Amaroli - Pros and Cons

It is important to remain sceptical at first in order to view the subject with a broad and balanced perspective.

What is Amaroli?

Amaroli is a yogic technique which involves the use of urine in order to fulfil the conditions for perfection in vajroli. In recent years it has been used to cure disease and promote optimum well-being and health. To achieve this, urine can be used in the following ways: either drunk, massaged into the body, or in packs placed on the affected body part.

For drinking, midstream urine is used, though some therapists recommend drinking every drop. Midstream urine is the middle part of the flow, the first and last portions being discarded. It can be taken first thing in the morning, as the urine obtained on arising is said to be the most potent. It may also be used in conjunction with fasts, although there are special rules governing the latter procedure in relation to speed of intake, diet and so on.

For massage and poultices old or heated urine is used, though fresh urine can also be used externally in certain cases. Compresses can be applied to the local site of trouble, the cloth being kept moist with repeated applications of urine. Clay packs, enemas, fomentations and steam baths can also utilize urine.

Objections to Amaroli

There are many arguments for and against the use of the above techniques. Those for it say that urine is a natural substance, a gift of God, economical and easy to use. Those against state that urine is a waste product, foul smelling and tasting, unclean and therefore harmful. So, between these two viewpoints, it is necessary to find some sort of balance, and a direction in which to research the truth about amaroli in all its aspects.

Most people have not even heard about amaroli, let alone developed feelings for or against it. For many of us, urine is a liquid which we pass several times a day and occasionally at night. It is disposed of and not another thought is given to it. If someone were to suggest to these people that urine could be used with considerable success in the cure of serious disease, they would probably laugh or be shocked into disgust. The idea appears ludicrous to a society that has never entertained such a thought, but this is exactly what some people are suggesting.

In opposition to this technique, a myriad of arguments have been tendered which offer a balance, an opposing view from which to gain a better perspective. They are usually tinged with the necessary scepticism required to have a healthy, open and honest approach to amaroli. Some of these objections are:

If urine is so beneficial, why is man not born with an instinct to drink his own urine?

People who feel abhorrence for drinking their urine usually ask this question. To such people, it is beyond doubt that urine is foul, and the thought of drinking it is unbelievable. Those who are pro-amaroli counter this argument by asking whether it is natural to smoke and to drink alcohol. They state that we live in an unnatural society, full of neurosis, out of contact with natural harmonies and cycles, and confused about what is right and wrong. For example, most people think that soil is dirt, but soil is life-giving whereas dirt is life-destroying.

Urine is waste and a poison, so how can we take it back into our bodies?

This view is based on the idea that urine is a poison, and no more to be put in the mouth than arsenic. However, numerous case histories and various stories of people surviving emergencies with urine as their only water supply, point to the fact that urine is not as poisonous as we think. Wastes are definitely thrown out, the excesses or leftovers are disposed of, but this does not necessarily mean that they are poisons. Some supporters also argue that fertilizer is a waste, but it makes plants thrive. Urine might do the same for people. Advocates of amaroli, however, still have to prove that it is not harmful with long term use.

For those who argue that urine is a poison, the reply is given that many of the most effective medicines for serious disease are deadly poisons if used incorrectly. However, when used in the right way, according to the doctor's formula, they are life savers. In the same way 'good' things such as delicious foods can be poisonous if misused, causing us problems in the form of diabetes, indigestion, heart disease and so on.

At the psychological level, many of us feel revulsion when we touch urine. In society, everything is suspected of being unclean. We are taught that certain things are dirty and it is possible to become excessively self-conscious. This has been carried to the ridiculous extreme, where people use mouthwash to kill off the 'germs' that cause bad breath and only succeed in changing the flora in their mouths from healthy to unhealthy bacteria, thus causing more problems. It is reasonable to protect the body from disease and dirt, but anxiety and excess fear of dirt are neurotic. Similar phobias also apply to urine.

Urine has a bad taste and odour

This is especially true with high protein diets. Meat breaks down to urea and many nitrogenous products which decompose to ammonia, giving urine its typical and offensive odour. Diet is the most important factor in the taste and smell of urine. A person who eats too much sugar will have sweetish urine, and so on. A vegetarian on a low protein diet will produce relatively tasteless and clear urine, which is said to taste quite pleasant, perhaps like a mild soup. The urine produced during sickness may have an unpleasant taste. For example, fevers produce a highly concentrated urine, which may initially be unpleasant to drink. This can be remedied by drinking more water. Urine will lose its bad taste when more fluids circulate through the body and when health improves.

Just because urine comes from the lingam, traditionally associated with Lord Shiva, this does not make it holy.

In India the lingam is worshipped as a symbol of Lord Shiva, the highest consciousness. Thus amaroli was thought to be under the auspices of Lord Shiva and is often called shivambu - the ambu (water) of Shiva. As Shiva is Lord of Yogis, urine used in sadhana was supposed to help in making yogic practice more successful.

To those not versed in yoga, this may sound hard to believe, but the yogis said that, as urine purifies, it makes the body healthier and better able to practice sadhana. For example, we have heard of a Swiss mountaineering expedition to the Himalayas whose members practiced pranayama. Consequently, they did not need oxygen masks even at high altitudes. They were also reputed to have carried concentrated extracts of urine in order to provide extra stamina.

Those without experience talk the loudest

The claims of those people who have actually used urine in therapy or other personal experiments lead us to believe that there may be something to amaroli, whereas much of the opposition to this technique comes from those who have never given it a practical trial. To date, the reports on amaroli have all been good. No one has yet published any negative or harmful effects from urine consumption.