A WIFE IS HALF THE MAN: STATUS OF WOMEN IN HINDUISM (Post No.3279)

garba-practice

Compiled by London Swaminathan

 

Date: 23 October 2016

 

Time uploaded in London: 6-53 AM

 

Post No.3279

 

Pictures are taken from Facebook and other sources; thanks. (Pictures are used only for representational purpose; no connection with the current article.)

 

Contact swami_48@yahoo.com

 

babay-mother

This article is available in Tamil as well

 

Sir Moiner Williams gives the following translation of the definition of a wife as found in the Mahabharata :

 

A wife is half the man, his friend;

A loving wife is a perpetual spring

Of virtue, pleasure, wealth; a faithful wife is his best aid in seeking heavenly bliss;

A sweetly- speaking wife is a companion

In solitude, a father in advice,

A rest in passing through life’s wilderness,”

 

 

The woman is part of her husband and so she worships through him; what he does, she does.

The “Yajur Veda says

“The wife is half the self of her husband”.

Ardhova esha atmenoyatpatnii

 

Upon this there is a comment by Brihaspati, some what as follows:

“It has been said that the wife is half the self of her husband, and in consequence she shares equally with him all the good and evil done by him.”

 

A Passage on this subject is quoted from the Padma Purana:

The husband is the beloved of the wife

He is more to her than all the gods. Herself and her husband

Be it known are one person.

Without the consent of her husband

Any kind of worship she must not perform.”

Patireva priya striinaam

Brahmaadibyopi sarvasah

Atmaananca svabarataara mekapindamaniisayaa

Bharturaaknjaam vinaa naiva kinchitdharmam samaasaret

 

With the consent of her husband a wife may go on short pilgrimage without him when he is unable to accompany her, but this is very seldom. Strictly with his consent, she may also perform and keep vows for instance, to do without salt in her food for a stated period or to abstain from milk or various of eatables for a given time. All this is one the object of obtaining for herself or some on to her something desired- wealth, or children, or deliverance from disease.

ammami

Tamil Poet Tiruvalluvar also says,

Even the clouds will obey and pour out rain at the bidding of a wife

Who prefers to worship her husband rather than any other God

-Tirukkural 55

 

SITA SPEAKS:-

There is also a most touchingly beautiful piece in the Ramayana to be found translated into English by Ward (History of the Literature and Mytholoogy of the Hindus (Vol.II, page 408)

 

It purports to be the address of Sita to her husband Rama. Rama was banished by the king, his father Dasaratha, at the instigation of his third wife Kaikeyi, who wished the succession for her own son, Bharata. He was doomed to perpetual exile in the forest, and his wife expresses her determination to go with him.

 

As a beautiful expression of tender affection I cannot refrain from quoting the piece at length. It serves to show that the affectionate nature of a true woman is ever the same, despite its surroundings.

 

“Son of the venerable parent! hear,

‘Tis Seeta speaks. Say art not thou assur’d

That to each being his allotted time

And portion, as his merit, are assign’d

And that a wife her husband’s portion shares

Therefore with thee this forest lot I claim.

A woman’s bliss is found, not in the smile

of father, mother, friend, nor in herself:

Her husband is her only portion here,

Her heaven hereafter. If thou, indeed,

Depart this day into the forest drear,

I will precede, and smooth the thorny way.

O hero brave, as water we reject

In which our nutriment has been prepared

So anger spurn, and every thought unkind,

Unworthy of thy spouse, and by thy side,

Unblam’d, and unforbidden, let her stay.

O chide me not; for where the husband is,

Within the palace, on the stately car,

Or wandering in the air, in every state

The shadow of his foot is her abode.

 

My mother and my father having left,

I have no dwelling place distinct from thee.

Forbid me not, for in the wilderness,

Hard of access, renounce’d by men, and fill’d

With animals and birds of various kind,

And savage tigers, I will surely dwell.

This horrid wilderness shall be to me

Sweet as my father’s house and all the noise

Of the three worlds shall never interrupt

My duty to my lord. A gay recluse,

On thee attending, happy shall I feel

Within this honey-scented grove to roam,

For thou e’en here canst nourish and protect

And therefore other friend I cannot need.

To-day most surely with thee I will go,

And thus resolved, I must not be deny’d.

 

Roots and wild fruit shall be my constant food

Nor will I, near thee, add unto thy cares,

Not lag behind, nor forest-food refuse;

But fearless traverse evr’y hill and dale,

Viewing the winding stream, the craggy rock.

And, stagnant at its base, the pool or lake.

