From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia
By Swami Harshananda
Mānasa-snāna literally means ‘mental bath’.
Before the performance of any ritualistic act, taking snāna or a bath is compulsory. However, sometimes due to some valid reasons like illness, decrepitude (due to old-age) or non-availability of facilities to take bath, it is not possible to fulfill this requirement. Under such circumstances, the dharmaśāstras have provided some alternatives like mantra- snāna and mānasa-snāna.
- In mantrasnāna one has to sprinkle a little water on the head with the repetition of the mantra ‘āpo hi ṣṭhā mayo bhuvah....’
- In mānasa-snāna, one has simply repeat in the mind any name of Lord Viṣṇu and feel that he has been purified by that divine name.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore