BATH DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR
The concept of bath is more profound than is usually considered to be. The bath in neither a mechanical and meaningless ritual of blind religious belief; nor it is a physical procedure that merely involves cleaning the body and simply refreshing the mind. It has to be appreciated that bath has direct influence on the activities of all the cells of the body through its effects on central nervous system, autonomic nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and metabolic activities. It is true that the details of the effects are not described in the text- books of physiology as they have are not studied or even thought over adequately. In addition, there is a tendency amongst researchers to rely on experiments and not accept [or even consider] what appeals to reasoning unless substantiated by experiments, even if it is obvious.
This is somewhat similar to increasing reliance of clinicians on gadgets and investigations. This has prevented us from understanding and appreciating the benefits of bath described in the following shloka. GUNA DASHAH SNANAPARASYA SADHO ROOPAM CHA TEJAM CHA BALAM CHA SHAUCHAM AYUSHYAM AROGYAM ALOLUPATVAM DUHSWAPNA GHATAHSH CHA TAPAM CHA MEDHA The meaning is Oh gentleman! The bath is beneficial in ten different ways. It improves physical state of existence. It is to be appreciated that ROOPAM does not mean mere appearance. It includes all the physiology. This is why ROOPAM and NAMA are some times compared and
contrasted. ROOPAM is everything that is identified by all the terminology [NAMA] in the physiology. It improves the TEJAM i.e. all the activities that generate energy. In modern parlance this refers to formation of ATP [Adenosine Triphosphate] and CP [Creatine Phosphate]. It improves BALAM. BALAM refers to the actual power, endurance and working capacity of an individual [through efficient formation ATP and CP]. It imparts SHAUCHAM i.e. purity. SHAUCHAM is not merely physical cleanliness of the skin. Bath stimulates the circulation and helps wash away all the waste products likely to be accumulated in and around the cells present in nook and corner of the body. It gives AYUSHYAM i.e. life. AYUSHYAM is defined as PRAANALAKSHANA VAAYUNAA YOGAH, which means availability and utilization of oxygenation
by all the parts of the body. This is achieved through stimulation of central and autonomic nervous systems as well as through their stimulation, stimulation of the respiratory system, cardiovascular system, which are vital in reaching the oxygen to the body cells. But that is not all. It also stimulates the endocrine, immune and metabolic activities. It improves AROGYAM, which is defined as DHAATUSAAMYAM, which means right proportion of everything in body so as to give power, pleasure, profundity, peace and so on for prolonged time! It gives ALOLUPATVAM, which means capacity rise above gravitating, enslaving, depressing, and frustrating forces in life. This is important in every sphere of life. In fact ALOLUPATVAM refers to the state of mind which is invincible. DUSVAPNAGHAATASH means one, which destroys bad dreams or nightmares. Bath can achieve this through
achieving a state of alertness by overcoming the unsteady, imbalanced state of mind, which causes bad dreams and nightmares. TAPAH is of three types [Geeta 17.14, 17.15, 17.16] involving roughly speaking body, intellect and emotions. The TAPAH is also further classified [Geeta 17.17, 17.18, 17.19] into divine, mundane, and devilish. TAPAH means coordinated and controlled activity at an individual level, in the best interest of the universe, which is made easier through bath. Bath taken thrice a day [TRIKAL SNAANA] in itself, is a difficult accomplishment and involves all three types of TAPAH! MEDHAA means enlightened intelligence. The bath involves not only physical cleanliness but it shifts the level of consciousness. This is particularly important because with such shift in consciousness, the perceptions, desires, aims and actions become increasingly more accurate.
Prayer of Ganga NAMAAMI GANGE TAVA PAADPANKAJAM SURAASURAIRVANDITADIVYARUPAM BHUKTIN CHA MUKTIN CHA DADAASI NITYAM BHAAAVAANUSAARENA SADAA NARAANAAM This prayer when recited before actual SNAANA (bath) helps in more than one way. It links us with the river Ganga [who has been worshipped by our ancestors], thereby it links us with the land and our culture and it links us with our history and our forefathers. This very prayer has thus tremendous potential to help us get rid of isolated, alienated, lonely existence. The diabetics may try bathing thrice a day and verify the beneficial effect of bath on BMR and diabetes.
DR. SHRINIWAS KASHALIKAR