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Thread: Women and Hinduism

  1. #1
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    Women and Hinduism

    Namaste,

    Not trying to ask a question just for the sake of asking one. But seriously, I have been looking for certain solutions for long... for example, the quickest (and easiest) way to get rid of pride and egotism. And the following is a related topic -

    It seems to me that a female birth is somewhat tougher than a man's because a woman's bodily obsession is much more than a man. There is hardly any woman who does not like to or want to look beautiful, get complimented for the bodily beauty, and curses her luck if she thinks she is not as beautiful. (Exceptions apply).

    Given that obsession with looks is hard to get over, men are on the luckier side with this, as the society does not emphasize physical beauty for men and many of them have a gross disregard for their looks. How blessed are the mankind then!

    Also as an additional point, I want to note that women are not interested in 'dry vedhanta' like men. This can be seen as a further limitation to a woman's procurement of knowledge, which yields humility and wisdom.

    Therefore, I have following pertinent questions -

    1. Is redeeming oneself of pride, vanity and egotism (jealousy is a by-product) tougher for a woman?

    2. Does Hinduism address ways for women to ascend spiritually, based on her unique mental makeup and needs? If so, what are they?

    Kindly reply to this question.

    With best regards,

    Viraja
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

  2. #2

    Re: Women and Hinduism

    Namaste Viraja,

    Maybe it may take a woman to fully answer your question in the way you may want, for my own part I see both as equal in a dualistic world. Women may have more heart or sentiment that men can learn from, be more in the heart and not in head, and women can learn a type of emotional stability from men, its a relationship a balance to become grounded in the middle way or beyond extremes, it first starts in outward appearances and gradually becomes more refined within our own being until the natural non dual state is realized and material nature or Prakriti is play for the divine consciousness.

    There is a saying, behind every successful man there is a woman, this may also be true within deeper, more subtle level of energy within the cultivation of samadhi and the key to success in full union or yoga......

    I know many men who are extremely vain, more than women, so its not black and white, in the animal world many male species are colourful and female species more bland, and males are in constant competition with one another to win the favour of a bland counter part. I am just highlighting that nothing is fixed or just one sided, and often throws up contradictions just to reduce overly conceptualizing reality and becoming fixed and rigid.

    On a philosophical or practical dharmic note there has been many debates between Bhakti and Jnana, Bhakti being sometimes known as overly sentimental and Jnana which has a tendancy to get into dry scholarship and becoming to rigid and overly scientific and objective. But can one truly exists without the other ?

    in reality as far as I can see this is not true, within the individual progress in the yoga systems when they arise together in harmony success is born, bhakti and jnana are then seen as the left and right hand of the Absolute, male and female energies are within us not just external genders,yin and yang, its the unification of these opposites that brings success. If one side becomes to extreme that balance is lost and we have imbalance in our self and then it reflects in society.

    Just some thoughts.....

    As for dealing with pride and egoism, as long as thought is based around I self ( lower case s) anatta ~no self and obsession about oneself then pride and egoism will remain. The self craving obsession of the self ( lower case s) is that suffering is only unique to them and always my suffering is the worst. All beings are equal in suffering or dukkha when right view is gained, the fool maybe happy in his concocted idea of happiness but its built upon the foundations of sinking sand.

    It should also be noted that these obsessions around i or self is not easy to overcome, its the root of bondage. All knowledge's are useless unless this self is being slowly worn down.

    When this is truly deliberated and understood the only thing that should come to mind is method, what are the methods, the sadhana's, the upayas, the lifestyle, the practice, the way, The Dharma.... what is the true meaning of this, reality is as it is, we cant change the bigger picture of reality, only ourself to see more clearly. Hence the right understanding of Guru is needed.
    Last edited by markandeya 108 dasa; 20 March 2017 at 05:44 AM.

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    Re: Women and Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    Namaste,

    Not trying to ask a question just for the sake of asking one. But seriously, I have been looking for certain solutions for long... for example, the quickest (and easiest) way to get rid of pride and egotism. And the following is a related topic -

    It seems to me that a female birth is somewhat tougher than a man's because a woman's bodily obsession is much more than a man. There is hardly any woman who does not like to or want to look beautiful, get complimented for the bodily beauty, and curses her luck if she thinks she is not as beautiful. (Exceptions apply).

    Given that obsession with looks is hard to get over, men are on the luckier side with this, as the society does not emphasize physical beauty for men and many of them have a gross disregard for their looks. How blessed are the mankind then!

