Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Woman On Period & Hindu Rituals

This image is now being circulated in social media. I think the person who created this image has an unexplainable hatred towards religion. His/Her view on Hinduism is a misguided one. 

I remember one joker from Utusan once wrote an article on Manusmriti and tried to make fun of the Hindus. Looks like Utusan is not alone.

Manusmriti is a Smriti, meaning written by man. Therefore, it has no authority over modern Hindus. Vedas are Sruti, meaning non-human and divine origin. It is based on revelation received by Sages through their spiritual experience. 

Manusmriti was actually written by Manu, a king who ruled during ancient times. It was actually the constitution of his kingdom. As we all know, man made law can always contain flaws. Manusmriti has alot of good things in it and also loads of crap. 

It is not necessary for modern Hindus to follow Manusmriti. It was written for people of a different era. Hindus have the free will to use their own intelligence.

Women actually have a high position in the Hindu world. There are also many rituals which can only be done by them. Certain fast are only observed by women. So the joker who created this image need to do some homework. 

Hinduism is perhaps the only remaining religion which sees God in the form of woman, Shakti. What else is needed to explain this?

However, women are usually prevented from conducting rituals when they are on periods. The actual reason behind this is deep rooted in prehistoric times.

Those days, there were no sanitary pads. The women on periods used cloth. So there was odor and blood stain. 

Prehistoric people lived in jungles and women on periods had a higher tendency of attracting predatory animals like lions and tigers.

Religious rituals were not individual but done in groups. People lived in groups. So their rituals will always have some sort of gathering.

So segregating such woman during such ritual reduces the chances of danger for the others in the community/village. But of course, our good prehistoric ancestors would have assigned someone to guard the woman in the hut when the rest are busy with their ritual. 

This could be one reason. 

The other reason is women on periods usually have mood swings and many go through pain. Periods are also not hygienicThey may not feel comfortable to conduct a ritual. It is better for them to just take a break on such occasions.

Over the time, people forget the actual purpose and turn it into a tool to discriminate women. 

Logic eh?
- Comments


  1. No other scriptures of the world have ever given to such equality with men as the Vedas of the Hindus. The very high standard of learning, culture and all round progress reached by Indian women is a well known fact. Marriage was optional for women at that time, therefore intelligent and learned women, who chose the path of Vedic studies and, lived the ideal life of spirituality were called Brahmavadinis : and the women who opted out of education and chose married life were called “Sadyavadhus”. Women rose to become vedic scholar, debater, poet, teacher etc. Female teachers were called “Upadhyayi”.

    Draupadi had learnt brihaspati arthasatra from learned teachers. Gandhari was well versed in Arthasastra. Kausalya,mother of rama, and Tara, wife of Bali, are described as “Mantranid” in the Ramayana. According to Bhavabhuti, the author of Uttar Rama Charita, Atreyi, studied the Vedanta with Ram’s twins in Valmiki Ashrama. Leelabati was another lady who was extremely proficient in math. Maitryi was deeply interested in the problems of philosophy and Gargi was a dialectician and philosopher of religion. Gargi Vacaknavi, publicly debated Vedic philosophy at King Janaka’s court.

    Not only religious and secular studies but girls used to study martial arts. Rig Veda refers to woman engaged in warfare. One queen Bispala is mentioned. Even as late as 5th century BC, Megasthenes, the Greek ambassador, lest by Alexander the great, mentions heavily armed women guards protecting Chandragupta’s palace. Such examples include Kaikai, queen of Dasharatha who fought war with him. Princess Subhadra drove chariot for Arjuna in a war. Satyabhama killed the demon Narakasura. Chitrangada was a heroic fighter.

    “In the Vedic period, the woman held a high status. They enjoyed all rights and opportunities that were enjoyed by men. There was no discrimination against them in terms of educational opportunities, and an equality of status prevailed between both sexes.”(Dropout of girl child in schools, by- Lakshmi Jain)

    No society of the world had an equal right of education for man and woman as India had. It is for this reason that India still conceives a high sense of learning and metaphysics, fine art and cultural altitudes where as other cultures have lost their traditions.” (Perspectives On Indian Women, by- RS tripathy,T pTiwari)

    Hinduism describes marriage as sacred union. In the Vedic system, marriage is an optional institution. The point of human life is to know and love God. Child marriage was unknown to the Vedic people. Girls had freedom to take decisions about their life. Females were free to decide their life partner (savita gave surya to bridegroom who she loved with heart RV10.85.9).Widow remarriage was common. In every sphere of life they enjoyed equality with men.

