Friday, June 25, 2021
Home Opinions Sabarimala is NOT about ‘impurity’ being associated with menstruation, stop repeating that lie

Sabarimala is NOT about ‘impurity’ being associated with menstruation, stop repeating that lie

The usual suspects like Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose were not too happy with the Supreme Court's decision. Some called it 'disappointing' while others claimed that the tradition labels menstruating women as 'impure'.

The Supreme Court, in a split verdict, referred the review petitions challenging the Sabarimala verdict to a larger bench. The Supreme Court said that the issue of women’s entry into the Sabarimala temple is not just limited to Sabarimala. It involves the entry of women into Mosques as well. The Supreme Court referenced to larger Bench of issues arising in case of entry of Muslim women into a mosque, female genital mutilation cannot be ruled out.

Needless to say, the usual suspects like Barkha Dutt and Sagarika Ghose were not too happy with the Supreme Court’s decision. Some called it ‘disappointing’ while others claimed that the tradition labels menstruating women as ‘impure’.

In reality, the tradition has absolutely nothing to do with ‘impurity’ whatsoever. It is based on the celibate nature of the presiding Deity Swami Ayyappa. At Sabarimala, Swami Ayyappa is worshipped in His manifestation as a Naishtik Brahmachari. It was never argued by any party in the Court that the basis of the tradition lies in the belief that menstruation is impure. The basis was simple: The Brahmachari character of the Deity would be violated if women of a reproductive age enter the Temple.

Read: Right to worship: The good, the bad, and the ugly aspects of the ‘debate’

The pilgrimage to Sabarimala also imposes various other restrictions on the devotees. A strict 41-day penance and celibacy is observed by the devotees and various other associated rituals are also performed. K Parasaran, who had recently won the Ayodhya dispute in favour of the Hindus, said quite clearly that it cannot be achieved by women when they are menstruating and when men are travelling with them.

J Sai Deepak argued that the exclusion was not ‘men vs women’ but rather ‘men vs men and women vs women’. Even a man will not be permitted to enter merely because of his gender. He has to observe a set of rituals in order to become eligible for the pilgrimage. He argued that if exceptions are made for women on the basis of their age, then men could in the future argue for exemptions of the 41-day ritual.

Furthermore, he argued that Swami Ayyappa Himself took a vow of Naishtik Brahmachari and He is worshipped as such at Sabarimala. The vow carries with it certain restrictions which include the avoidance of contact with the opposite gender. Sai Deepak further argued that the rules are the same for a Brahmachari as well as a Brahmacharini. Therefore, such rules can not be painted as misogyny or misandry.

Read: No Mr Owaisi, the oppressive practice of Triple Talaq and the traditions of Sabarimala cannot be equated. Here is why

Therefore, quite clearly, the restriction on the entry of women of menstrual age is not imposed as a consequence of opinions on menstruation. It flows from the necessity of protecting the Brahmachari character of the Deity. Sai Deepak further asserted that ‘Naisthika Brahmacharya is, not a men-only practice and hence the rituals associated cannot be regarded as patriarchal’. Essentially, he argued that not all forms of exclusions are discrimination, a position that was complimented by the then CJI Deepak Mishra himself.

Swami Ayyappa Himself said that He will grace only those devotees at Sabarimala who observe the 41-day penance and live the life of a Brahmachari during that period. Therefore, quite clearly, the traditions are based on the will of the Deity and not on perceptions that consider menstruation impure. Thus, quite clearly, it is a straw-man argument that has been propped up by those who seek to desecrate the Temple.

Moreover, women of reproductive age are not prevented from worshipping Swami Ayyappa at other Temples dedicated to God. Those women who wish to worship Him can still very well worship Him at Temples where the rules of celibacy do not apply. Sabarimala is a very special Temple and the rules and regulations pertaining to the pilgrimage are what make the Temple so special. Permitting the entry of women of reproductive age at Sabarimala serves no other purpose than the desecration of it.

Read: Sabarimala: Consent of the Governed vs Divine Right

There is a diversity of traditions within Hinduism. There is a multiplicity of the Divine within the polytheistic traditions of Hinduism and the numerous traditions unique to particular Temples are a reflection of it. For instance, The Panchubarahi temple in the coastal village of Odisha’s Satabhaya permits only married women of the local sabar community to enter the sanctum sanctorum and touch the five idols. The daily rituals of the temple deities are exclusively performed by these women. Men are allowed darshan but not entry into the sanctum sanctorum.

