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Thread: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

  1. #1

    Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Namaste all.

    I have been reading a bit of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as of late, and I came across this rather disturbing verses-
    6
    Now, if a man sees himself (his reflection) in water, he should recite the following mantra:
    "May the gods bestow on me vigour, manhood, fame, wealth and merit."
    In praise of the wife who will bear him a son:
    She (his wife) has put on the soiled clothes of impurity; she is, verily, loveliness among women. Therefore when she has removed the clothes of impurity and appears beautiful, he should approach her and speak to her.
    7
    If she does not willingly yield her body to him, he should buy her with presents. If she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with his hand and overcome her, repeating the following mantra:
    "With power and glory I take away your glory."
    Thus she becomes discredited.
    This must be some sort of mistranslation, right? If not, how can this be considered moral?
    Last edited by Baobobtree; 27 May 2008 at 08:10 PM.

  2. #2

    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    I know it might be a bit early to bump this thread, but I'm rather anxious for any replies to this thread.

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    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Baobobtree View Post
    I have been reading a bit of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as of late, and I came across this rather disturbing verses-
    This must be some sort of mistranslation, right? If not, how can this be considered moral?
    Namaste Baobtree,

    There is no mistranslation or error. Actually, when we study scriptures we get blinded with the idea that every word of the scripture must be correct & true irrespective of time & occasion. This expectation is not correct.

    The scriptures are not written in a day & there are chances of entry of contamination when they are carried through a period ranging over thousands of years. Brihdaranyaka Upanishad is no exception. There have been some additions/alterations in the original text over a period of time. The part you are referring to is added much later on & is contaminated by social environment at that time. You can easily notice the difference here ... the deep & profound discussion on Advait suddenly changes to "how to get a good son or daughter, how to approach one's wife for sexual intercourse, what to do against paramour of one's wife etc.". This section obviously doesn't match with the earlier major part of Brihdaranyaka Upanishad which discusses Non-duality in depth.

    My advice is that please look for the grains & not for the chaff.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  4. #4

    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Namaste Baobtree,

    There is no mistranslation or error. Actually, when we study scriptures we get blinded with the idea that every word of the scripture must be correct & true irrespective of time & occasion. This expectation is not correct.

    The scriptures are not written in a day & there are chances of entry of contamination when they are carried through a period ranging over thousands of years. Brihdaranyaka Upanishad is no exception. There have been some additions/alterations in the original text over a period of time. The part you are referring to is added much later on & is contaminated by social environment at that time. You can easily notice the difference here ... the deep & profound discussion on Advait suddenly changes to "how to get a good son or daughter, how to approach one's wife for sexual intercourse, what to do against paramour of one's wife etc.". This section obviously doesn't match with the earlier major part of Brihdaranyaka Upanishad which discusses Non-duality in depth.

    My advice is that please look for the grains & not for the chaff.

    OM
    Namaste Devotee.

    I never really looked at it like this before. Thanks, you've really helped me clear some doubts.


    My humble thanks and dandavats to you.

  5. #5

    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    The scriptures are not written in a day & there are chances of entry of contamination when they are carried through a period ranging over thousands of years. Brihdaranyaka Upanishad is no exception. There have been some additions/alterations in the original text over a period of time. The part you are referring to is added much later on & is contaminated by social environment at that time. You can easily notice the difference here ... the deep & profound discussion on Advait suddenly changes to "how to get a good son or daughter, how to approach one's wife for sexual intercourse, what to do against paramour of one's wife etc.". This section obviously doesn't match with the earlier major part of Brihdaranyaka Upanishad which discusses Non-duality in depth.
    That is interesting. The Upanishad mainly deals with creation, Brahman, mediation, etc. and then suddenly, in the last part, there is a section concerning seemingly rudimentary religious rites. I looked through the section that contains the verses that Baobobtree posted and it's pretty crude.

    I wonder if what you've said is why Swami Krishnananda's translation only covers the first five chapters: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brhad_00.html

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    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Baobtree,

    There is no mistranslation or error. Actually, when we study scriptures we get blinded with the idea that every word of the scripture must be correct & true irrespective of time & occasion. This expectation is not correct.

