Role of women as per the Vedas

These are not my views but the statements I have taken from this website which belongs to an Iskon follower

1.…Concerning the woman’s duty, if she gets married, that does not necessarily mean that she must give up any of her service in the temple or on sankirtana, but she must also see to it that her household duties are not neglected.

 

2….Man’s business is to earn money, go to the market, the necessities. Woman’s business is take care of household affairs, children, and they have got engagement. And in the presence of father or elder brother or husband, a woman has to earn livelihood—that’s a great insult.

 

3….A woman’s real business is to look after household affairs…

 

4.”To render service to the husband, to be always favorably disposed toward the husband, to be equally well disposed toward the husband’s relatives and friends, and to follow the vows of the husband—these are the four principles to be followed by women described as chaste.

 

5.”A chaste woman must dress nicely and decorate herself with golden ornaments for the pleasure of her husband. Always wearing clean and attractive garments, she should sweep and clean the household with water and other liquids so that the entire house is always pure and clean. She should collect the household paraphernalia and keep the house always aromatic with incense and flowers and must be ready to execute the desires of her husband. Being modest and truthful, controlling her senses, and speaking in sweet words, a chaste woman should engage in the service of her husband with love, according to time and circumstances.”

 

6.”A chaste woman should not be greedy, but satisfied in all circumstances. She must be very expert in handling household affairs and should be fully conversant with religious principles. She should speak pleasingly and truthfully and should be very careful and always clean and pure. Thus a chaste woman should engage with affection in the service of a husband who is not fallen.”

 

7.A husband is the supreme demigod for a woman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva, the husband of the goddess of fortune, is situated in everyone’s heart and is worshiped through the various names and forms of the demigods by fruitive workers. Similarly, a husband represents the Lord as the object of worship for a woman.

 

No wonder women are treated so badly in our country, we are maid-cum-baby-making-machine.  Nowhere is it written that we are human beings.  If we are even seen as women, we are seen through blinkers that come from a time when women were supposed to be smiling, self sacrificing mute workhorses tethered to home and kitchen.

No wonder crime is committed against women with impunity like that poor girl in Calcutta had to face.

I was once chastised by an acquaintance … he was a relative of a friend of mine.  He walked into a restaurant we were dining in, and actually had the nerve to tell me “Sharm nahin aati, aurat aur Ma hokar non-veg khate ho.  Kya sanskaar doge apne bacchon ko?”

Translation : “Arent you ashamed that you eat non-veg food being a woman and mother.  What morals and values will you impart your sons?”

I normally use humor to get out of such situations, but that was one time I reacted badly.  I told him that what I did or did not do was none of his fucking business, and what moral training I imparted to my sons was not his problem.

But there it is … the attitude that women have to be suppressed, choices have to be made for them.  And if they do not comply to those choices, then they should be raped, molested and even beaten so as to break them, all for better control.

Mentality of this society and its police has not changed.  It is not progressive, it dates back to the vedas.

Edited to add : Apparently this teaching is from Srimad Bhagvadam and associated texts which are later interpretations. Thanks @Bhavana Upadhyay for the information.  Men were the literate people, empowered and able to read and write.  So they interpreted texts in ways that suited them.  The poor women never got a chance to bat for their side, and hence got suppressed.  Those interested in knowing what Bhavana says, check the comment section

 

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28 thoughts on “Role of women as per the Vedas

  1. Such incidents make my skin crawl and make me so angry. Bravo for that brave girl who stood against her molesters…

  2.  You know I have often wondered about the role of women as specified in our religious books – (which is something on the lines what you have written in your post Ritu) and the role of Devi or Shakti in Hinduism .. isn’t it a contradiction of sorts ? On one hand, you are telling women to be submissive and treat her husband as god and on the other side you are depicting women as the manifestation of Shakti ….
     

    •  @contactruchira Yes we have very assertive Devis in our mythology, which makes me suspect that patriarchal forces tampered with the fabric of our culture and suppressed the women.  And of course men (of a certain mentality) will not take to women being emancipated nicely.  They resort to violence

      •  @RituLalit I was reading some mantras recited during wedding ceremonies, and was pleasantly surprised to see a mantra that said to the bride that she would be the queen with respect to her mother-in-law and sister-in-law. All the mantras talk of the man and woman as companions.
         
        One of the olden epics, of the time of the Ramayana and Mahabharata is the Kathasaritsagara. There are umpteen stories about women who are not the Sati Savitri types. I feel that it gives a fairly realistic picture of our ancient society. There are real women and men, who love and lie, cheat and sacrifice. In fact, even the Panchatantra (not the goody-goody animal stories told to kids) has many such stories.
         
        I do not understand where the roots of our “modern” tradition are. Did it develop over time after the later Vedic age?

