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    As per Dharmashastras there are 6 karmas which are recommended for every human being on daily basis .

    “Snanam, Sandhya Japo, Homa, Devatanamcha poojanam
    Athityam, Vaiswadevam cha Shat Karmani dine dine”

    This means Snanam (having a bath - daily), Sandhyavandanam and Japam, Homa or fire sacrifice, doing pooja (propriation) of Gods, treating and feeding guests well and feeding other living beings like crows, cows, dog and ants these are the 6 karmas which have to be performed daily.

    As you can see Snana here Snana is a Karma (duty) and only Snana (bath) offers you the platform to perform the rest of the karmas. Two purposes of the Snana are cleanliness of the body and cleanliness of the mind (chittashuddi). The body has 9 holes and various waste products are being produced by these 9 holes, which make the body further impure. Snana cleans us for the dirt external and internal.

    There are 3 classes of Snana.

    Nitya Snana – Daily bath
    Naimittaka Snana – Special occasional bath like death of relative, hair cut etc
    Kamya Snana – Bath for special vows undertaken like in a temple tank etc.

    Out of this there are more types of Snana which have been described in Dharma Shastras

    Agneyam : Application of Bhasma (Ash) all over the body
    Vaarunam : Bath at river, lake, home well, with mantras
    Brahmam: Bath chanting “apohistha mantra” and sprinkling on chest
    Vayavya : Bath with dust from the hooves of cows during dusk
    Divya : Bath during uttarayana when Sun is shining and it rains
    Kapilam: Bath by wiping onself with wet cloth
    Gayatram : Reciting Gayatri mantra 10 times and sprinkling water on self
    Manasam : Meditating on Lord Vishnu with 4 arms
    Parthiva/mrittika: Bath with earth/soil (mud bath)

    We should understand that water is a “Devata” (God) called “Varuna”. If we prostrate this devata he will bless us with happiness, good rains, crops etc. And if we pollute it and disregard Varuna he will play havoc like floods, tsunami etc.

    Having a bath in a holy river/or any river is not a joke or a casual process as today we all think. Current generation will jump in the water, swim, wash up themselves and leave, it is done for entertainment. But beware Shastras completely forbid this type of a behaviour. The water in the river is a Vedi God Varuna and during a bath we are interacting with a Devata. We have to keep that in mind constantly.

    We should go for having a bath in the river at “Brahmamuhurtha” (time of Brahma) it is 96 minutes before the sunrise. We should wear 2 pieces of clothes (dhoti and upper cloth to cover upper body). Only these two clothes are allowed as clothing for river bath (for ladies saree).

    Brief points the rules for a bath in a river.

    1. Achamanam (sipping of water)

    2. Pranayamam (controlled breathing)

    3. Maha Sankalpam – Here you have to declare which location you are taking a bath, who you are (Gotra-lineage), which day it is etc as per astrological calendar and that you are going to take a bath for purity of the body and soul thereby relieving yourself of the sins you have committed till date. Sankalpam simply means “resolve”

    4. Chanting praises of the River : If you are at holy River Ganga then chant Ganga Strotram, if at Godavari chant Godavari Stuti etc. You sing praises of the river before entering the water and pray that the water should be auspicious to you always.

    5. Marjanam (Sprinkling of water on oneself) : With chant of “Apohistha” mantras which are purificatory mantras you sprinkle yourself with water to clean yourself. This will purify your mind of bad thoughts

    6. Agamarshana Sooktam : Enter the water chanting of “Agamarshana Sookta” mentioned in the Vedas is for destroying the sins you have committed. “Aga” means dirt and “Marshana” means to wipe away/cleansing the sins.

    7. The holy dip : While chanting this sooktam (hymn-vedic verse) you take a dip with your head totally submerged into the water 3 times in quick succession. This can be repeated 1-2 time more during the chanting of Agamarshana sookta and your bath is complete. You cannot use soap, detergent, shampoo etc to clean yourself, it is totally prohibited as per Shastras. Remember you cannot pollute the river.

    8.Offering tarpana to Devas(Gods), Rishi(Sages) and Pitrus(Manes) : Offer arghya or oblation with water to Devas, Rishis and the Pitrus to satisfy their thirsty souls. They flock to the river and look forward to our oblation as soon as we do the sankalpam (point no 3). Once we tell them in the sankalpa who we are and where we are they come to accept our offerings.

    9.Vasodhakam: This is sqeezing your upper cloth to satisfy the Pitrus (manes) who are trapped in the earth plane and not yet passed to the Pitru loka ( the abode of ancestors). There are specific mantras for the same. You come out on the bank and squeeze only your upper cloth or Uttareeya

    10. Yaksha Tarpana : Each river, lake, pond is guarded by a semi-divine being called “Yaksha” they can cause harm if you do not thank them for allowing you to have a bath in their property. The way we say thank you to our swimming coach same way. You should offer water oblation to them before leaving the river.

    11. Change of clothes: Change to dry clothes and do Sandhya vandana and Gayatri Japa at the river bank then leave for your house after the sunrise.

    This process completes the vedic bath which ancient Hindus used to practice daily (nithya snana)

    Source: speakingtree

    ( This post is for sharing knowledge only, no intention to violate any copy rights)