[Advaita-l] 'End' not 'Means'
Raghavendra N Kalyan
kalyan7429 at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Apr 28 23:03:26 CDT 2006
I want to mention an interesting situation here. If you argue in favour of women reading the vedas, then you will meet with opposition from many honourable members here who will claim that it is not consistent with vedic dharma. (And by the way, I am not aware of any statement from shruti which says that women cannot read vedas. Some vedic seers themselves were women). Interestingly, most of these honourable members also happen to be brahmanas who crossed the ocean - something which leads them to lose their dharma according to the same tradition. But dont be under the impression that this will create a problem for them. Because people always have ways to get around "inconvenient" situations like this. They might/will argue - "Well in olden days the injunction on crossing oceans was valid because blah blah blah. Now a days we can cross the oceans because blah blah blah." (Trust me. You will get many creative blah blah blahs here). Of course, for these people, such
arguments are selectively applicable. Should you be really concerned about the opinions of people who adopt such double standards? You decide for yourself.
By the way, I have once come accross some extremely vague and so-called "scientific" (an insult to the term) reason why vedas should not be studies by women.
Let me also tell you that some of the old practices are no longer relevant today. (I already see some eye brows raised). This is not my personal opinion. Consider this for example -you must be knowing that shudras were not allowed to even hear veda-s in the past. Now a days, vedic chanting is done loudly (i.e., audible via loud speakers) in many puNya kshetrams like Tirupati etc. If you have been to Tirupati, you will of course know that many shudras come to take darshan of the Lord. Surely they will hear the vedas when they are chanted.
Now Regarding Pratyaksha -
I remember Shankara mentioning somewhere that even shruti cannot make a black crow white. (May not be exact quote but something similar). Shankara does value pratyaksha as do all other advaitins. In general, it wouldn't be a bad idea to reconcile pratyaksha and Sruti. These must be seen as complementing each other and not contradicting each other. However, this thing of women not studying vedas appears to be neither pratyaksha nor Sruti, as far as my knowledge goes. It comes from some smriti texts.
Yes, an advaitin holds Sruti as pramANa. But he/she does not reject the other two pramANa-s. Having said that, I dont think your experiment is really practical.
And by the way, ethics may have an evolutionary basis. Science is more powerful than what some might think. But more on this later.
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