Are menstruating women considered impure and prohibited in Hindu temples?
The issue of prohibiting menstruating women practicing Hindu rituals is a very sensitive one in our modern society. It becomes further sensitive and taboo when extremist thinking and gender equality movement forcefully gets into it. Even the most literate person may not have an explanation.
Recently, the Supreme Court of India has ruled that the Sabarimala temple in Kerala must open its door to women. Traditionally women and young girls of menstruating age were banned from entering this place of worship. The long traditional reason is that menstruating women are considered as impure during their menstruation cycle.
When I stand apart and observe, I see that there are two schools of thought that shall never converge. The first one claiming their rights to enter temples and the other one believes that protecting the sanctity of temple is above all. The first is through a strong social and legal battle where women feels marginalized and blame Hinduism as patriarchal – which I don’t agree. The right to practice religion is for both men and women. Their interpretation to it is that there is violation of gender equality.
The second school of thought believes that cleanliness and purity is an essential observance to prayer and worship in a temple or any place of worship. They believe that a menstruating woman discharges impurities and make the sacred place of worship impure, which is against the principle of worship. But, I surprisingly understand that menstruating women can fast and observe other rituals but have to stay away from a temple or at the prayer room at home.
Now, let me explain what remains unexplained by both schools of thought.
- There is a connection between a woman body cycle and the moon cycle, which is approximately 28 days. The woman body is affected by the moon electricity impacting on her body. The way sunlight affects plants, similarly moonlight affects tide waves, as well as the feminine body. This is sacred.
- Every physical body, be it man or woman, has an auric field. The aura is the human energy field that surrounds the entire body. Those who study Reiki, Pranic healing or energy medicine will understand easily. When we meditate, practice yoga and pranayama or attend intense prayer, the surface of the auric field gets cleaner. This helps us absorb the divine energy easily. However, a dirty aura will create energy congestion at the surface of the physical body and repel positive vibration connecting her to the outside world. The energy body is weakened.
- So, when a woman menstruates, the blood discharge breaks the soft structure of the auric field at the level of the energy body and may render the aura dirty. This affects the surface layer of the aura. When the aura is dirty you may not connect easily to the divine! You struggle…The auric field normally maintains balance and well being in the human energy field provided that it is clean.
- You would surely remember that our grandparent would advise for a saffron bath with neem leaves, which would allow you to attend a prayer ceremony though you are menstruating. Why? Because saffron and neem leaves will clean and repair the auric field and hence, allow you temporarily to capture the divine energy during a ritual.
- Similarly, if a man or woman has a few bleeding cuts and wounds on his or her physical body, following an accident, it goes through the same process of dirtying the aura. Hence, connection to the divine becomes difficult.
- We must have often told off by our grandparents who prohibit us from going to cemetery if we bear an unhealed injury on our physical body. The rationale behind this is that the bleeding injury or cuts affects the auric field which in turn leaves an opening in the aura of the injured person, and the same person becomes unprotected and prone to spirit attacks.
So, the issue of prohibiting women to enter temples is not a matter of rights, gender equality or based on arbitrary rules imposed by temple administrators. It is simply based on an understanding of self-protection and self-connection to thyself.
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