Can salt water heal us? Read on to find out:

In the winter of 1995, when I was fourteen, my extended family of thirty people — cousins and friends — went on a vacation, a road trip to Goa. As one can imagine, the gang of parents and children was a place to party. The music on the loudspeakers blasted old songs and, like a jukebox, played peoples’ favourite music. We played antakshari and cards, danced and sang. The place filled with laughter and fun. Yet, I don’t remember most of that.

However, I remember this boy, whose name I didn’t know, accompanying us on our journey in the minivan. He was my mother’s friend’s son. He was tall at five feet six, lean built, with thick, black, curly hair. He spoke with a good command of the language. I tried to look pretty and cute, talk intelligently and appear smart. He was polite to the elders and friendly to the younger ones, such as me. He had a great sense of humour, and I was utterly smitten. I could think of doing nothing else but impress him.

The journey of 12 hours looked never ending and after a tiring day, my younger sister, Monu, and I got a chance to share the window seat. Sitting by the window and looking out, I held my breath in amazement. I saw a blue body of water stretching as far as the eye could take me; to the horizon’s curvature where the sky and water merged as one, the deep-blue sky reflected upon it, the sun’s rays lighting up the water, like glitter sprinkled on it.  This Arabian sea that I had only heard and read about was real. I could not wait to touch the water and walk bare-feet on the sands of the sea, forgetting momentarily about my crush.

As we drove along, I saw birds flying, perhaps migrating down South for warmer summers. The sun was setting, and we saw the big orange ball of fire dip into the waters, leaving us the last drop of the sun as a speck on the water. For a moment, I forgot about everyone and everything else until we reached our resort, tired, hungry, and sleepy. The ocean will have to wait for me until tomorrow when the sun came up again.

I was excited the next morning. We were to go to the beach, and I would get a chance to see my crush, and maybe even get to know him! My mother laid out the clothes for us; two pairs of shorts for me and Monu dear — a plain brown couple and a pink floral team. I knew I would choose the pink floral shorts I had an eye on, but before I could take them, my sister grabbed them.

Despite my protests, my mother decided that since my sister was younger, she should take it. I was mad. But how to tell my mother that I had a good reason to choose the prettier pair of shorts, which was to look cute to impress a boy?

Despite complying with my mother, I couldn’t get over that I was wearing something as unappealing as a plain pair of brown shorts. To add to my agony, everyone at the breakfast table complimented my sister in her cute pink shorts!  

I sat in my room sulking, upset with my parents for giving my sister the pink floral shorts, while I could see my friends and cousins from my balcony, splashing water and having fun in the glorious Arabian sea that I so longed to be near.

My aunt came to the room to get me, and I was sure my mother told her something about my fretting and probably asked her to bring me down.  “You look very cute in your white top,” she said, wiping the tears off my face. I was still convinced I would get some attention and make the boy my friend if only I wore those shorts instead of my sister. Surprisingly though, aunty’s compliment took me out of my head. I reluctantly agreed to go with her as she led me to the sea and pulled me into the crashing waves of the ocean.  

The gentle waves washed over us repeatedly, first my feet and then thoroughly as I walked further in, dipping myself completely.  I felt mother nature bathing us selflessly, her soothing caress reminding me how much I was loved and cared for. Each time I made contact with an ocean wave, I forgot the anger towards my mother and jealousy I had felt towards my sister and all about the pink pair of shorts.

No sooner, we sisters were splashing salt water at each other. The waves washing us along the shore was something I had never experienced. Later, we made merry playing games organised by elders and had dinner, an elaborate five-star buffet spread. The day ended as it generally does. We, the sisters, tucked in the same bed, sleeping in the comfort and company of each other. It so happened that my sister shared the pink floral shorts with me on the trip, and I did show off in front of my crush, who soon became our friend.

Later, I wondered what made me jump moods quickly from a bad one to a good one. What was it about the water that made me forget my anger and jealousy, sadness, and loss? After much introspection, I realised that it was the salty water of the sea that washed away my blues.

Later in my career, Monu introduced me to Pranic healing, a type of energy healing. There is a unique technique where we apply salt for three minutes at the joints, stomach, back, etc. (not on the face and hair 🙂 ) and pour plain water to rinse away the salt. As one does this, one says, “I am doing so to clean my aura” and imagines black smoke coming out of the body —this is salt water bath, which keeps one rejuvenated for the entire day and cleanses negative auras.

Over the years, I have realised the value of this. On occasions after a site visit, I come home and take a salt water bath which makes me feel cleansed not just in the physical body but also in the energy body.

It may be noted that the river Ganges flows down from many rock salt mountains with minerals, which makes it energetic, and after a plunge in it, we feel refreshed, as though our sins have been washed away.

Sages use a famous verse*

Gangge Ca Yamune Cai[a-E]va Godaavari Sarasvati |
Narmade Sindhu Kaaveri Jale-[A]smin Sannidhim Kuru ||

Meaning:
1: O Holy Rivers Ganga and Yamuna, and also Godavari and Saraswati,
2: O Holy Rivers Narmada, Sindhu, and Kaveri; Please be present in this water (and make it Holy).

My Guru advises us to chant this verse in a kalash, and pour it as a final ritual after bath as our nitya karma, which I do each day. I don’t use the kalash but fill my hands with water and chant by looking at the water.

*Reference — Green Message

Take a salt water bath today to wash away your blues.

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Dr.Jayshree OM

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