitality of the body radiant. This radiance destroys the Raja-Tama-predominant waves in the body; this is a kind of purification process only. This process, which takes place at the level of Chaitanya, provides continuity to the flow of vitality in the body, and every karma of the person gets transformed into sadhana (Spiritual practice).

B. Since this action helps in concentration of sattvikta in the body, the person progresses. In other words, it is a continuous journey towards sattvikta. Abhyangsnan is of utmost importance here.

C. Every action arising from an abhyangsnan at the Chaitanya level transforms it into spiritual practice. This purifies the atmosphere.

– A Scholar (Through the medium of Mrs. Anjali Gadgil, 12th September 2007, 2.08 p.m.)

C. Occasional head bath

Compulsorily take a dip in water in case of indigestion, vomiting, after a haircut, after sexual intercourse, after touching a corpse, after touching a menstruating woman, after a nightmare, after touching an evil person, after touching a dog, after touching a chandal (Scavenger) or a corpse carrier.

D. A bath that bestows merit and destroys sin

If we bathe under an Ashvattha (Holy fig tree) on a Thursday and in a river on Amavasya , the merit obtained is equivalent to bathing at Prayag (Allahabad) and cleanses us of all sins.

If we bathe in a river during the period of the Pushya constellation, our birth constellation or Vaidhruti-yog (Name of one of the 27 auspicious times that is active during sunrise), then we are cleansed of all sins.

E. Kamyasnan

‘Kamyasnan is a bath under religious acts, had with the intention of fulfilling some desire such as acquiring wealth, eliminating disease etc.’ – Gurudev Dr. Kateswamiji

Reference : Sanatan’s Holy Text ‘Daily Conduct and the science underlying its Acts’

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