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Author Topic: Miasma  (Read 3880 times)
veggiewolf
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Religion: Hoer of Onions / FlameKeeper
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« Reply #8: October 31, 2010, 09:25:28 pm »

On the topic of Hinduism, I have read about a pilgrimage to a deity that involves bathing in a sacred river to purify oneself before going to the temple. The thing is, part of the preparation involves emptying oneself, so the banks of the river are saturated with human excrement, and the author describes how after his ritual bath in the river, he combed human feces out of his hair. This relates to Mary Douglas' work, as it shows that something can be filthy and disgusting while still being spiritually "pure".

The Hindu Brahmin caste has interesting concepts of ritual pollution. For example, like in ancient Greece, sexual intercourse caused pollution. Most pollution can be removed through bathing and purification, except sexual intercourse, which not even bathing could purify. The same probably goes for death, bathing is not enough, a certain amount of time has to pass before one is ritually pure again.

I am watching a show on NatGeo about prostitution and noted that the concept of pollution vs. purity is applied to prostitutes, even when the women are sold into it.  The pollution is considered to apply not only to them, but to their children and to the vicinity in which they are found.  The example location was Dauladtia, which is a sex slum in Bangladesh.

I mention this, in this topic, because the concept of pollution when one has no control over it and is, in fact, doomed to it without chance of purity seems rather imprisoning.   Even when a woman buys her freedom, no one will hire her and she cannot quit prostitution.

How can there be a condition of eternal pollution without chance of regaining purity...if one is not polluted of his/her free will?
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