Women in Brahmanism

Bramhanism is the most oppressive system on record in its treatment of women. From conception to death, woman had to suffer in uncountable ways (details after the basic section) :

  • Child Marriage – Girls are to be married when 5 years old !
  • Dowry – Vedas prescribe this pracitice
  • Bride-Burning – if the dowry is insufficient
  • No Property
  • Mass Wife-Burning (Jauhar) – Often 100s are burnt at a time.
  • Widow-Burning (Sati) – Sanctioned by the Vedas, Puranas, practiced by Krishna’s wives, it still continues.

Table of Contents

  1. Girls
    1. Female Infanticide
    2. Child Marriage
  2. Women
    1. Burning of Women
      1. Bride-Burning
      2. Wife-Burning
      3. Jauhar
      4. Witch Burning
      5. Widow-Burning
    2. Punishments
    3. Restrictions
      1. No Property
      2. Dress and Veiling
      3. Dowry
      4. Staying Alone
      5. Going Out
      6. No Divorce
      7. No Remarriage
  3. Sati or Widows
    1. Sati (Widow-Burning) –
      1. Scriptural Sanction
      2. Aryan Sati Goddesses
      3. Ancient Travellers’ Accounts
      4. Bizarre Hypotheses
    2. Widows
  4. Religion and Women
    1. Aryan Vaishnavism
      1. Vedic Religion
      2. Buddhism and Jainism
      3. Vaishnavism
    2. Dravidian Saivism and Women
    3. Repression and Perversions
  5. History of Womens’ Status
  6. References

1. Girls

1.1 FEMALE INFANTICIDE

Female infanticide arose from the general Vedic attitude towards women. The large dowries prescribed by the Vedas (see the section of dowries below) meant that a girl was seen as a burden. The woman who gave birth to a daughter was ashamed, and much stigma attached to a lady who only gave birth to daughters. Hence infanticide arose as a convenient way of getting rid of the “burden.”Aryan texts sanction this custom:

“Tasmat striyam jatam parasyanti ut pumamsam haranti”(Hence they reject a female child when born, and take up a male.) [Taitt. Samh. VI.5.10.3] [Muir I 26]

A recent U.N. report said that up to 50 million girls and women were missing from India’s population, the result of systematic discrimination extending to the abortion of female fetuses. [Verma 12.8.97] In 1921 there were more than 97 women for every 100 men in India. Seventy years later, the number dropped to 92.7 [Verma 12.8.97]

1.2 CHILD-MARRIAGE

Child marriage of daughters 5-6 years old was common due to the custom of dowry and to avoid scandals [Nand 17] [Basham 167-8] [Yadav 70] [Altekar 16] [Banerjee 70]. Hindu Law books prescribe that the best partner for a man in one-third his age. Thus a man 18 year old should marry a girl 6 years old! –

“A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl of eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would otherwise be impeded, he must marry sooner.”[Manu IX.94]

This was meant to prevent any scandals. Narada states that some of the defects to be avoided in brides are if they already had a relationship with another man or have their minds set on another, they should not be selected [Sheth 67].

2. Wives

2.1 BURNING OF WOMEN

2.1.1 Bride-Burning

This is often related to dowry, when the bride’s family cannot pay up to the amount demanded by the in-laws. Often the in-laws make demands in excess of those made at the time of marriage. When the deadline specified runs out, the bride is burned in often gruesome fashions. At least 5000 women die each year for not bringing in enough dowry. At least a dozen women die each day in `kitchen fires,’ which are often passed off as accidents, because their in-laws are not satisfied with their dowries. Only a few of the murderers are brought to justice. [Kitchen 1997]

2.1.2 Wife-Burning

A Hindu-Aryan husband could at any time accuse his wife of infidelity. In case the wife protests her innocence, the council of village elders would then order an ordeal by fire. The accused wife would be required to pass through a blazing flame. Not just death, but any signs of burns would be taken as a sign of guilt and the wife would then have to undergo the penalty for infidelity [EB 8:986 `ordeal’]. Adultery carries the death sentence in Aryan law, so either way she would have to pay with her life for her husband’s or elders’ mere suspicions. The ideal role model for this custom was Sita, Ram’s wife. She was required by her spouse, the “ideal husband”of the Hindus, to pass through the fire ordeal after her return from Sri Lanka.

