ARE WOMEN HUMAN BEINGS? CHRISTIAN DISCUSSION!!! (Post No.7555)

COMPILED BY LONDON SWAMINATHAN

Post No.7555

Date uploaded in London – 9 February 2020

Contact – swami_48@yahoo.com

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Great philosopher and former President of India Dr S Radhakrishnan gives very interesting information about the attitude towards women in ancient India. Then in the same volume R C Majumdhar, former Vice Chancellor of Dacca University adds that anti women attitude was common among the Hindu Smrti writers, Greek philosophers, Gautama Buddha and the Christian poets and monks . Christians maintained anti women attitude until very recent times.

“Indian tradition has generally respected womanhood, as the essays in this book indicate, though occasionally we find derogatory references to women ( in his introduction to Great Women of India book). Even god is regarded as half man and half woman, ‘ardha-naariiswara’. Manu declares that where women are honoured, there gods are pleased; where they are not honoured, all works become fruitless (Manu 3-56).

Women cannot do some things that men can. Their physiology prevents this. That does not prove any inferiority on their part. We must do the things for which we are made and do them well.

In early times education of women was engaged. The Goddess of Learning is Saraswati.

The Mahanirvana Tantra says

‘A girl also should be brought up and educated with great care and effort’ -8-47

The Devi Mahatmya declares,

‘All forms of knowledge are aspects of Thee; and all women throughout the world are Thy forms- 11-6. We hear of great women like Maitreyi, Gargi, Arundhati, Lilavati etc.

In the Vedic age women enjoyed equal opportunities for education and work. They were eligible for ‘upanayana’ (Sacred thread)  or initiation and Study of Brahma Knowledge.

There is an interesting passage in the Durga Saptasati, where Durga who is Kumari/ virgin tells the Asuras who  aspired to marry her- ‘He who conquers me in battle , he who humbles my pride ,he who is my equal in this world, he shall be my husband’. Women were not the bond slaves of pleasure. The end of marriage is spiritual comradeship. The Mahabharata says ‘ let this heart of yours be mine , and let this heart of mine be yours’- 1-3-9. Yet sex life was not despised. Its importance for human development was recognised.

Matri Devp Bhava – Treat your Mother as a Goddess – is the advice given to the young. Again Manu says,

‘One acharya excels ten Upadhyayas in glory; a father excels a hundred Acharyas in glory; but a mother excels even a thousand fathers in glory’- 2-145

Marriage without motherhood is incomplete.

Xxx

R c majumdhar says after quoting anti women references from the Smrtis (HINDU LAW BOOKS), and the following about other religions-

Varahamihira’s Brihat Samhita of sixth century CE gives all out support for women-

“Tell me truly, what faults attributed to women have not   been also practised by men? Men in their audacity treat women with contempt, but they really possess more virtues than men….. men owe their birth to women: O ungrateful wretches, how can happiness be your lot when you condemn them?”

The ascetic and puritanical ideas which came into prominence about the sixth century BCE laid stress on the temptations offered by women and regarded them as the chief obstacles to salvation. Women came to be looked upon as the source of all evils and as potent instruments of destroying the souls of men. Hence the denunciation of women as a class reached a degree which is not unknown in other countries. It is well known how Christian monks gathered at the Synod of Macon in 585 CE seriously discussed whether women were human beings at all.

Even Gautama Buddha was not wholly above this spirit. For a long time, he refused to admit women to his religious order, and when he did so, he prophesied that that the purity of his religion would not endure for more than half the period that it would have otherwise done. He also imposed a far more rigorous test and placed the nuns as a class in a position of inferiority to the monks. It was laid down, for example, that a nun though hundred years old, must stand in reverence even before a young monk just initiated into the church.  Such a sentiment was shared by other religious sects, and naturally reacted on the people at large, thereby creating an unfavourable view against women.  These and other reasons must have produced the feeling that women were wicked  and sensuous by nature and must be constantly  held in check by women.

It should be remembered, however, that such a feeling was almost universally held  throughout the world down to down to very recent times. Confucius, Aristotle, Milton, and even Rousseau preached that women, being inherently inferior to men, should always be in a subordinate position to men”.

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, 1953.

My Comments

Tamil devotional literature and Kamba Ramayana also have lot of anti women remarks. They looked at women from three angles:

As mothers they were worshipped as Goddess.

As wives they were appreciated for the work they did;

As courtesans they were criticised. The writers who criticised women knew that every woman was a mother to someone. So only when the women acted against the norms of the day they were condemned.

The strange thing is that the Hindus were the only one race who gave them full rights in the Vedic days.

But Britain and other countries paid less wages to women than men who did the same job. While I am typing this, several women sued the BBC against lesser pay they are getting right now and winning their cases slowly.

Britain gave voting rights to British women only after India gave voting rights.

In almost all Western countries women are paid less than men while I am finishing typing this article.

Victorian novels have lot of anti -women remarks. Women were treated as dumb, arrogant, gossip mongers. They were projected as jealous anti women (one woman wont help another woman of same age or status).

Long Live Women!

Long live Bharati, Tamil poet, who fought for women’s’ rights as early as in 1900s.

–subham–

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