You Know You Have Faith When...
You imbibe and bathe in cow urine
Purification rites took many an hour of Hindu life, for fears of pollution were as frequent in Indian religion as in modern hygiene. At any moment the Hindu might be made unclean--by improper food, by offal, by the touch of a Shudra, an Outcaste, a corpse, a menstruating woman, or in a hundred other ways. The woman herself, of course, was defiled by menstruation or childbirth; Brahmanical law required isolation in such cases, and complex hygienic precautions. After all such pollutions--or, as we should say, possible infections--the Hindu had to undergo ritual purification: in minor cases by such simple ceremonies as being sprinkled with holy water; in major cases by more complicated methods, culminating in the terrible Panchagavia. This purification was decreed as punishment for violating important caste laws (e.g., for leaving India), and consisted in drinking a mixture of "five substances" from the sacred cow: milk, curds, ghee, urine and dung.*
POSTED BY THE GENERAL AT 2:23 AM
Will Durant, Our Oriental Heritage, pg. 521
* Ghee is clarified butter. Urine, says the Abbe Dubois (1820), "is looked upon as most efficacious for purifying any kind of uncleanness. I have often seen superstitious Hindus following the cows to pasture, waiting for the moment when they could collect the precious liquid in vessels of brass, and carrying it away while still warm to their houses. I have also seen them waiting to catch it in the hollow of their hands, drinking some of it and rubbing their faces and heads with the rest."