Why women discriminated in places of worship during their monthly period?
recently the debate over sabrimala temple speaks volumes on the discrimination of women by all religions owing to their biological changes in the body. is it a reason for people to decide women can be kept out of temples.
In India, a place where goddesses are worshipped in myriad forms, like Durga, Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, holy rivers like Ganga and many more, where the feminine is revered as the Shakti of the Shiva-Shakti spousal pair knows as Ardhanareshwar; it is quite mind-boggling to see the same culture shun women as her body begins her natural fertility process. The very same fertility, which is also deified in elaborate rituals, begetting blessings of pirs/babas/sadhus to ensure progeny for a family. The baby that the parents of the girl, her husband, in-laws, all long for and expect to be delivered in mint condition! And yet through all actions, thoughts and speech we damn the very same process as unclean and unholy.
Why are women part of this madness is also the key question? I have noticed how some woman or the other will abstain from participating in pushpa-anjali (or any other ritual for that matter), making it obvious beyond doubt, to everyone present that she is menstruating. Not that it needs to be hidden, but its the irony of it all that amazes me. How the shameful act gets more and more highlighted, as the society tries hard to keep it a hushed affair!
Then there are those who believe in celebrating the first menstrual cycle of a girl with full gaiety along with family and friends! In Southern India, the Brahmin community performs a traditional ritual to celebrate the beginning of menstruation called Samati Sadang. The hope is that the girl will lead a fertile life. The girl sits on banana leaves and eats raw egg flavored with ginger oil and then she is given a bath in milk. When this ritual is over, the whole family comes together to feast and celebrate her becoming a mature female. When a Nayar girl of India begins her period, she may be secluded, and then visited by neighbor women and dressed in new clothes. She usually will begin wearing a sari, a woman’s dress, at this time. Later she and her friends will take a ceremonial bath, and then go to a feast where “drums are beaten and shouts of joy are given.” The North East has many similar rituals and In Assam rural families end up spending more money on the fertility celebration of their daughter than on her wedding. And yet in the very same place menstruating women walk around with a sack in their hands so that others can see she is unholy and avoid crossing her path.
The Creative force (God) that divined women with the power to procreate through the menstrual cycle will be desecrated by its own creation? That letting a menstruating woman get anywhere near a deity will rob its divinity? The mind that is conditioned to believing that the body is not worthy of respect, that it suddenly becomes untouchable and tainted enough to even contaminate the supreme force (that we call God), cannot develop a healthy notion of either God, woman or sexuality.
Reverence for the power of feminine that resides in her, cannot come easy to a woman unless she herself steps out of the trap of guilt laid for her possibly to control her obvious superiority as life-creator. That could be the only possible explanation for this global mockery that modern day man/woman continue to participate in. For, at the root of not initiating women as priests, clergy, maulvis and temple heads lies this one basic discrimination. Women menstruate and their impurity is not befitting the spiritual ideal.
The sexualization of women, in the context of this deep-rooted mistrust of their bodies is anything but healthy. The guilt that gnaws at her every month, reminding her of the impurity that has proliferated over the years, throughout her mind, body and soul. Isnt it strange how a woman is made to feel guilty for something that, one, is a natural biological process, and two, is a benediction as the gender which gifts life to this world? So can someone please edify the likes of me, as to why women were made to feel like sinners in the scheme of things? Why turn their blessing into a constant source of ignominy and self-hate?
Info On Periods
Day 1: Your period begins, expelling the unfertilised egg, cells and blood that fed it out through your cervix. Your body’s oestrogen level is now at its lowest.
Days 2-5: Follicle Stimulating Hormone prompts your ovaries to start producing oestrogen again, causing one of the eggs in your ovaries to start developing.
Day 6: By the sixth day of your cycle (by which time your period is probably over) the new egg is maturing and getting ready for ovulation.
Days 13-14: It’s ovulation time! The new egg is mature and leaves the follicle. You may feel a cramp during ovulation and even get a tiny drop of blood.
Days 15-18: As the egg travels down your fallopian tube, your oestrogen levels drop and progesterone levels begin to rise.
Note: It’s well worth remembering that, you are most likely to get pregnant 12-17 days after the start of your period, so be extra careful with contraception.
Days 19-20: The progesterone thickens the fluid around your cervix and your uterus builds up its protein, sugar and blood supplies to nourish the fertilised egg.
Days 21-28: Your progesterone and oestrogen levels are still rising and you know what that means – sore breasts, bloating and big, bad moods! If the egg is unfertilised, your hormone levels will drop, the egg and lining will dissolve and your period will begin.