What clicks when you hear the word menstruation? Probably most of you would conjoin it with the widespread practice of women not worshiping during these days.
This is the prevalent lens in which menstruation is viewed. But my friend you need to broaden your horizon. In earlier times restrictions on worshipping were not the only restriction implemented, there were much more such as refraining from entering the kitchen, touching milk, touching pickles etc . However nowadays most of these practices stands repealed except restriction on worship.
Have ever brooded that why only this tradition continues till date? What is the justification that why still we fail to break this practice, when other practices are discontinued?
So, folks let me clear the mess, In Hinduism not worshipping during menses has nothing to do with the popular “Impurity myth theory “. Yes, you read it right, this practice has nothing to do with the fallacy that a women’s body is impure during menstruation. This is something above these hypocritical claims. Hinduism is not just a religion, it an art of living. Whatever it offers is backed with valid scientific theories. The facts which is going to be presented will definitely be a breath of fresh air for the innocent general masses. I aim to bring in the limelight some wonderful facts, which will clear the misconceptions attached.
According to a research conducted by mythri speaks foundation, It was found that practice of restricting women from worshipping has its origins from science itself, but an entirely different level of science. It dismantles the impurity theory. Most practices in Hinduism arise from ancient Indian science, which comprises of Ayurveda, Yoga, Meditation, Astrology and Mantra. Mudras, a discipline of science also plays an important role in this understanding. Ayurveda effectively defines this practice. It talks about three Dosas i.e Vata, Pita and Kapha, the three being primary life forces of the body. The three Dosas ; Vata, Pita and Kapha are bioenergies which correspond to the elements of air, fire and water respectively.
Vata is the dynamic force, concerned with communication, perception and cognition
Ayurveda bolsters that menstruation is intimately associated with the function of vata dosha. During Menstruation.The female body inhabits energy in the days leading to menstruation, as the body prepares for pregnancy and what if pregnancy doesn’t take place? Then the body will dissipate the surplus energy. Vata Dosha is the predominant dosha during menses. Apana Vayu(one of the radical air functions of Vata dosha) is responsible for the downward flow of the menstruation. Thus any activity that messes with this elementary downward energy flow should be avoided. During menstruation, women are likely to absorb other energies in the environment and this is the foundation stone of practices around menstruation.
It is advised not to attend any religious function because energy during menstruation is percolating downward into the earth( i.e puja table, offerings, altars etc ) whereas the energy normally moves upwards. So this may cause discomfort to the body.
Sri Amritanand Nath Saraswati(Guruji), the founder of Devipura, a temple in Andhra Pradesh, which is dedicated to Devi, further clears the dense air of myths. He advocates this practice by stating some facts that most of the priests in his temple are women and they are free to enter the premises during their periods. The temples boast of Kamakhya Peetham, a natural formation in the shape of yoni (vagina) and worshippers are unfettered to gather there whether or not on periods.
According to him, the central idea behind the restriction of entry of women during menstruation does not signify our rich Hindu culture but also satirical about the entire impurity myth. He says that, What is pure we don’t touch, what we don’t touch we call it a taboo. A menstruating woman was so pure that she was worshipped as the goddess. The reason for not having women into the temple is primarily this. She is a living goddess at that time, and the energy of god or goddess which rests in the idol will move over to her, leaving the idol lifeless while menstruating women is life.
In south, people celebrate when a girl starts menstruating. It is thought to be divine, so How can same religion dismiss the same issue by stating it impure?
The much-hyped “Impurity theory “ is in use at large by some pseudo-feminists, who don’t even care to delve into the core reasons behind these customs. They tend to mindlessly advocate against this, just to fuel their idea of gender discrimination. This theory is the widely used tool used by them for male bashing. Let’s not forget even men are prevented from worshipping in case of death, while the daughter of the family can. Please do ask yourselves that How can we mindlessly level charges?
Even the vedas, dismiss the impurity theory. Impure energies can never purify evil energies. It is said that Indra, the King of Devas, was charged with the sin of Brahma-Hatya. To neutralize the effect, he did penance for 100,000 years inside a flower whilst remembering Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu appeared and advised that killing Brahman is an irreversible sin and in order to dilute its effect Indra should distribute his sin among pure and pious creations of God. The creations were Earth, Water, Tree and Women. The absorption of sin leads to cracks on earth, waves in water, milk oozing in trees and menstruation in women. In return, all four asked for one boon each. Earth got the power to fill all its cavities, water got the power to purify other things, Tree got the boon that it can regenerate itself unless it’s uprooted and Women were gifted with more pleasure than men during sexual intercourse. The reason why women not worship is that as menstruation signifies the sin of murdering Guru, it would be disrespectful to worship God who is equivalent to guru and not because they are impure.
Hence, it is clear from aforementioned lines that why it is not advisable to worship from the both scientific and mythological perspective. One thing stands unbiased that this practice has nothing to with the notion that women are impure. It is us who misinterpret things and use it for our benefits. This is the sole reason why, I being a woman, am advocating this practice. These practices are not meant to suppress women. In our culture we worship women. Women signifies power or Shakti. Navratri a 9-day festival is celebrated where women are worshipped for 9 days. We even worship menstruating goddess i.e Kamakhya Devi in Guwahati.
Lastly, I would say that there were certainly valid reasons and ancient science backing this practice. They might have been relevant then as they might not be now, but it can’t be concluded that the underlying reason and the theory of energy flow itself need validation. reasons, why we are restricted to worship, is far above this. Hence I would leave it to your discretion whether to worship or not and remember it’s always your choice.