As the mercury in thermometers is rising high this season all around in America, we need to think about ways how we can keep our skin and bodies cool and protect ourselves from the heat. We would like to introduce you to Gopichandan which has been used for thousands of years in India in religious rituals and also as a healing agent in Ayurveda.
The word Gopichandan (Silicate of Alumina) is derived from Gopi, a lake near Dwarka, Gujarat, India and Chandan means Sandalwood. It is a kind of clay, which is brayed in water and like Chandan, it is pure and powerful. It is of grayish brown color. The taste is earthy and peculiarly pure. When the water is poured upon it, it is absorbed quickly. This is a very pious clay and it is even mentioned in Vedas and Gargha Samhita.
The myth or story behind the Gopichandan is that gopis (Milkmaids or female cowherders) bathed in the lake and all the sandalwood, mascara, fragrant oils, and musk they had applied to adorn their beautiful, inspirational bodies washed off and settled at the bottom of the lake and merged with the clay of the lakebed. That clay mined from Gopi Lake is still used as Gopichandan and still carries the heavenly fragrance.
Hindus use Gopichandan to make Tilaka (Mark) on their forehead. It is mentioned in Padma Purana that by applying Gopichandan while performing fire ceremony or other religious rituals, one will get the full benefit of rituals, even if mantras are chanted without proper pronunciation or an error is made in the rituals. As per Hindu literature, by applying the tilak every day, you are marking your body as a temple, it purifies the body, and also acts as protection from evil influences, and bad energies.
Mruththike Dharayishyaami Bhaktyatwam Keshav priye|
Twaya Swapshto Gamishyaami Vishnu Lokam Gatha Sthavaa||
Meaning: Gopichandan, you are washing all our sins. You are born out of Lord Vishnu’s Deha (body). You are having the sign of Chakra. I bow down to you. Please bestow me moksha or spiritual liberation by wearing you.
You can apply Gopichandan paste in water on your forehead. The area between the eyebrows is a converging point of nerves or Anjana Chakra. So, applying Gopichandan on your forehead helps in cooling the nerves and relieving a headache caused because of excessive sun exposure or heat. It gives an instant cooling effect. You can also apply the paste on eyelids, throat chakra and other parts of the body, especially on your feet to decrease the vitiated Pitta of the body. It was also applied on the forehead and on chest combined with rose or lotus water in treatment of Manovaha Srotamsi (vitiated psychic channels) and for extreme headaches.
Gopichandan is an alternative option for Sandalwood and still way cheaper than Sandalwood.
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