  3. I was initially worried where the post was going but now am relieved:) Ok, yeah, mythology and the notions of sacred and profane do affect us deeply–psychologically and economically.
    But the above texts are not from Vedas, They are from Srimad Bhagvadam and associated texts which are later interpretations. Manu Samhita itself is a much later piece. Through the centuries, since men alone had the access to writing, printing and sharing technologies, only their words got expressed and they in their desire to protect their domain interpreted texts in a variety of ways.
    Then there are varieties of traditions and philosophies too. For example Devi Mahatmya speaks of the Great Goddess drunk, seat with a buxom figure with her girlfriends, actively flirting and taunting demons…:)
    Indian mythology and scriptural texts is very complicated. But yes, modern connotations hurt women badly. So in that sense with you 100%!

    •  @BhavanaNissimaUpadhyaya Your explanation makes sense.  So men could read and write – and hence they interpreted customs and culture in a manner that suited them.  I wish I were a fly on the wall and could have seen the reaction of the women when their rights and freedom was so badly curtailed!  Or did they take a coward’s way out and just wrote them for future generations to follow?  You know, there is a story there waiting to be written!

      •  @RituLalit True, true, Rituji. But no, they did not take the cowards way out. Women could not write in the usual ways because they were censored or had no access. But their messages are couched in folk stories, poems, songs, in paintings, in embroidery and textile work, sometimes in ecstasy and possessions–they spoke–but we did not have the ears to listen in. We still do not have the ears to listen in!

      •  @BhavanaNissimaUpadhyaya I love this … I have just finished reading an account of slave women in America … prior to the civil war.  They were inventive and their messages were couched in so much secrecy, the hell they went through, the emotional and physical trauma.  But women are expressive and they expressed … I wish someone does a study on women stories in our history

      •  @RituLalit And they have done it, Ritu…I have read only one small section in this series but from Hyderabad, Tharu and Lalitha have done a marvelous job in documenting women’s voices: Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Present,
         

      •  @BhavanaNissimaUpadhyaya Can you please give me a link?  I would love to read these works

      •  @RituLalit It is available on flipkart. I think some big libraries would have them–specially in Delhi. The centre for social research may have it.
        There are several volumes of this anthology.
        And also read Lal Ded, if you have not already : http://www.poetry-chaikhana.com/D/DedLal/
         
        These works gladden my heart, soften my spirit, and keeps me hopeful, Ritu:)
         

      •  @BhavanaNissimaUpadhyaya Which one?  “A Bowlful of Butterflies” or “Hilawi”?  I’ll give you the flipkart links 😛

      •  @RituLalit Hey I transferred the money to ur account for the latest one- Bowlful of Butterflies, remember? Did u get my email?

      •  @BhavanaNissimaUpadhyaya Damn!  So you are that Bhawna!  Okay apologies.  I have ordered the book from Flipkart, and will be sending it to you asap.  Blame this faux pas on writerly dementia please

  4. The vedas preach this? No wonder the society treats us like scum.
    Yet we women dare to fight, and shine on. More power to us! 
     
    And if you don’t mind tags and blog awards, one is waiting for you @ http://www.sudeshnadas.com/2012/06/threes-not-crowd.html

    •  @sudeshnadas I have been corrected on this, apparently this teaching is from Srimad Bhagvadam and associated texts which are later interpretations.  Yeah we are brave, and unlike the poor clueless men, we have a vibrant and strong movement which empowers us.  Once this movement becomes strong, there will be no stopping us!
       
      Thanks for the award.  Will take up the tag soon

  5. And that is why they blame women, when the so called demi-gods of the nation rape women, torture them for dowry, kill the girl child, and what not. Every problem in this country, has its origins from the way women are treated here. Somehow, this also reminds me of the IHM’s post about the email writer who is suffering like anything in her own home. And we say we’re living in the 21st century and are equipped with all modern amenities to deal with any situation.
     
    Call me a feminist, but I really feel that the way women are treated in this country is inhuman and we need a real women’s revolution to change things. Stop being mute, talk, shout, give them what they deserve, a hand for a hand, a kick for a kick. And maybe then those who call themselves demigods would get a slice of real life. Stop being the maid or nanny, demand equal share in household responsibilities. And,love yourself as love the man or the kids.
     
     
     

    •  @AkankshaDureja I agree Akanksha.  But as it was pointed out by a man recently to me, women have a movement and its gaining strength.  He was scared for men – who wont know what hit them once the movement becomes too strong to control.  LOL I wish it happens in my lifetime.

      •  @RituLalit 
        Oh me too!!! I sooo wish to be part of such a movement, in any way possible! Its funny, that I pictured a woman with a broom and a belan, while reading your comment 🙂

      •  @AkankshaDureja Oh I’d rather visualize a witch on a broomstick … Dont want to roll out rotis, its too damn hot!

  6. Oh my goodness. I actually clicked on that link and read through for about half an hour…I feel sick to my stomach…The stuff the author who is interpreting says is so sickening, and he (I am 900% sure it is a he) is SO sure of himself. It is like Patriarchy 101. According to him, a woman’s only purpose in life is to worship her husband. There should be no mixing of genders. If a marriage does break up it is because the wife was not submissive enough. Nothing short of actual insanity should cause a marriage to break up. And if a wife does re-marry it is prostitution. I couldn’t read the whole thing…so disgusting. And this is what our religious texts teach us!

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