Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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Keep It Clean

Hari OM
'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

We now explore the Sri Adi Shankara text, "SadaachaaraH". To obtain your own copy, click here.

A significant part of saadhana is simple hygiene. There is mental and spiritual hygiene and there are the basic physical levels of hygiene. It is commonly understood that the latter can aid the improvement of the former. The next verse points to the spiritual hygiene;

mNmnae mInviÚTy< ³IfTyanndvairxaE,
suõatSten pUtaTma sMyiGv}anvair[a.7.
Manmano miinavannityam kriidatyaanandavaaridhau,
susnaatastena puutaatmaa samyagvijnaanavaarinaa ||7||
My mind, like a fish, always sports in the ocean of bliss.
By those excellent waters of knowledge one becomes well-bathed and the Self is purified.

There are seven levels of 'bathing' to be considered here. Today, let us first look at that with which we are most familiar and the prayer associated with it.

It can sometimes be a touchy subject, talking of sauchanam this way. However, discipline needs constant tweaking. It is all too easy to become slack. At the very least, one full bath/shower per day would be considered appropriate, as much as two or three if one lives in a climate which requires it. We are refreshed by our daily bath and it prepares us for the next part of our activity. In India, a common sight in the morning are the ablutions in the rivers, particularly the Ganges. However, most of us do not have a sacred body of water such as this within walking distance of our front doors. Given that it could be accepted that all water is part of the Ganges, ultimately, then we can use an invocation prayer so that the water we use becomes sacred also. Holding palms cupped, gather some water in there and slowly tip the fingers forward and drain the water as you chant;

Gange c ymune cEv gaedavir srSvit
nmRde isNxu kavir jle=imn! siÚix< kué.
Gange cha yamune chaiva godaavari sarasvati
narmade sindhu kaaveri jale'smin sannidhim kuru.
Ganga and Yamuna, Godavari and also Saraswati
Narmada, Sindhu, Kaaveri, please come into this water.

Thus the very act of morning cleanse can become part of our saadhana and offering to the Higher. If we add shampoos and soaps, oils and creams, we are honouring our bodies as an extension of Him and treating it in a sacred manner. This is part of treating the body as the temple of the spirit.

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Hari OM
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