Magha Maasa (Magha month), the eleventh month of Hindu calendar, is considered to be an auspicious month which is apt for holy and pious activities. It is clearly mentioned in our Puranas (Padma Purana) that this Magha Snana (bath) holds great importance in Hindu religion. It is believed to please Lord Krishna, and it does so more strongly than observing vows, austerity and charity. However, there are many stories associated with this month.
This auspicious Magha Snana starts from Pausa Purnima and ends on Magha Purnima.
It is considered extremely auspicious to observe Magha Vrata (fast) during Magha month to please gods. There are many gods associated with this pious Snana. Some believe that Sun God, Lord Shiva in Shivlinga form and Saraswati, the Goddess of knowledge, were born in this month. Many people believe and even Puranas explain that this Snana pleases Lord Krishna. It is believed that demigods place their powers in water which gives water a lot of potential and powers to destroy any amount of sin. In Hindu religion, this Snana is deemed so important that in Puranas it is explained that “Human body is useless without Magha Snana.”
Rituals and Celebrations
For many religious people in India, it is a ritual to visit Teerth sthaans (religious places) on the occasion of Magha Snana in order to bathe in holy water to get rid of their sins and start life afresh on a positive note. On this day, people worship Suryadev or Sungod and offer til (Sesame seeds) and gur (jaggery) to brahmanas. Earthen lamps are also lit with ghee (clarified butter) in homes and temples.
It is advised to take bath every day during Magha Month before sunrise or between 6 am to 8.30 am, preferably in a pond, lake, kunda, or river. However, taking bath in holy waters of Ganga river is considered to be most pious, and gives benefits 1000 times more. Similarly, by taking bath in Triveni, it is said that one gets one lac times the benefits.
It is believed that every step one takes to go outside for bathing cancels your sins and pleases Yama and Krishna. On this day, bathing in natural water bodies or a mud puddle gets you Mukti. Put clay on your head before bath. Brahmanas should remember the names of Hari, Madhava, Vasudeva,Visnu and Suryadev.
For people who cannot go to natural water bodies everyday to take Magha Snana or bath, there is a specific way of bathing at home. Set a bucket outside in the open air overnight, bring it inside the next morning and bathe. Add a drop of Ganga, Yamuna or Radhakunda water to it. This equals bathing in a holy place. Such a bath endows you with all desirable objects.
Recital of mantra while taking bath is a very important ritual of Magha Snana. The mantra is:
“makaraste ravau magha
govinda acyuta madhava
snanenanena me deva
yathokta phalado bhava”
“O Acyuta, O Govinda, O Madhava! I bathe in the month of Magha when the sun travels to the Makara Rasi. O Lord, kindly endow me with the appropriate fruit of this vow!”
Puranas explain that all the sins committed knowingly or unknowingly, are destroyed just by taking Magha Snana
. The people who observe fast must follow complete celibacy and renounce desires of all senses. One should eat only once a day and that too Satvik food that you should cook yourself. No gifts should be accepted during this month. On Magha Purnima, offer food to brahmanas, give charity and break your fast.
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