Question on Advaita (Women in Advaita Vedanta)
Vivek Anand Ganesan
v_ganesan at YAHOO.COM
Thu Jul 27 15:59:43 CDT 2000
--- "ShrI Jaldhar H. Vyas" wrote:
> > In any case, the words of the Gita do not state or
> > women cannot study the Vedas.
> By the same tack they do not say they can either.
This is the crux of the issue, IMO. Since, shruti does
not prohibit women from studying it and the presence and
participation of women is well attested even within shruti,
it leads one to conclude that such a prohibition is a
feature of the auxiliary texts only. Because of this, it
would not be wrong to seek a historical and socio-cultural
perspective on the authors of the auxiliary texts ( they
in fact "authored", right? ).
The great men(sic) who gave us these classics also did
operate in a cultural vaccum. They were not immune to the
prevailing standards of their societies. Would it be wrong
to even question this? I don't think it is dis-respectful
to seek to understand the cultural basis of our great
As to Indian culture, in general, it is well-known that
women are respected and even deified. But, it is also a
notorious fact that spousal abuse and "sati" is common.
>From what I have seen, we glorify motherhood and see that
the summun bonum of a woman's existence. But, we have
regard for a woman as a wife. Nor, can we accept her as a
boss, co-worker etc. ( this is changing. Good. )
As we stand today, at threshold of a new millenium, where
we have the luxury of retrospection and the courage of
introspection, should we continue to be conditioned by
certain notions of the past? This is not a question of
gender equity ( which Indian women have achieved to a great
extent on their own accord ) but one of gender dignity.
This issue would have far-reaching consequences in to the
future. Think of the strength of character and the quality
of society peopled by children whose mothers educated in
dharma had imparted to them at a very young age. That is
all I ask.
PS : I think I have already exhausted precious bandwidth on
this issue. I take leave of further discussion on
topic. Thank you.
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