Critical Podium Dewanand Hinduism
Women in hinduism
Sacrifice code wfor0375
Sacrifice date 25 march 2009
W o m e n i n h i n d u i s m
In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a
superior position to, men. It is a culture whose only words for strength
and power are feminine -"Shakti'' means "power'' and "strength.''
All male power comes from the feminine. Literary evidence suggests that
kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the
state. For example, Valmiki's Ramayana teaches us that Ravana and his
entire clan was wiped out because he abducted Sita. Veda Vyasa's Mahabharatha
teaches us that all the Kauravas were killed because they humiliated Draupadi
in public. Elango Adigal's Sillapathigaram teaches us Madurai, the capital
of the Pandyas was burnt because Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan mistakenly killed
her husband on theft charges.
In Vedic times women and men were equal as far as education and religion
was concerned. Women participated in the public sacrifices alongside men.
One text mentions a female rishi Visvara. Some Vedic hymns, are attributed
to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant
or Indrani, the wife of Indra. Apparently in early Vedic times women also
received the sacred thread and could study the Vedas. The Haritasmrti
mentions a class of women called brahmavadinis who remained unmarried
and spent their lives in study and ritual. Panini's distinction between
arcarya (a lady teacher) and acaryani (a teacher's wife), and upadhyaya
(a woman preceptor) and upadhyayani ( a preceptor's wife) indicates that
women at that time could not only be students but also teachers of sacred
lore. He mentions the names of several noteworthy women scholars of the
past such as Kathi, Kalapi, and Bahvici. The Upanishads refer to several
women philos ophers, who disputed with their male colleagues such as Vacaknavi,
who challenged Yajnavalkya. The Rig Veda also refers to women engaged
in warfare. One queen Bispala is mentioned, and even as late a witness
as Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions heavily armed women guards
protecting Chandragupta's palace. ----Courtesy A TRIBUTE TO HINDUISM.
On respect for women
Abuse of women is also a very bad thing. Women should not be abused.
A husband and wife should be fond of each other and respect each other's
sentiments. They should try to adjust to each other. Whenever required,
both should try to sacrifice their egos. The woman is physically weaker
than the man. When a person is physically weaker, that person should be
helped and protected not abused. A man should never abuse his physical
power over a woman-
---Sri Sri Sri Shivabalayogi, Maharaj Charitable Trust, Dehradun Ashram,
180-C-Rajpur Road, Rajpur, Dehradun, 248009 India
Excerpts from Aphorisms for a Truly Spiritual Life, From Living with
Siva, By Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
Section Three---The Family Path--Instructions for Men
/Instructions for Husbands
Sûtra 81: Modesty with women
Devout Hindu men speak to and associate mostly with men. Conversation
with women, especially the wives of other men, is not prolonged. To avoid
intimacy, one's gaze is directed at the hairline, not into the eyes. Aum.
Sûtra 82: Respect for women
All Siva's men devotees go out of their way to express respect, bordering
on reverence, for women. They never demean them in speech, watch vulgar
or erotic shows, or associate with lustful or promiscuous women. Aum.
Sûtra 83: Kindliness toward women
Siva's men devotees never argue with women, antagonize, disrespect, tease
or abuse them in any way. They are always kindly, protective, helpful
and understanding, honoring the mother spirit within women. Aum.
Sûtra 84: Wearing traditional clothing
Siva's men devotees dress, whenever appropriate, in impeccable traditional
Hindu attire, always at home, in the temple and at religious/cultural
events. Their outer elegance is equaled only by their inner dignity. Aum.
Sûtra 85: The home as refuge
Siva's men devotees, on arriving home from work, immediately bathe and
enter their shrine for the blessings of Gods and guru to dispel worldly
forces and regain the state of Siva consciousness. Aum Nama Sivâya
Sûtra 86: Caring for one's wife
Each of Siva's married men devotees loves and cares for his wife, despite
any shortcomings. He is forbidden to strike or speak harshly to her or
ignore her needs. If he does, he must seek family and professional help.
Sûtra 87: Restraint with other women
Siva's married men, in the workplace and in the world, hold a courteous
aloofness toward all women, whether young, older, single, married, divorced
or widowed. They reserve their affections for wife and family. Aum.
Sûtra 88: Communicating daily
When away from home, each of Siva's married men devotees contacts his
wife every day to express his love and inquire about her day. He avoids
rowdy company and never visits another woman's home alone. Aum.
Sûtra 89: Fulfilling all her needs and wants
Siva's devotees who are husbands practice the mystical law of caring
for and giving the wife all she needs and all she wants, thus releasing
her Sakti energy from within, making him contented, successful and magnetic.
Sûtra 90: Family togetherness
Each of Siva's devotees who is a husband spends time with his wife and
children daily. Monday is a family evening at home. One night monthly
is devoted to the wife alone in an activity of her choice. Aum Nama Sivâya.
The Unfailing Power Of Female Fidelity--(MADHU KISHWAR, New Delhi, editor
of Manushi, India's leading magazine on human issues, especially women
right's, is an erudite activist in the effort to raise up the qualify
of life in India. )
I grew up thinking that Sita, heroine of the Ramayana, was a slavish
wife without a mind of her own who deserved the shabby treatment of her
husband, Lord Ram. It took me a long time to understand that it is not
Indian women's masochism which makes Sita appear an appealing role model.
It is her supreme loyalty, combined with her dignified refusal to go through
the humiliation of a second fire ordeal. She makes Ram appear so uncouth
and unreasonable that this one injustice has not been forgiven all these
I witnessed the power of Sita's story to move men's hearts in Maharashtra.
I was working on the Lakshmi Mukti program to persuade peasants of the
organization, Shetkari Sangathana, to empower women by voluntarily transferring
a portion of the family land in the name of the wife. During our campaign,
Sangathana leader Sharad Joshi pointed out to men how their wives toil
for them selflessly, how crucial their wives' labor and care is for the
well-being of the family. He would ask his audience: "But how do
we men treat our Lakshmi's? [Sita is an incarnation of Lakshmi]. Often
no better than Ram treated Sita! When Ram was banished for 14 years Sita
could have stayed back, but she insisted, 'Wherever goes Ram, there goes
Sita. My place is by your side.' She suffered numerous privations for
him joyfully. Though Ram's enemy, Ravan, respected her chastity when she
was captured by him, and did not violate Sita against her wishes, her
own husband subjected her to the cruel humiliation of agnipariksha to
prove her chastity. Even fire could not touch her. But on their return
to his kingdom, at the mere hint of a slanderous remark by a laundryman,
Ram asks Lakshman to take away Sita and leave her in a forest without
explanation. Maharani (Great Queen) Sita became a beggar overnight because
her husband turned against her. It did not occur to him to tell his subjects,
'If Sita is not good enough to be your queen, then my place is by her
side. I cannot stay here either.' He left her destitute even while she
was pregnant with his children."
Siva alone of all the Gods is considered the most desirable type of husband.
Unmarried women fast on Mondays praying to Siva that He bless them with
Parvati's good fortune. Why? Because Siva is single minded in his devotion
to Parvati. He has no eye for any other woman. When she immolates herself
as Sati to protest her father's insult of her husband, Siva is ready to
burn down the whole world and rests only after he has brought her back
to life. She carries tremendous influence in his activities, a companion
and advisor rather than a servile wife. They are our mythology's most
celebrated and happy couple, representing perfect joy in togetherness,
including in their sexual union.
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