Saturday, December 28, 2013

Bathing - An Ancient Method of Body Cleaning - II

Bathing is an important daily ritual in Hinduism. Every person belonging to Hinduism will complete the ritual daily 1-3 times. Oil bath(Abhyangana Snanam) is one of the ancient techniques in bathing. Coconut oil, Cow Ghee, Castor oil or sesame oil with a special homemade bath powder(Nalugu Pindi) are used in this special type of bathing. One of the oils is applied on the body and gently massaged to all parts of the body which should be done for 30 minutes. Later after massage, the bath powder is used as the cleansing solution on the body. By this bath, several skin diseases, toxins, bad odors would be eliminated. This bathing benefits with good sleep, nourishes the skin, improves digestion and gives strength to all parts of the body.

Cultural Beliefs:
 According to Ancient texts, there are 5 types of bath.
1)'Nitya snan': Normal bathing ritual which is performed daily.
2)'Nimittika snan': This is performed after completion of certain types of situations like after eclipse, vomiting, saloon, bad dreams, sex, touching bones, visiting cemetery, touching women after pregnancy, touching women at the time of menstrual period, touching a dead person.
3)'Kamya Snan': Completing bath with a desire like bath while visiting a temple, festivals, important days, Karthika masam, important days.
4)'Mukya Snan': It is subdivided in to 2 types.
  • 'Mantra or Brahmya snan': Sprinkling water which are powered by sacred mantras like Purusha Sookta of Lord Vishnu, Namaka-Chamkam of Lord Shiva, Marjana mantras such as 

  • 'Varunam': This is the normal bath which we daily perform.
5)'Amukya or Gowna Snan' : Taking bath without water. This is subdivided into 5 types.
  • 'Agneya Snan': Taking bath with sacred ash. It is also known as Vibhuti Snan.
  • 'Mruthika Snan': Taking bath with Mud which is available at rivers or mud of snake house/ Hillock. It is also known as mud bath.
  • 'Vayuvya Snan': This snan is like when we  walk in the dust generated by group of cows nearby.     
  • 'Divya Snan': Taking bath in rain which arrives in a bright sunny day. 
  • 'Manasik Snan': Doing meditation by remembering God is considered as sacred bath.
Bathing effects on each week day:
  • Taking head bath on Saturday will fulfill all wishes.
  • Taking head bath on Sunday will increase thirst in the body and creates unwanted desires.
  • Taking head bath on Monday will improve beauty and gives peace.
  • Taking head bath on Tuesday will give sadness.
  • Taking head bath on Wednesday will improves financial assets.
  • Taking head bath on Thursday will give debts.
  • Taking head bath on Friday will give obstacles.
Results of Bathing when some ingredients are added:
  • Oil bath with warm water will make skin soft and regulates blood flow.
  • Sauna or steam bath will clean skin pores and increases oxygen levels in the body.
  • Taking bath using turmeric powder act as antiseptic and anti-bacterial.
  • Taking bath using cow ghee increases life span.
  • Taking bath with holy grass/ Kush grass will eliminate all sins.
  • Taking bath using sandalwood paste increases wealth.
  • Taking bath with Indian gooseberry will eliminates poverty.
  • Taking bath with sesame seeds or white mustard seeds will clear obstacles.
  • Taking bath with gem stones gives victory.
  • Taking bath with gold improves intelligence.
Interesting Facts:
  • Every person while entering into temple sprinkle some water on head as a act of purification and treated as bathing. This type of bathing is known as 'Bramha Snan' and stated in 'Padma-Purana'. It also used in the critical time when ever people had no facility to perform bathing while visiting sacred temples or places.
  • In-front of every popular temple, we see a water body(river, lake, pond, tank, ocean) for the purpose of bathing ritual.
  • Famous Lord Vekateswara Temple in tirumala, we can see water body called as 'pushkarini' considered as sacred and possess mystic energy due to idol bath with sacred mantras were done in the tank it is known as 'Chakra Snanam'.
  • In ancient days, people tested the rain water by collecting rain water in a silver bowl and dipping a small part of cooked rice in the bowel. If the rice was spoiled after sometime in bowel of rain water they will not use the rain water for bathing.
  • Oil bath/Head bath shouldn't be attempt on days of death ceremony, Sunday,Tuesday, Hindu lunar days of 'Padyami, Chavithi, Shahti, Ashtami, Navami, Chaturdasi' stated by 'Sukha Maharshi'.
  • Bathing at the time of 4-5AM is known as 'Rushi Snan' which is considered as auspicious.
  • Bathing at the time of 5-6AM is known as 'Deva Snan' Which is considered as normal.
  • Bathing at the time of 6-7AM is known as 'Manushya Snan' which is considered as least.
  • Bathing after 7AM is known as 'Rakshasa Snan' which worst of all.
  • Bathing in flowing waters like rivers is considered as auspicious. Males should do bath opposite to direction of flowing water.females should stand parallel to flowing water.
  • Bathing in ponds,lakes is considered as normal.
  • Bathing at well considered as least.
Their is a popular belief that taking bath in the waters of Rama Setu(Adams bridge),'Rameshwaram/Dhanshkoti' will be blessed with pregnancy.

Scientific Reasons:
  • Bathing will adjust the energies in our body and makes the energies in our body to flow uniformly and it is known as electro-magnetic activity.
  • Bathing will eliminate dust,toxins on the body, relieves stress,relaxes muscles and reduce body pains.
  • Bathing eliminates bad odor and gives freshness to mind.
  • Many scientists stated that waters of Ram-Setu/Adams bridge contains deposits of Gold, Silver, Aluminum and mercury. Whenever a couple takes bath in the water which are enriched with minerals will have chances of pregnancy in women.
  • River water will carry so many minerals because it flows from hills and touches so many herbal trees. People will be benefited physically and mentally when taken a dip in the sacred rivers.
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Bathing - An Ancient Method of Body Cleaning - I