In nature’s deepest myst’ries thou art skill’d

O  hero– and I long with thee to view

 

Those sheets of water, fill’d with nymphaas

Cover’d with ducks, and swans, and silvan fowl

And studded with each wild and beauteous flow’r

In these secluded pools I’ll often bathe

And share with thee, o Rama, boundless joy

Thus could I sweetly pass a thousand years

But without thee e’en heav’n would lose its charms

A residence in heaven, O Raghuvu,

Without thy presence, would no joy afford.

Therefore, though rough the path, I must, I will

The forest penetrates, the wild abode

Of monkeys, elephants, and playful fawn.

Pleas’d to embrace thy feet, I will reside

In the rough forest as my father’s house.

Void of all other wish, supremely thine

Permit me request-I will not grieve

I will not burden thee refuse me not

But shouldst thou, Raghuvu, this prayer deny,

Know, I resolve on death-if torn from thee.

 

poor-namaste

The main question is whether a woman can have any worship at all apart from her husband; she has a kind of daily worship of her own.

 

At the time of her marriage, at the marriage of her children, and at certain other periods and at some festivals, the wife must sit with her husband during the time he is engaged in the performance of certain acts of worship, though she seems to be there only as a kind of complement of her husband takes no and active part in the ceremonies. If a man has lost his wife, he cannot perform any sacrifices by fire (oupasana) which shows that the wife has some indirect connection with the ceremony, and also in part accounts for the anxiety of a widower to remarry.

 

At the midday service when the man per forms the ceremonies before taking food, the wife may attend upon him and hand him the things used by him, but she can take no real part with him. The woman is not a twice-born (dvija) nor does she wear the sacred thread (which is the mark of the second birth (upanayana). She cannot read the Vedas, or even hear them read, nor can she take part in her husband’s sacred services.

onam-cbe

–subham–

Hindu Baby Names and Astrology! (Post No.2968)

babay, mother

Compiled by London swaminathan

Date:13 July 2016

Post No. 2968

Time uploaded in London :– 17-01

( Thanks for the Pictures)

 

DON’T REBLOG IT AT LEAST FOR A WEEK!  DON’T USE THE PICTURES; THEY ARE COPYRIGHTED BY SOMEONE.

 

(for old articles go to tamilandvedas.com OR swamiindology.blogspot.com)

 

Following piece is an interesting excerpt from a 100-year-old book written by a Muslim scholar: –

 

“It is a Girl! Girl! Cries the nurse. As she is not a boy you will be prepared to learn that the same sort of rejoicings does not usher her into this world of sunshine and storm as would greet the arrival of a boy. Why is this? Does that mean that the birth of a girl is supposed to be a calamity perhaps, speaking only of the unregenerate, unimaginative classes, it may be so; but you must not on that account put down the Hindus as an ungallant race, insensible to the charms of the gentler sex.

 

In their mythology there is the story of the churning of the ocean by gods and demons; and of the fourteen gems they produced, none was more valuable, none more dazzling, than the bright, smiling, tender-eyed Sri – Sri, the lotus-born Goddess of Fortune, wealth and beauty, the type of Indian womanhood. On the other hand, we must remember that a on implies much more in Hindu ideas and Hindu law than he does in other social systems. A son in Hindu parlance is often called the giver of immortality. The idea is that the parent never attains to the higher life after he completes his life in this world, unless he has left a son who can perform his funeral obsequies and give offerings to the gods, which alone give him admission amongst the immortals. Thus it will be understood that the advent of a son means something that affects the whole of the immortal life of a man after he finishes his worldly existence.

 

The advent of a girl to a certain extent also means that, but it means for other people; because the girl when she is married goes into another family, and all her virtues and all her greatness are, as it were imputed to that other family of which she becomes a member. Therefore, to the ordinary Hindu family, the birth of a girl, irrespective of how much they may in their frailty have wished for a girl, is not an event off the same importance, or an occasion for the same rejoicings, as would usher in the birth of a boy.

After the sweets are distributed and the congratulations have been tendered to the boy-husband and his parents, there is a horde of dependents whose claims have to be satisfied in hard cash. There is another set of people who have the privilege of looking at the child’s face- at the price of some gifts to the nurse and members of the family. He law of compensation is so strong in Indian social life. Wherever gifts have to be offered, gifts are received to a nearly equal amount. The successful social leader is the one who contrives that balance of gifts is always in his or her own favour.

Planets2013.svg

Hindus – Astrological Race!

