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Improving Sadhana IX

Date: Wed, 17 Dec 2008 23:08:28 +0530 To: From: NJK Majumdar Subject: Improving Sadhana IX Baba "A'nkhir ba'dal mucheche ka'jal, ka'r katha' mane par'e balo na'..." (PS 3013) PS Intro: This is the song when Baba is talking to the devotee in disguised fashion. In particular He is speaking about the melancholic feelings of that sadhaka. Purport: Please tell me whose longing brought rain in your eyes such that the ointment of the eyes washed away in result. Why is sleep not coming in your eyes. In whose longing are you feeling restless. Please tell me the tales of your heart. Why are you not expressing anything. This is the most charming atmosphere of the intoxicating night. When all the directions are charged with divine love. The aroma of flowers is spreading all around. This is the most blissful time. In whose longing are you remaining awake in hopelessness? In whose longing have you forgotten fear, shyness, and all kinds of complexes; this happened due to His love? Please let me recognise that entity who has stolen your heart. The black clouds of the mind-- the feeling that your beloved is distant from You-- those dark clouds cannot remain for a long time. With the practice of dharana and dhyan, gradually they will go away. You should know that after bad days naturally good days are going to come. Thinking this don't worry. Very soon your dear-most will be close to you...


Half bath, or vyapak shaoca, is a key point of human health and hygiene.

The body is essentially a sealed unit that has distinct orifices (mouth, nose, eyes etc) that come in contact with the atmosphere. When a sick person comes in your close proximity, then one may come in contact with their germs etc. Many diseases and sicknesses are transmitted this way.

For instance if a sick person coughs, or sneezes, drools, or even breathes, then those germs and bacteria can enter into your system.

By doing half-bath regularly during the day – or even immediately if you are in contact with a sick person – then that cleanses all those orifices. The mouth, nose, and eyes are rinsed and cleaned. That strengthens the body’s defense mechanisms and helps fend off viruses and diseases. Hygiene is the first step in disease prevention.

That is why nowadays doctors and healthcare professionals do not recommend shaking hands with others; and they recommend regularly washing the hands. Rinsing the eyes, mouth, and face are also helpful in disease prevention, but those is not publicly encouraged on a mass scale because females wear make-up. So this is looked upon as inconvenient for the general society. But those healthcare professionals know that rinsing the eyes, mouth, and nose and splashing water on the face is very good for health and hygiene.

So Baba’s teachings of vyapak shaoca are ideal for disease prevention and several steps ahead of the general hygienic recommendations given to the public.


While all are aware about the step by step process for doing half bath, the exact system is detailed under the next subheading. Here first are some of the established and proven benefits of vyapak shaoca.

1. Half-bath increases concentration, alertness, and overall freshness.

2. The human body generates heat and when it becomes over-heated then various anatomical and biological systems cannot function properly. For instance, when the head is heated one feels tired and groggy. Applying cold water during half-bath stimulates circulation and aids in the overall function of the body.

3. Half-bath greatly enhances the exchange of blood. The cold water of half-bath causes contractions of the blood vessels thereby accelerating circulation and sending the blood faster back to the core vital organs (heart & lungs etc) for oxygenation. By this more rapid cycle, the body is effectively nourished.

4. Half-bath increases circulation by cooling the body in applied areas and hence contracting the blood vessels for faster blood flow.

5. By doing half-bath, fresh blood supply goes to the core region where the major organs like the stomach are nourished; moreover, that fresh blood helps facilitate the digestive process.

6. Half-bath helps prevent negative dreams. By doing half-bath before sleep that also aids in digestion as the body rests and proper digestion helps prevent negative dreams as it does not allow the lower cakras to get overheated.

7. Half-bath helps cure and prevent multiple types of bodily disorders and diseases as outlined in Yaogika Cikitsá (Yogic Treatments).

8. Half-bath extends one's longevity as it an aspect of the 'Secrets for a Long Life.'


"Method of doing Vya’paka Shaoca: At first wash your genital organs; then hands up to elbows and legs up to knees; then, taking a mouthful of water, splash water on the eyes and face at least twelve times. Finally wash the ears and the neck." (1)

Thus as Baba details this is a comprehensive process:
(a) Wash the pubic region - and the best way to do this is not to have any covering there.
(b) Then the limbs are washed from hand to elbow and foot to knee.
(c) Soaking the entire area from the pubic region to the toes is highly beneficial. That means the entire leg is doused in water. This is easy to do in a house or jagrti, though may not always be possible when traveling.
(d) Wash the nasal ducts having water go in one nostril and out the other. A neti pot can be helpful.
(e) Fill the mouth with water and then with the eyes open, splash water on the eyes and face at least 12 times. Better is to do 14 or 15 times just in case you lose count.
(f) Apply water to the ears, neck and crown cakra (top of the head).
(g) Dry oneself with a clean towel.

In the summertime or hot season it is best to do vyapak shaoca with cold water, and in the winter or cold season the water may be body temperature.

Special attention is to be given to apply a generous amount of water. That does not mean that water should be wasted, but at the same time rubbing just a few drops of water on the limbs etc will never suffice.

Rather to properly do vyapak shaoca, one may need several liters of water. More can be said about this, but at the very least we should all should understand that without proper amounts of water the necessary cooling process can never occur. So half-bath is not just about superficially rinsing the skin.


As every Ananda Margii knows, vyapak shaoca is to be done at a minimum before and after food, before meditation, before asanas, and before and after sleep.

