Women and Sabarimala – The book that is making women share stories of how their menstrual cycles are affected by certain temples.
After years of studying Hindu temples and their impact on menstrual cycles, the book “Women and Sabarimala: The Science behind restrictions” is now available in print and ebook versions. Written by Sinu Joseph, this book is suddenly opening the gates for many women to step forward and share their personal experiences of how certain temples altered their menstrual cycle. Here are some of the experiences shared by women during discussions on the book.
“Few years ago, my family and I had been to the Amarnath yatra. My period date was around the corner, but it never came. In fact, after visiting Amarnath, it took three months for my period to return! I never realized until now that it might have been owing to the temple visit.”
“Today’s talk filled up lots of loopholes for me. I had my first period in our town Mariamman temple during the annual summer Pongal celebration. My mother is a fierce devotee of Lord Ramakrishna and has told me and my sister that the body is god-given, so is the periods. She has always said that going to temples during periods is fine and I’ve always been proud of my mom’s forward thinking.
I have never had a regular period in my life and I have never taken it seriously too. At times I used to have cramps, but I have never made a fuss about it as I’ve been taught that it is all part and parcel. I’m 38 now and only in the recent past that I knew that cycles happen regularly at 28-day interval. But I’ve mostly been active and healthy, so when I consulted the doctors, they too said that the delay/irregularity doesn’t matter as I don’t have any health issues / troublesome period.
The thing that clicked with me today was when you said the regularity of the period will reflect on the women’s inner stability. Recently I myself have stopped going to temples during periods as I started feeling something was not right. My whole life I’ve never had a regular period and until now, I just did not make the connect!”
“I am a Saraswat Brahmin from Kashmir and I am a person who does not believe in blind customs or customs that involves a discrimination against anyone. So this is about the time I got married in 2001 and moved to Chennai with my husband. My father in law was visiting us in 2002 and we were taking him to the temples of the south tour. While in Chennai city, we went to a temple (Kapaleshwar temple in Mylapore). I was in my safe zone of menstrual cycle and nowhere close to my bleeding dates. In my family, I was not stopped from any Pooja during my bleeding days. So, a temple visit wouldn’t have changed even if I was. And I am one who thankfully has pretty smooth bleeding days. Not too much blood loss and pain.
So, when we enter the temple I start feeling weird. My head started reeling under some pressure. I ignored it and started walking towards the place where the deity was placed. Before I could reach there, I felt a sudden blackout and the need to sit down. While I excused myself and found a stone to just sit, I realized that I had suddenly started bleeding heavily and I suffered a massive blackout. I remember rushing out of the temple somehow and sitting outside for a while till I regained a part of myself. Being a person who puts science first in everything I just dismissed it as a regular instance of a bad cycle.
Now when I am more aware of the deity and their powers around, I am doubly sure that I wasn’t supposed to be in that temple that day. The deity did not want me there and I was an unwanted guest. I respect the deity since it is his personal space and have since then started being more mindful of any religious places I go to. If they don’t want you there, you shouldn’t be. Simple.”
Women and Sabarimala is an answer to the question “why aren’t women of menstrual age allowed to enter Sabarimala?” This book presents a never-before discussed perspective on the science behind the restrictions on women in the Sabarimala temple.
Women and Sabarimala is a rare book and is written from a woman’s perspective, explaining the nature of the temple through India’s traditional knowledge systems, such as Ayurveda, Chakras, Tantra and Agama Shastra. At the same time, the author’s personal experiences simplify the understanding of these deep sciences, providing a glimpse into how temples impact the human physiology and, in particular, women’s menstrual cycles. This book will change the way Hindu temples, especially Sabarimala, are perceived and experienced.
Here is a review of the book by Shri Jayant Kalawar – Sabarimala & Women: Giving Voice to the Wisdom of Practitioners
The book is available at the following links
India Print Book
International Print Book