The Hindus are an extremely astrological race. They can do nothing in life without consulting the stars. Perhaps this partly accounts for the want of punctuality noted as a glaring defect in Indian character. There is an old story of a stately Raja who was invited to a party on a certain day and arrived two days afterwards. It was not that he had missed the train, for he travelled with a train of chariots, horses, and elephants. The fact was that at the time when he should have started, the ruling planet was unfavourable and he had to wait until the wicked planet had got out of his way and a luckier planet had come to rule.

 

The Sun, Mars and Saturn, are unlucky planets (the sun being a planet in Hindu astronomy), while Venus, the Moon, Mercury and Jupiter are lucky planets.

The Hindu almanac shows for each day of the week minute sub divisions of time which have different astrological characters. One ‘ghari’ is good for business, another is mortal, for it will kill you if you challenge it. A third is fraught with a happy issue to all you undertake, and a fourth with affliction. There are some gharis which are neutral; you may do things if you are compelled to do them, but not if you are free. Hence in some circumstances compulsion is welcomed; for the compulsion converts the ill luck into luck for the person compelled – but woe betide the person who compels, for doubles his own sorrow!

 

Such being the ideas that affect life, it is most important that the precise time of girl’s birth should be carefully noted, for on it will depend her name, her marriage, and her whole future destiny. Her horoscope is made out and ruling planet and the cast of the stars carefully determined and recorded. Not only must the favourable planet be known, as pointing out her gifts and virtues, but the star in opposition is equally important, because on that would depend her conduct towards those whom she has any reason to suspect as enemies. Then a number of minor stars and asterisms will have to be noted as they aid or warp the influence of the guiding stars and planets. When the configuration of the heavens at the moment of birth is completely and accurately recorded, the Brahma or the Pandit will be able to construct exactly the history of that child from the moment of its birth to the it will have to be called away. Is such history true?

 

That reminds me the story of a man who was to have died at forty. In his forty fifth year he was still alive, and suspecting that there was something untoward in the heavens, he sent for the learned Pandit who had read the horoscope and asked him to account for the discrepancy. The Pandit was a cynic and answered by a question, “What did you pay for your horoscope?”

 

Fortune-telling apart, the horoscope has important practical results. No name can be given to the child until the horoscope has been scanned and studied.

 

azaki with metal pot

What is in a name?- why the whole history of a Hindu woman.

Just as the stars dictate her destiny they also dictate her name. it is true that a name is often informally given which is a pet name, and in fact most of the Hindu women have two sets of names. One name is the name by which they are vulgarly called, but the other name, the true name, is the astrological name, the name which you must know before you are able to reason about her qualities or about her destinies, either In this world or in the next. This ordinary name is the apparently important name, but the ‘rash’i name does not figure in actual life because it is too sacred to be defiled by daily use. The ‘rashi’ name is known to the parents, of course, and the priest, but not to the child itself until she is grown up sufficiently to understand it and sometimes not at all.

 

The giving of a name is attended with ceremonies, religious and social and the exact time when it must be given is determined by astrological rules the auspicious moment having been chosen, the girl grows and thrives – not only as the child of the family, but as the child of the whole neighbourhood. The children are gregarious in India, and except for very small babies, who ride astride the mother’s wats, the office of motherhood is usually in commission”.

 

Source : Life and Labour of the People of India by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Barrister at Law, London, 1907

–subham–

 

Kalidasa’s Women and Tamil Women

ramalakshmana sita hanuman

Tribhanga pose of Rama, Lakshmana, Sita wth Hanuman.

Research paper written by London Swaminathan

Research article No.1526; Dated  28    December 2014.

The concept of womanhood, physical features of women, their beliefs, the customs they followed were amazingly similar from Himalayas to Kanyakumari, the Land’s end. This shows that their thoughts, words and deeds were same from their birth to death from North to South. It stands as a proof for the sons of the soil theory. They did not come in to India from foreign lands. They were born and brought up here and died here with their own beliefs. Wherever they went they took their beliefs. If they had come from outside India, customs like swayamvaram would have existed outside India. Hundreds of such customs are not found anywhere in the world except in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. Even their standing pose (tribhanga) was same from Indus valley to the southernmost tip.

Hindus have a custom of describing a woman’s body features from head to foot if it is human. If it is a goddess they have to describe her features from foot to head. This customs is followed in Tamil and Sanskrit literature. No one dares to look at the Goddess straight into her eyes. Even her side glance is enough to fulfil all the desires of millions of people, they believed. So they started describing her from foot to head. For ordinary women it was vice verse.

odissy tribhanga

Tribhanga in Odissi Dance

Following body features are same in Kalidasa and Sangam Tamil literature. We can see most of them in Valmiki Ramayana as well.

