Cow urine has made the headlines repeatedly in recent times in conjunction with the novel coronavirus. On Sunday, a Twitter user claimed that his hands were sprayed with cow urine as he was going through a security check at the ISKCON temple complex in Mumbai's Juhu.
"Today my friend took me to Govinda restaurant inside ISKCON Temple complex, Andheri where I had to go through a security check. After frisking they asked me to show my hands and sprayed something which smelled awkward. When I questioned they said it is gaumutra," narrated Raju P Nair on Twitter.
On a Twitter thread he added that on questioning the move, he was told that "people even drink it".
"I was not even visiting the temple and was going to eatery for lunch. This is against my faith and values," he added.
Now, it must be mentioned that this is not the usual practice followed by the temple. ISKCON or the International Society for Krishna Consciousness has been using an alcohol-based conventional sanitiser for the most part.
"On Sunday we ran out. There is a huge quantity that we need for the temple and we did not have enough of the alcohol-based sanitisers," explains Parijata Devi Dasi of the ISKCON Communications team.
While the restaurant within the temple premises had sanitiser, the supply at the two main desks had run out, she told The Free Press Journal.
She explained that while the medical team was looking out for more the temple authorities decided to use distilled Goark (cow urine) as a temporary replacement.
"For a short time we used distilled cow urine. It is a disinfectant and has anti-bacterial properties," she explains.
This she explains, was not a typical measure. ISKCON had been using the normal alcohol-based sanitiser earlier, and after replenishing their supply on Sunday afternoon, reverted to it.
"By afternoon our medical team could procure bottles of sanitiser. Because it was Sunday, it was difficult to get. I think our challenge was the volume," she adds.
According to the Temple authorities, the use of cow urine is not without a scientific basis.
"Cow urine has been granted US Patents No. 6,896,907 and 6,410,059 for its medicinal properties, particularly as a bio enhancer, antifungal, antibacterial and anti cancer agents," says Parijata Devi Dasi.
And while some seem to agree, not everyone in the social media world was convinced that this had been the best option.
"Why get into faiths here? It’s a proven disinfectant. But yes, they should be taking your permission and arrange an alternative if you don’t wish to go with it," wrote one user.
"This cow thing going beyond science and conscience!" said another.
"Did anyone asked u to go there?" retorted a third.
Interestingly enough, many were convinced that the incident had been fabricated.
"I eat there 2 times a day and never have i been sprayed anywhere like that," wrote one person.
Another challenged Nair, asking him to prove his statement. The user added that he was a regular at the Govinda restaurant.
This is not the only strange incident involving cow urine in recent times. On Saturday members of the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha organised a Gaumutra party where they were seen downing cups of what was presumably cow urine.
The event had been organised in a bid to "neutralise the effect of coronavirus" and was to be akin to a "tea party". The members, led by the president Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, believe that the consumption of cow products could help 'save' people from coronavirus.
The novel coronavirus has so far affected 120 people in India. Two people have also succumbed to the virus. Maharashtra at present has the highest number of cases with 38 people testing positive as of Monday afternoon. Of these, six cases are from Mumbai.