Saturday, December 17, 2016

Women in Vedic Philosophy

Women in Vedic Philosophy

Vedas and related texts sings about the status of womanhood in a very glorifying and respectful way. It will be no exaggeration to say that among all religious philosophies in the world only Vedas considers women as superior to man. If we compare the status of women in Christianity and Islam they do not consider women to be even equal to man. Most of the readers might have doubt arising in their mind that than why the condition of women was so downtrodden and trampled especially in the middle ages.

The answer to this question is that in Vedic age the women enjoyed respectful status in whole society while in the middle age of ignorance was the era of downfall and decline. Most of the objections about status of women are related to same middle age like Sati Pratha, Dowry, Polygamy, Adultery, lack of education, child marriage, widowhood etc. These ill practices prevailed when people stopped following the instructions of the Vedas. They were side effects of in-compliance and non adherence of Vedic Philosophy. So, the fault goes to inaction not to the Vedic Texts.

Status of Women in Vedas

Vedas regards womanhood to such status that many women became Vedic Seers or Rishikas in the Vedic age. The various suktas of Rigveda like 10 /134, 10/40, 8/91, 10/95,10/107, 10/109, 10/154, 10/159,5/28 were elaborated by female Vedic Seers like Ghosha,Godha,Upanishada, Apala, Vishavavara, Nishat,Romsha etc.

1.Vedas clearly mentions that Women can Read/Listen/Chant/Teach any Vedic Mantra.

Rigveda 10/191/3

God says that O! man and women i am granting you these Mantras for you both So, that you can think and progress together.

Atharvaveda 14/1/64

O Bride! Let the Vedic knowledge (Vedas) be in front of you, behind you and all along side you. Let you attain knowledge of Vedas and live life according to them.

Yajurveda 14/2

O! Women for success in life you must read and follow Vedas.

Rigveda 1/1/5

Women who read Vedas and related Texts in her life practicing celibacy are adorned in society.

Yajurveda 14/14

If both Boys and Girls are taught Vedas from beginning of life they attains knowledge and wisdom promptly.

2.Vedas grants full opportunity to women to become scholar and attain Knowledge.

Atharvaveda 11.5.18

Girls should train themselves to become complete scholars and youthful through Brahmcharya and then enter married life.

Rigveda 6.44.18

The government should ensure that all boys and girls get good education, follow Brahmacharya and strengthen the society.

3. Vedas considers women as source of Knowledge and guidance for whole family.

Atharvaveda 14.1.20

Oh wife! Give us discourse of knowledge

Atharvaveda 7.46.3
Teach the husband ways of earning wealth

Atharvaveda 14.1.20
Oh wife! Give us discourse of knowledge

4. Vedas speaks of Women as supporter, protector and pillar of whole family.

Atharvaveda 2:36:5
Oh bride! Step into the boat of prosperity and take your husband beyond the ocean of worldly troubles into realms of success

Atharvaveda 1.14.3
Oh groom! This bride will protect your entire family

Atharvaveda 2.36.3
May this bride become the queen of the house of her husband and enlighten all.

Atharvaveda 11.1.17
These women are pure, sacred and yajna, they provide us with subjects, animals and food

5. Vedas speaks of status of women in family as queen.

Atharvaveda 12.1.25
Oh motherland! Give us that aura which is present in girls

Atharvaveda 12.2.31
Ensure that these women never weep out of sorrow. Keep them free from all diseases and give them ornaments and jewels to wear.

Atharvaveda 14.1.20
Hey wife! Become the queen and manager of everyone in the family of your husband.

Atharvaveda 14.2.74
This bride is illuminating. She has conquered everyone’s hearts!

6. Vedas grants equal rights to women in Property.

Rigveda 3.31.1
The right is equal in the fathers property for both son and daughter

7. Vedas considers women as well-wisher for her family.

Rigveda 10.159
A women speaks after waking up in morning, “My destiny is as glorious as the rising sun. I am the flag of my home and society. I am also their head. I can give impressive discourses. My sons conquer enemies. My daughter illuminates the whole world. I myself am winner of enemies. My husband has infinite glory. I have made those sacrifices which make a king successful. I have also been successful. I have destroyed my enemies.”

8. Vedas speaks of right to women to become Ruler as Man.

Yajurveda 20.9
There are equal rights for men and women to get appointed as ruler.

Yajurveda 10.26
In this mantra it is enforced that the wife of ruler should give education of politics to the others. Likewise the king do justice for the people, the queen should also justify her role.

9. Vedas grants a women status of warrior

Yajurveda 16.44
There should me a women army. Let the women be encouraged to participate in war.

10. Vedas speaks of right to education for women.

Yajurveda 10.7

Government should put special efforts to make all women into scholars.

Rigveda 3.1.23

Smart people should ensure that all boys and girls become scholars.

Yajurveda 11.36

Parents should ensure good education of children – boys and girls – and then send them to scholars for a long period so that their enlighten the families and nation like sun.

11.Vedas speaks for respect to Women

Rigveda 10.17.7

Those who desire the society to become noble and powerful, they respect woman and please her. Those who desire virtues respect woman and please her. Those who respect woman obtain bliss, knowledge and happiness.

These are few verses from the four Vedas which clearly depicts Women enjoying superior, respectful, dignified, venerate and esteemed position in society.

12. Vedas considers dowry not as money but as Knowledge and merit.

Atharva 14.1.6

Parents should gift their daughter intellect and power of knowledge when she leaves for husband’s home. They should give her a dowry of knowledge.

Dr Vivek Arya

[I have borrowed few references of Vedic Mantras from agniveer website for this article]

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