2.1.3 Jauhar – Variant of Sati

Jauhar refers to the practice of the mass burning of all the wives and daughters in an entire town/district to prevent them from falling into the hands of the enemies. Often the husbands forced their unwilling spouses, sometimes the women practiced it themselves, encouraged by the elders. It is merely a variant of Sati, since it occurred in anticipation of the women’s widowhood. See the section of Sati for details by clicking here.

2.1.4 Witch-Burning

The burning of witches during the Vedic Dark Ages of Indian History ( 1500 BC – 500 BC) and the later Puranic Dark Ages ( 100 AD-1000 AD) makes the European Medieval ecclesiastical witch-hunts pale in comparison.

2.1.5 Widow-Burning (Sati)

See section 3.1

2.2 PUNISHMENT OF WOMEN

The wife could suffer seriously cruel punishment for very minor offences.

2.2.1 Amputation of Ears and Noses

Aryan husbands cut off the ears and nose of their wives if they left the house without their prior permission. The Pancatantra mentions one such story [Pancatantra p.54, I.7th story “The Weaver’s Wife”]. The weaver cut off his wife’s nose because she did not respond and he considered her unfaithful. (actually he cut off the barber’s wife’s nose who was there instead.) The Ramayana and Lord Rama practiced the cutting off of womens’ noses for minor offences, thereby providing divine sanction for the custom. Shurpanakha was a Dravidian lady ( referred to as Rakshis or female demons by the Aryans) who fell in love with Rama. She proposed to him, but he directed her to his brother Laxman. He cut off her ears and nose for this crime, and Ram condoned this act. [Alld Chmbrs 1036]

2.2.2 Death Penalty

The death penalty was prescribed for Aryan women guilty of infidelity. The Manu Smrti, the most authoritative Indo-Aryan law-book, states

“When a woman, proud of her relations [or abilities] deceives her husband ( with another man), then the king should [ensure that] she be torn apart by dogs in place much frequented by people”[Manu Smrti 8:371] “And the evil man should be burnt in a bed of red-hot iron”[Manu Smrti 8:371-2]

VIII.371. “If a wife, proud of the greatness of her relatives or (her own) excellence, violates the duty which she owes to her lord, the king shall cause her to be devoured by dogs in a place frequented by many. VIII.372. Let him cause the male offender to be burnt on a red-hot iron bed; they shall put logs under it, (until) the sinner is burned (to death).”[Manu Smrti Buhler VIII 371-372]

That this custom was prevalent in the 9the century is confirmed by Arab reports. Merchant Sulaiman, an Arab traveller of the 9th century states that “If any man in the Indies runs away with a wife and abuses her body they kill both him and the woman, unless it be proved that she was forced, then the man only is punished with death; but if the woman consented to the evil deed, they are punished with death, both one and the other.”[Arab p.56]

Ram, the ideal husband, showed little regard to female life. Ram killed Tataka, a “Rakshi”[Alld Chmbrs 1048].

Infidelity to husband was considered a grave sin and it was believed that such women went to Aksaya hell [Br.P. 87.61 in Sheth 98]. The husband had the power to curse the wife who was disloyal to him. Thus the sage Gautama cursed his wife Ahalya for sleeping with Indra though through no fault of her own. [Sheth 99] (In the Kautilyan period) if a woman was found guilty of a carnal crime her generative organs were cut off and she was ultimately sentenced to death [Arth.IV.13 in Jain p.164], although it is not clear whether this was only for intercourse with slaves. Not only that, but adultery is defined as the simple touching of clothes and even conversing with men:

VIII. 356. He who addresses the wife of another man at a Tirtha, outside the village, in a forest, or at the confluence of rivers, suffer (the punishment for) adulterous acts (samgrahana).

