Eastern and Western View of Women (Post No. 3486)

Compiled by London swaminathan

 

Date: 26 December 2016

 

Time uploaded in London:-  14-57

 

Post No.3486

 

 

Pictures are taken from different sources; thanks.

 

 

contact; swami_48@yahoo.com

 

There is good and bad said about women in all the literatures of the world. To take one quotation out of context and interpret it as the author’s view about women is wrong. There are lots of praise for women in the Vedic mantras  (Marriage Hymns); in the Upanishads they are shown as spiritually inclined; in the Hindu epics Draupadi, Savitri, Sita and others are shown as intelligent women. When it came to Kaikeyi, Tadaka and Surphanakha we see diametrically opposite views. It is same in Tamil literature as well. When the poets sing about young women they praise their beauty. When the same women are shown as concubines or harlots they are condemned. As Mothers, they command the highest respect in Hindu literature, which is not seen in any other ancient literature. If we consider the Vedic age they command more praise and respect than any other period (Please see my earlier posts on Manu and others on women)

 

BHARATIYAR

The lock is opened by the hand

And good mind by the intellect;

It is tune that opens he song

And women the home of delight–Tamil Poet Bharati

 

It is mother’s milk that gives us strength

While the wife’s kind words reap our harvest of fame

As women’s blessedness blasts all evil,

let us rejoice with linked hands.

Blow the conch! Dance in joy!

For woman is sweeter than life itself.

She the protectress of life, and creatrix too;

She is the life of our life, and the soul of sweetness

 

We will grow lofty by dint of merit;

we will rub off the old stigmas;

if men take us fully as their equals Attributing nought of defects to us

We will join them and labour in the fight

To win back our nation and retrieve –Tamil Poet Bharati

 

Gone are the days who said to woman: Thou shall not

Open the Book of Knowledge

And the strange ones who boasted saying:

We will immure these women in our homes

Today they hang down their heads–Tamil Poet Bharati

 

Thou to me the flowing Light

And I to thee the discerning sight

Honeyed blossom thou to me

Bee enchanted I to thee

O Heavenly Lamp with shining ray

P Krishna, love, O nectar-sparay

With faltering tongue and words that pant

Thy glories here I strive to chant

–Tamil Poet Bharati

 

 

 HOMER

O woman, woman, when to ill thy mind

Is bent all hell contains no fouler fiend – The Odyssey, XI

 

For since of womankind so few are just

Think all are false, nor even the faithful trust– The Odyssey XI

xxx

 

The time for trusting women’s gone forever!- The Odyssey XI

A man shall walk behind a lion rather than behind a woman- Babylonian Talmud

And I find more bitter than death the women, whose heart is snares and nets, and her hands as bands – Ecclesiastes XXV-19

 

Women are the gate of hell – St Jerome

Nothing is  worse than a woman, even a good one – Menander

Women have no souls – Lewis Wager

xxx

 

 

SHAKESPEARE

Down from the waist they are Centaurs

Though women all above;

But to the girdle do the gods inherit

Beneath is all the fiends

There is hell, there is darkness, there is sulphrous pit

Burning, scalding, stench, consumption;

Fie, fie, puh, pah

Give me an ounce of civet, good Apothecary,

to sweeten my imagination there is money for thee

-King Lear Act 4, Scene 6

 

age cannot wither her, nor custom stale

Her infinite variety; other women cloy

The appetites they feed, but she makes hungry

Where most she satisfies; for vilest things

Become themselves in her, that the holy priests

Bless her when she is riggish

–Antony and Cleopatra Act 2, Scene 2

xxx

PATTINATHAR

O peafowl like woman adorned with garlands

Of bourgeoning flowers, the one that just now

Quested for you, had gone away; compose yourself.

If you earn for me I will kick you on your hips

And if I think of you, you kick me – Pattinathar, Tamil saint

xxx

 

 

KALHANA

For, a woman who has sold her soul for love, reveals the changed attitude (towards her husband), due to the orgy of the demon of unchastity -Rajatarangini 3-501

O these wretched women, pursuers of physical love, barren of thought, by whom men are soon hurled downward-Rajatarangini 3-513

Women being quick-witted analyse, at the same time while they are lamenting, their altered position and sons even while they are by the side of the funeral pyre discuss the material and moral condition-Rajatarangini 7-734

xxxx

Thou to me the Harp of Gold

And I do thee the finger bold;

Necklace shining thou to me

New-set diamond I to thee;

O mighty queen with splendour rife

O Krishna, Love, O well of life

Thine eyes do shed their light on all

Wherever turn, their beams do fall

–Tamil Poet Bharati

Bharati’s poems are translated by several scholars and published by Tamil University, Thanjavur

 

–Subham–

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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