Sri Chandramoulisvaraya Namah:
VEDA DHARMA SASTRA PARIPALANA SABHA (Regd.)
Publication No. 50
Everyone should get up from bed in Braahma muhurtham,i.e. five nazhigas (two hours) before sunrise, i.e. 4 a.m. If we sleep beyond that time, we will not only lose the merit we have, but also attract the curse of Pitrus.
During Sandhya times, taking food, enjoying sex, sleep, reading- these four are prohibited. As soon as we get up from bed, we should see auspicious objects while waking up. We should contemplate on God, Rishis and Punyatmas (holy persons). We should then go to a deserted place at least 100 feet away in east, south or north direction, keep water and soil, conceal head with cloth, face north in daytime or south in night time and pass stools silently. Passing stools and urine should not be done in front of Agni, woman, brahmana, Guru and cow and in water, ditches of animals, peaks of hills, temple premises, banks of river, under a tree, areas of fodgrains and facing temple. If urine and stools come into contact with any part of the body, that part should be cleaned with soil. Cleaning should be done first for stools, then urine, followed by left hand, both hands and feet. After cleaning thus, brushing teeth should be done. Brushing of teeth should not be done with soil, stone or ash; it may be done using tooth powder not mixed with lime and tooth stick of banyan or neem; it should not be done with index finger. But brushing teeth should not be done on days of Parva (Amavasya/ Purnima) and Sankramana with sticks. All these instructions can be very easily observed, but we fail owing to laziness, negligence and insincerity; there is nothing impossible about it. If we analyse the instructions in the Sastras, we find that they are meant for our good and health free from disease. Hence we should follow the instructions in Sastras as far as possible. Formerly nobody used to dirty the waters. Now all sit in water, clean themselves after stools/ urine, brush their teeth there itself and spit and rinse their mouths and thus dirty the waters.
There are three types of benefits for the instructions given in our Sastras. One is, benefit experienced here and now; the second, to be experienced in the next birth; the third, benefit in both ways. This is also called Drishta phala (seen benefit); Adrishta phala (unseen benefit); Drishtaadrishta phala (Seen and unseen benefit). Forgetting the Unseen benefit of purifying (after stools/ urine), the seen benefit is experienced by all who follow. It is saddening that many of us follow the practices from cold countries without bothering about their applicability. It is the Apaana air that expels stools. At that time, bad smell is seen in the place. Is it not necessary to wash with soil and water to rid of the bad smell? In what way is one, who does not wash after passing urine, is superior to animals? By washing feet frequently, the heat in the head reduces. By rinsing, the disease in teeth goes away.
Rinsing, Aachamanam and cleaning of teeth
After cleaning private parts with soil and water, one should tie the dhoti ‘kachcham’ properly, if loosened, tie the hair and rinse the mouth. Spitting the water should be done on the bank of river and that place should also be washed with water. While rinsing, one should sit and spit on the left side, as right side is of Devas. Rinsing of mouth has been specified to be four times after passing urine and 16-18 times after passing of stools. Aachamaniyam is sipping water three times as per tradition in one’s family. The mantra for Aachamanam is: ‘Achyutaya namah, Ananthaya namah, Govindaya namah’; some add ‘Bhur Bhuvas Suvah’ or the three Vedas with Svaha. While doing Aachamanam, one should wear dry clothes, with the angavastram worn like yagnopavita, sit on one’s feet (half-squatting), keep the two elbows within the two knees and face east, north or north-east. The rule is that one should sip through the base of the palm. This water should go right down upto the heart. That is Brahmatirtham. One can also sip standing in water with water level above knees. The water used for Aachamanam should be free from salt, heat, foam, good and bad smell and impurities. It should also be not the water left over after one’s Aachamanam. Aachamanam should always be done twice. Every time, the lips should be wiped twice with the base of thumb and once with all fingers. By sipping water thrice, Brahma- Vishnu- Rudra and Rik- Yajur- Sama- are satisfied. By wiping, Ganga and Yamuna are also satisfied. By touching eyes, Chandra and Surya are satisfied; by touching nose, Asvini Devas; ears, Agni and Vayu; chest, all Devas; head, Purushottama. Taking cold water in early morning and at other times, helps us, living in tropical areas, in excreting impurities and increase in zest and activeness.
