Cleanliness is next to Godliness. A bath daily in cold water in the early mornings before sunrise is really bracing, invigorating, energizing and refreshing. The best time for the bath is early morning before sunrise, because the water that gets cooled during the night evolves much oxygen at this time. The sick and the convalescents, the old and people of delicate health may take a warm water bath. The application of soap in a tropical climate is injurious. It keeps the skin dry. Nature supplies a little oil to the body for keeping it smooth and soft through the secretion of the sebaceous glands of the skin. Ignorant fashionable man removes this natural secretion by application of soap and wastes his money. If soaps are not manufactured properly they corrode the skin. Rub the body vigorously with a rough towel. This will open all the pores of the skin and cleanse the latter properly. Resort always to easy natural methods that cost nothing. If you like, you can use a mixture of soap-nut powder and green –gram powder for cleansing the skin. This is cheap and very cooling also.
A plunge bath in the running water of rivers is very exhilarating and strengthening. A shower bath is also very enjoyable. Baths in sulphur springs cure diseases of the skin. Louis Kuhne’s system of baths is highly beneficial. A cold hop bath prevents wet-dreams. A tepid hip bath stops renal colic and helps the free flow of menstrual fluid and urine. A steam bath is useful in rheumatism. Tepid sponging is useful in fevers for bringing down the temperature.
Do not take a cold bath immediately after performing Asans or any kind of exercises. Allow the body to cool down first. Wait for an hour. Never bathe soon after your meals as it will interfere with your digestion.
The Benefits Of A Sun-Bath
Sun is the source of all energy and power. You derive energy and power from the sun. If the sun does not shine for a day to two on account of clouds your vitality falls to low level and you are not in good spirits. Flowers, plants, animals and men rejoice as soon as the sun rises above the horizon. The sun supplies energy to all plants and living beings and yet its energy is never exhausted. Its energy is inexhaustible because it derives its energy from the inexhaustible source – Atma, the “Sun of suns”.
The rays of the sun bestow on us wonderful health. The Rig Vedas have glorified the rising sun. The Ayurvedas have extolled its efficacy. The Rishis have sung its praise in a variety of ways. The Tantras sing its glory in the Mantra; “Japakussum Sankasham – the rising sun is as red as the Japa flower.”
Build your house on the western bank of a river, lake or tank. Then you will daily enjoy the deflected light which is more beneficial and potent than the direct rays. The rays of the rising sun are blessings from God for the preservation of health as well as for the cure of diseases. The rays of the sun posses antiseptic and germicidal properties. Expose your blankets, bedsheets, pillows and mattresses to the sun once in every fifteen days. In the rays of the sun you will find a cheap and easily available tonic, a disinfectant, and antiseptic and a potent germicide.
Sunlight as a healer of leprosy and various other skin diseases was known to the ancients. The latter built temples dedicated to the Sun. The temple of Konarak was built upon a tradition that Samba, the son of Sri Krishna, was stricken with leprosy because he saw his father in the act of connubial pleasure. When entreated to be forgiven Krishna asked Samba to worship the Sun in order to be freed of the loathsome disease. Accordingly he did so and was cured. In Egypt the Sun God is Ra Greece, Appollo ; in Phoenicia the Sun; and in Syria also the sun and the moon were worshipped. In France and Germany the peasants even now take off their hats to the rays of the sun. In India the Martanda Mandir in Kashmir; the sun-temple at Vikrampur; the Suryakund of Benares are further examples of the deities of sunworship. There is a Vrita called Surya Vrita when people do not eat fish and take simple and unsalted food. The sun is worshipped and looked at by the Hindus when they take bath in the morning with the sloka : “Japakusum Sankasham”etc.
There is a system of physical exercise called Suryanamas – kar and the Raja Saheb of Anudh is a great propounder of it. The Prince of Aundh, like his father, is a great votary of Suryanamaskar. Recently at the request of the students at Bangalore he demonstrated the Suryanamaskar in many colleges there and explained its benefits. Do Suryanamskar in the early moring. The moring sun gives out ultra-violet rays as does also the evening sun. If persons suffering from leprosy and other skin diseases strip themselves off all clothing and remain maked in the sun till their body is properly tanned, then the sun rays will penetrate their body and work wonders there. Only the head must be protected from the sun. Besides leprosy, tuberculosis, rheumatism, obesity, anaemia, neurasthenia, eczema, colds, coughs. Rickets, diseases of the teeth, etc., can also be treated with sun rays.