    The scriptures are not written in a day & there are chances of entry of contamination when they are carried through a period ranging over thousands of years. Brihdaranyaka Upanishad is no exception. There have been some additions/alterations in the original text over a period of time. The part you are referring to is added much later on & is contaminated by social environment at that time. You can easily notice the difference here ... the deep & profound discussion on Advait suddenly changes to "how to get a good son or daughter, how to approach one's wife for sexual intercourse, what to do against paramour of one's wife etc.". This section obviously doesn't match with the earlier major part of Brihdaranyaka Upanishad which discusses Non-duality in depth.

    My advice is that please look for the grains & not for the chaff.

    OM
    Namaste Devotee,

    Your view is logical and most plausible. Shankara has clearly marked certain passages,which deal with non-vedic rituals, of Brihadarayanaka as smriti that is reflected in shruti. And this passage pertaining to wooing a female partner is cetainly not a vedic ritual. Yet, it presents a problem or two for us. Either follow Guru/Teacher or check what is Vedic and what is not. For me Guru vakya holds pradhanya.


    There is another view. Soma (Prajapati-Brahmanspati, Vachapati) is the primordial husband and Surya the wife. But in common parlance, it is forgotten that the shinier one is actually the product, the daughter. If one forgets this Mastership over Maya, one will suffer like Dasaratha. I am not very sure, since I have not seen any commentary on the passages cited, yet I feel that not everything is illogical in those set of passages of Brihadarayanaka. Why should a wife deny her husband an embrace if the husband first employs normal methods and even gifts her presents?

    -------------

    But it seems sure that some verses of Brihadaraynaka may be of different genre and being un-vedic may be smriti rather than shruti. This, as per Shankaracharya.

    Regards

    Om
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Hari Om
    ~~~~~

    Namaste,

    For those looking for these slokas mentioned they appear in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, Khila-kanda, Putramantha Brahmana.
    Some may write this as chapter 6 section 4, sloka 6,7 & 8. This section outlines the putramantha rite. When preformed ( correctly) the native will be gifted with a worthy son with good qualities, a heroic child.

    This is considered a vajapeya rite. I cannot speak knowledgeably on this matter. Perhaps someone else with more information can discuss this for us?

    pranams
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Namaste Atanu,

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Shankara has clearly marked certain passages,which deal with non-vedic rituals, of Brihadarayanaka as smriti that is reflected in shruti. And this passage pertaining to wooing a female partner is cetainly not a vedic ritual. Either follow Guru/Teacher or check what is Vedic and what is not. For me Guru vakya holds pradhanya.
    I agree.

    I feel that not everything is illogical in those set of passages of Brihadarayanaka. Why should a wife deny her husband an embrace if the husband first employs normal methods and even gifts her presents?
    Seeing perfection where there is seemingly imperfection ?

    I don't see right or wrong (logical or illogical) per se here. What we see "right" from one angle may be perceived "wrong" from another angle. It changes depending upon our social, spiritual & psychological biases. And because "it changes", it can't be the Truth & that is contamination.

    Regards

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  9. #9

    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Quote Originally Posted by devotee View Post
    Namaste Baobtree,

    There is no mistranslation or error. Actually, when we study scriptures we get blinded with the idea that every word of the scripture must be correct & true irrespective of time & occasion. This expectation is not correct.

    The scriptures are not written in a day & there are chances of entry of contamination when they are carried through a period ranging over thousands of years. Brihdaranyaka Upanishad is no exception. There have been some additions/alterations in the original text over a period of time. The part you are referring to is added much later on & is contaminated by social environment at that time. You can easily notice the difference here ... the deep & profound discussion on Advait suddenly changes to "how to get a good son or daughter, how to approach one's wife for sexual intercourse, what to do against paramour of one's wife etc.". This section obviously doesn't match with the earlier major part of Brihdaranyaka Upanishad which discusses Non-duality in depth.

    My advice is that please look for the grains & not for the chaff.

    OM

    It is for this reason that I pray that the "chaff" as you have named it is destroyed in the future, so that the dharma is stainless, both in the time that it is implemented, and eternally.

    We don't need adharma muddying the waters.

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    Re: Spousal Abuse and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

    Is there a Vedic injunction where the husband is obliged to have sex with his wife when she is fertile?
    The Vedas declared that the son rescueth the father from a hell called Put. ~ Celestials [Sec. 231 of Adi Parva - Mahabharata]

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