How to do Abhyangsnan (oil bath) ?


From the second day of Diwali, Narak Chaturdashi, till the fourth day of Diwali, Balipratipada, abhyangasnan (an auspicious bath – oil bath) is daily recommended to obtain the spiritual benefits of the Diwali festival. In this article, we will explain how to do the abhyangasnan.

1. What is abhyangasnan (Ablution with oil – oil bath)?

Bathing is a very important daily activity of our life. We all feel very fresh after having a bath. However, do you know that the abhyangasnan is spiritually more beneficial than the ordinary bath?

Abhyangasnan is getting up early in the morning, before sunrise, applying oil to the whole body and massaging till it is absorbed in the skin and then taking warm water bath / shower.

2. Physical benefits of abhyangasnan

Abhyangasnan consists of an oil massage to facilitate the absorption of oil in the skin. Once the oil has been absorbed in the skin, a warm water bath is taken. By applying oil to the skin, it retains elasticity. Warm water is auspicious and pleasing to the body. Bathing after an oil massage retains only the required amount of oiliness that the skin and hair require. Hence an oil massage is necessary before a bath. Application of oil to the skin after a bath is not beneficial.

3. Spiritual significance of abhyangasnan

When we have every day bath or shower, the Raja and Tama components in us decrease by 0.00001 % and the Sattva component in us increases by the same amount for the duration of three hours.

However, when we do abhyangasnan, the reduction of Raja and Tama components and the increase in the Sattva component lasts for four to five hours. During the days of Diwali by taking abhyangasnan a person gets 6% more benefit of sattvikta as compared to other days.

4. Importance of applying fragrant

powder (ubatan) during Diwali before abhyangsnan

During Diwali period the arrival of the flows of Chaitanya containing the Absolute Fire (Tej), Water (Apa) and Air (Vayu) element is in higher proportion from the Universe. During this period the sensitiveness of the body to absorb Chaitanya is increased by applying ubatan on the body through its components. So the Chaitanya-flows of Deities’ Principles are spread in a person’s body.

4 A. Why is fragrant oil mixed in the ubatan?

The ability to attract Divine frequencies flowing in the atmosphere is higher in the fragrant oil. These frequencies contain Chaitanya and the Absolute Water element. Similarly, the ability to resist the downward-spreading Absolute Water element containing distressing frequencies is higher in it. Hence, fragrant oil is mixed in ubatan and the body is massaged with it.

4 A 1. Science underlying massaging the body with the ubatan mixed with oil: By massaging, the Divine Principle is attracted in the body and due to the Energy frequencies in the oil the distressing frequencies are obstructed.

4 A 2. Importance of massaging on the Brahmamuhurta: During the Brahmamuhurta period the entry of Divine Tej-predominant Chaitanya frequencies in the orbit of the Earth is in higher proportion. Hence, the body is massaged with fragrant oil during the Brahmamuhurta period.

4 B. Method of applying ubatan on our body by ourselves and its effects

The ubatan is raja-dominant and associated with the Absolute Fire element. It should be applied on the body in the clock-wise direction. The tip of the fingers should touch and press the body a little.

Forehead: Apply ubatan with the forefinger, middle finger and ring finger from the left to the right side of the forehead. After reaching the right end, lift the fingers and repeat the action. Do not move fingers from the right to the left side. The movement of the distressing vibrations collected in the void of the forehead is from left to right side. By applying the ubatan in the same direction, the distressing vibrations are activated and are disintegrated by the ubatan.

Temples: Place the finger tips on the temples and move them from the left to the right side and from right to left side. Apply the ubatan in a massaging manner. In this place the distressing frequencies are in a dormant state. With the friction caused by the action of applying the ubatan these frequencies are destroyed.

Eyelids: Apply the ubatan on the eyelids moving the hand from the nose towards the ear.

Nose: Apply the ubatan with the thumb and forefinger of the right hand with downward strokes and after coming down, smell the ubatan. By the action of smelling the ubatan, its fragrance enters the airsacs of the lungs. This helps destroy the black energy covering generated there.

Around the mouth: Apply the ubatan from below the nose to your right side up to the chin. Then from the chin move to the left back to below the nose.

Cheeks: Starting from the centre of both the cheeks apply ubatan with the tip of the fingers in circular motion. Due to the application of ubatan, the distressing vibrations condensed in the voids inside the cheeks are activated and they are disintegrated there itself.

Earlobes: Apply ubatan with the thumb and fingers on both the earlobes.

Ears: Holding both the ears in hand apply ubatan by moving the thumbs from below upward.

Neck: Apply the ubatan by moving the fingers from the midline of back of the neck and along both the sides up to the Vishuddha-chakra in front.

The central portion between the chest and stomach: With the right palm apply ubatan on the mid-line of chest down to the navel. By doing this, the Kundalini chakras in the body are activated. Then place both the palms in such a way that the fingers of both the hands are on the central line of the chest. Then apply ubatan by moving both the hands simultaneously from above downwards.

