Now in the process of reading my article if you think this could be just hello India, then you are wrong! This exists around the world but the meaning of their existence makes a difference.
This is about a girl. A girl named Maya. Lost in her thoughts to herself. Thinking all along, why can’t she help her mother in her daily chores every day? Why is it that her routine visit to temple is hampered in between all the time? When friends plan for a trip why should she think to give an excuse? Why not just say she wouldn’t be coming for so and so reason? Sitting in the college mock GD when she doesn’t utter a word and on being asked why can’t she tell about the cramps in the stomach and for what so ever reason it is happening? When you plan for a long drive to a faraway temple and people ask “aapko aaj hi kyu jaana hai?” why can’t she just tell them the reason behind the dates they are suggesting? When plans are made and she drops out, why does she have to listen to accuses? Why not just say you are not going for these reasons? When her father tells her she is so inactive and doesn’t behave like people of her age should, why can’t she tell him what the matter is? Why not tell your brother not to irritate you with the reasons that he can understand? When she was in a nearby café instead of the temple corridor with friends, why is she accused of not liking to hang around with the group?
Are we so insensitive to things around? Do guys have no idea of this? Does hearing about it actually embarrass them? Or is it us who create a situation like this? In today’s world where a class 6th student study about the menstruation cycle in books, write about the process and reason behind it in exams, why is there sshh-sshh when there’s a guy around? When you can say I’ve got fever, I won’t be able to make it for the function, or I’ve caught cold, or I had food poisoning, why can’t you say I have my date or my period today so I can’t come?
Instead of blaming the guy’s for being insensitive or the society for making this a taboo, It is Maya and all those girls who are to be blamed for thinking that talking about this is wrong! , who believe they are impure, and why tell people about impurity! The girl here is named Maya for an illusion because it could be any girl, me, you or someone who is not reading this article.
It is very important for the society, the guys and the girls in particular to know certain facts. With my interest in reading a lot of other blogs, I came across a trust called Mythri speaks, a trust working on various issues pertaining to women and children such as menstruation, sexual abuse and sexual violence against women. Reading across many of their articles, here is some information that I would like to share with all of them.
(It is to be noted that the information here is only a snapshot of research work of the trust. For detailed info you can read their articles)
Did you know that the menstrual cycle and the lunar (moon cycle) are of 28 days and all women apparently menstruated at the same time as with the new moon in ancient days?
Significance of each phase in the cycle
Week 1: (Days 1-7) – It is ideally the new moon. This is the time when women feel the need to go inward and be silent and contemplative. The rituals around seclusion during menstruation were partly meant to serve this purpose.
Week 2: (Days 7-14) – This is the phase soon after the period when most women feel at their energetic best. This phase is considered ideal to kick off new projects or creative work.
Week 3: (Days 14 – 21) – This is the time in our cycle when we need to be connecting to people and relaxing in our outside world. It can also be a time of vulnerability, and it is important that we keep ourselves grounded and be mindful about our actions.
Week 4: (Days 21 – 28) – Research shows greater activity in the right hemisphere of the brain – the part associated with intuitive knowing – in weeks 3 and 4 of your cycle. Always trust your intuition.
You shouldn’t got to temple! Why? It is believed that during menstruation, women are constantly dissipating energy from their bodies. Most religious chants are meant to balance out the energies in our body. However, this would interfere with the natural losing of energy that must happen in menstruating women to prevent excessive energy build-up. Hence, menstruating women are told to keep away during such occasions, so that their natural processes are not tampered with.
Another reasoning from their research was that menstruating women become open to receiving and absorbing energy during this time. This means, they can easily absorb other’s energies, including negative energies. Hence, they are asked to stay away from crowds and gatherings.
Another document said that menstruating women are so powerful, that their offering to God drowns out the offerings of everyone else present in the room. Hence, they are told to stay away from places of worship during menstruation.
To further understand the aspect of not visiting temples during menstruation, their team travelled to Devipuram, in Andhra Pradesh. They found unique answers from Sri Amritananda Natha Saraswati (Guruji), founder of Devipuram, a temple in Andhra Pradesh which is dedicated to the Devi. He said “What is pure, we don’t touch. And what we don’t touch, we call it a Taboo. She (a menstruating woman) was so pure, that she was worshipped as a Goddess. The reason for not having a woman go into a temple is precisely this. She is a living Goddess at that time. The energy of the God or Goddess which is there in the murthi (idol) will move over to her, and that (the idol) becomes lifeless, while this (the menstruating woman) is life. So that’s why they were prevented from entering the temple. So it is exactly the opposite of what we think”.
In Dakshina Kannada (Karnataka state), there is a Tulu festival called Keddasa. This festival is celebrated in the month of January or February for 3 days. This is a celebration of the beginning of mother earth’s fertility cycle which they believe is similar to the woman’s fertility cycle. During these 3 days, mother earth is given rest and no digging or harvesting happens during this time. On the fourth day, some oil and turmeric is sprinkled on the earth and then begins the process of sowing seeds.
Similarly, it is believed that women who are menstruating should also not be disturbed during her period, and her natural cleansing and downward flow of energy should be allowed, before her next fertile phase begins. Thus, these cultures saw a close connect with the cyclical nature of the earth and women’s cycles.
The temple of the Bhagwathi in Chengannur (Kerala) and the temple of Kamakhya Devi (Assam) are where the Goddess too was believed to menstruate and followed similar rituals of menstrual seclusion, closing the temple for 3 days and then celebrating the end of her menstruation. In both these temples, the menstrual cloth is considered highly auspicious and is distributed among devotees. The idea of resting and not disturbing menstruating women, including a Goddess, does not arise from any superstitious belief. It is because of the thought that menstruation and the release of energy during this time should not be interrupted in any way.
This article is written with a motive of spreading the info and making all the girls feel good about themselves even during those days and not feel left out or bad about them and the changes they are going through. Once this develops there will be no problem in talking freely about things which need not be hushed up.
A small change is already seen in many girls, friends, brothers, and fathers who try their bit to understand the whole thing. The change starts at home with parents understanding and dealing in a matured manner. The education and atmosphere brings it on to the brothers. And today’s youngsters don’t mind discussing this openly. This makes women feel more inclusive. I only hope this article can help nurture this small change and scale it to a bigger magnitude.