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Rajaswala Dharma

Rajaswala means menses/menstruation period. When women are in their menses,

they are known as Rajaswala sthree (women). At this time a woman is considered to
be impure during the first 3 days and certain rules must be followed.

How Rajaswala started

There was a Brahmin called Vishwaroop who was a guru for the Devtas, however he
started teaching rakshas (demons) and passing on his knowledge to them. Indra
heard of this and became very angry, he killed Vishwaroop. In doing this, Indra
committed Brahmahatya (killing a Brahmin) which is a very big paap (sin).
Vishwaroop was also a guru for the Devtas so Indra would have to suffer greatly for
this paap. He was very worried about this and was therefore advised to ask
someone else to take the paap in return for giving them a boon. Four people
accepted a quarter of the paap each:

Pruthvi (earth)
Vruksa / Jhaar (trees)
Samudra (sea)
Sthree (women) took the paap in the form of rajaswala (menstruation)

In this way Rajaswala came about due to a paap that Indradev committed.

Some of the Dharmas of Rajaswala sthree

No woman shall touch anybody or any clothes etc., for three days during the
period of menses, but can do so on the fourth day after taking a bath.
(Shikshapatri shlokh 174)

During menstruation the body is being cleansed and therefore it is important for
women to rest through this time. For three days ladies should:

Not touch any other person

Not touch any items such as clothes, dishes etc. apart from their own
Not cook or clean
Not do puja, go to Mandir or touch religious items
Not touch other ladies who are on their menses

On the fourth day they should take a purifying bath, washing all the clothes they
have touched during the three days. Although women are cleansed after taking the
bath they still must not do puja or cook food that will be given to Bhagwan on that

Under extreme circumstances, e.g. own wedding, then the Rajaswala stree can
take a purifying bath and take part in the ceremony; and repent it by doing upvas

and shall never conceal her periodical menses. (Shikshapatri shlokh 173)

Women should never hide their menses for any reason, such as if it is not a
convenient time for them. It is said in our shastras that in a family where all the
other dharmas are observed but Rajaswala dharma is not observed, then the wife is
born as a dog and her husband is born as a bull in their next birth. Therefore, to be
free from the cycle of birth and death, it is important to observe the Rajaswala

If a sin is committed unknowingly during Rajaswala, e.g. accidently touching

someone or something, then Rushi panchmi vrat is observed to repent for such sins.