    Also as an additional point, I want to note that women are not interested in 'dry vedhanta' like men. This can be seen as a further limitation to a woman's procurement of knowledge, which yields humility and wisdom.

    Therefore, I have following pertinent questions -

    1. Is redeeming oneself of pride, vanity and egotism (jealousy is a by-product) tougher for a woman?

    2. Does Hinduism address ways for women to ascend spiritually, based on her unique mental makeup and needs? If so, what are they?

    Kindly reply to this question.

    With best regards,

    Viraja
    Namaste Viraja

    If I may...

    First thing first. There is no easy way out for both the genders. Aatma Shakshatkara means self realization. self realization is the ultimate goal, the process will weed out all the ills you have mentioned. So can we find a male atma and a female atma?

    Secondly lot has been written and discussed from the time immemorial on women and spirituality.

    Therefore, I have following pertinent questions -

    1. Is redeeming oneself of pride, vanity and egotism (jealousy is a by-product) tougher for a woman?

    2. Does Hinduism address ways for women to ascend spiritually, based on her unique mental makeup and needs? If so, what are they?
    If we go purely by our scriptures (Shruti) there is a very good possibility of terming ourselves as patriarchal. Consider Varnashrama Dharma (roughly birth based classification). Can we find out a true Brahman who live exactly as he has been told to? Or can we find out a man who live exactly as he has been told to? Hence I will not head in that direction.

    Having listened to various Sri Vaishnava Upanyasaka(s) of the recent times like Sri Chinna Jeeyar, Sri U. Ve. Krishnan, Sri Azhagiya Singar et al. this is what I have gathered.

    Srimad Bhagavad Gita** and Sri Vishnu Sahasra Naama** offers every thing a woman or man need to reach the golden feet of Sriman Naaraayan*

    I have heard few hardliners (apologize if this way of categorization hurt anyone) telling, S.V.S.N should not be recited by a women. I humbly refuse to accept that stand. As S.V.S.N is a part of epic which does not come under Shruti any human being can read and learn.

    Answering your question more directly.

    The difference between a man and women has blurred in today's world. Democratic governments from all over the world is increasingly focusing on the ways and means to install equality between man and women. In this competitive world driven by compulsions both sex face same issues in relatively equal quantities. If a girl irrespective of her age wants to look good is pressurized by that natural urge, a boy has the same if not more pressure to have her in his side. So I don't see any difference in the amount of pressure a man or women go through in the modern times.

    I agree law and order situation is bit helpful for a man, even that is changing. Even more men's right voice is on the rise. Should I call the situation as irony or prarabdha karma?

    Panning across, the teachings of Srimad Bhagavad Gita or S.V.S.N is not refuted. So the above two scriptures give us every thing we need to attain self realization considering the challenges faced by us in this modern world.

    *As I am pursuing Vaishnava philosophy as a way to achieve self realization or (Aatma Shakshatkara) do not know what other schools have got to offer.
    ** It will take many hours to explain how both these texts will help us to attain self realization. A good place to start is http://www.bhagavad-gita.org/

    Note: Taking this route I am nether offending our scriptures nor I am twisting according to my own interest. I am just following what a person is entitled to do considering the period based challenges.
    Anirudh...

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    Re: Women and Hinduism

    I enjoyed both your replies very much.


    @Markandeya ji: You have precisely started in the direction I want to learn more about. That is, stating the differences between male and female mental make-up. More I will add in the end.


    Yes, you are correct in saying that while men have their own vices, women have their own in other ways. But what I am trying to ask, is regarding, whether Hinduism offers as guidelines, activities that are 'specific' to each of men and women, so that spiritual ascension is 'easier' for them... activities attuned to 'unique' needs..


    I thoroughly enjoyed your parallel between bhakti and jnana, they vibe well with my own views.


    But coming to the main point, I see your emphasis on guru... it had not dawned on me while writing the OP. Yes, it is a great point indeed. I enjoyed your profound statement, "All beings are equal in suffering or dukkha when right view is gained, the fool maybe happy in his concocted idea of happiness but its built upon the foundations of sinking sand".


    @Anirudh ji:


    In your opening, you have stated there is no male and female distinction between athma. Infact, it is stated the athma is non-different from the very paramatma (except for factors like omnipresence, etc). But when the athma 'materializes' in a body, the body becomes its receptacle and the medium through which the manas will be tamed to realize the potential of the athma. And the body or the 'medium' thus, can be either male with his unique mental-makeup and karmas. Or the female with her unique temperament or karmas.