1.Women were always compared with the rivers and cities. Rivers were women and the sea was their husband.

2.Women were married on the Rohini Nakashatra (asterism) day as she was considered the favourite wife of the Moon.

3.Moon was considered the husband of all the 27 Stars. In other cultures Moon was a woman.

4.All the good qualities and virtues are given feminine names. This custom is followed until today (Karuna, Shanti, Satya, Anandi,Saumya, Saubhagya etc)

5.If someone sneezed, women thought some other women are thinking about their husbands.

6.Women counted their days when their husbands went on travel or Government service (such as war, foreign trips with Kings). It is in Meghaduta of Kalidasa and Sangam literature.

7.Kalidasa described women as wonderful creations of Brahma. He described them as Brahma’s Art Work! In Tamil they were compared to Anangus, who can “kill “anyone by their look.

8.Each City in India has a goddess protecting the city (Nagara Devata). Even Ravana’s Lanka had a city goddess- Lanka Devi.

pinnu senchataiyal

  1. Women’s Body Features:

Hair – It is always compared to peacock feather in Kalidasa and Sangam literature

Gait- It is always compared with swan or goose

Thigh – Trunk of an elephant or Plantain/Banana Tree stem

Eyes: Deer

Voice: Koel or Parrot

Belly Button: whirlpool; vortex

Eye throbbing: Left is good for women; Right is good for men.

Hair do: If the husband is away they don’t decorate their hair

Fasting: They fast for good children and Husband’s long life

Chaste women: Chaste women have miraculous powers, but they rarely use them.

Symbol of Love: Chakravaka birds are described as symbol of love; they always remain together.

Tree and Creeper: Men are trees and Women are creepers in both the languages.

Face of Women: Bright and cool like Moon

Paintings: Both men and women had paintings of their beloveds

Teeth are compared to white flowers

Lips are compared with corals or Bimba fruit

Broad Chest/breast, Narrow waist, Broad Thighs are the features of Indian women.

Women longed for children and believed male children will help them to go to heaven.

Women wanted heroic children and mothers were called Veea Mata in Tamil and Sanskrit literature.

More than 200 topics are similar in Kalidasa and Tamil literature including the above topics on women. This shows that Sangam Tamils knew very well Kalidasa’s works and used them. Unknown Prakrit poets of Gatha Saptasati also imitated Kalidasa, but they were not known to anyone, because their products were secondary productions. Very rarely we see originality; may be one or two like Hala are exceptions.

dance line drawing

Gatha Sapta Sati never touched Tamil God Skanda where as Kalidasa and Sangam Poets dealt with Skanda Murukan in the same way. Gatha Spata Sati touched Lord Ganesh where as neither Sangam poets nor Kalidasa dealt with Lord Ganesh.

My forty year research in to Sanskrit, Tamil and Prakrit literatures show that Tamils and Prakrit poets knew Kalidasa works by heart. Rev G U Pope who studied Tamil and Sanskrit works wrote about it 150 years ago.

Under 200 topics I have more than 1000 references. I have given one below:

In Syama – vine I see your slender limbs;

Your glance in the gazelle’s startled eyes

In the cool radiance of the moon in your face

Your tresses in the peacock’s luxuriant train

Your eye brows graceful curve in stream’s small waves

But alas! O cruel one, I see not

Your whole likeness anywhere in any one thing – Kalidasa’s Megadutam 103

kerala beauties

“Conferring the radiance of the moon

On the faces of lovely women,

the entrancing tones of wild geese

on their gem-filled anklets,

the Banduka’s vibrant redness

on their luscious lower lip,

the splendour of bountiful autumn

is now departing – to who knows where – 3-25- Kumarasambhava

Also Sakuntala Act 2-10,11, Rtu Samharam 3-24/26`

Tamil Kalitokai 55, 56 (This part of Kurinji Kali was composed by Brahmin poet Kabilan, who was well versed in Sanskrit)

Dr G U Pope said that Kabilan followed Kalidasa.

“ Hero wanted to say something about my features. He looked at my forehead which was like crescent moon, but it was not the crescent moon. Face looked like moon but there were no dark spots like moon; shoulders looked like bamboos; but this was not born in the hills; eyes were like lotus flowers; but not from the pond; she walks like a peacock, but she is not a bird; she spoke like a parrot; but not actually a parrot. He pretended praising me like this.

