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How And When To Perform Oil Bath As Per Hindu Religion?

Most Hindu religious acts can be performed only after bathing. Here is a look at how and when to perform oil bath as per the scriptures in Hindu religion. The ritual oil bath is known as Abhyanga Snan or Abhyanjana Snanam.

Bathing cleans the body and removes tiredness. Ayurveda texts like Ashtanga Hridaya, Charaka Samhita, etc., prescribe the kind of oils to be used in accordance with one’s physical condition and for certain ailments. Bathing with special ingredients like madhuka and amalaka helps remove certain afflictions. Dharmasutras and Smritis prescribe different kinds of snanas viz., with mud, flowers, kusha grass etc.

According to Hindu scriptures, bathing before sunrise has many good effects. Bathing, after applying oil, helps the removal of dirt from one’s body, and also has a cooling effect. The texts also suggest that one should not sleep during daytime or walk in the hot sun especially after an oil bath. After oil has been applied on the head and the body, bathing with warm water is advised. An oil bath should be had after sunrise.

However, an oil bath should be avoided on tritiya, panchami, dashami, ekadashi, trayodashi and purnima (in a lunar fortnight, the third, fifth, tenth, eleventh, thirteenth day and the full moon day). Harita Smriti says that if one fails to do this, one may lose one’s wealth, health, strength, length of life and one’s good fortune. Lawgivers are, however, no unanimous on the days when an oil bath is to be avoided. In astrological texts, some days of the week are prohibited for oil-bath, especially, Sundays and Tuesdays.

However, mustard oil, scented oil, oils flavored with flowers or any other material can be used any time. Tuesdays and Fridays are especially recommended for women. Thus, an oil bath has been given importance by Smritis, Ayurveda and astrological works, having the status of ritual ablution. But one has to observe the practice with necessary care.