Gayatri Mantra

K Anand carex at VSNL.COM
Tue May 28 03:34:58 CDT 2002

Kudos Jaldhar,
What a way to put it!!!! I like your language................

Anand K

----- Original Message -----
From: Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM>
Sent: Tuesday, May 28, 2002 9:28 AM
Subject: Re: Gayatri Mantra

> I was forced to remain away from the list for a few days.  In order to
> save time I'm going to reply to several posts at once and following Ravis
> admonition, I'm only going to comment on bits where useful light can be
> shed.
> Ashish Chandra wrote:
> > I am not certain why the verses from SYV XXVI-2 are not mentioned.
> Could it be ecause they don't support the authors position in any way,
> shape, or form?
> > But I  think this question is best answered by someone who has a copy of
> > SYV and can post the relevant mantra as well as its meaning.
> According to the commentaries of Uvataacharya and Mahidhara the yajus
> mentioned says "let my speech be accepted by the the people whether they
> are Brahmans, Kshatriyas, Shudras or Aryas [Vaishyas,] loved ones or
> strangers [or perhaps enemies], Dakshina to make me favored by the Devas I
> give at this time so my desires may be fulfilled.  Thus I name ___."
> It is to be spoken prior to drinking the Soma.  The speech in question is
> the samkalpa to be spoken before then where the yajamana specifies the
> reason he is performing the yajna. (This fills in the blank.)
> Chanting this mantra merely states the desire that both men and Gods
> should not think ill of the sacrificers wish.
> > This was told to me by a Gujarati Vaishnava Pushtimargi who are, I
> > converts from Jainism to Vaishnavism.
> As longtime neighbors, there has no doubt been some "leakage" between
> Pushti Margis and Jains (in both directions) bt it would wrong to consider
> the former converts.  Vallabhacharya himself was a Telang (Andhra)
> Brahman.
> Vishal Agarwal wrote:
> > The Itihasa-Purana is certainly the fifth Veda, but how are we sure that
> > the verses debarring women from Vedic recitations are not
> > interpolations?
> How do we know they are not?  Obviously there is no direct means.  However
> we can look at the context.  Many people are mentioned as reciting Vedas
> in the Puranas.  They are invariably men.  Why do you think that is?
> Vishal Agarwal wrote:
> > The Vedic mantrasamhitas DO NOT pre-suppose ANY SHASTRA external to
> On the contrary the very form they have come down to us indicates prior
> arrangement.  In fact this is why Krishna Dvaipayana is called Veda Vyasa
> (the arranger of the Vedas.)  The order of the mantras in the Yajur and
> Sama Vedas is based on ritual considerations.  Thus they presuppose kalpa
> shastra.  Perhaps not in the exact form we have today but 'external'
> nonetheless.  The mention of Parikshit, along with other incidental
> references to the three strides of Vishnu Bhagawan, Indra and Vrtra etc.
> also indicate the existence of "Purana"  In fact Sayanacharya
> (in Rkbhashyopodghata) applies the term Purana to some of the mantras
> themselves.  Again this may not mean the exact texts we have today but it
> does back up the way our tradition basically treats Vedas and Puranas on
> the same level.
> Vishal Agarwal wrote:
> > You are correct in stating every community CURRENTLY subscribes to the
> > notion that women do not take the Yajnopavita and therefore do not chant
> > the Vedas.
> [...]
> > there WAS a time when women recited at least some Veda, even though
> >currently (at least for the last 3000 years),
> Thankyou for finally admitting the obvious.  I'm very amused by your words
> because usually it is us orthodox-minded people who are accused of living
> in the past.  Now you are suggesting we go 3000 years back in the past!
> Well maybe when dinosaurs ruled the earth women did recite the Vedas.  My
> theory is in those days they smeared ghee on themselves and ran around
> backwards.  I have about as much actual facts to back up my theory as you
> > We need to consider if this was always the case. We can tackle this
> > question from two perspectives - the 'secular' historical perspective
> > and the Hindu religious perspective.
> There is a third perspective which I suspect animates you more than you
> let on, namely politics.
> > According the the former, the Arshanukramanis represent, by and large,
> > names of the authors of the corresponding hymns. As we know, for RV
> > there are 21/407 women listed as Rishikas.
> A mere 5%.  So even in the earliest records there was nothing approaching
> equality.  And even that is assuming the anukramanis have any "secular
