I started telling you about our strange and funny experiences with Ashram guests and would like to add one more. This one is about a special form of therapy, urine therapy. Well, it is actually about a very special form of therapy, a special variation of urine therapy. But let me start at the beginning.
It was in spring, Indian spring, some years ago and we were offering our retreats as usual. There was an Ayurvedic Cooking Retreat of several weeks and Yashendu was in the kitchen to teach and cook twice a day. The participant was an elderly lady from France. She was a much-travelled woman who liked cooking but actually preferred raw fruit and vegetables. She enjoyed learning how to cook Ayurvedic food though and tasted every dish that she had prepared. She had asked us for empty water bottles and some cloth though because she wanted to make her own sprouts in her room.
Of course we provided her with all she needed. When, after some time, we perceived a funny smell from her room, we thus thought that something with her sprouting must have gotten bad. That was not the case however and it just started getting more and more stinky in front of her room, so bad that we were thinking something must have broken within the drainage system or that a mouse may have died somewhere. When we asked her about the state of her bathroom or any such smell though, she said everything was fine in her room! She insisted on cleaning her room on her own when we offered to send someone to sweep and wipe the floor.
It was another guest of the Ashram who, hearing our concern about the smell, took one of us aside and revealed a secret that this lady had kept to herself, knowing that people might not react too well on it: she was doing urine therapy. So what, you may ask, and we did the same. I would never drink my own pee but if people like doing it, I don’t really mind. No, she was not only drinking her urine – she was showering with it, too!
(I give you a break so that you can fully process this beautiful piece of information)
Yes, she did not, in the weeks that she spent with us, shower even once with water or soap. She had oil massages but did not use water to wash off the oil. Instead, she used her own pee and sat out in the sun to let it dry.
She collected her urine – obviously, otherwise it wouldn’t be enough – and whenever it was enough, she showered herself with it. The collection was the problem, as it obviously created a bad smell that was now slowly leaving the room!
Oh, you cannot imagine what kinds of thoughts you get when you hear that you have spent weeks in close touch with this woman, not knowing that she never showered but worse, poured her own pee over herself! You wonder whether she ever washed her hands with water and think about what she touched or whether you touched her! Yashendu remembered that he had once shortly been in her room and accidentally knocked over a mug of what he thought to be water – but had it really been water?
Thankfully, her stay was already about to end. This was definitely one of our most memorable guests – and not really in a good way.