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
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
AYUSHYAM AROGYAM ALOLUPATVAM
DUHSWAPNA GHATAHSH CHA TAPAM CHA
The meaning is
Oh gentleman! The bath is beneficial in ten different
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
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
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
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
Prayer of Ganga
NAMAAMI GANGE TAVA PAADPANKAJAM
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