> historical" value which is debatable.
> > An exception perhaps was Sulabhaam, who is the promulgator of
> > the Saulabha sakha of RV, and is remembered in the Rishi tarpana lists
> > Rigvediya grhyasutras.
> The chart in my copy of Shatapathabrahmana (which claims to b based on
> charanavyuha) does not mention Sulabha.  Did you perhaps mean Sutapa
> instead?
> > The various Acharyas followed the conventions of their times, and
> > habitually debarred women from Yajnopavita (which itself is attested
> > in Katha Brahmana
> Not true it is mentioned in the 9th Kanda of Shatapathabrahmana too. I
> gave the reference the last time this topic came up.
> > - doubts of its Vedicness being expressed even in the
> > time of Bhatta Kumarila)
> Frankly I don't believe this.  Quote please.
> > Even the Hindu religious traditions has a faint memory, as evidence from
> > citations of lost Yama Smrti for instance (in later Dharmashastra
> > that 'women of the yore recited the Vedas and wore the sacred thread'
> > that this practice has lapsed for aeons.
> Again I would like to see some quotes about this.  How convenient that the
> Yamasmrti is lost.
> > Our Vedantacharyas lived in the last 2 millennia (I am not talking of
> > their paramparas stretching back to Veda Vyasa Maharshi) and by their
> > times, the idea of debarring women from Vedic recitations was very well
> > established.
> One of the most irritating things about modern people in general is their
> belief that they invented everything. Anything complicated must have
> happened recently and the past was just a simple cartoon.  In fact social
> conventions and thinking regarding the status of women and their
> relationship to men was as varied then as today.  Bhaskara Mishra a
> near-contemporary of Shankaracharya extended the prohibition of Vedic
> study by women to even the Gita and other smrtis which deal with adhyatma.
> This was very much a minority view.  The Digambar Jains went so far as to
> say women are inherently sinful and their best hope was to be reborn as a
> man in their next life.  On the other hand we know there were sects who
> allowed women much more substantial participation in spiritual life.
> Commenting on the apashudraadhikarana of the Brahmasutras, Shankaracharya
> duly upholds the inability of women and shudras to take part in Vedic
> study bt goes on to add at the end they can still get moksha through
> smrtis lie the Puranas or Mahabharata.  What guided him was not political
> or solcial considerations but the internal logic of the shastras
> themselves.  Moksha is not something that can be given by any shastra or
> guru or god.  It is innate in every conscious being so if one way to it is
> barred, there must be other ways.
> > So, to decide this issue, we need to figure out why we want to resolve
> > this question at all.
> > They never saw any need to oppose it, and the women were not clamouring
> > exactly to become srotriyas.
> Exactly.  Being shrotriya is a means to an end not an end in itself.
> > Do we want to decide of women are eligible to recite the Vedas today? Or
> > do we want to limit ourselves to a svadhyaya of our sampradaya's
> > shastras, in the sampradaya's traditions? Or do we want to combine the
> > two approaches?
> > By today's standards, Bhagvatpada Shankaracharya et al would be
> > wrong in debarring Women and Sudras from reciting the Vedas. That is my
> > firm assessment.
> By "todays standards" all religion is obsolete so we should be
> discussing socialism or free-market capitalism instead.  We look to
> our shastras and acharyas for eternal verities not the intellectual
> fad of the day so todays standards and their proponents can
> jump in a lake for all I care.  Really, if the only purpose of religion
> nowadays is to chase the taillights of secular society than we may as well
> pack it all in now.
> Feminism (of various types--it is not a monolith either) has had an impact
> and will continue to transform societies in various ways but whether this
> has to be at the expense of traditional beliefs remains to be seen.  I
> know in my case my wife who like me is 31 and educated in the west (she
> actually has more formal education than me) didn't have any problem with
> marrying me even though she knew what kind of a person I was and what I
> believed in.  Our religion provides for the spiritual needs of all kinds
> of people.  That it does not treat them all as the same is a plus not a
> minus.
> --
> Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>
> It's a girl! See the pictures -

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