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Women in hinduism

Sacrificer           unknown
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. Aum.

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. Aum.

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 centuries.

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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