References to amaroli have been found in many scriptural texts, some written over 5,000 years ago.
Amaroli is not a new innovation, but appears only to be experiencing a revival, perhaps in the face of growing concern about the identity crisis facing modern medicine today. We know that ship wrecked sailors and desert travelers have been able to survive drinking only urine, so there is evidence that it is not poisonous. Another interesting fact is that workers in many parts of the world, such as those of the Australian outback, have used urine on cuts and wounds as an antiseptic, to keep flies away and to stop bleeding. It is an Australian surf-lifesaving tradition to massage urine into blistered hands, after a hard row in the big surf.
We also know that Tibetans used urine. Milarepa, the great Tibetan yogi, is reported to have said:
At times when I feel thirsty, I drink pure blue water. At others I rely on my own secretions. Frequently I drink the flow from the Fountain of Compassion. Quite often I sip enchanting nectar of goddesses.*1
The fact that occasionally he would have to rely on his own secretions to survive in the harsh Tibetan wilderness is not really surprising, and this might be an allusion to the drinking of his own urine. Also, as part of the tantric tradition, Milarepa may have used amaroli as an adjunct to his sadhana for it is said to give psychic powers when combined with certain practices performed under a guru's guidance.
Urine consumption, is mentioned in the Jain scriptures. The Vyavahar Sutra by Acharya Bhadrabahu (Ch. 42) tells of special vows and sadhana called the Pratima. This entails solitude in a hermitage and fasting. The sadhaka is enjoined to drink all the urine he passes out during the day, every day.
The most ancient and perhaps the most complete source of information on the aspect of treatment is to be found in the Damara Tantra under the title of shivambu kalpa vidhi, 'the practice of using urine to regenerate the body'. This constitutes the first stage of amaroli, for physical health is a prerequisite to any spiritual practice. The Damara Tantra dates back to the Puranic age, some 5,000 years ago, and takes the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati. One of the best translations of this text can be found in Auto-Urine Cure by Karlekar.*2
The following represent some of the most important verses from this text:
Elsewhere in the text it describes the supernatural powers that are bestowed on people who use amaroli regularly for a long period of time.
Prof. Athawale, MA, Research Professor, B. J. Institute of Learning and Research, Ahmedabad, India, claims to have access to an ancient Sanskrit manuscript called the Shiva-Parvati Samvad. It has allegedly suffered damage in the course of time, and in the process of handing it down from generation to generation certain grammatical changes were made, yet the professor claims that the basic facts remain. In this text, Shiva tells Parvati about amaroli:
"Devi, listen to what I say: shivambu (urine) is a great purifier, it removes all the impurities from the body. Shivambu is a veritable nectar (amrit) churned out of one's own body."
"The pot which is to be used for collecting urine before oral consumption should first be cleansed with a piece of cloth. While cleaning the pot the following mantra should be uttered - astraya phut."*3
The text also gives another mantra to be recited seven times before urine is to be imbibed: Om, aim kreem amritodbhave amrita varshini, amrit am kuru no swaha.*4
The texts state that to attain fast results from amaroli, the urine should be taken three times a day - once in the early morning (first flow), a second time at noon, and for the third time in the evening (usually one hour before or after the evening meal). Midstream urine is to be used. One of the results of this use is that:
"By taking shivambu continually and regularly, a man or woman becomes sexually potent and the signs of old age (such as senility and loss of procreative power) are removed,"*5
Siddhar Tirumoolar in his book Tirumandiram (sl. 830) expounds pounds the science of amridharana, the acceptance of urine:
"Shivambu is medicine for the courageous. It is divine and - nectar, the gift of shakti, and imbues one with great strength. The God Nandi has told us about this. The great sages have said it is the basis of all medicines."
The Susruta Samhita, an ancient Indian ayurvedic text, describes the urinary tract in this way:
"The urinary tract constantly replenishes the bladder and keeps it moist with the waste products of the system in the same manner as rivers carry their contributions of water into the ocean. These ducts are found to take their origin from hundreds of any branches which are not visible to the naked eyes on account of their extremely attenuated structure. They carry, whether in the state of sleep or waking, the urine from below the region of the stomach into the bladder. The bladder is constantly filled with this important fluid of the body, just as a new clay pitcher, immersed up to its neck in a vessel full of water, is filled by transudation through its lateral pores" (SS II, 3-14)
The function of urine is given as follows.' "The urine fills the bladder and removes impurities of the body." (SS II, 15-16)
This is a very accurate description of the structure and function of the kidney. It raises the question of how these ancient seers knew of these things without the tools of modern science. The Susruta Samhita was derived from the Vedas, which are around 5,000 years old, and it was translated into Arabic, Greek, and other languages around the eighth century A.D. We can only assume that yogis developed their knowledge through a combination of meditative and intuitive experience and science as it was known in those days.
The intricate science of ayurveda accepts the use of urine as a medicine. The urines of different animals are sometimes prescribed for various internal and external conditions. Vaidya V. Vyas, MA, Ayurvedacharya and Professor in Podar Medical College (Ayurvedic), Bombay, has stated that amaroli is part of ayurveda.*6 He quoted the following verse: Sevitham tad rasayanam which he interprets as meaning that urine is rasayanam, that is, a beverage suitable for human consumption.
As tantra and yoga have begun to emerge from their long hibernation, some seemingly strange practices have been unearthed with them. Things have certainly changed in regard to culture and tradition, but perhaps we still have a psychological block to the use of amaroli or perhaps it is the lack of scientific evidence which keeps us from accepting and researching this ancient science. Perhaps it would be correct to assume that there is nothing at all in it. Only further investigation will tell.
*1. G. C. C. Chang, Milarepa in Ragma, The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, p.62, Boulder & London, 1977.
*2. R. V. Karlekar, Auto-Urine Cure, Shree Gajanan Book Depot, Bombay.
*3. Prof. Athawale, Shiv & Shivambu, Auto-Urine Therapy, vol.1, no. 4, July 1978.
*6. Prof. Vyas, Contradicts Himself, Auto-Urine Therapy, vol.I, no. 2, April 1978.