Why do age-old rituals persist? Some of them are baseless and are practiced with much resistance in the modern day world. Casteism still dictates those rituals which have no logic or relevance. Spit bath or Madey Snana is one such ritual. This is an ancient ritual which is practiced in the district of Karnataka.
What is Madey Snana?
Madey Snana in Tulu language means bathing in spit. Sounds disgusting. Imagine it is still followed at the Kukke Subramanya Swamy temple located in the village of Subramanya in Karnataka. It is conducted every year in the months of November -December. The ritual takes place during the Champa Shasti or the Subramanya Shasti. This same ritual is also followed in at the Sri Krishna temple in Udupi district. In this ritual person from the lower caste roll on the leftovers of the meal eaten by the higher caste Brahmins. Strange, but true. All in the name of getting rid of various ailments. Approximately last year almost close to 25,000 people rolled over the leftovers or the spit of the Brahmins. In modern society where medicine has only progressed to great heights, does such a ritual hold ground. Lower caste welfare organizations not only condemn this act but also appealed that if this treats ailments, all the medical colleges should be closed down.
Madey Snana is considered inhuman. However, there are staunch believers who support it and say that it has worked wonders for them. According to them, this particular ritual has nothing to do with the prevalent caste system. The purpose is to cure one of all the ailments. People recount how rolling over the leftover food has cured them of skin disease and also leprosy. It is believed that Lord Krishnas son Samba got rid of leprosy by following this ritual. This is mentioned in the Skanda Purana. However, Activists hold a totally different point of view. According to their research, the shrine where the ritual is conducted was a snake pit. It is believed that the mud from the snake pit has healing property. As time progressed the upper caste dominated and made it suit their advantage.
In today’s advanced and modern society such a ritual is still followed, is unbelievable. The debate that is should be discontinued still follows. A stop to this ritual is possible only if people agree not to follow it. Progressive leaders have criticised it. It is not easy to convince the followers of Madey Snana. There are cases where people have objected and have been beaten up by the followers. It will take a while for people to get convinced.
Featured Photo by Swami Stream