VIII. 357. Offering presents (to a woman), romping (with her), touching her ornaments and dress, sitting with her on a bed, all (these acts) are considered adulterous acts (samgrahana).

VIII. 358. If one touches a woman in a place (which ought) not (to be touched) or allows (oneself to be touched in such a spot), all (such acts done) with mutual consent are declared (to be) adulterous (samgrahana). [Manu VIII.356-358]

2.3 RESTRICTIONS ON WOMEN

2.3.1 No Property

Women and Sudras can, in the Aryan-Vaishnava system, have no property:

A wife, a son, and a slave, these three are declared to have no property; the wealth which they earn is (acquired) for him to whom they belong. A Brahmana may confidently seize the goods of (his) Sudra (slave); for, as that (slave) can have no property, his master may take his possessions. [Manu VIII.416-417]

2.3.2 Dress and Veiling

Aryan women had to wear a face-veil when going out. As usual, several observers, seeing Arab women veiled, assumed it must be due to Muslim “contamination.”They are not aware that Muslim ladies who do this do it as an act of modesty, and are ignorant of Indian scriptures. Sanskrit literature mentions the

The practice of using veils by women, particularly in well-to-do families, was in vogue. Prabhakaravardhana’s daughter Rajyasri put on a veil when she met her husband, the Maukhari Grahavarman of Kanauj, for eh first time. It is known from Vacaspati Misra (9C AD) that women in good families observed the purdah system and did not appear in public without veils … However, Dhoyi, the author of the 12 C poetical work the Pavanaduta, relates that the women of Vijayapura (in Bengal) did not observe the purdah system’ [CHI Vol II #37 p.595 # 37 `Some aspects of the position of women in Ancient India’ DCGanguly p.594 ff]

“Harsha’s [1099-1101] [Lohara dynasty] coins [depict] a half cross-legged goddess [and] a veil appears on the head”[GuptaCoins p.39]

“Gangayadeva’s [one of the Kalachuri rulers of Dahala, the country around Jabalpur in MP] (1019-1042AD) coins … the female is shown as having a veil on her head which hangs down to the shoulders and upper arms”[GuptaCoins p.39]

“Many of the female figures on the gold coins, like the sculpture and literature of the [Gupta] age, do reflect a somewhat new idea of feminine beauty which we now call classical [thinner and more slender]”[GuptaCoins 21]

It is now generally accepted that the purdah ( seclusion and veiling) was existent in India since ancient Aryan times. [Altekar 167-70] [Indra 73] [Shamram 24] [Ojha-Cutlture 66-67] In fact, certain high-class women refused to entertain strangers [Altekar 175] [Nand 5-6] It seems that the bodice was imported by Muslims :

“In several parts of India … bodices [are worn by ladies under the cloth] … this, i am told, is a modern innovation, and borrowed from the Mohamedans.”[DuBois p.341]

2.3.3 Dowry

The Vedas prescribe that a dowry be given by the bride’s family to the groom. The Rig Veda states that cows and gifts given by the father of the bride to the daughter accompanied the bride’s procession [Rg Ved X.85] [Apte 12]. Kakshivat says he became rich by the father-in-law giving him 10 chariots and maids and 1060 cows during the marriage ceremony [Rg Ved I.126] [Apte 13]. The ancient custom of kanyadan, where the father presented his daughter with jewelry and clothes at the time of her marriage, and vardakshina where the father presented the groom with kith and kind are, in essence the dowry system.

2.3.4 Staying Alone

It may be thought that only the absence of the husband could temporarily alleviate the condition of Aryan women. Alas, even then she was under constant suspicion. To prevent nightly intrigues, she cannot even sleep alone:

“whilst her husband is absent, she shall sleep with one of her female relatives and not alone”[Vasishta’s Padma Purana]

“Husbands are not supposed to have intercourse with a wife who bore only daughters.”[Hindu Law and Custom, p.145]

2.3.5 Going Out and Education

Women and Sudras were declared to be unfit for study of their own sacred texts:

“And as women, Sudras and the inferior members of the twice-borne classes were unfitted for hearing the Veda, and were infatuated in desiring the blessings, arising from the ceremonies, the muni, with a vision to their felicity, in his kindness composed the narrative called the Mahabharata.”[Bhag.Pur. I.4.25] [Muir III,p.42]

Also Madhava Acharya stated:

“They [women and Sudras] are debarred … from being competent students of the Veda”[Vedarthaprakasha of Madhava Acharyya on the Taittriya Yajur Veda, quoted in Muir III,p.66]

2.3.6 No Divorce

Divorce was not permitted.

