Sthree Dharmam (Female Laws and Customs)
Firstly, the customs ought to be followed by women are written here:
At Brahma Muhurtham (i.e. before 5 AM), the wife has to wake up before the husband and chant “hari hari” seven times while washing her hands and feet.
Also, Chant “Achudananda Govinda” three times by taking water into one’s palm and doing aasamanam (i.e. Sipping water from the palm of the hand).
We have to recite the dwadasa Holy names:
“Kesavaya Namaha, Narayanaya Namaha, Madhavaya Namaha, Govindaya Namaha, Vishnave Namaha, Madhusoodanaya Namaha, Trivikramaya Namaha, Vamanaya Namaha, Sridharaya Namha, Hrishikeshaya Namaha, Padmanabhaya Namaha and Damodaraya Namha”
Then recite the Dasavathara Avatars, “Matsaya Namaha, Kurmaya Namaha, Varahaya Namaha, Narasimhaya Namaha, Vamanaya Namaha, Paarkavaramaaya Namaha, Shri Ramaya Namaha, Shri Balaramaya Namaha, Shri Krishnaya Namaha, and Kalkine Namaha”
Adan Piragu veetirku velippuram poi mala muthra visarnyangal (finishing nature call)
Mruthigai Serthu Kuda soucham 15 times, linga Soucham 5, left hand 10 times, and wah leg 10 times.
[This is more applicable to olden times when we did not even have basic toilet facilities].
After that, clean inside and outside the house with water that is mixed with
Komayam (Cow’s Urine). It is stated in the Sastras that Goddess Sridevi will reside and bless the house when cleaned with the above mentioned water.
As we mop the floor immediately, it is necessary to sweep and clean the place. During night hours, we are neither supposed to bring komiyam or water from outside into the house. Also, we are not supposed to use the komiyam brought from another house or from any of the Sudra house. Other than Tuesdays and Fridays, the house should not be mopped using Komiyam. It is necessary to mop the floor these days with komiyam.
After the mopping, decorate the place with kolam(a form of painting drawn using either rice powder, chalk powder or white rock powder)
Snanam Seyyum Prakaranam (Explanation to Bathing)
After finishing the cleaning, we have to bathe. By mixing turmeric with other fragranted herbs, we have to do aasamanam at either the pond, lake or the bathing place at our home and apply turmeric to our face, body by chanting “Om Namo Narayanaya” and complete our bath. For married woman, except on the days of Ekadasi, vrath days and amavasya, head bath should not be taken on other days. The Sastra states that just sprinkling of turmeric water on themselves is equal to bathing for married woman. But, if the woman was intimate with her husband during the night time, she is ought to take head bath the following day.
Sutha Vasthram Tharithukolludal (Wearing Clean and tidy clothes)
The clothes that are washed and dried are to be worn. Apply Chandan, Kum Kum to forehead.
Then, take clean water in your hands and recite “Om Namo Narayanaya” and offer it to Surya Bhagawan (Sun God).
After that go to the Pooja place at your home, clean and draw kolam and pray to Lord by saluting (Sevikkardu) 4 times while saying “Puthra Bowradikalai Rakshikkavendum”.
Also, for the welfare of husbands, we have to pray to God.
We have to take the blessings of mother in law, father in law and other elders in the house.
Vasthrangalum pathrangalum (Clothes and Utensils)
Either women or men are not supposed to use someone else’s clothes. The place where we cook needs to be cleaned mopped and decorated with Kolam. Then, the utensils used for cooking needs to be washed.
Four types of Utensils
- The utensils used for propitiating (Aaradhanai) to the God.
- Vessels used for cooking only.
- The plates, vessels etc used for family members, guests, etc.
- The one used for washing your leg.
The above mentioned Utensils needs to sorted seperately and should not be mixed with each other at any cost.
Cleaning the vessels:
The Gold vessels can be cleaned using clear water. When you keep any pakshanam in the vessel, clean it with komiyam or sugar water or the ash from the log wood.
Silver vessels can be cleaned by using lime water. Bronze, Brass vessels should be cleaned using ash of the holy fire, mud or tamarind.Copper vessels gets brightened using tamarind. Lead and iron vessels will get purified/cleaned by using Komiyam(Cow’s Urine).
Normally, the above mentioned vessels are washed three times. If Sudras or mudaliars touch those vessels, it needs to be cleaned by washing them for 12 or 24 times.
During delivery or death theetu, if it gets touched, made out of the stone can be cleaned if a little pressure is applied during cleaning. Mud vessels can be easily cleaned using water. If the mud/stone vessels are touched by Sudras, it needs to thrown away and should not be reused.
