KIRAN ATMA: Ashaucha
Showing posts with label Ashaucha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Ashaucha. Show all posts

Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Ashaucha?



The ritual impurity produced by contact with any source of pollution, which may take various forms, both physical and social, is referred to as Ashaucha. 


  • Purity and impurity are theological concepts that are fundamentally distinct from cleanliness and dirtiness, which are hygienic concepts. 
  • Cow dung, for example, is considered a clean material in traditional Hindu culture and is used to purify areas of land. 
  • It's also essential to understand that impurity is a normal part of life—everyone goes to the toilet every day, for example—and that being impure has no moral implications. 
  • Most body fluids are polluting, and any action that involves them, such as urine, feces, sexual activity, giving birth, or being born, makes one unclean. 
  • Contact with persons or objects considered unclean, such as individuals of lower social standing, animals, any kind of common dirt, or even road dust, may contaminate one's body. 



Social ties may also contribute to impurity. 


  • Because of the body fluids involved, the impurity from delivery (sutakashaucha) clearly affects the mother and child, but it also affects all other members of the immediate household. 
  • If a person has been exposed to anything harmful, the best treatment is to eliminate the source of pollution. 



Bathing with flowing water is the most frequent method of purification, since it eliminates less virulent pollutants by transporting them away with the water's flow. 


  • Bathing (snana) has the cleansing ability to serve as a precursor to many religious rites, one of which is meticulous cleanliness, both for the individual conducting the ritual and for the location where it is conducted. 


A body is the most polluting material of all, which is one reason why corpses are cremated on the day of death. 


  • The impurity of death (maranashaucha) is the most severe of all the impurities, and contact with a corpse has a ten-day effect on the whole family. 



Pauline Kolenda, “Purity and Pollution,” in T. N. Madan (ed. ), Religion in India, 1991, for further details.


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