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Thread: women and ritual

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    women and ritual

    Namaste,

    Are women entitled to learn rudram,chamakam,gayatri mantra at all ?

    During the menstrual cycle,can women say their daily prayers ?

    I would like to know the basis for these as some disciples do this,while some say that women should not do it during their menstruation.

    Please give your inputs.
    Last edited by sringeri; 05 January 2009 at 12:02 AM. Reason: I wanted to rephrase my question

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    Re: women and ritual

    Sringeri: Thank you for posing this topic. As you and I can see, it has been avoided as usual. People just don't know what to say without sounding chauvinist. I will start by saying I'm male, so therefore have absolutely no EXPERENTIAL knowledge, which in my way of thinking, is the only true knowledge, differing from the regurgitations espoused in the gridded intellectual realms of books. So I can only share my observations: that of watching the soul whose body this soul is married to in this lifetime.
    Firstly, let us not forget for a moment that the true Hindu actually believes in a real way in reincarnation. So over the long term of many lives, the gender that the soul embodies would roughly be equal..men or women. So those male ego people must be made to shown to understand that karma will ensure lives as females, especialy if ignorant comments like "blessed with a son" continue.
    Secondly, in my opinion, it is a mystical reason, and has to do with blood in general, not just menstrual blood, and many Hindus have forgotten this. Blood draws lower (asuric) forces. We want our temples clear of such forces. (Think wars and bloodshed, and how they seem to beget drive each other onwards. It is also a fact thet bears, sharks etc. can smell blood far easier than humans can. (I don't know if this is relevant.) I have seen many young women come to a despair regarding this custom, as it does come across as being so darn misogynist, which saddens me. Aum Namasivaya
    EM

  3. #3

    Unhappy Re: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by sringeri View Post
    Namaste,

    Are women entitled to learn rudram,chamakam,gayatri mantra at all ?

    During the menstrual cycle,can women say their daily prayers ?

    I would like to know the basis for these as some disciples do this,while some say that women should not do it during their menstruation.

    Please give your inputs.
    Pranam,
    I have heard of these "no's, no's" for women when it comes to worship. As well as not cooking during your menstral cycle. Where is all of this coming from? I personally love to chant the Gayatri. Afterall, it's female. I feel that prayer is our duty whether in a male or female body. Most of us have been taught that we are souls and not body. The body is just our instrument to help us sort through maya. So how is it that the natural functions of the female body pulls the soul away from it's ultimate quest. Some females have menstruation for 7 days. Seven days with prayer is a longggg time.

    Of course from a male perspective I can sort of see their point of view. It can be a bit messy.

    Om Shanti,

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    Re: women and ritual

    Namaste All,

    I have taken up the raiments of a man but my view is radically different and may cause a few eye brows to be raised. Usually interpreting a spiritual message through material mind makes the meaning appear reverse of what is intended.

    Some scriptures say that it is enough if women work for the welfare of their husbands.

    Egoistic world, where domination in terms of power, money etc. is at premium, can never understand that women are much less egoistic and thus can benefit by simply engaging in simplest of Karma Yoga.

    Whereas, for men it is essential to wash their mind daily twice or thrice.
    -------------------------

    One can see similar inversion of meaning with many verses that are used to create inequity for personal gains by the oppressors everywhere. The best example is aggression on other faith holders by Muslims. Quran says one is entitled to defend. Which does not mean that one is entitled to be the aggressor.


    It goes on like this.

    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.

  5. #5

    Re: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Egoistic world, where domination in terms of power, money etc. is at premium, can never understand that women are much less egoistic and thus can benefit by simply engaging in simplest of Karma Yoga.

    Whereas, for men it is essential to wash their mind daily twice or thrice.
    What you say is seva dharma. Seva dharma is also advocated for shudras as well. However seva is not solely reserved for women and shudras. Yet women and shudras are restricted to it. If you have stayed in an ashram, this is the primary duty of the sishyas as they learn spiritual lessons. It is also the dharma of brahmacharins. So if we avoid fiting and inverting the customs to our personal beliefs, one cannot deny the preparatory nature of seva dharma and a general restriction on spiritual endevours of women and shudras.

    There is not much scope from running away from this truth w/o being a hypocrite, imo. If I am not wrong, exceptions to these restrictions are accepted and also the question of how much of smriti is correct, unadultrated and relevant comes up. For example on such fundamental issue as basis of marriage, smritis dictate that it is to obtain a male child. While in bhArata, vishma says it is primarily to satisfy the desires.

    However, women are less egotistic is something I find hard to digest. Women have lesser prevelance of raja guna and are softer by nature. Ego is a different measure of ignorance and it is least likely that women score more than men in this regard.

    Through personal experience I find women more selfish and less capabale on thinking about other's beyond their peripherry of husband and children. This is also rational from evolutionary standpoint. Women when made to take same role as men often turn out to be much more asuric in mentality than men.

    Also it is said, that the condition of the society is much easily reflected upon the women, and it is the women who nurture the society. So in her docileness everybody benefits, in her mischeviousness all loose.

    I don't deny being chauvenistic from the standpoint of current morality. I don'r care.


