Instructions on Vaisnava Etiquette and Protocol, Part Two
BY: SUN STAFF
Photographs by William Gedney, c.
Oct 09, 2012 CANADA (SUN) A serial presentation of excerpts from 'Hari Bhakti Vilasa'.
Vaisnava Personal Hygiene
At the time of getting up in the morning, one should say: "O Original Personality of Godhead! O consciousness of all three worlds! O Lord of Laxmi! O Vishnu! According to your order I am getting up in the morning so that I can become engaged throughout the day in activities for Your pleasure."
The Padma Purana states: "O Brahmana! For the sake of My pleasure, My devotee will put on tilak with a steady mind every morning and evening, and during My worship and fire sacrifice. Tilak brings auspiciousness, protects one from danger and destroys fear. Therefore one should always wear tilak."
The Skanda Purana says that if one performs sacrifice, offers charity, performs austerities, fire sacrifices or reads the Vedas without wearing tilak, all his activities go in vain.
The Padma Purana mentions that one should not see the face of someone who does not wear tilak. If this happens, he should purify himself by looking at the sun.
He who wears tilak marked with clay, even a candala is a pure soul and worshipable; there is no doubt about that. Lord Narayana along with Laxmi Devi is seated in the beautiful space inside the tilak. Therefore, the body of those who wear tilak is the sacred temple of the Lord. When a person performs sacrifice, charity, austerity, japa, etc., all his pious activities become imperishable.
The Brahmanda Purana says that whether one is impure, devoid of proper etiquette or commiting sinful activities in his mind, if he wears tilak he always remains pure.
The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: "It does not matter where a person who wears tilak dies. Even if he is a candala, he goes to My abode riding on a space ship and becomes worshipped there."
The Lord also said: "When a person wearing tilak eats in somebody's house, I deliver twenty generations of his host from hell."
One must apply clay from the base of the nose (between the eyebrows) to the top of the forehead. 3/4 of the upper part of the nose should be covered with tilak in a leaf-like shape and the cavity of the tilak should start from the base of the eyebrows. The Padma Purana says that one should not draw tilak with anything other than the finger.
The lowest of the brahmanas who marks the tilak without making a space in the middle drives Vishnu and Laxmi away from there.
The Padma Purana quotes Maharsi Gautama: "Oh Maharaja Ambarish! In order to become free from the greatest of sinful activities just behold the person who wears tilak with gopi-chandan."
According to Kashi Kunda, Yamaraja said: "Oh my messengers! Listen carefully. When you see someone with tilak made of gopi-candan on the forehead, reject him like blazing fire."
One should not wear cloth or kaupin that has not been washed, washed by a washerman or is dirty. One should never wear wet cloth. (If the cloth has been washed by a washerman, it should be washed with water again).
One should not wear only one piece of cloth while eating or worshipping but should wear a chaddar along with his dhoti.
Householders should always wear white cloth.
Woollen cloth is purified by air, fire, sun-rays or moon-rays. A blanket made of wool does not become contaminated even by contact with semen or a dead body.
A woollen cloth remains pure in all condition; silk becomes contaminated when one passes stool while wearing it; a cotton cloth becomes impure as soon as one takes it off one's waist; it becomes purified by washing.
One should not wear stitched cloth, torn or burnt cloth or somebody else's cloth while engaged in the service of the Deity. Woolen cloth is pure under all circumstances. Fire, a brahmana, kusha grass and woolen cloth are the four things that Brahma did not make impure.
One must take bath with the water from a river, pond, lake or a fountain. One can also take his bath by pulling water from a well.
If one eats without taking bath, he eats stool. He who does not take bath is sinful and always impure; after suffering in hell he takes birth in a low class family like the pukkashas.
The great sage Daksha instructed as follows: "A brahmacari should take bath only once - in the morning, a vanaprastha and a grihastha should take bath in the morning and at noon, and a sannyasi should take bath in the morning, at noon and in the evening. If one is unable to do so because of sickness or scarcity of water, then one must take bath at least once; if one is unable to do even that, he can bathe himself with mantra."
The Kurma Purana mentions that even a sinful person becomes purified by taking bath in the morning. One should therefore take bath very carefully in the morning.
The Padma Purana says that an early morning bath purifies the internal and external impurities of a person. One who takes bath early in the morning becomes sinless and doesn't go to hell.
The great sage Daksha said: "If, due to sickness or any other reason, one is unable to take bath, one can dip himself up to his neck in water. That will be also considered as a bath; if one is unable to do even that he can sponge his body with wet cloth or rub his body with wet hands."
The Atri Smriti says that when one takes bath his mind becomes joyful, demigods stand in front of him, and health, piety, fame knowledge, good fortune, opulence, and happiness are achieved. As a result of an early morning bath, all sinful reactions, misfortune, anxiety, misery and lamentation disappear.
The Manu Samhita says that one should not take a hot water bath on the full moon and new moon days.
One should not smear oil on his body during the early morning bath, on the days of vow, on the days of fasting and on the days of sraddhya.
One should not pass urine and stool after smearing his body with oil.
There are seven kinds of bath: mantra, partiva, agnia, barupia, dupia, varun and manasa.
When one puts water on his head by chanting mantra, that is called mantra snan.
When one touches sacred soil like that of Ganges and uses it as tilak, that is known as earthly bath.
When purified ash is smeared on the body that is called fiery bath.
When one applies the dust that flies from the hoves of the cows, that is called aerial bath.
When it rains in sunshine, taking bath in that rain is called celestial bath.
When one takes bath in a river or a reservoir of water, that is called watery bath.
When one remembers Vishnu and meditates upon Him, his body becomes purified. It is called a mental bath.
The sages have confirmed that of all kinds of baths, a mental bath is the best because just by remembering Shri Vishnu, one becomes purified both internally and externally.
Rules and Regulations for Passing
One should not pass stool and urine in front of his shadow or in the shadow of a tree. In front of a cow, the sun, fire, air, the spiritual master and the brahmanas. Also one should not pass in a plowed field, in a field where grains are growing, in a pasturing ground, in the middle of the road, in a river and at holy places, in or by the water or in a crematorium.
A learned man will pass stool and urine facing north during the day and south at night. He should cover the land with straw and his head with cloth. He should not talk at the time of passing urine and stool.
The Kurma Purana mentions that at the time of passing stool and urine, a brahmana should place his brahmin thread on his right ear and, covering his head with cloth, pass urine and stool facing north.
One must untie his kaupin at the time of passing urine. One must wash his eyes and then brush his teeth remembering the mantra with a steady mind upon getting up from his bed. One must brush his teeth before the sun rise.
In the Varaha Purana the Lord says: "He who worships Me without brushing his teeth destroys all his pious activities by this one action."
The Smirti Sastra mentions that a twig from a thorny tree is considered sacred when used as a tooth brush, a twig from a juicy tree increases the duration of life and a pungent, bitter or astringent twig cures one from disease and increases strength, wealth and happiness.
One should not brush his teeth on the days of fasting and on days when sraddhya ceremonies are performed. One must not brush his teeth on Ekadashi and new moon days.
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