    “Be a queen to thy father-in-law, mother-in-law,sister-in-law,brother-in-law.”(Rig Veda 10.85.46)
    “You enrich your husband’s home, being the mistress of it.” (Rig Veda10-85-27)
    “Wife is a Home and a shelter for the rest.” (Rig Veda 3.53.4)
    “Wife is a Queen”(Atharva Veda 14-1-43,44)
    “Wife is a safe boat”( Atharva Veda 14-2-46)
    “A women cant offend” (Virata Parva 9)
    “women are deities of prosperity, the person that desires affluence and prosperity should honour them. By cherishing women one cherishes the goddess of prosperity herself and by afflicting her, one is said to pain the goddess of prosperity.”(Anusasana Parva 13.46.5,6.15)
    “Even in the deep forest; the wife is the refreshment and solace of her roaming husband. He who has a wife is trusted by all. The wife therefore is man’s great means of salvation.”(Adi parva 1.74.39-43)
    “wife is considered dearer than life, like a mother, she is to be cherished and like an elder sister, she is to be respected.”(virata parva 4.3.13)
    “In all descriptions of misery, there is no medicine similar to a wife.”(Vana Parva 3.61.29)
    “Striya devah striya pranah/Woman is divine, woman is life” — says an old Hymn in the Sarvollasa

    From the above references one can understand that Vedic people were living ideal married life and participation of woman in every aspect of life was overwhelming. The Vedic word “Dampati” means “joint legal owners of the house”. This proves wives have equal freedom in property rights. Therefore Vedic sacrifices were performed both by wives and husbands. But in the absent of the husbands, women had right to perform Vedic rituals by themselves (RV 8.91.1). “Patni” means who leads the “husband”, “dharmapatni” means “who leads the husband in the path of dharma”. Rigveda 3.31.1-2 commands daughter’s inheritance right in parental property. Hymn 2.17.7 “Calculate and give her share to her for her maintenance” clearly supports daughter’s legal right in shares of father’s property.

  3. “There is no shelter like the mother. There is no refuge like the mother. There is no defense like the mother. There is no one so dear as the mother.” – says Bhishma, Santi Parva: Mokshadharma Parva, Section CCLXVI
    “From the point of view of reverence due, a teacher is ten fold superior to a mere lecturer,a father a hundredfold to a teacher, and a mother a thousandfold to a father.” manu Smriti (ii. 45)
    “MATRU DEVO BHAVA” (Let thy mother be thy God). (Taittiriya Upanishad)

    Professor H. H. Wilson says: “And it may be confidently asserted that in no nation of antiquity were women held in so much esteem as amongst the Hindus.”
    The Hindu mother is an object of reverence. It is clear that in Hindu culture a mother has more influence to her kids than the father. It is mothers who most directly affect the lives of their children. They create life and powerful force of mother’s influence on raising children is undeniable. Mothers can have a positive impact on society by raising kids who know who they are and teaching them to be responsible and respectable citizens.

    In Hindu society, a woman’s position and status also have undergone many changes. Now women in Indian society are more restricted and daughters are less valued. Once who used to enjoy complete equality with man, is now treated as a secondary object. Vedic society was much more secular, bolder and stronger when it comes about giving equal rights to females. Women were more independence and free in every respect. We should be ashamed of ourselves that how we failed to protect human rights of female in Hindu society.
    There is no chance of the welfare of the world unless the condition of women is improved. It is not possible for a bird to fly on one wing.” – Swami Vivekananda.
    We have to bring back golden Vedic age. We have to bring back the dignity of our sisters. It is only possible when Hindus will become more Hindu and read what their scriptures commands them.
    There is a Vedic saying, “Where women are worshiped, there the gods dwell.”