2.3.7 No Remarriage

Even if the wife ran away from the harsh husband, she could never get remarried as long as she is in the confines of Hindu tradition.

3. Widows and Elderly Women

3.1 Sati (Widow-Burning)

The Aryans, upon their invasion of India 1500 B.C. introduced the horrific custom of Sati, i.e. the burning of a woman after the death of her husband. When performed singly it is referred to as Sati, when performed en masse by all the women and daughters of a town in anticipation of their widowhood (eg. when the men were to fight a battle against all odds), it is known as Jauhar. It is sanctioned by their most sacred texts, and was practiced from the fall of the Semito-Dravidian Indus Valley civilization to the modern age.

3.1.1 Scriptural Sanction

The most sacred of Aryan scriptures are the Vedas, and the Rig Veda, the oldest Veda, first mentions the custom of Sati. The following famous “Sati Hymn”of the Rig Veda was (and still is) recited during the actual immolation of the widow [Kane 199-200]:

“Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned.”[Rig Veda X.18.7] [Kane 199-200]

In recent times some Aryan apologists have arisen who try to prove that this verse does not sanction sati. This concept arises from a mistaken reading of the word agne or agneh , which they believe is agre . This is a wrong interpretation, and other evidence exists that the Aryans definitely practiced Sati from the earliest times. They distorted this verse which directs the widow to enter the pyre (agneh) so as to mean that the wife was to rise from her pyre and go to the front (agre). In addition to these examples, ancient Aryan scripture encourages Sati. The Garudapurana favorably mentions the immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre, and states that women of all castes, even the Candalla woman, must perform Sati. The only exceptions allowed by this benevolent author is for pregnant women or those who have young children. If women do not perform Sati, then they will be reborn into the lowly body of a woman again and again till they perform Sati. [Garudapurana II.4.91-100] [Kane 237] According to Vasishta’s Padma-Purana, a woman must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre [Abbe DuBois 345]. The Vishnusmirti gives two choices for the widow:

“If a woman’s husband dies, let her lead a life of chastity, or else mount his pyre”[Vishnusmrti xxv.14] [Clayton 13]

Brahma is one of the main Aryan gods, being the creator of the world (later he was identified as an incarnation of Vishnu). One of the Puranas is named after him, the Brahma Purana. Like other Puranas, it was composed after the Vedas (Pandits hold 4000 B.C., Indologists 700 B.C.) This scripture also sanctions sati:

“It is the highest duty of the woman to immolate herself after her husband,”[Br.P. 80.75] [Sheth 103]

Once again we hear that Sati is sanctioned by the Vedas:

“..is enjoined by the Vedas,”[Br.P. 80.75] [Sheth 103]

and is

“greatly reputed in all the worlds”[Br.P. 80.75] [Sheth 103]

Long life is promised to the sati:

“She [the sati] lives with her husband in heaven for as many years as there are pores in the human body, ie. for 35 million years.”[Br.P. 80.76, 80.77] [Sheth 103]

Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 contains the statement:

On her husband’s death, the widow should observe celibacy or should ascend the funeral pyre after him.