    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Quran says one is entitled to defend. Which does not mean that one is entitled to be the aggressor.
    This is not what the quran says. This is not what Mr Muhammed did. Ah...I keep saying the same things...sorry..
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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    Re: women and ritual


    Quote Originally Posted by sm78 View Post
    --- So if we avoid fiting and inverting the customs to our personal beliefs, one cannot deny the preparatory nature of seva dharma and general restriction on spairitual endevours of women and shudras.


    Namaste SM.

    As expected. Welcome.

    But your belief or mine? Can you show one shruti that women are denied spiritual endeavors? OTOH, Parvati herself is the brightest example of the opposite. There are Risikas mentioned in Upanishads and to Risikas are ascribed some of the finest Rig Veda verses.

    This is not what the quran says. This is not what Mr Muhammed did. Ah...I keep saying the same things...sorry..


    Well.
    29. O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you.


    30. Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah.


    32. And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things.


    177. It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and giveth his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God fearing.


    178. O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painful doom.




    32. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if be had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had: saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty) , but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.
    Retailiation is prescribed only in case of murders. Aggression and injustice are verily prohibited. But most aggressors think that theie aggressions are justified -- that is rationalisation by the ego. Similarly many are guided to mis-interpret scripture by ego-drive. Coveting the wealth and God gifted qualities of others is also prohibited -- a la Isha Upanishad. Still most aggressions on India were driven by covetous looters who wanted only wealth.

    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.

  7. #7

    Re: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post


    Namaste SM.

    As expected. Welcome.

    But your belief or mine? Can you show one shruti that women are denied spiritual endeavors? OTOH, Parvati herself is the brightest example of the opposite. There are Risikas mentioned in Upanishads and to Risikas are ascribed some of the finest Rig Veda verses.
    Rules have exception. I was talking about dharma shastras where the discrimination is clear. In itihasas as well, though women enjoy many freedom, she is not expected or encouraged to be in the forefront of spirituality and knowledge.

    We need not be apologetic about this, as what you orginally said about women may be true. It might be true that women can derive more benefit by simply serving as she is more close to nature. I snapped at she being called a lesser egotist than the man, but its a matter of choice of words. Ahamkara or self identification is definitely less in women. Women in a society more easily reflect the overall status of the society compared to the man, who are more individualistic (we may say more egoistic etc.).


    Well.
    29. O ye who believe! Squander not your wealth among yourselves in vanity, except it be a trade by mutual consent, and kill not one another. Lo! Allah is ever Merciful unto you.


    30. Whoso doeth that through aggression and injustice, We shall cast him into Fire, and that is ever easy for Allah.


    32. And covet not the thing in which Allah hath made some of you excel others. Unto men a fortune from that which they have earned, and unto women a fortune from that which they have earned. (Envy not one another) but ask Allah of His bounty. Lo! Allah is ever Knower of all things.


    177. It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the Prophets; and giveth his wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God fearing.


    178. O ye who believe! Retaliation is prescribed for you in the matter of the murdered; the freeman for the freeman, and the slave for the slave, and the female for the female. And for him who is forgiven somewhat by his (injured) brother, prosecution according to usage and payment unto him in kindness. This is an alleviation and a mercy from your Lord. He who transgresseth after this will have a painful doom.




    32. For that cause We decreed for the Children of Israel that whosoever killeth a human being for other than man slaughter or corruption in the earth, it shall be as if be had killed all mankind, and whoso saveth the life of one, it shall be as if he had: saved the life of all mankind. Our messengers came unto them of old with clear proofs (of Allah's sovereignty) , but afterwards lo! many of them became prodigals in the earth.
    Retailiation is prescribed only in case of murders. Aggression and injustice are verily prohibited. But most aggressors think that theie aggressions are justified -- that is rationalisation by the ego. Similarly many are guided to mis-interpret scripture by ego-drive. Coveting the wealth and God gifted qualities of others is also prohibited -- a la Isha Upanishad. Still most aggressions on India were driven by covetous looters who wanted only wealth.

    Om
    [/quote]

    I'll only say you are quoting wrong verses and these verses don't deal with the relation between the believer vis-a-vis the unbeliever (us). Please review the book in a whole from proper sources.

    Also there is an order in reading the koran. Unlike our texts one cannot quote any verse to prove something. There is a definite chronology to the verses as they were revealed at different points in time. And in case of contradiction the verse which is revealed later overules and nullifies the prior ones. Allah himself ruled so in Koran. There are some peaceful verses in Koran which are during the period when Muhammad was a powerless preacher in Mecca. And there are very violent verses against non-muslims which were given when he became powerful in Medina. The religion of islam is not a "gone by", "left-over" from a forgotten past but a living reality and it must be understood as muslims in madrassas read it traditionally.

    There is plenty of material on the internet, plenty of books from the original orthodox sources. It is meaningless to defend or attack Islam here anymore.

    If you are truely ignorant about Islam, I would urge you to spend some time studying it in the above mentioned way. If you need resources, feel free to PM me. I had previously posted tons of links in this regard.

