Arguably, one of the most important inventions in human history is the modern Toilet. The Toilet as we know it today had very humble, and inadequate, beginnings.
When early Man needed to defecate and/or urinate, he simply performed this basic bodily function wherever it was most convenient. Such impromptu actions had many negative ramifications.
As we can imagine and maybe even experienced at some point; relieving oneself anywhere and anytime posed basic concerns/problems of privacy, comfort, cleanliness, social stigmatism, morality and more.
Eventually, as Man became more civilized he adopted more progressive and healthy means of performing his basic bodily functions. He used simple pots to collect his waste in order to dispose of it away from his living area. He quickly set aside specific places to perform these functions so that privacy and a more sanitary environment could be accomplished. Such crude early “restrooms” usually consisted of holes in the ground, sometimes accompanied my running water, to collect and dispose of his waste. From a privacy point of view, these early rooms were walled off to allow the user more privacy.
Flowing water greatly improved the disposal of human waste. As early civilizations matured, formal waste areas using flowing water became more available and helped dramatically in improving Man’s waste disposal problem in many ways not the least of which helped reduce diseases.
History point of view
Ancient Indian civilizations like Moheno-daro and Harappa that implemented early toilet systems attached to flowing water sewage systems, almost every home had a flush toilet, connected to a sophisticated sewage system and then they coneverted these system to vaccum flush system.
So, We can imagine how enough mature were those civilizations.
In the remains of Harappan civilisation in India, at a place called Lothal (62 Kilometers from the city of Ahmedabad in Western India) and in the year 2500 BC, the people had water borne toilets in each house which was linked with drains covered with burnt clay bricks. To facilitate operations and maintenance, it had man-hole covers, chambers etc. It was the finest form of sanitary engineering. But with the decline of Indus Valley civilisation, the science of sanitary engineering disappeared from India. From then on, the toilets in India remained primitive and open defecation became rampant.
It is in Chapter 4 that we find the commonly cited toilet regulations, within the Fourfold Dharma of a Brahmin. It starts with restrictions on precisely where a Brahman must not urinate or defecate with further restrictions based on time of day, what he’s looking at, head covering, and so on.
“A Brahmana who desires energy must not look at a woman who applies collyrium to her eyes, has anointed or uncovered herself or brings forth a child.
Let him not eat, dressed with one garment only; let him not bathe naked; let him not void urine on a road, on ashes, or in a cow-pen.
Nor on ploughed land, in water, on an altar of bricks, on a mountain, on the ruins of a temple, nor ever on an ant-hill.
Nor in holes inhabited by living creatures, nor while he walks or stands, nor on reaching the bank of a river, nor on the top of a mountain.
Let him never void faeces or urine, facing the wind, or a fire, or looking towards a Brahmana, the sun, water, or cows.
He may ease himself, having covered the ground with sticks, clods, leaves, grass, and the like, restraining his speech, keeping himself pure, wrapping up his body, and covering his head.
Let him void faeces and urine, in the daytime turning to the north, at night turning towards the south, during the two twilights in the same position as by day.
In the shade or in darkness a Brahmana may, both by day and night, do it, assuming any position he pleases; likewise when his life is in danger.
The intellect of a man who voids urine against a fire, the sun, the moon, in water, against a Brahmana, a cow, or the wind, perishes.
Let him not blow a fire with his mouth; let him not look at a naked woman; let him not throw any impure substance into the fire, and let him not warm his feet at it.
Let him not place fire under a bed or the like; nor step over it, nor place it when he sleeps at the foot-end of his bed; let him not torment living creatures.
Let him not eat, nor travel, nor sleep during the twilight; let him not scratch the ground; let him not take off his garland.
Let him not throw urine or faeces into the water, nor saliva, nor clothes defiled by impure substances, nor any other impurity, nor blood, nor poisonous things “
Manusmṛti Chapter 4, verses 44-56
“Far from his dwelling let him remove urine and ordure, far let him remove the water used for washing his feet, and far the remnants of food and the water from his bath.
Early in the morning only let him void faeces, decorate his body, bathe, clean his teeth, apply collyrium to his eyes, and worship the gods. “
Manusmṛti Chapter 4, verses 151-152
Will be continue …
DISCLAIMER: The author is solely responsible for the views expressed in this article. The author carries the responsibility for citing and/or licensing of images utilized within the text.