Tuesday, January 12, 2016

768. Oh! Mind you are different from what you were………!


Earlier the son of a deceased who had performed the final rites of his parent was advised to remain in the house for 11 days. He was also not allowed to go to a temple or attend any ceremonies. Understandable so in those times the son was lamenting the loss of his beloved parent. His mind would be preoccupied with those sweet memories he had with them. The loss would be unbearable as the bond was so thick that he felt the void and knew there is nothing that can fill it……not even the thought of God. There is a saying “Time is the best healer” and as accordingly the 11 days had been allotted for the bereaved person to remain in silence. 

Our scriptures endorse a stable mind to be the precondition for self-realisation hence the ritual of pranayama before sandhyavandanam. Mind and Breath are interconnected and hence it is said that to calm the mind the breath control is the key. A disturbed mind cannot concentrate on anything as it could be very restless. Obviously a bereaved person was believed to have a disturbed mind and caught in the vagaries of mind hence he was told to keep away from the act of merger with Absolute.       

Off late there was chaos over restriction on menstruating women entering the famous shrine on the Sabarimala hill. In earlier days women who were experiencing the menstrual cycle were advised to take rest by not getting involved in the domestic chores. It was the time when their body needed enormous rest as the energy in them would be draining out. The pilgrimage to the holy shrine in the western ghat had 45 days votive and the menstrual cycle phase of a woman being 28 days it was impossible for them to undertake the votive. Though now even men now don't follow the 45 days votive.  

Now the time changed we have seen the bereaved person inevitably attending his office or factory. Last year one person known to me had arrived from U.S to perform final rites to his mother and had applied 15 days leave. A practical person that he was he thought of purchasing a property making use of his arrival to Bangalore. But his relatives objected to that, I wondered if the person does not feel the bereavement and is looking forward to purchase a property why should one object in the name of rituals. Can the dogmas induce the bereavement? 

As far as the menstruating women is concern, when we have allowed her to go for work even on those menstrual period not letting her take rest, can restricting her to enter temples justified? The only reason mentioned in our scriptures is that she is “ashudha” (unclean) during that period. 

Hygiene was the matter and in those days women would bath either in the river, pond or near the well. It would be awkward to bathe together during the time when the woman would be menstruating and hence they were restricted. Now we have sophosticated bathrooms and woman can take bath in private.  So they can have entry to kitchen drawing room or even pooja room. This is physical purity and in recent times women are more concern with hygiene. There is mental aspect as well.

Psychiatrist talks of the menstrual syndrome, where a menstruating woman becomes more petulant because of a hormonal imbalance. They claim that there is a different aura around a women maybe again a chemical reaction. Segregating to pray requires a positive attitude and people tend to respond to the negative vibrations of a person standing with you; maybe that was the reason why a woman was asked to keep away from place of prayer during these days. 

Whatever the reason, women folk who used to work so hard during the month would get a well-earned rest during that period of time. Amazing in the name of equality they are happy to lose those comfortable days.

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