Namaskaram Sir! Thanks to you for giving us such a wonderful site to learn about our Sampradhayam. I am an Iyengar women and I have a question about womens menstural cycle considered as Theetu in Vaishnava Sampradhayam. I have been reading a lot in ur website of late as i was interested in knowing more about our Vaishanava Sampradhayam. I was trying to find an answer to this question in the FAQ section. As i dont see any such questions before, i am posting this question hoping to hear ur answer. I dont follow our Sampradhayam completely after my marriage though i was raised totally in it. We live in US and my husband and myself say few shlokams in the morning but my husband does not perform Thiruvaradhanai. I dont ; to the pooja room and avoid telling shlokams during my cycles. But i feel very guilty and confused during those times. I do the cooking during those times too. My husband doesnt give more importance to Theetu and he says, if i want to follow the Theetu, its only upto me and i have to do all the arrangements prior to it including entire cooking for 3 days. I would like to know how sinful whatever i am doing is. In modern times, everything has become very safe and hygenic. Was this theetu observed earlier only for hygenic purposes or is their any other religious significance to it? Please clarify this to me. I get very upset when i get my cycle that i am not able to observe theetu. Regards and thanks.
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Answer: In the modern day lifestyles and nuclear families splintered all over, the question of following such rigid practices are becoming meaningless. Though the system mainly emphasys on health & higine, the religious tenets cannot be fully ignored. But the fact is, despite the availablity of modern sanitary products, the naturally emitted body odour and the bodys negative energies produced during the course periods cannot be fully removed. These are the main reasons, one is advised to keep at a distance from the Pooja room. (Oh, in the past, the rigid Srivaishnava Sampradayam prohibited even hearing the voice of a women during her monthly periods!).
In practical terms, how far one can adhere to it, the Sampradayam? What if a family stays in a dormitary single room known as chawl system can do during these days? That too with many women members and going through different days of cycles? It is best recommended to accommodate the religious sentiments as far as possible without mixing generally with others. The best recommended solution is to maintain highest standards of higine; not to touch or have physical contacts with other members. Avoid reciting any slokas and entering into the Pooja room (oh, only if it is in a seperate room !) The same applies to going to any temples.
(Ponder a while – how practical it would be for the present generation! When I was a bachellor, at the age of 17 years, I visited one of my relatives home in Mumbai for lunch and the food was served by a person who was on her monthly periods. This I came to know only a few days later. When my grandma came to know about this, she immediately consulted a religious schollar, for a pariharam. On whose advise, I was asked to intake Panchacavyam, then change the Poonal (the holy thread) and to perform a Gayatri homam for 1008 ahuthis as prayaschitham. This was followed by a Theertha snanam at a Holy river! I did everything as dictated. What I feel now is, in the present days circumstances, many may have to do it every month repeatedly, till the houselady crosses her menopause !)
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