An organ in our body works uninterruptedly during sleep in order to digest food. Five ‘Pranas’ help this process. Like the wind pushing the hay aside in the field, a ‘gas’ pushes aside the refuse to various locations. This refuse stays in the tongue and crevices in teeth, causing bad germs. This causes disease in teeth. Hence rinsing the mouth more times after food is specified. One should take the saliva in only after rinsing the mouth. By taking coffee etc. in bed feigning modernity, bad phlegm etc. goes inside and spoils the health. If teeth are cleaned first as laid down, no disease will affect us. When cleaning the teeth is done with sticks, the food particles come out of the crevices along with ‘Pitta’ (bile) and ‘Sleshma’ (phlegm). Villagers use ash, brickbat, soil etc for cleaning teeth and the city folks use imported lime and wax etc., thus spoiling the gum and the roots of teeth, resulting in wearing dentures. How senseless it is to give money to foreigners even for brushing teeth, losing teeth and wearing dentures in the process. We seek destruction, abandoning the economical path shown by our forefathers, leading to good health.
Snana (bath) is generally of two kinds: one, the primary, to be followed by the healthy persons; the other, secondary, followed by the ill or persons incapable of primary bath. Primary bath is of six types and the secondary, of nine types. The six types of primary snana are: Nityam, Naimityam, Kamyam, Kriyangam, Malapakarshanam and Kriyasnanam. The nine types of secondary snana are: Aagneyam, Bhoumam, Vaayavyam, Divyam, Gayatram, Maantram, Maanasam, Kaapilam and Saarasvatham.
Let us first talk about the first of the primary snanas: Nityam, done in the morning. After brushing teeth and performing Aachamanam twice, one should do sankalpam. There are two aims in taking bath: one, to control the heat in the body and remove the dirt and bad smell of the body; second, to remove the sins we commit. Now people take bath only to rid their bodies of dirt; they do not even think that there is something called merit and sin and that bath should be done in holy rivers and tirthas for removal of sins and acquiring merit. It is the principle in our Sastras and also proven in practice that whatever is our attitude and purpose in our actions, we are sure to receive fruit accordingly. If that principle is not right, all of us will not differ in our qualities and actions and will be uniform. Hence it is clear that depending on merit and sin accrued as a result of our actions, our birth results and fruits follow.
One, who wishes to remove sin and expects prosperity, should do snana preceded by sankalpa only. Sankalpa is as below:
In the second Paraardha (half-life) of Adi Brahma, in Svetavaraha kalpa, in Vaivasvata manvantara, in the first part of Kaliyuga, in Jambudvipa, in Bharatavarsha, in Bharatakhanda, in the south of Mount Meru, in the middle of the sixty-year period starting with Prabhava etc., in this particular year, ayana, ritu, month, paksha, tithi, day and star (to be specified), in the presence of this particular Devata, in this particular holy tirtha, bath is undertaken with prayer to Bhagavan for removal of sins and accrual of merit. We should invoke Tirtharaja and Ganga in the waters we bathe in and pray for removal of all sins including eating wrong food, speaking wrong words, receiving wrong danam etc. We should contemplate on Mahavishnu and other Devas. We should chant Varuna Suktham and Aghamarshnasuktham while bathing.
As there are many activities like Sandhyavandanam, Japa, Homam etc. in the morning, snana should be completed fast, chanting the essential mantras. Then ‘tarpanam’ should be done for Devas facing east, for Rishis facing north with Upavita in ‘Niviti’ (like a garland) and for Pitrus facing south with upavita in ‘Prachinaviti’ (on the right shoulder). This should be followed by Aachamanam, leaving water on the bank (of river) and tarpanam for ‘Yakshma’ (a Devata) for removal of sin accruing from dirtying the waters during bath. We should then bend our head down so that water from the tufted end of hair falls down on ground in the front, with upavita in ‘Prachinaviti’. Pitrus gain satisfaction from this water.
