Om apo-hish-ta may-o-bhuva
“Snanam” is the most important daily ritual in the Hindu tradition. A bath is not only a way to cleanse one’s body but it is also a way of purifying your senses. It starts with the purification of the body and ends with the purification of the mind. According to all Vedas, Upanishads, and sacred texts, taking a bath in the morning is the most auspicious beginning of the day and it has been said that 4 am is the perfect time for a snanam.
Water stands for renewal, wealth, and the male-female principle in Hinduism. Lord Vishnu is the God of water and Goddess Lakshmi is the embodiment of prosperity in our lives. When we take a bath and recite “Eh-vang” we surrender ourselves to this male-female principle of energy in our lives. When millions of people gather at the Kumbh Mela at Prayag to take a dip into the river Ganga, this act is said to enrich our lives and purify our sins.
Rules of Taking a Bath
Take a bath in either of the following, in the given order.
- Running water(River)
- Well in the home
One can bathe in the sea if an opportunity is available, but one should also bathe in river water after taking a bath in the sea.
Types of baths in Hinduism
Different types of baths are practiced in Hinduism and each one of them has its significance. These include:
- Varuna Snanam: The act of taking a bath in a normal way as we all do, with warm or lukewarm water is Varuna Snanam.
- Aagneya Snanam: Chanting “Om Namah Shivay” after a regular bath and applying Vibhuti (holy ash) over one’s body is set to start the day in a positive way.
- Vaaya Veeya Snanam: The wind and its direction and sensing it has said to eradicate bad omen in our life along with a bath.
- Prokshana Snanam: While performing Nitya Karma and Honoring the Sun God and Goddess Gayatri, and chanting “Aabohishta mahabuvaha….” And splashing holy water over one’s head is Prokshana Snanam.
- Mantra Snanam: Special occasions, such as birthdays or any rituals, call for a dedicated act of bathing. Here, water is kept in a vessel, and pooja and mantras are offered to the water by invoking the name of God; the person performing the pooja then bathes in that water.
- Dhivya Snanam: Performed by saints, this bath is taken when there is rain accompanied by sunshine, which is considered very auspicious.
- Gowna Snanam: We all have been unwell wherein taking a bath was not a healthy option. In Hinduism, one can bathe in such a situation without wetting one’s head, which in a way takes care of one’s health and also lets him fulfill his duty.
- Nitya Snanam: This is the Snanam we all follow and it is our daily start of the day within our own homes.
- Naimithiga Snanam: Whenever there is a solar eclipse or a lunar eclipse, people should take bath before or during the occurrence of that eclipse.
- Kaamya Snanam: When people take bath at river Ganga or any form of water body that is huge and flowing, it is known as Kaamya Snanam.
- Kriyaanga Snanam: Whenever we have any rituals for pithrus i.e. our ancestors or any pooja, then a bath that takes place before such ritual is Kriyaanga Snanam.
- Kriya Snanam: Whenever we take a bath in a pond or a river, it is known as Kriya Snanam.
- Shethra Ganga Snanam: This is the most auspicious form of a bath, taken whenever we visit any temple or shrine and take a dip into the holy water of that temple.
Bathing is very important in our lives because it cleanses us completely. It takes away all our impurities and calms our mind, body, and soul. Hinduism has given so much importance to the ritual of bathing because water is a holy symbol for us. It holds the power to fulfill us. And taking a bath is the ultimate way of paying our respect to it.