Magh Snan: Cleaning Body, Purifying Soul.
Magh snan means taking a bath with cold water in magh month of a year. Magh is the eleventh month of Hindu calendar. Starting with paush month’s purnima to magh month’s purnima. According to English month it usually comes in January/February. Magh month is a month in which every penance, chanting, donation or any kind of devotional activities will give you multifold benefits rather than other months.
Magh Month is a season to earn virtues and Blessings, whatever devotional work you do in this magh month, will give you multifold benefits. Any Donation or services done in this magh month can give you much more virtues than you expected.
It is said that in this Magh month Brahma, Vishnu, Mahesh, Aditya and all other deities come on earth to bath in Prayag.
प्रयागे माघमासे तुत्र्यहं स्नानस्य यद्रवेत्। दशाश्वमेघसहस्त्रेण तत्फलं लभते भुवि।।
The fruit that is obtained by bathing during Magh month in Prayag is not obtained even by performing ten thousand Ashwamegh Yagya on earth.
This month has great importance from a religious point of view. People who take a dip in the cool water in this month become free from sin. Bathing in the river during Magh month has great importance. If it is possible, then one should bath in holy rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Kaveri, Narmada, Krishna, Saraswati, Brahmaputra etc.
माघे निमग्नाः सलिले सुशीते विमुक्तपापास्त्रिदिवं प्रयान्ति।
Describing the greatness of Magha snan in Padma Purana, it has been said that the God is not as happy even by worshiping as it is by just bathing in the month of Magh. Therefore, to get rid of all sins and to get the love of Swaminarayan Bhagwan, every human being should do Magh snan .
Dharmaraj Yudhishthir had done Kalpwas (for magh month to be on the banks of ganga and doing penance) on the suggestion of Markandeya Muni for salvation of his relatives who were killed during the Mahabharata war. Indra dev, who was cursed by Gautam Rishi, was also freed from the curse due to Magh Snan.
There was a king in the Ikshvaku clan called “Sagar ” who had sixty thousand sons by his first wife with the blessings of Aurwa Muni and one son with a second wife called “asmanjas“. They were doing Ashwamegh Yagya. In that Yagya they released a horse. Wherever he went and whoever captures that horse, the sons of Sagar will have to fight with him and win the horse back.
But Indra caught the horse and hid it in Kapil Muni‘s ashram. Sagar’s sons felt that his horse was stolen by Kapil Muni, Kapil Muni’s was peacefully meditating and Sagar’s sons came, They were shouting thief – thief , They woke up Kapil Muni from meditation.
Kapil Muni did not like this, He opened his eyes and burnt them all to ashes.
In search of his uncle’s, anshuman grandson of Sagar came there and heard what happened from another Saints.
He went to Kapil Muni and said “Please forgive the evilness of my uncles, because saints are always engaged in helping others and forgiveness is their strength.Saint shows mercy even to the evil creatures.please, show me the way of my all uncle’s salvation”
Kapil Muni said ” Prince! do the penance for Brahmaji, he will send ganga on earth. The Ganga will wash away the sins of these Sagar sons and make them attain the supreme position.”
On the order of kapil Muni, Anshuman did penance his whole life, then his son king Dilip did penance for whole life and by the third generation, king Bhagirath, brahmaji pleased upon him and sent ganga to the earth.
so, when the holy river Ganga came where Sagar’s sons were burnt and washed all Sagar son’s sins was Magh month, on account of this incident we also celebrate Magh snan, so that we also can attain salvation by just a bath in holy river.
The Tradition of Magh Snan
This is scenario which notifies good to great bath according to its moral values.
First is a bath of clay pot water, then water of a well, then water of Lake, the water of a river and the best one is water of an ocean.
All the options given above are eligible for taking bath in the month of Magha, whichever you find, you can use it. For a clay pot water, one should fill the pot with water and keep it in an open place under moon light and in the early morning it should be used for bathing.
Early means to say before sun rises, when stars are visible, this is the best and recommended. Medium is when sun is rising. and Moderate when the sun is fully up. In short, as the sun rises, so does virtue diminish.
In Satsangijivan (A Scripture of Swaminarayan Sampraday), Bhagwan Shri Swaminarayan said that “Taking bath with cold water in Magh month is equals to bathing in holy river Ganga and having fasted for one month.”
There are so many stories in our scriptures which starts with “In early morning a saint was going to river for bath.”
Not a single story you will find which starts with “A saint was boiling water to take a bath.”
so, we never had a tradition of taking bath with hot water, because it is many times better to take a bath with cold water than to take a bath with hot water according to our saints.
If you take a bath in Magh month with cold water, your body will get used to cold water and you will be in any region of the world, you will not hesitate to take a bath, it means you won’t leave piousness of your body and physical hygiene under any circumstances. Even your body will be able to manage in any temperature.
At Shree Swaminarayan Gurukul, students receive practical training that stays with them for a lifetime. One such training is “Magh Snan,” in which students take a cold-water bath at 5 AM every morning for a month. This helps them develop the discipline to maintain personal hygiene, even if they do not have access to hot water or face adverse conditions. The daily practice of this morning ritual instills in them the virtues of cleanliness and physical purity that they carry with them throughout their lives.
Why only cold water, not hot?
These are the few spiritual and physical benefit of cold-water bath in Magh Month.
cold water bath will distract your mind from lustful and worldly desires, while hot water will lead your mind to pleasure seeking attitude and that attitude will leads you to impurities.
like above I said, no saints were taking bath with hot water because of these impurities.
As I said, taking a bath with cold water and that too in the month of Magh is very virtuous, and that virtue will help you to fulfill your wishes and you will be benefited.
By taking a bath here in the month of Magh, one attains all the four goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha.
Helps in brahmacharya
A bath of cold water will wipe out lustful desires and hot water will increase it. And a mind without lustful desires, can easily concentrate on God. Not only magh month, but regularly we should take bath with cold water only. Cold water bath will increase your energy level and intelligence.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan loves penance. This month is a golden opportunity to please Bhagwan Swaminarayan and his saints.
What to talk about others, Swaminarayan Bhagwan himself was doing Magh snan every year and he did penance by staying in the snow of the Himalayas for a few months, that too in just one cloth.
Freshness and energy
When that cold water hits your body, there’s a bit of shock. This shock increases oxygen intake, heart rate and alertness.
A bath with hot water will give you laziness, while a bath of cold water will give you immense energy and freshness.
peak of your energy will be just a Tumblr away, you just need a dare to fall first Tumblr on your head, then you won’t feel any laziness.
As cold water hits your body and external limbs, it constricts circulation on the surface of your body. This causes blood in your deeper tissues to circulate at faster rates to maintain ideal body temperature.
science says a cold-water bath will increase blood flow in your whole body, and it will Generate more WBC (white blood cell), which boosts your immunity. and you will get the power to fight with different types of diseases.
Warm water makes your brain a little more comfortable, while cold water prepares your brain to resist the cold.
If you have itchy skin or skin conditions that cause you to itch, cold water bath can help you overcome the sensation of scratching. Bathing with cold water will lead to decreased skin sensitivity, and through that you will find relief in itching.
So, these are the few spiritual and physical benefits of Magh snan. This month is like a special offer of one month validity, if we want to buy a particular item on normal days it will cost more than we buy it on special offer or seasonal sale days. it will be the same quality with less price. In a similar way Scriptures gave us a scheme that every service, donation, chanting or any spiritual activity will give you more benefit than activity on normal days.
This Magh month will help you to earn great virtues and improve your health as well. let us all decide to take benefit of Magh snan and will persuade Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan and all saints.