Men are not supposed to clean their legs or wash their mouth using bronze vessel. In case it happens, it becomes unclean and can be used only after burying the vessel for 6 months underneath the ground. If the women uses the vessel, the same procedure burn the vessels in the furnace and clean it by pouring fresh water on that. The vessels made out of wood get cleaned by using hot water. We can clean the sea shell by using clear water. Vessels mentioned above needs to be followed.
Any other vessel form other than the above mentioned metals, i.e. artificially created cannot be cleaned or are not of high quality.
The quality of mud vessels last for 15 days.
Kai Karigal (Vegetables)
The vegetables bought from the market/outside need to be washed, cleaned and then chopped.
For Cooking- Fire/Agni
The Sastra says that, if the fire used for lighting the adupu/stove is bought from the neighbour’s house, then they share half of the good deed. It is always advisable to lit the fire at our home.
Things to remember while cooking:
The washing of rice needs to be done for three times. The favourite/likeable dish of the husband needs to be prepared.
The cooking needs to be finished at once, should not be postponed. While cooking, ff we happen to touch our hair, skin or any of our body, we have to wash our hand immediately.
Perumal Thiru Aaradhanam
After that, light the Diya/Lamp (Vilakku) to God. Whether it is husband/Father inlaw/Brother in law doing the Aaradhanam to God, women have to help them in grinding needed Chandan (Sandal Powder), give dhoop, incense sticks etc.
Once the aaradhanm is finished, we need to take the tulasi water from them.
If we are adding coconut to any of the dish, the coconut that was used to give that water to children should not be used. Likewise, if we use the coconut water for the God abhishekam, the same shall not be used for Neivedyam to the God.
Laws to be noticed during eating
When we are cleaning/setting the food place for husband/ others, it has to be done in square form but not in circular form. The wife has to serve food to husband while he is eating. Also, scolding the kids, beating them, talking abusively or asking questions “if the food was good” etc should be totally avoided while eating.
Talks on the non availability of salt, tamaraind etc should be avoided while eating. These can be discussed at other times. After serving all, the lady shal eat and wash her hands and feet and serve the workers at the home.
After finishong serving, clean the place with Komiyam water and clean it again with fresh water.
In short, avoid all contraversies during the lunch/dinner/breakfast time and discuss it at a later time.
Things to done at noon:
After finishing the entire household/other works, the ladies, kids should be made ready/ask them to get ready and apply kum kum, kajal (Kanmai) and Bindi (Pottu).
Things to be explained:
Without any reason, one should not visit others house, characteristcs like anger, proudness, jealousy, greedyness, creating conflict, disrespecting elders, watching dances, attending large crowd gatherings, laughing too much, talking bad about one another, spreading rumours and sitting in the front sitouts should alll be vanished from one’s thoughts.
Things to be followed:
Fear, Gratitude, rituals, God, bhagavathargal, offering services to gurus, being excited, talking lovingly, merciful, loving, patience, Shyness, happiness. One should possess/follow all the above mentioned characteristics.
Women should not have the quality of sleepiness in one’s mind.
Respect (maanam), humiliation, money, poverty, disturbances/issues at home should not be shared with others.
During evening times, one should light the lamp and offer it to God. At night, cooking has to be done without using Gingely oil, Gooseberry and curd.
Women are not supposed to recite Pranavam (Om Kara). Ashtaksharam, dvayam, Sarma Slokam all these should be chanted.
Things to be followed by women during menstrual cycle:
The cloth worn by the lady on the first day should be used for all the three days. Any other new garment should not be worn.
Sponge bath, bathing, oil application, brushing the tooth, applying kajal, using chandan, flower, eating betel leaf, combing hair, all these should be avoided.
Moreover, Saluting, sleeping in the day time, stitching clothes, washing clothes, going out of the house, crossing the river, getting the komiyam, fetching water, eating at the night, varatti thattuvadu, Grinding the Nel rice, all these should be avoided during these three days.
Few more laws:
At 18 ¾ nazhigai, night i.e. around 1:30 am, if menstruation started,
it should be calculated from first day till thord day. Similarly, if it comes after 18 ¾ nazhigai, night i.e. after 1:30 am menstrual cycle should be calculated from the next day.
Rajasvala ladies should not touch each other. The bathing has to be done in lake or pond on the fourth day. Also, the woman should dip her clothing in komiyam, show it in agni and then one can immerse it in water and wash it.
One should clean their body with 60 mruthikka (Mud) mixed with water and bather 32 times in a river or lake. On that evening, the lady should goggle her mouth12 times.
The body should be cleaned 60 times using shikai powder and applying turmeric. Then, wrap a dry cloth around and enter the house. The woman should not see her husband/children without eating or taking any intake. She should consume either rice mixed with salt or lentils and then allowed to see her family. She is not allowed to cook on the fourth day in the house. She can cook in a different place within the house using a separate vessel.