    A really great, great example - the varnashrama dharma. I believe there is really some truth about it, although we might need to weed out false notions in it like we rejected the 'sati' system, untouchability, etc. But overall, activities prescribed for different varnas for their quicker redemption is something along the line of what I am trying to ask here. (Pl note, I am not talking about the varna from 'birth order' here, the varna I am talking about is 'mental makeup').


    If some activities are prescribed uniquely to each varna, on a similar vein, what activities would be appropriate for each of the genders?


    Male: Has more intellectual stamina/energy, is not too sentimental, is not too bothered about looks (especially as age progresses), but obsessed with power/money more than a woman, prefers the brain over the heart, etc.


    Female: Is emotional, sentimental, craves friends, followers, relatives, somewhat bothered about the 'looks' factor, has potentially lesser intellectual energy for sustained focus... etc.


    Given the above, what is the 'prescription' for a female?


    I enjoyed your focus on Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. Kindly add all that you see that could benefit this topic from this profound sloka, now or later.


    Thanks.
    jai hanuman gyan gun sagar jai kapis tihu lok ujagar

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    Re: Women and Hinduism

    Quote Originally Posted by Viraja View Post
    I enjoyed both your replies very much.


    @Markandeya ji: You have precisely started in the direction I want to learn more about. That is, stating the differences between male and female mental make-up. More I will add in the end.


    Yes, you are correct in saying that while men have their own vices, women have their own in other ways. But what I am trying to ask, is regarding, whether Hinduism offers as guidelines, activities that are 'specific' to each of men and women, so that spiritual ascension is 'easier' for them... activities attuned to 'unique' needs..


    I thoroughly enjoyed your parallel between bhakti and jnana, they vibe well with my own views.


    But coming to the main point, I see your emphasis on guru... it had not dawned on me while writing the OP. Yes, it is a great point indeed. I enjoyed your profound statement, "All beings are equal in suffering or dukkha when right view is gained, the fool maybe happy in his concocted idea of happiness but its built upon the foundations of sinking sand".


    @Anirudh ji:


    In your opening, you have stated there is no male and female distinction between athma. Infact, it is stated the athma is non-different from the very paramatma (except for factors like omnipresence, etc). But when the athma 'materializes' in a body, the body becomes its receptacle and the medium through which the manas will be tamed to realize the potential of the athma. And the body or the 'medium' thus, can be either male with his unique mental-makeup and karmas. Or the female with her unique temperament or karmas.


    A really great, great example - the varnashrama dharma. I believe there is really some truth about it, although we might need to weed out false notions in it like we rejected the 'sati' system, untouchability, etc. But overall, activities prescribed for different varnas for their quicker redemption is something along the line of what I am trying to ask here. (Pl note, I am not talking about the varna from 'birth order' here, the varna I am talking about is 'mental makeup').


    If some activities are prescribed uniquely to each varna, on a similar vein, what activities would be appropriate for each of the genders?


    Male: Has more intellectual stamina/energy, is not too sentimental, is not too bothered about looks (especially as age progresses), but obsessed with power/money more than a woman, prefers the brain over the heart, etc.


    Female: Is emotional, sentimental, craves friends, followers, relatives, somewhat bothered about the 'looks' factor, has potentially lesser intellectual energy for sustained focus... etc.


    Given the above, what is the 'prescription' for a female?


    I enjoyed your focus on Sri Vishnu Sahasranama. Kindly add all that you see that could benefit this topic from this profound sloka, now or later.


    Thanks.
    Namaste Viraja

    From the other post of yours learned you will be getting busy soon. Good luck to you!

    I personally learned a lot from this website. S.V.S.N is more revered than Srimad Bhagavad Gita as each word is a book by itself.

    I differ with the way you have articulated men and women.

    My humble opinion, there is no short cut to the quality of life. Sri Aandal and Sri Meera were both women. But Meera Bhajan and Sri Aandal's Thiruppavai is revered than the rest. Why? What is the central theme of Raamaayana or Mahabharata? Restoration of women's honor, isn't it? If Sriman Naaraayan is with me none can harm me including myself. Truth is HE is always with me, but I am not ready to believe and give him a chance.

    Aathma is permanent. But woman, man, animal, bird etc are the hides Aatma wear. And these hides are bound to perish.

    Hope this helps...
    Anirudh...

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