Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffery D. Long, Rita D. Sherma, Pankaj Jain, Madhu Khanna

Menstruation: Pollutant to Potent

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_481-1

Menstruation continues to be arguably one of the most binarized elements in the Hindu society. The boundaries of Hindu society are defined, controlled, and marked by various purity and pollution codes, whereby goodness is understood as pure or clean and evil is impure or a pollutant. These codes are most apparent in the caste system that continues to govern Hindu society. Like caste dynamics, menstruation in Hindu society is also governed by a wide range of pure and pollutant codes. But before we delve into how the good and the evil govern a biological occurrence, let us look at one of the festivals’ in the Kamakhya Temple where menstruation is central.

With respect to antiquity, Kamakhya surpasses most of the shrines in greater India and those in eastern India. Most scholars agree that Kamakhya dates to the eighth century and continues to be one of the oldest and most revered of the early seats of goddess worship. This temple complex also epitomizes the retention of many ancient...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of North Carolina WilmingtonWilmingtonUSA