Wear a thin light garment and walk on the western bank of a river, on the west side of the sea, a lake or a tank early morning at sunrise. Run also. You will doubutless enjoy a sun-bath. Practise Asans and physical exercises. Expose your mouth to the rays of the rising sun. Open it wide. Let the rays penetrate your nostrils also. Close your eyes when you expose your mouth. Let the sun’s rays fall on the closed eyes for two or three minutes. This will improve your short sight. Practise deep-breathing exercises and Pranayam. The various parts of the body should receive a regulated sun-bath. Turn the body round frequently.
Bask in the Sun. Expose your body to the rays of the sun for a short time. Lie down on the ground on a blanket or lie on a cot. Expose your back to the rays of the sun. If the rays are very hot cover your back with green plantain leaf. Remain thus for fifteen or thirty minutes till you perspire freely. This will prove useful in lumbago and rheumatism and diseases of the skin.
The Rishis and sages of yore who had knowledge of the curative power of the rays of the sun revealed the mysteries of the sun and its beneficial rays and the uses of this radiant energy. But you don’t care to read and learn them. You want to borrow everything from the West. What a sad lamentable state! Study Aditya Hridaya daily. Perform Suryanamaskar daily. Give Arghya to the sun at the times of Sandhya. You will then have wonderful health and vigour and vitality. Even in the West doctors are using the rays of the sun as a powerful therapeutic agent in the treatment of diseases. They call this helio-therapy. In santorium on the Alps the consumptive patients are directly exposed to the mild rays of the sun. In olden days in India babies with bare bodies were pur in the cradle and exposed to the rising sun. In California boys and girls now take sun baths. They swing in the open air with bare bodies in specially constructed swings.
Whence comes the mysterious power in the sun which causes the seeds to germinate and the flowers to turn into fruits ? Whence comes this radiant energy in the sun which bestows wonderful health, power and vigour to living beings ? Whence in the sun comes this power to heal ? Whence comes in the sun the vital energy that invigorates and galvanizes the young and rejuvenates and vitalizes the old. Whence comes in the sun this vegetative vigour which enables the plants to synthetise the vitamins ? The sun derives its power and energy from Atma or the Eternal or the Absolute, the Sun of suns, the Light of lights, the source of everything, the first cause of all causes, the storehouse of all energies. Brahman willed. The sun came into being to bestow health and happiness to all beings. Repeat the twelve names of the sun at sunrise : “Mitrayai Namah; Ravaye Namh; Suryayah Namah; Bhanuvai Namah; Savitraye Namah; Adityayi Namah; Bhaskaraya Namah”.
He who repeats this at sunrise early in the morning will possess wonderful health, vigour and vitality. He will be free from any kind of the diseases of the eye. He will have powerful eyesight. Pray to the sun in the early morning before sunrise : “O Lord. Suryanarayan, the Eye of the World, the Eye of the Virat Purusha, give me health and strength, vigour and vitality”. Offer arghya to the sun in the three Sandhyas (morning, noon and sunset).
Repeat the prayer fo the Isavasya Upanishad, sloka 15 and 16 : “the face of Truth is covered by a golden vessel. Remove, O Sun, the covering, for the law of Truth, that I may behold it”. “O Pooshan (Sun Nourisher), the only seer (whole traveler of the heavens), controller of all (Yama), Surya, son of Prajapati, disperse thy rays and gather up thy burning light; I behold thy glorious form, I am He, the Purusha within Thee”. In the words of Yajur Veda, ”O Sun of suns! You are all-energy give me energy; you are all strength, give me strength; you are all-powerful, give me power”.
I always prostrate before the Sun God, the beautiful Lord of the world, the immortal, the quintessence of Vedanta, the auspicious, the absolute knowledge, the all-full Brahman. Lord of the Devas, ever pure, the one true consciousness of the world, the Lor of Gods and men, the preceptor of Devas, the crest Jewel of the three worlds (Bhu, Bhuva and Svah), the form of the heart of Vishnu, Brahman, and Siva, the dispeller of darkness and the giver of light.