Can a woman cook & offer food to Krishna during menstruation?
A woman devotee (Name hidden) asked like this:
“Dear Rajan Sir,
All glories to the one and only The Supreme Krishna and always thankful for your servitude to Krishna. Being new to Krishna consciousness, your website really serves as golden mine for all different queries we will go through when we start our journey towards Krishna Lotus feet.
My query 1: Can women offer bhog to Krishna during menstruation cycle and eat Krishna’s prasadam? If only Husband and wife are in home, can wife cook for Krishna during menstruation? Can women read Bhagavad Gita and chant holy names during menstruation?
See, As per the practices followed by the traditional brahmanas for thousands of years, during the menstruation the women were advised to abstain from all the household activities.
The primary reason is that the menstrual discharge may come at any time when they are involved in a household work or spiritual service.
The menstrual discharge is natural, but it is also a waste like urine.
Just imagine, won’t you take bath if some drops of urine slips on the body or clothes?
Will you touch the deities/ Pictures of Krishna (or) cook for Krishna if some drops of urine touches the body and/or clothes?
Same applies for menstruation also.
The women may argue that they can use napkins to avoid the excess outflow of menstrual discharge. But, those napkins do not clean the body from such discharges. Instead, they just store the dischrged contents.
This is like using a diaper to receive the urinal discharges.
So, because of its unpredictable nature, it is not advisable to cook for Krishna or to do Pujas to Krishna by offering bhoga.
Instead, there are two choices:
(i) If there are any other persons in the family, he/ she can cook and offer to Krishna for those 3 or 4 days.
(ii) Krishna Prasadam is free from karma and hence we are purified by taking Krishna Prasadam. However, If there is no one to cook or to perform pujas, avoid ofering food to Krishna for those 3 or 4 days. Pray to Krishna to clear the karma of the food that you take during those days without offering to Him.
Next, you have asked whether a woman can read Bhagavad Gita during menstruation.
Keep two copies of Bhagavad Gita. The copy that you keep in the altar or puja room need not be touched during menstruation. Keep a separate copy of Gita separately to be read during those few days.
Or, you can read Bhagavad Gita online also during those days.
As far as chanting is concerned, don’t use Tulasi mala and cloth bag for chanting during the days of menstruation. Instead, use a handy counter machine during those days.
Also avoid touching tulasi plants and watering her during menstruation.
It is better to avoid visiting the temples during the days of menstruation.
In general, it is advisable to close the puja room or screen the altar during the days of menstruation.
You can avoid using the cloth bed during those days. If it is not possible for you because of the non availability of separate rooms or sep[arate cot without cloth, you should wash the bed spread cloth after the days of menstruation.
I agree that menstruation is also a natural phenomenon. However, as a mark of respect to the Lord, we consider menstruation too like urinal discharge and hence we can avoid religious activities during the menstruation.
And, while we perform pujas and offerings, we should feel as if we are very comfortable physically and mentally.
During the menstruation, such comfortable feel may be absent or less. So, keep Krishna only in mind and heart during those days. It is not advisable for women to cook & offer food to Krishna during menstruation, as a mark of respect to the purest Krishna.
However, no barrier to think of Krishna and to worship him within heart that is more powerful.
My query 2: How can we try to eat Krishna’s prasadam when we are traveling outside or studying in hostels? Wondering if we can’t eat even a simple packaged snacks like biscuits without offering to Krishna? Also what are the things we can’t offer to Krishna that we buy from outside?
Thank you so much Rajan Sir for kindly taking your time to serve us for Krishna.
Taking biscuits, soft drinks, chcolates, coffee, tea, etc itself can be avoided since they contain coffeine.
Packaged snacks like breads too can be avoided as they may contain yeast and egg.
This second question has been already replied in detail in two posts.
Those Posts are given below:
(1) HOW TO OFFER FOOD IN ALL PLACES LIKE HOSTELS, HOTELS, RELATIVE HOUSES, TRAVEL, ETC? READ HERE!
(2) 10 FOODS KRISHNA DEVOTEES SHOULD EAT AND AVOID! READ HERE!
Hope you are clear now whether a woman can cook & offer food to Krishna during menstruation.