Armpit to the waist: While applying ubatan from the armpit to the waist place the thumb towards the chest and the fingers below the armpit and move the hands from above downwards.

Legs and arms: With the fingers apply ubatan on the legs from above downwards. Similarly apply on the arms from above downwards.

Ankles: Apply ubatan by encircling the ankle with the thumb and the forefinger and then making circular movements.

Crown of the head: Apply oil on the crown and rub with the right hand in a clock-wise direction.

5. Ritual of massaging body with oil (tailabhyanga) and abhyangasnan

  • Rangoli is drawn around the short wooden seat.
  • Sitting on the seat, water is sipped from the palm and released (achaman).
  • Then breathing exercises (pranayam) are done.
  • After pranayama and remembering all Deities, mother and father, utterance of time and place is done.
  • Then resolve for tailabhyangasnan is made.
  • After the resolve, the eldest lady of the house first applies vermilion to the person sitting on the short wooden seat.
  • Then fragrant oil is applied to his body.
  • Then fragrant oil and ubatan are made into a paste and applied to the entire body.
  • Then arati is done.
  • While bathing, two mugs of lukewarm water are first poured on the body.
  • Then the person taking the bath moves a twig of the prickly chaff-flower plant (Apamarga) clockwise thrice around his body.
  • A prayer is offered to the prickly chaff-flower plant for obliteration of sins.

सीतालोष्‍ठसमायुक्‍त सकण्‍टकदलान्‍वित ।

हर पापमपामार्ग भ्राम्‍यमाण: पुन: पुन: ।। 

– धर्मसिंधु

‘Sitaloshta-samayukta sakantak-dalanvita |

Har papam-paamarga, Bhramya-maanaha punah punah ||’

– Dharmasindhu

(If the leaves of aghada or takada are not available, one can pray and recite the mantra.)

Meaning: O prickly chaff-flower plant, consisting of mud of tilled land, thorns and leaves; obliterate my sins. Those unable to recite this verse can pray by understanding the meaning.

5 A. Why is prickly chaff-flower plant moved around the body

The prickly chaff-flower plant bestows vital energy. The colour particles in the leaves have the capacity to generate Tej and the fragrance particles to complement Oxygen. Hence, it is customary to use this plant for auspicious bath. The raja-tama particles present in and out of the body of the person are destroyed by making a circle by moving the prickly chaff-flower plant around the body. The sattvik action aids in the obliteration of the person’s sin. Hence, prickly chaff-flower plant is called ‘destroyer of sins’ (papahari).

5 B. Effects of abhyangasnan after applying ubatan mixed with oil on the body

  • With the application of the ubatan with spiritual emotion (Bhav), spirals of Bhav are generated in the person to whom the ubatan is applied.
  • Energy in the form of the Absolute Fire (Tej) Principle is attracted towards the person by applying ubatan mixed with oil.
  • Spiral of this Energy is generated in the body.
  • Flows and particles of Energy spread in the body of the person through this spiral of Energy.
  • Black energy in the body of the person generated by mantriks, that is, powerful negative energies of Hell, is disintegrated.
  • Black covering formed on the body of the person is removed.
  • After starting the bath, pouring two mugs of warm water on body and making a circle around the body by the prickly chaff-flower, a protective sheath is generated around the body.
  • While bathing, a flow of Divine Principle is attracted in the body and its ripples are generated in the body.
  • A flow of Chaitanya is attracted in the bath water.
  • A spiral of this Chaitanya is generated in the water.
  • Through this spiral, a flow of Chaitanya in the form of the Absolute Water element is transmitted towards the body of the person.
  • A spiral of this Chaitanya is generated in the body of the person.
  • Flows of Chaitanya in the form of the Absolute Water element are emitted into the environment.
  • Particles of Chaitanya in the form of fragrance are spread in the environment.
  • While bathing, a flow of anand is attracted into the body of the person.
  • Spiral of anand is generated in the body of the person.

5 C. This subtle-process takes place in three steps

  • By applying oil to the body, particles of Energy spread in the body of the person through the skin pores.
  • By applying ubatan mixed with oil, vibrations of Energy are generated in higher proportion in the body of person.
  • By abhyangasnan, vibrations of Chaitanya are generated in a higher proportion and are also emitted into the atmosphere.

Thus, by abhyangasnan, 1% benefit of Divine principle, 1.25% of anand, 3% of chaitanya and 2% benefit of Energy is gained.

6. The scriptures have recommended abhyangasnan
on five days of the year

1. The commencement of the New Year (sanvatsar),

2. The first day of the celebrations of the Vasant (spring) season, that is the first day of the dark fortnight of the month of Phalgun,

3. The three days of Diwali, namely the fourteenth and the new moon day of the dark fortnight of the Hindu lunar month of ashwin and the first day of the bright fortnight of the month of Kartik.

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