Several other scriptures sanction widow-burning. Some of these are as given below [Wilkins]:

  • “It is proper for a woman, after her husband’s death to burn herself in the fire with his copse; every woman who thus burns herself shall remain in paradise with her husband 35,000,000 years by destiny.”
  • “The wife who commits herself to flames with her husband’s copse shall equal Arundathi and reside in Swarga (heaven).”
  • “Accompanying her husband, she shall reside so long in Swarga as the 35,000,000 of hairs on the human body.
  • “As the snake-catcher forcibly drags the serpent from his earth, so bearing her husband [from hell] with him she enjoys heavenly bliss.”
  • “Dying with her husband, she sanctifies her maternal and paternal ancestors and the ancestors of him to whom she gave her virginity.”
  • “Such a wife adorning her husband, in celestial felicity with him, greatest and most admired, shall enjoy the delights of heaven while fourteen Indras reign.”
  • “Though a husband had killed a Brahman, broken the ties of gratitude, or murdered a friend she expiates the crime.”

Thus, it is evident that the custom of Sati was introduced by the Aryans since it is encouraged in their scriptures and many goddesses performed the act.

3.1.2 Aryan Sati Goddesses

The Aryan origin of Sati is evident from the fact that several Aryan ladies and `goddesses’ performed Sati :

  • Several of Krishna’s wives performed Sati upon his death, including Rukmini, Rohini, Devaki, Bhadraa and Madura [M.Bh. Mausalaparvan 7.18] [Alld.Ch. 977, 1018-1019: Rukmini]
  • Madri, second wife of Pandu, considered an incarnation of the goddess Dhriti, performed Sati [M.Bh. Adiparvan 95.65] [Alld Ch 985]
  • Rohini, a wife of Vasudev, Krishna’s father, who gave birth to Balram ( Devki’s child) and later became a Sati. [Alld. Ch. 1018]

“The 8 queens of Krishna, who have been named, with Rukmini at their head, embraced the body of Hari, and entered the funeral fire. Revati also embracing the corpse of Rama, entered the blazing pile, which was cool to her, happy in contact with her lord. Hearing these events, Ugrasena and Anakadundubhi, with Devaki and Rohini, committed themselves to the flames.”[Vishnu Pur. 5.38] [Vishnu Pur. {Wilson} p.481]

3.1.3 Ancient Travallers’ Accounts

Even ancient observers mentioned the barbaric practice of Sati. Alexander the Great and the Greeks observed Sati in Punjab [Onescrites in Strabo xv.i.ch 30] [Barth 59]. The Greek Diodorus Siculus who lived in the 1st century BC, mentioned the practice of Sati in his account of the Punjab in the 4th century BC [EB 11:421]. Indigenous historical evidence substantiates this, for

“The earliest recorded historical instance of Sati is that of the wife of the Hindu general Keteus, who died in 316 B.C. while fighting against Antigonos. Both his wives were eager to perform sati, but as the elder one was with child, only the younger one alone was allowed to carry out her wish.”[Sheth 104]

The Sati was customary for the widows of Kshatriyas in the end of the first century BC [Strabo XV.ch.700.30] [Harper 273]. Sati was performed by all the Aryan races, for it is recorded that the Germanic tribes used to immolate the widows of chieftain to accompany the husband to Valhalla [Harper 273] [Davidson 150]. The Arab writer Al-Beruni mentioned the practice of Sati among the Hindus. [AlBer. U II.LXIX; II.LXXIII; Sachau ii p.155, ii p.170]

“She [the widow] has only to choose between two things – either to remain a widow as long as ashe lives, or to burn herself, and the latter eventuality is considered preferable … As regards the wives of kings, they are in the habit of burning them whether they wish it or not.”[Al-Beruni. II.LXIX] [Sachau II.p.155]

Nicolo deo Contei states that as many as 3000 of the wives and concubines of the kings of Vijayanagar were pledged to be burnt with their lord on his death [and often ministers and palace servants accompanied the king in death].”[Basham 188] Strangely the practice increased in popularity in Bengal during the British expansion, despite the best efforts of Ram Mohan Roy to stop it [Harper 273]. This is also confirmed by the Abbe DuBois:

“[Sati] is more in vogue on the banks of the Ganges, [while] in Bengal Presidency [only] 706 suttees occurred in 1817 [and in] the Madras Presidency [out of] 30 million inhabitants not 30 allow themselves to be burnt each year.”[DuBois 357] “[the wife] must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre [of her husband]”[DuBois 345]

Sati still continues to this day. In 1990, more than 50 widows were burnt alive in sati. [Sonali Verma, Reuter, 12 August 1997, New Delhi] Note: The data gathered for the report of 50 widows burned to death was not gathered on a collective basis, but as data for micro-sections of India.