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "Before morning and evening Sadhana, either do Vyapaka Shaoca or take full bath."

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "Before and after meals, and before sleep, do Vyapaka Shaoca with cold water. If it is very cold, use lukewarm water."

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "Before practising Asanas, do Vyapaka Shaoca or take a full bath. Vyapaka Shaoca must also be done before daily meditation; if Asanas are done with daily meditation then it is not necessary to do Vyapaka Shaoca separately."

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "Before taking food and before going to sleep, do Vya’paka Shaoca with cold water, or in cold weather, with lukewarm water."

All these above guidelines come from Caryacarya part II and part III.


Here below are two of Baba’s beautiful teachings about vyapak shaoca and Sixteen Points.

Baba says, "If you follow Sixteen Points, your longevity will be greater." (2)

Ananda Marga philosophy says, "...The complete seeds of welfare in all the spheres–physical, mental, moral, social and spiritual–are embedded in the Sixteen Points. Hence be firm on the Sixteen Points." (3)

As sadhakas of Ananda Marga, we have Baba’s special blessing as He has graciously imparted to us all the great secrets for living a dharmic life: Full of peace, joy, & supreme ideation.

The seed component of Baba’s grand formula for ideal human existence is Sixteen Points. Each and every Ananda Margii benefits from following these exclusive and sacred guidelines. On no other path of life can such gems and jewels be found. These are unique to Ananda Marga. All the while it is our ongoing endeavour to develop greater and greater precision and naturalness in following these Sixteen Points.

Above are a few basic thoughts and some less well known aspects of Point #5 of Sixteen Points: Vyapak shaoca.

In Him,


By the above description it is quite clear that Baba’s special process of vyapak shaoca has a regenerative effect on the body. For this reason Baba has given the special name: ‘Vyapak Shaoca’.

The first term ‘vyapak’ means thorough, detailed, complete, enhanced etc. And the 2nd term shaoca is commonly defined as cleanliness – when in fact it is much more than that. Because in His famous discourses on yama and niyama, Baba uses 5 pages to describe the overall process of shaoca.

By all this it is clear that vyapak shaoca is a special restorative and purifying process for the entire body. Yet for lack of proper translation, the oversimplified English phrase ‘half-bath’ has been given as the translation of vyapak shaoca. But clearly the half-bath phrase fails to capture the real spirit or essence of vyapak shaoca. That is why many sadhakas feel that a new and better English name should be given – thereby correcting the translated term that was haphazardly applied by various in-charges etc.

Till then, simply using the Sanskrit phrase vyapak shaoca is more apt. Just as the Sanskrit terms sadhana, mantra, upavasa etc far exceed their English counterparts: meditation, incantation, and fasting.

Baba says, "There is no proper English word for the Sanskrit word ‘mantra’. We use the word ‘incantation’ for mantra, but it is not a proper word for the Sanskrit term." (4)

And regarding the word upavasa Baba again points out the deficit of the corresponding word in English.

Baba says, "‘Upavasa’ – on these days of fasting, what are all spiritual aspirants to do? Mentally they should live near their Lord...these days are known as ‘upava’sa’. The word ‘fasting’ does not represent the proper sense or proper spirit." (5)

Likewise the overly-simplified, insufficient sounding term ‘half bath’ is unable to carry the spirit of vyapak shaoca.


Public service departments and organisations offer many guidelines and recommendations on disease prevention, and a key aspect throughout is hygiene and hand-washing.

"Hygiene refers to behaviors that can improve cleanliness and lead to good health, such as frequent hand washing, face washing, and bathing with soap and water. In many areas of the world, practicing personal hygiene etiquette is difficult due to lack of clean water and soap. Many diseases can be spread if the hands, face, or body are not washed appropriately at key times."

"Handwashing is like a "do-it-yourself" vaccine—it involves five simple and effective steps (think Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, Dry) you can take to reduce the spread of diarrheal and respiratory illness so you can stay healthy. Regular handwashing, particularly before and after certain activities, is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others."

"Learn more about when and how to wash your hands, the importance of using soap and water, and what you can do if soap and clean, running water are not available. Whether you are at home, at work, traveling, or already sick, find out how good hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and others."

(Courtesy of centers for Disease Control and Prevention)


Here are some of the critical times during the day for washing your hands.

Before, during, and after preparing food
Before eating food
Before and after caring for someone who is sick
Before and after treating a cut or wound
After using the toilet
After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet
After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
After handling pet food or pet treats
After touching garbage

1. Caryacarya - 2, chapter 2, Point #4
2. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 5
3. Ananda Vanii #45
4. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 23, p.115
5. Ananda Vacanamrtam - 6

Real Meaning
Baba says, "The indomitable mental force aroused as a result of collective Iishvara-Pranidhana will help you in solving any problem small or big on this earth. It is for this reason that you should always have a zeal to attend the weekly Dharmacakra regularly." (GHC, last page) Note 1: In His Encyclopedia-- "Laghu Nirukta"-- on page 191 Baba explains that one of the meanings of 'cakra' is family, society, collection, or body. Thus the real meaning of dharmacakra is 'family of dharma'. Similarly Brahmacakra means 'family of Brahma'. We all know that the family of creation is the entire family of Brahma. Note 2: Baba is the Propounder of AM philosophy and in that philosophy He has used various Sanskrit terms. To clarify the meaning of those terms Baba has given His own grammar books and encyclopedias etc. So those who want to learn AM philosophy indepthly have to study Baba's teachings on grammar also. Otherwise most of the concepts will remain beyond one's grasp.

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