A recent incident from Bhuj, Gujarat has once again put forward the reflections from the old controversy of the Sabarimala temple where women from 10 to 50 years of age were literally banned from entering and worshipping the shrine.
The case is not just of Sabarimala but in almost every religion – be it Islam, Judaism, Christianity – everywhere, a woman and her blood has been given certain restricted zones. In some places, it is celebrated as something very ‘pious and pure,’ and in other places, it is taken as ‘dirty and impure.’
What happened in Bhuj, Gujarat with sixty eight students being asked to remove their underwear in order to prove that weren’t menstruating as there is a temple inside the college campus, is something drawing attention from every corner of the country. The students are demanding legal action against those who made them to do so.
With this a question has come to my mind: how does Hinduism actually see menstruation? After going through different articles, I found that in most of the cases it has been said that Hinduism celebrates menstruation and does not abhor it. Shakta philosophy upholds it as a gift which is responsible for the creation of life.
The Kamakhya temple in Assam celebrates annually, the menstrual cycle of the Goddess. There is a structure inside the temple which resembles the yoni or the feminine symbol of creation. The Yoni Tantra philosophy speaks about worshipping the yoni (literally, the female reproductive organ) which has started menstruating.
The Ritu Kala Samskara is a practice in Karnataka where the first mensuration of a girl is celebrated. She is decorated in a saree and is given gifts and jewellery. A married woman conducts an aarti (veneratory practice) of her and she is asked to gladly welcome her puberty.
But after coming across such celebratory phases that are practiced in different parts of our country, what I genuinely feel is that the ‘superhuman’ status granted to the women while they are on their period is something that prevents her from become a natural woman during these five days.
In fact, many are of the opinion that during this phase, a woman is so pure and full of energy that if she enters a temple, then the energy of the shrine may pass to her .
I don’t know what God looks like; I am sure that none of us do. But I am a woman and I too menstruate like all other women. I don’t think that this super godly image that is given to us by the unorthodox Hindu philosophy is of any use either. It is this hyper celebration of periods which actually forbids us from being treated as a normal human being while we bleed.
Menstruation is a scientific phenomenon and there is absolutely no need of attaching any religious significance to it. With this, I strongly condemn the incident in Bhuj.