3.1.4 Bizarre Hypotheses

Several bizarre hypotheses have been set forth to explain the occurrence of Sati, often with less than honest intentions.

Corruption : Another silly notion is that the custom of Sati started when Hindu society started to “degenerate.”[Now, THAT was an oxymoron!] If so, then why do the Vedas take this custom for granted? Why did Krishna’s wives perform sati? Are we to then conclude that Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu himself, was a corrupt Hindu? Again, where did this corruption come from? When did it start? If some outsiders, then it must be one of the Greeks, Bactrians, etc. But they came 1000 years after Krishna! Krishna was one of the earliest Aryan figures, and this story could hence have not been an invention, since the Aryans were very scared of altering anything in their tradition. Hence the Aryans stand condemned for introducing sati.

Islamic Khalifat and Sati: One far-fetched idea ascribes the origin of Sati as being due to the molestation of Hindu women by Muslim men. Needless to say, this would imply the existence of Muslims to molest Krishna’s wives, Madri and the galaxy of Vedic Aryan women who performed self-immolation. It also overlooks the accounts by ancient Greeks and Arabs on the prevalence of Sati. In fact, the Muslim emperors took active steps to abolish Sati. (eg. Ghiyasudin, Akbar, Muhammad Tughlaq) and the Sufi saints condemned it.

Killing of women publicly was not considered a grave crime [Nand 28] [Hopkins 282] [Basham 187] Dress – Vedic women wore paridhanam and vasahantaram [Nand 28] [Altekar 279-81] later dress: uttariya( upper portion), kancuka (bodice)and candetaka(petticoat) sari later times worn. Johar [Nand 177-8] Muh Tughlaq opposed Sati [nand 173]

4. Religion

The ascetic emphasis in Aryan Indian religious life led to an extremely negative attitude towards women.

4.1 Aryan Vaishnaviasm

4.1.1 Vedic Vaishanvism

Women in the Vedic period were harshly treated, as depicted above. The presence of Sati was common.

4.1.2 Buddhism and Jainism

Buddhism and Jainism were both protest movements against the Vedic Vaishnava system. However, they did not lead to any major changes in the status of women. This was due to the emphasis placed by these religions on asceticism. Thus, although Sati was opposed by these reformers, yet women were considered as hurdles on the path to liberation. The Buddha was very strict in his insistence on asceticism. He left his home and wife to become attain nirvana and considered women a hindrance to that goal:

“Buddha is said to have induced his disciples not to look at a woman or even talk to her“[Sacred Books of the East,XI p.91 cited in N.N.Bhatt p.44]

4.1.3 Vaishnavism

Women are generally termed as thieves, dacoits, pirates, thirsty tigresses and hypocrite cats in the medieval Nath literature. [Obsc 245] Chaitanya was one of the major saints during the medieval period. He spread Vaishnavism in Eastern India, but aroused the approbation of the Orthodox Aryan-Vaishnavas because he allowed “conversion”from lower castes. Even this “liberal”man had highly negative opinions of women:

“Chaitanya thought it to be a sin to talk, think or even dream of women and that even the sight of a wooden statue of a woman can distract the mind and be responsible for immorality. He advised people to avoid being alone even with their own mother , sister or daughter.”[Nand 124-127]

After all, Chaitanya was a Vaihnavite. Gandhi’s insistence on strict vegetarianism and celibacy among his disciples was in keeping with the traditions of Vaishnava ascetic ethics [EB 20:528:2a] Gandhi ordered many of the erotic temple sculptures of India to be destroyed. “[A Vedic Graduate] should not look at a naked woman.”[Manu 8:453] “Let a decent man ever avoid by night … a loose woman”[V.P. Book III Ch. XII p. 250] “In the Buddhist Age, a slave-girl who was obliged to sleep with her master, was often deprived of her nose and ears by her mistress and there was no lawto protect her.”[Jain 162]

4.2 Dravidian Shaivism

Dravidian women enjoyed much greater freedom than their Aryan counterparts.