When proceeding for bath, all Devas also accompany him. If one wipes his body without offering this water, they curse out of dissatisfaction. If the water from the tuft falls at the back, it is ‘Surabindu’ (liquor). Thereafter, one should fold the angavastram in fours and, with upavitam in ‘Niviti’, squeeze water saying, ‘let those, who were born in my gotra and died sonless, may accept this water from the cloth’. He should then wipe his head and body with dry cloth. There are five parts of bath: Sankalpam, chanting of Varunasuktham, Maarjanam (sprinkling of water), Aghamarshanam, Tarpanam for Devas et al. If one takes such bath in morning time before sunrise for three years continuously, his sins committed in seven births will go away.
In the night our internal organs keep working continuously and increase heat. The remedy for removal of that heat is to bathe in cold water early in the morning. Such bath bestows relief from burning sensation in eyes, in palms of the feet, heat in the head etc. and promotes light in the eye and good health. Charakam (Samhita) says that bath in waterfalls is best for diseases of mind like madness. Morning bath removes completely itch, burns etc. in the skin. Observed fruits include clarity of mind, beauty, luck, absence of grief, strength, brightness, life etc.
It will be clear that it is out of compassion that bath three times a day has been prescribed in this tropical Bharatadesa. The rule is that the noon bath should be done elaborately. Applying good soil, cowdung and Nellimulli, noon bath should be done slowly. How senseless it is to leave it out and use foreign goods like soap containing lime and fat. Veda says that water alone is the medicine for all diseases. There are many wonderful qualities for the morning bath. One can still find some people in our country adopting the method of ‘tub bath’ advocated as medicine by a doctor abroad.
Should we not consider how senseless it is to abandon the simple and economical method adopted by our forefathers, suited to our country and designed to promote good health and prosperity and follow difficult and expensive method?
Water suited for Snana
Mahanadis (great rivers) originating in hills and flowing towards sea are the best for bath. As these waters contain traces of elements like gold, silver, copper etc., they are healthy. Small river, Nadam (originating in east and going west), tank, pond, lake and well are good in descending order. When the former is not available, one can bathe in the latter. Tank, well etc. dug by others is no good. If there is no other go, one can bathe in them after removing seven handfuls of soil from there and depositing on the bank. Water fresh in the river, in the pond, rain water and hot water are no good. Tank water after ten days of collection and hot water for use of diseased person are acceptable. Tank beside temple is good. Bath is called ‘Snana’ only when one immerses himself in water. One should bathe in the direction of flow of water in the river and facing Sun in tanks. One should never bathe in the dhobi ghat.
‘Naimittika’ snana is bath undertaken due to contact with impure persons like chandalas and on occasions like eclipse. Naimittikam, Kamyam, Malapakarshanam and Kriyasnanam- these baths should be done as ‘Vaarunam’ by dipping in water. In case of ‘Patita’ (fallen from dharma), chandala, woman who has delivered baby and woman in menses, one should keep distance. In case of contact knowingly or unknowingly, snana and Prayaschitta should be done. In case of contact with chandala’s shadow, smoke from corpse, excreta of dog, pig, donkey, camel, fox, crow, cock etc., snana is a must. Our normal eyes cannot see ‘aasoucham’ (ritual impurity) and other types of impurity. We should have faith in the sayings of Maharishis based on their divine vision. The medical book talks of many impurities emanating from our hair. They cannot be seen with naked eyes. They are proved with instruments like microscope. In the same way one without divine vision cannot know the impurity mentioned by our sages. One, who violates instructions in Sastras till he sees the truth himself, is an ignorant man who loses his spiritual power. Sastras declare that one should not touch animals like dogs and eat food seen by them; now in modern culture such animals receive affection greater than one’s own dear children. They receive morning drink, good food, bath with soap, mattress bed and smelling the head. The day such bad practices are dropped is the good day. Hence let us avoid such impure activities, do snana as laid down in Sastras, be clean and pure and progress with good health, free from disease.
Translated from Tamil by: P R Kannan, Navi Mumbai
Click here to access the original article in Tamil