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Do children get contaminated by touching mother while she is in menstruation? If a mother is in isolation but the child comes and touches her, again goes and touch other persons, will it contaminate them?

I have been told traditionally children were kept without dress especially while mother in menstruation. So even if they touch menstruating mother and goes and touch other members of the house, it doesn't contaminate them. If that is true till what age does this apply? Are there any shastra references?

  • The part about keeping children without dress is correct. In fact, I know families who have a set of NEW clothes, just for kids during those 3 days. A cloth that is woven with cotton can only get impure after it has been washed for the first time. So they don't wash the new clothes that the child wears when it touches the mother during menses. Also, in vaidika families, children are not allowed to go into perumal arai/kitchen , touch the father etc. until he completes aradhanam in order to maintain 'madi' or acharam. It applies till the time child can run naked, till they start feeling shame. – ram Dec 17 '17 at 3:29
  • So, to answer your question, children don't get contaminated by anything. They are not even contaminated by karma. All sins they do until they're 14 do not reach them. Their parents are responsible for it. But the clothes they wear can get contaminated by touching women in menses.. so better to keep them 'free' :) – ram Dec 17 '17 at 3:40
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If a mother is in isolation but the child comes and touches her, again goes and touch the father, grand father\mother etc will it contaminate them?


NO, because of the following verses:

Wild animals killed by dogs; a fruit made to fall by a bird; what has been passed around by children or handled by women; goods dis- played for sale so long as they have not been spoilt by gnats and flies landing on them; impurities in the mouths of women; water collected on the ground sufficient to slake the thirst of cows––having enumerated all these, Prajapati declared them to be pure.

VDS 3.54


Before his initiation, a child may behave, speak, and eat as he pleases. He may not partake of ritual offerings and should observe chastity. He may void urine and excrement whenever he has the urge. The set of rules regarding sipping water and other rituals of purification do not apply to him, other than wiping, washing, and sprinkling with water, and no one is made impure by his touch. No one should ever employ him to make fire oblations or Bali offerings, and he should not be made to recite the Veda, except for uttering ‘Svadha¯’.

GDS 2.24

Also, in general, rules of Dharma, like purity-impurity etc, seems not to apply to children until they get to the age of initiation (which varies with one's caste; like for Brahmins it's 8 from the time of conception not birth etc)

Children do not become impure until the first feeding with solid food has taken place; according to some, until they have completed one year; or until they are able or until they have under-to distinguish the cardinal points; for it is through gone initiation, which is the superior position, this that they come under the jurisdiction of the scriptures. This last view is the authoritative one, and it is the traditional teaching.*

ADS 2.16.1


Yet another relevant verse is the following:

One’s own bed, seat, clothes, wife, children, and water pot are pure with respect to oneself; but they are impure vis-à-vis others.

BDS 1.98

So, in short, children can be considered as pure in all circumstances.


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Abbreviations used:
VDS- The Dharmasutras of Vashishta.
GDS- The same of Gautama.
ADS- The same of Apasthamba.
BDS- The same of Baudhayana.

  • What about Shudras then who don't have initiation? – user9554 Dec 16 '17 at 12:49
  • @Parikshitha Hmm good question, u mean what will be the age till which a Shudra child will be considered as pure? Well i don't know. But i guess all children under 8 are considered pure. Also some passages i quoted in the answer are not specific to Dvijas. For example VDS, BDS. – Rickross Dec 16 '17 at 12:54
  • This is not correct answer, as it is misinterpretation/misunderstanding of verses. "what has been passed around by children, or handled by women" - does that mean ALL women, including those who have menses ? No. "One’s own bed, seat, clothes, wife, children, and water pot are pure" - This is taken out of context. It is pure in the sense that he should not touch or use these items belonging to others. It's like saying one's own food-plate is pure, but not others. But he still cannot touch his own food plate if it has yesterday's remnants, he has to clean it before touching. While children.. – ram Dec 17 '17 at 3:32
  • ..themselves are pure (I agree with most of verses you posted), clothes are not and the OP means to ask about children WEARING CLOTHES. So, it is better to have the children (small enough to run around without clothes), to not wear clothes, or wear a new-unwashed set, while mother is in menses. – ram Dec 17 '17 at 3:36
  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. – Keshav Srinivasan Dec 17 '17 at 8:04

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