Sabarimala nada being closed after the entry of two women on Wednesday; ‘punyaham’ (water for cleansing) being sprinkled at Sannidhanam following women’s entry; devotees offer prayers after the reopening of the nada
The purification rituals – performed at Sabarimala after two young women had darshan at the temple early on 2nd January 2019 – are based on Thanthra Samuchayam, the tantric text quoted by temple tanthri in the affidavit submitted in Supreme Court during the hearing of the case.
The text says purification rituals should be performed after ‘defilement’ because it is believed that ‘asudhis’ (impurities) will endanger believers and drain the idol of its glory.
The text, which is followed by most temples in Kerala, was written by Chennas Narayanan Namboodiripad over 500 years ago. Dalit and human rights activists have raised voice against the text because they believe that it smacks of Brahminic hegemony.
In the affidavit, the tanthri had said menstruation is impurity (asudhi). “So, the problem with women is that they cannot complete the 41-days penance.
It is the custom among all Hindus that women during periods do not go to temples or participate in religious activity. This is as per the statement of the basic tanthric text of temple worshipping in Kerala Tanthra Samuchayam, Chapter 10, Verse II,” the tanthri said in the affidavit.
The second stanza in the tenth chapter of the text lists many instances where a place in the temple becomes impure. It includes the birth or death of human beings, cow, horse, buffalo, deer or tiger inside the temple.
The most-controversial part of the text is the stanza that includes entry of lower-castes as one of the causes of the defilement along with the falling of blood and urine on the floor of the temple.
The gravity of the defilement is decided by considering various factors including the proximity of the object of the defilement to the idol. The purification rituals mentioned in Thanthra Samuchayam include cleaning with water, removing the soil from the place, springing of the left-over eaten by Brahmins, giving feast to Brahmins and sprinkling of Panchagavya, among other things.
Courtesy : ‘The Times of India’
The Supreme Court of India in its September 28, 2018 verdict on Sabarimala women entry issue has said that any form of exclusion based on purity and pollution amounted to untouchability. The Supreme Court is upholding the values and provisions of Indian Constitution of which Article 17 says,
Abolition of untouchability: “’Untouchability’ is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. The enforcement of any disability arising out of ‘Untouchability’ shall be an offence punishable in accordance with law.”
Hope the Supreme Court protects the observance and enforcement of the Constitutional provisions!