The stigma of impurity associated with menstrual days

Acharya Prashant
3 min readOct 13, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: Acharya Ji, my mother doesn’t allow me to enter the puja room (room for worship), or touch the deity during my menstrual days. This has been a practice ever since I was a kid.

Why is the menstrual cycle considered impure? Why does the stigma continue to exist even today?

Acharya Prashant (AP): It started purely from reasons of hygiene, there is nothing more to it. But then it takes a much more concrete form and gets fossilized over time. As long as basic personal hygiene is being maintained, what is there to bother about?

The genesis of the whole thing is in physical purity.

And that refers not merely to the menstrual discharge, but also to all kinds discharges that the body emits.

I am pretty sure that if one is continuously vomiting, one wants to take care of that first before entering a serious place, a sacred place. If that has been taken care of, obviously God is not prohibiting anybody to come to Him.

And if one is physically unclean for any reason, it may or may not pertain to the menstrual cycle, let us say somebody has been wallowing in mud. You won’t even want him to enter your living room. Will you? You would say, “Go and wash your feet.” Won’t you do that?

Why do we keep these rugs outside the entrance? Because we want people to at least clean their feet before they enter our living places. That’s all. But that has been turned into a big taboo for no reason.

And as you said it has become something that weighs upon several women’s minds unnecessarily, totally unnecessarily.

Questioner (Q): But the temples themselves put such posters.

AP: Ignorance, nothing else.

Q: Should one follow those instructions and follow their rules, because the temple is the public property?

AP: Irrelevant. If you want to go, go. If sometimes you feel like honoring the wishes of those who have put those instructions, don’t go. It’s not a big matter at all.

Religion is essentially a very private thing.

Acharya Prashant