Achamanam means sipping drops of water thrice with mantras for purifying you and making you eligible to perform all your religious rights and duties.
Manusmriti 2.61 says :
शौच ईप्सु: सर्वदा आचमॆद् एकन्तॆ प्राग्-उदन्ग्-मुख: ||
shoucha Ipsu: sarvadA aachamEd ekantE praag-udang-mukha:
One who seeks purity should always perform Achamanam quietly facing East or North.
One who has received the sacred thread in the upanayana samskAra should do Achamanam.
Achamanam is performed for external as well as for internal purification.
अच्युत अनन्त गोविन्द नाम उच्चारण भॆशजात्न स्यन्ति सकला रॊगा: सत्यम् सत्यम् वदाम्यहम् |
achyuta anantaa gOvinda naama uchchaaraNa bhEshajaat nasyanti sakalaa rOgaa: satyam satyam vadaamyaham.
He should sip water 3 times saying achyuta, ananta, gOvinda respectively.
The uttering of three names of the Lord namely achutya, ananta and gOvinda relieves us from all diseases.
When should we do Achamanam? And How many times?
Once after brushing your teeth, twice after relieving your bladder and thrice after cleaning your bowels.
Once before bath and twice after bath. Same for drinking water/liquids and eating hard foods.
Twice before and after eating meals.
Twice before all religious duties and rites (nitya karma) like japa, havan/homa, sandhya prayers, archana, giving charity and receiving charity(dAnA) and once after all these.
YAgyavalkya smRiti, Chapter 1, verses 18 and 19
1.अन्तर्जानु: शुचौ देशे उपविष्ट उदङ्मुख: । प्राग्वा ब्राह्मेण तीर्थेन द्विजो नित्यमुपस्पृशेत् ॥
Daily, a dvija should rinse his mouth (Achamanam) in a clean place; facing east or north; sitting and placing his hands between the two knee joints. (like in kukkutAsanam). He should sip water through the brahma-teertha part of his hands.
2.कनिष्ठादेशिन्यङ्गुष्ठमूलान्यग्रं करस्य च। प्रजापतिपितृब्रह्मदेवतीर्थान्यनुक्रमात् ।।
The base of the little finger is called prajApati teertha or Rushi teertha. The base central tip of the palm is called the brahma teertha, between the base of the forefinger and the thumb is called the pitRu teertha and the four finger tips are called deva teertha.
3. He should take some water from the panchapaatram or a kalash, with a spoon and pour it into his palm. Sip water 3 times saying achyuta, ananta, gOvinda respectively through the brahma teertham part.
4. त्रि: प्राश्यापो द्विरुन्मृज्य खान्यद्भि:समुपस्पृशेत्.
After drinking water thrice from the brahma teertham, one should wipe his lips with his thumb twice. Kindly click on “My Achamanam” to view your personalised procedure.
- Achamanam need not be done before or after consuming prasAd, fruits, honey, leaves like tulsi, sugar cane, aromatic herbs like ilaichi, lavang, kesar and sesame (til).
- Achamanam is not done with sea water or rain water.
- Achamanam in rivers :In this case one can do Achamanam in standing posture but the left hand should touch the water. If you want to sit and do, then the right leg should be on the bank of the river and the left leg in the water. The left hand should touch the water while you do Achamanam.
- If water is not available or if you are not in a position to do Achamanam in the prescribed manner, then “shrOtrAchamanam” can be done. Chant praNava mantra “Om”, then first touch the tip of the nose with your right hand fingers and then touch the right ear. This is called “shrOtrAchamanam”. According to scriptures “Lord Agni” resides in the tip of a Brahmin’s nose and holy waters like the “Ganges” reside in his right ear.
- No time to do yoga?…Do Achamanam..The kukkutAsanA strengthens your joints and back.
- It also strengthens the abdominal walls and helps digestion.
- Most importantly it is a wonderful mind focus exercise.
- Sipping water in this posture after uttering the Lords’ names will purify you externally and internally.