Women and vedaas

Ravi Mayavaram msr at REDDY20.TAMU.EDU
Mon Jan 19 21:35:33 CST 1998


 I request the knowledgeable list members to give references for the
verses in Vedas which prohibit women from learning them.

What could be the basis for this prohibition (if at all it is there)?
Only reasons I can think of are the monthly menstruation cycle and
pregnancy. These may deter them from observing the aacharam and
anushTaanam. In fact for the same reason the aiyappan temple at Kerala
does not allow women in this age group during makara sankaranti to
follow the 40 days vratam and come to the temple.

I have a book on sandhya vandanam which states the following

<begin quote>
"Though in regard to shuudras and women the sandhya was not prescribed
in later times due to various social circumstances, it was permissible
in earlier vedic times. In shukla yajur veda (XXVI-2) it is urged to
spread the benificinet words (vaachaam kalyaaniim) of the vedas to all
people  without distinction of caste, creed or sex, even to people of
other religions.

yathaa imaam vaacham kalyaaniiM adadaami (avadaamii) janebhyaH
brahma raajanyaabhyam shuudraaya cha aaryaaya cha svaaya charaNaaya cha

(Just as I am speaking these  blessed words to the people (without
distinction), in the same way you also spread these words among all
men and women (janebhyaH includes both men and women)
-- the brahmanas, kShatriyaas, vaishyaas, shuudraas and all other,
whether they be your own people or aliens)

Women also should perform sandhya  as in olden times. As it has been
said in one of the smritis.

Puraa kalpe kumaariiNaam maunji bandhanam iihyate
adhyaapanam cha vedaanam saavitri vachanam tathaa

(In olden times the upanayanam was performed  for the girls too. They
were  taught vedas and the gaaytrii mantra (Manusmrit: Prathama
parishshhTa 13:14) We see in Ramaayana siitaa performing the sandhya)

<end quote>

Can anybody give a reference in Vaalmiki ramaayanam which mentions
about Siitaa performing sandhya?


namaste astu bhagavan.h vishveshvaraaya mahaadevaaya tryaMbakaaya
tripuraantakaaya trikaagni-kaalaaya kaalaagnirudraaya
niilakaNThaaya mrutyu.njayaaya sarveshvaraaya
sadaashivaaya shriimanmahaadevaaya namaH
                                 shrii rudram

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