What is rajaswala (menstrual period) in women in Hinduism

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Let us know step-by-step about the rajaswala menstrual period in women as per Hinduism:

Story about Rishi Panchami vrata

During the Dvapara Yuga the great Chakravarti Yudhisthira requested Bhagavan Sri Krishna to tell him about a Vrata which can make shuddhikarana (purify) from all the paapas / sins. 

Thus, Bhagavan Sri Krishna told Yudhisthira about the vrata which performed by women can free them from all their paapas / sins, which is termed as “Rishi Panchami”.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna says this: 

Women during their rajaswala / menstrual period are not supposed to perform any work pertaining to the household/family works. 

Invariably, those women need to take rest for the all the four days (rajaswala / menstrual period). 

If a woman does all these works, that woman is sure of going to Naraka / hell. 

That is why a women during her rajaswala / menstrual period should be kept far from all, irrespective of whether she is a Brahmana or a Kshatriya or a Vaishya or a Shudra. 

All the four varnas’ people must follow this rule.  

Thus, this is the reason if one does Rishi Panchami pooja / worship, her sins during rajaswala Dosha will be purified.

What is this rajaswala / menstrual period 

Once upon a time, Sri Indra Deva had a terrible fight with an asura called Vrutrasura and finally Sri Indra Deva killed that Asura. 

Sri Indra Deva got the ‘Brahmahatya dosha’, as Vrutrasura although he was an asura, Vrutrasura was a son of a Brahmana. 

Thus, killing a Brahmana will fetch us ‘Brahmahatya dosha’. 

After killing this Vrutrasura, Sri Indra Deva got the dosha. 

Then Sri Indra Deva went to Sri Chatur Mukha Brahma Deva seeking some remedy to remove this ‘Brahmahatya dosha’.

Then Sri Chatur Mukha Brahma Deva removed Sri Indra Deva’s ‘Brahmahatya dosha’

How Sri Chatur Mukha Brahma Deva removed this ‘Brahmahatya dosha’ of Sri Indra Deva is as given below:

Sri Chatur Mukha Brahma Deva divided the ‘Brahmahatya dosha’ into four parts.   

That is,

1. First part in Fire flame,

2. Second part in river water,

3. Third in Mountain & trees, and

4. In the ‘rajas’ of women.

That is why rajaswala / menstrual period women are supposed to be far from all the chatur varna people. 

On the first day of her rajaswala / menstrual period, women will be impure like a Chandala stree / lady. 

On the second day of her rajaswala / menstrual period, women will be impure like a Brahma Ghatini 

On the third day of her rajaswala / menstrual period, women will be impure like a dobhi. 

On the fourth day rajaswala / menstrual period, women will become pure. But still can’t do all the puja, pitru karya, cooking, etc. 

But anyhow, that woman can attend to her daily duties other than Bhagavan’s seva (service), cooking. 

On the fifth day only, she will be completely pure.

Bhagavan Sri Krishna tells one more story which is as given below:

In Vidarba desha / country, there lived a Raja / king named Shenajita. 

In that desha / country there was a Brahmana called Sumitra and this Sumitra’s wife was called as Jayasri. 

This woman Jayasri who was also looking after the farming work. 

Once this woman Jayasri had rajaswala / menstrual period. 

But without caring, Jayasri did all her regular work, and also Jayasri touched everything and every one without informing others that she was on the rajaswala / menstrual period. 

After few days had past, Jayasri passed away. 

Also, Jayasri’s her husband Sumitra also passed away died after some time. 

Again after few days, in the same house both Sumitra and Jayasri were again born as an Ox (Sumitra) and a Dog (Jayasri) respectively and they had the power of the jatismara (that is who can remember about their earlier janma / life).

Another story

Sumitra’s son was Sumati and his wife was called as Chandravati. This Chandravati was a ‘sahadharmacharini’ (somone who follows her husband very well as per the Dharma).

One day, Sumati’s father’s Shraaddha day (yearly Shraaddha) came and he (Sumati) told his wife Chandravati to cook for the Brahmana ladies (all suhagans / suvasini) for bhojana / food and which she did. 

Chandravati kept the payasam (kheer) vessel on the stove itself. 

A sarpam / snake’s poison was kept in that payasam (kheer). 

While a dog (Jayasri) saw the payasam (kheer) was been poisoned and thus that dog thought that if the Brahmanas eat that payasam (kheer), they may die and her (Jaysri’s) son would get ‘Brahmahatya dosha’. 

Thus, that dog (Jaysri) came and touched the payasam (kheer) vessel. 

Seeing that the dog (jayasri) had touched the vessel, Chandravati got angry and started to beat that dog (Jayasri) and finally threw that payasam (kheer) and prepared separate food for the shraaddha karya (shraaddha rituals). 

Sumati did the shraaddha with enthusiasm and all the Brahmanas had good bhojana / food. 

Chandramati dig a pit and kept all the left overs after the bhojana in a pit without even giving anything to the Dog (Jayasri) or the Ox (Sumitra) on that particular day.

Thus that Ox (Sumitra) told to Dog (Jayasri), that their son had done the shraaddha but was not given anything to eat to them. 

Their conversation was heard by Sumati, their (Dog and Ox) son, who went to some Rishis / sages nearby and asked them to tell what is behind the conversation between the Dog (Jayasri) and the Ox (Sumitra).

For this all the Rishi / sages told to Sumati that his mother (Dog / Jayasri) had once ignored her rajaswala / mentrual period and had done all the household works. Thus, she (Dog – Jayasri) has been born again as Dog. 

His (Sumati’s) father (Ox – Sumitra) even after knowing that his wife was in rajaswala / mentrual period had the samparka dosha, so he has been born as an Ox.

Thus finally, Sumati asked the Rishi / sages as to what is the remedy to free his parents from this dosha / sin. 

All the Rishi / sages suggested that a vrata named “Rishi Panchami” pooja / worship has to be performed. In this pooja / worship if all the Sapta Rishis pooja is done in the correct manner then all the doshas / sins will be purified.

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