4.3 Repression and Perversions: Incest

Due to the strict restrictions and regulations one feature arose that is apparently more common in Aryan society than in any other part of the world: incest. References to this practice abound. Often the girls were unwilling, but were then forceed by their brothers/fathers. References abound even in the Rig Veda, showing that the perversion of brother-sister incest was introduced by the Aryans (Astaghfirullah al-Azeem):

  • Pushan is the lover of his sister [Rg Ved VI.55.4] [Apte 11]
  • Agni is the lover of his own sister [Rg Ved X.3.3] [Apte 11]
  • Ashvins are referred to as the sons of Savitar and Ushas who are brother and sister [Apte 11].
  • The Ashvisns married Surya and Savitri who is their sister [RV I.116.19].
  • Agni is the son of his father and his sister [Rg Ved.I.91.7]
  • Yama wards off his sister Yami, saying marriage between brother and sister is forbidden [R.V.X.10] [Apte 11]

Father-daughter incest occurs in the famous story of Prajapati (later identified with Brahma, in tunr incorporated as an incarnation of Vishnu) and his daughter [RV III.31.1-2]. Moreover, this was punished. Prajapati is thought to have done something wrong, and Prajapati was pierced by Agni as a punishment [Sat.Br. XIII.9] [Apte 63].

It is evident that the strict laws on male-female relations led to the repression of normal practices and the rise of various perversions like brother-sister incest, father-daughter incest etc. Even to this day incest of varying degrees (father-daughter, mother-son, brother-sister, etc.) is extremely common amongst the Indo-Aryans. No other race on earth has ever recorded such a prevalence of this practice. Just as sodomy had its home in Persia, Lesbianism in ancient Lesbos, so incest has its home amongst the Indo-Aryans.

5. History of Women’s Status

There were exceptions to the rule, even during the Vedic Dark Ages following the collapse of the Indus civilization. Eastern India (Purvadesha), including Bengal, with its majority Mon-Khmer population, was only slightly Aryanized. The Shakti cult (mother-goddess) predominated (75 % of all the idolatrous population is sill Shaktis), and women here had a much higher degree of freedom. Thus for instance they were not required to wear the veil. Shakti (or Tantric) cults involved the worship of women, and the acceptance of their supremacy. Needless to say, the Shakti cult was only limited to Bengal and Assam. The Dravidian women were also freeer. Malabar was a center of the Tantric form of the Shiva-Shakti cult, and matriarchal customs still prevail. Till recently, polyandry existed.

Besides these two islands, the rest of India confirmed to the picture given above. This lasted until the establishment of the Islamic Khalifat of Hindustan in the 12th century A.D. Muslims came to form more than 50 % of the population of Hindustan proper (India north of the Narmada), and under Islam, the status of women improved considerably.

In modern times the degradation of women’s status is related to the rise in Hindu Fundamentalism (in actual fact, a thinly disguised form of Aryan Fanaticism). The extremist organizations that comprise the Sangh Parivar (BJP, RSS, Bajrang Dal, Ranvir Sena, VHP etc.) are reviving the practice of Sati, dowry, female infanticide etc. in various parts of India. Thus, in modern times the status of women has declined sharply due to the activities of Hindu (i.e., Aryan) Fundamentalist organizations.

A wife, a son, a slave , these are declared to have no property; the wealth which they earn is (acquired) for him to whom they belong. Manu 8.416 Manu 8.299 [A wife, a son, a slave, a pupil and a (younger) brother of the full blood, who have committed faults, may be beaten with a rope or a split bambboo. 9.77 ? When he created them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their( seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice and bad conduct.

References

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The Authors give Full Permission to Use any of the Above Material As Your Own to distribute for Free.

 Source: http://womeninhinduism.blogspot.in/

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