The advocacy for the indiscriminate entry of everyone at a particular Temple with utter disregard for the unique practices and lore associated with the Temple itself would destroy the diversity of traditions within Hinduism. Sai Deepak had argued the same in the Court. It essentially demonstrates that there is a fervent desire to view Hinduism through the lens of Abrahamic faiths.

Unlike Abrahamic religions, which are universal in nature, Hinduism is nativist in its interpretation of the Divine. Our Temples have their own sacred traditions and these traditions will not be universal in nature as, quite clearly, the emphasis is always on the manner in which local communities worship the Gods.

Most importantly, our Temples are not a battleground for modern ideologies. They are the sacred abodes of our Gods. Temples are where we go in order to pay obeisance to the Divine. Ideological battles end where the rights of the Deities begin. Failure to understand such a simple matter shows the extensive manner in which Abrahamic ideals are still engraved in the institutions of our country. Our Gods and the manner of worship should not and does not fall under the purview of the state machinery.

  Support Us  

Whether NDTV or 'The Wire', they never have to worry about funds. In name of saving democracy, they get money from various sources. We need your support to fight them. Please contribute whatever you can afford

K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

Related Articles

Trending now

Delhi govt exaggerated its oxygen demand by 4 times while other states were suffering: SC appointed audit panel finds

The Supreme Court-appointed oxygen audit team has exposed the Delhi government's claims of Oxygen shortage in the national capital, saying that the Delhi government had exaggerated the oxygen requirement in Delhi by more than four times during the second wave of the pandemic even as many states were facing a supply constraint.

FIR filed against ‘The Wire’ in Barabanki mosque demolition case, had spread fake news about police throwing Quran and Hadiths in the drain

Uttar Pradesh police have registered an FIR against the far-left propaganda portal - The Wire - for spreading fake news and creating hate

‘Badly Photoshopped?’ Photographs of Captain Amarinder Singh meeting officers of Sikh Regiment raise questions

Punjab CM Amarinder Singh shared photos of him meeting Sikh Regiment officers, however the photos show signs of digital editing

Want to remove ‘Dilli ki Duri’ and ‘Dil Ki Duri’, delimitation must be completed before assembly polls: Says PM Modi in meeting with Kashmir...

PM Narendra Modi conducted the first ever meeting with Jammu and Kashmir leaders since the scrapping of Article 370 in 2019

Fatehpur: Teacher says conversion racket leaders regularly visit her school to convert Hindus, made the school teach Namaz to non-Muslim toddlers

Fatehpur Teacher says kindergarten students are being taught Urdu, Arabic and Namaz on instructions of conversation racket leader

Despite all the ‘Virat Hindu’ noises Subramanian Swamy has been making, here is why I can’t trust him

Subramanian Swamy, who has been masquerading as a 'Virat Hindu', left several political dead bodies in his path while reaching the top

Recently Popular

Despite all the ‘Virat Hindu’ noises Subramanian Swamy has been making, here is why I can’t trust him

Subramanian Swamy, who has been masquerading as a 'Virat Hindu', left several political dead bodies in his path while reaching the top

‘Is your father a mali or chowkidar? I will cancel your license, H*r*m*zade’: Maneka Gandhi threatens vets in viral audios

The Indian Veterinary Association in a letter have condemned the unruly behavior and unparliamentary language used by Maneka Gandhi against animal doctors.

Karnataka: Muslim family kills their own daughter and her Hindu lover in front of the boy’s mother

The 19-year-old Basavaraj Madivalapaa Badiger, an autorickshaw driver at Saladahalli village, and his 18-year-old lover Davalbi Bandagisab Tambad, a resident of the neighbouring Khanapur, were allegedly murdered by the father and other family members of the girl.

Subramanian Swamy gets desperate as rumours of cabinet reshuffle gain ground: Hubris and delusions

With rumours gaining ground that there might be a cabinet shuffle on the cards, Subramanian Swamy has now started hankering

‘We have to clap like hijras?’ AAP leader’s video insulting Brahmins and Hindu rituals goes viral

An old video where AAP leader Gopal Italia insults Satyanarayan, Bhagwad Kathas as 'useless things' has now gone viral.

Former IFS officer Lakshmi M Puri sends legal notice to Congress supporter Saket Gokhale for misleading allegations against her

Alleged activist and Congress mouthpiece Saket Gokhale made baseless allegations against Lakshmi M Puri, wife of Hardeep Singh Puri
- Advertisement -

 

Connect with us

255,564FansLike
555,679FollowersFollow
24,400SubscribersSubscribe