“ Your glance is like the glance of a deer; your hair is soft like swan’s; you are like a pea cock; your shoulders are like bamboos and they are the boats that helps one to cross the Sea of Lust; your breasts are like the buds of areca nut tree.

thathrupam pen

Comparing women of Kalidasa with Sangam Tamil works bring out many literary gems from both the literatures.

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One Mother is greater than 1000 Fathers!

‘Where Women are Worshipped’………

Ancient Indian women made more literary contributions than women of any other country in the world. Hindus worshipped God as ‘He’ and ‘She’ unlike Semitic religions. Hindu women like Gargi attended big Assembly debates and challenged big scholars. Nowhere in the ancient world, have we seen such women scholars. The word ‘Other Half’ for women came from the Vedas. Hindus worship ‘Half man, Half woman’ god Ardhanareeswara. This gave birth to the Adam (Atma) and Eve (Jeevatma) story of the Bible.

 

(I have already posted the Two Birds Story of Upanishads fromKanchi Paramacharya’s lecture; Adam=ADMA, Eve=jEve ev atma)

 

Women were adored not only for their beauty but also for their intellectual acumen. We have 27 Rig Vedic poetesses around 1500 BC and 27 Tamil poetesses around 3rd Century AD. Gatha Saptasati has ten poetesses. We don’t find such a galaxy of women poets in any other part of the ancient world. The following quotations will prove the respect they commanded 2000 or 3000 years ago:

 

“ Yatra naryast pujyante ramante tatra devatah

Yatraitastu na pujyante sarvastatraphalah kriyah”

Manu smriti 3-56, Mahabharata 13-45-5

 

‘Where women are worshipped, there the gods are delighted; but where they are not worshipped, all religious ceremonies become futile’—Manu Smriti.

 

One acharya/Guru excels ten Upadhyayas/teachers in glory; a father excels 100 acharyas/Gurus in glory; but a MOTHER excels even a thousand fathers in glory (Manu 2-145)

Picture: Buddhist Temple in Australia

 

“Her father protects her in childhood, her husband protects her in youth, and her sons protect her in old age; a woman is never independent”. Manu IX-9 (The meaning is that she is always protected and not left alone without support)

 

In Saptashati, Durga says, “He who conquers me in battle, he who humbles my pride, he who is my equal in this world, he shall be my husband”.

India was the only country in the world where women were free to choose their husbands. Eight types of marriages were offered to men and women. Men and women met and mixed freely at festivals like ‘Samanas’. Nowhere in the ancient world have we seen such a freedom.

 

“Let this heart of yours be mine, and let this heart of mine be yours”- Maha Bharata (1.3.9)

Matru Devo Bhava= Treat your Mother as a Goddess.

Kalaidasa on women

‘’Kanyeyam kula-jivitam‘’—Mahakavi Kalidas in Kumara Sambhava 6-63= ‘the girl is the very life of the family’

Nityam nivasate lakshmih kanyakasu prathisthita—Mahabharata 13-11-14= In the person of a girl, lies fortune as well as grace.

Kanyapyevam palaniya shikshaniyatiyatnatah  (Mahanirvana Tantra 8-47)= a girl, too, should be brought up and educated with as much care as a son.

 

Purushavat yoshitopi kavi bhaveyuh, samskaro hyatmani samavaiti, na strainam paurusham va vibhagam apekshate. Shruyante drishyante cha rajaputryo mahamatya duhitaro ganikah kautuki-bharyashcha Shastra prahata bhuddayah kavayashcha—Rajashekhara in Kavya mimamsa= Like men, women too, can be poets. For potentially inheres in the self, irrespective of sex differences. It is heard as also seen that princesses, daughters of ministers, courtesans and concubines are possessed of an extensive knowledge of the scriptures and also are poets.

And of feminine forms I am fame(Kirti), prosperity (Sri), speech (Vac), memory (Smrti) , intelligence (Medha), firmness(Dhrti) and patience (Kshama).—Bhagavad gita—X-34

All good qualities are kept in feminine forms

 

Hindus worship God in the form of man and woman. Hinduism is the only religion where Goddess is worshipped. In other major religions, GOD is always ‘HE’. From Vedic times goddess is worshipped. In Indus valley, we see Goddess seals. Vedic gods like Raka, Muka, Maha Maya are worshipped in Tamil Nadu villages as Rakayee, Mukayee, Mahamayee. Kanchi Shankaracharya in his talks has explained it in detail. Manu Smriti, ancient Hindu Law Book, says clearly that where woman is worshipped, there God resides.

I have already written about Heroic Mother (Veera Matha) in Vedas and Sangam Tamil literature.

 

Pictures are taken from other sites;Thanks.

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