Amit Varma is a writer based in Mumbai. He worked in journalism for over a decade, and won the Bastiat Prize for Journalism in 2007. His bestselling novel, My Friend Sancho, was published in 2009. He is best known for his blog, India Uncut. His current project is a non-fiction book about the lack of personal and economic freedoms in post-Independence India.
Sunil Laxman points me, in a discussion on an email group I’m part of, to the Aryan Code Of Toilets, as prescribed in Manusmriti Vishnupuran. Delightful stuff, especially if one has loose motions and there’s no time for the mantra one is supposed to chant before one, um, finds relief. And the post-toilet routine is also interesting. For example:
* After defecation the “Linga” (generative organ) is to be washed once, “Guda” (anus) to be washed three times, the left hand to be washed ten times, and the right hand seven times, and both the feet to be cleaned with earth and water three times.
* After defecation the water pot was to be held in the right hand and was to be used for cleaning.
* The “Linga” was to be rubbed once with earth and the “Guda” rubbed three times with earth. Then both washed with water. This was to ensure that there is no odour left in the body.
* After this one should pick up water with right hand. One was advised to pick-up fist full of earth. This was to be divided in three parts. With the first part it was laid down that the left hand be cleaned 10 times and the right was to be cleaned with the second part 7 times. The third part was to be used to clean three times the water utensil.
Magnificently elaborate. But I suspect generations of good Aryan boys got a bit carried away by the ritual. They washed the Linga once, and they rubbed it with earth once—and it felt, um, good, so they rinsed and repeated.
And to prove that we are a virtuous, traditional society, they do it to this day.
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