    If you find solace in quoting "non-applicable" verses of koran and want to believe that there is no problem with Islam or its prophet, you are free to do so and even spread that lie. I am powerless in this regards.
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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    Re: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by sm78 View Post
    Rules have exception. I was talking about dharma shastras where the discrimination is clear. In itihasas as well, though women enjoy many freedom, she is not expected or encouraged to be in the forefront of spirituality and knowledge.

    We need not be apologetic about this, as what you orginally said about women may be true. It might be true that women can derive more benefit by simply serving as she is more close to nature. I snapped at she being called a lesser egotist than the man, but its a matter of choice of words. Ahamkara or self identification is definitely less in women. Women in a society more easily reflect the overall status of the society compared to the man, who are more individualistic (we may say more egoistic etc.).
    Namaste SM,

    Here we have an agreement of sorts. Remember that it is BrahmA who gets eluded and not Usha, whose subsequent form changes cause mAyA for BrahmA (mind).

    I'll only say you are quoting wrong verses and these verses don't deal with the relation between the believer vis-a-vis the unbeliever (us). Please review the book in a whole from proper sources.
    No comments, except that historical analysis of scriptures is always fraught with dangers. Scriptures are to be studied and imbibed with crystal clear mind -- without any superposition of nescience. On the contrary, I will suggest that you read original scripture and not purports.


    Om
    Last edited by atanu; 16 February 2009 at 09:23 AM.
    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: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Namaste SM,
    Here we have an agreement of sorts. Remember that it is BrahmA who gets eluded and not Usha, whose subsequent form changes cause mAyA for BrahmA (mind).
    Om
    I will take this opportunity. The female form is spiritually Surya -- the Son of Dayus. It is the finest paradox of Rig Veda. Similarly while talking of Adityas -- the rays of Sun, Rishi dirghAtmA reminds that the rays are males but actually females. The entering and being entered; pervading and being pervaded both act at many levels.

    Usually, it is considered that the Moon is female and the Sun is male but not so in Rig Veda. The following verse will show that how Soma is the husband of Surya at four levels. (Elsewhere Surya is also called son of heaven).

    RV Book 10, HYMN LXXXV. Surya's Bridal.



    1. TRUTH is the base that bears the earth; by Surya are the heavens sustained. By Law the Adityas stand secure, and Soma holds his place in heaven.

    2 By Soma are the Adityas strong, by Soma mighty is the earth. Thus Soma in the midst of all these hath his place.
    ----
    5 When they begin to drink thee then, O God, thou swellest out again. Vayu is Soma's guardian God. The Moon is that which shapes the years.

    6 Raibhi was her dear bridal friend, and Narasamsi led her home.
    Lovely was Surya's robe: she came to that which Gatha had adorned.

    7 Thought was the pillow of her couch, sight was the unguent for her eyes:Her treasury was earth and heaven..when Surya went unto her Lord.
    ---
    9 Soma was he who wooed the maid: the groomsmen were both Asvins, when The Sun-God Savitar bestowed his willing Surya on her Lord.
    ----
    27 Happy be thou and prosper witlh thy children here: be vigilant to rule thy household in this home. Closely unite thy body with this; man, thy lord. So shall ye, full of years, address your company.
    ---
    34 Pungent is this, and bitter this, filled, as it were, with arrow-barbs, Empoisoned and.not fit for use. The Brahmana who knows Surya well deserves the garment of the bride.
    ---
    39 Agni hath given the bride again with splendour and with ample life. Long lived he who is her lord; a hundred autumns let him live.

    40 Soma obtained her first of all; next the Gandharva was her lord.
    Agni was thy third husband: now one born of woman is thy fourth.

    41 Soma to the Gandharva, and to Agni the Gandharva gave:
    And Agni hath bestowed on me riches and sons and this my spouse.

    42 Be ye not parted; dwell ye here reach the full time of human life.
    With sons and grandsons sport and play, rejoicing in your own abode.

    43 So may Prajapati bring children forth to us; may Aryaman adorn us till old age come nigh. Not inauspicious enter thou thy husband's house: bring blessing to our bipeds and our quadrupeds.

    44 Not evil-eyed, no slayer of thy husband, bring weal to cattle, radiant, gentlehearted; Loving the Gods, delightful, bearing heroes, bring blessing to our quadrupeds and bipeds.

    45 O Bounteous Indra, make this bride blest in her sons and fortunate.
    Vouchsafe to her ten sons, and make her husband the eleventh man.

    46 Over thy husband's father and thy husband's mother bear full sway.
    Over the sister of thy lord, over his brothers rule supreme.

    47 So may the Universal Gods, so may the Waters join our hearts.
    May Matarisvan, Dhatar, and Destri together bind us close.



    Om Namah Shivaya.

    In Mahanarayana Upanishad the worship of Durga and Agni is same.

    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.

  10. #10

    Re: women and ritual

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    No comments, except that historical analysis of scriptures is always fraught with dangers. Scriptures are to be studied and imbibed with crystal clear mind -- without any superposition of nescience.
    Om
    No comments, except this does not hold for Islam where the parallel history (hadith) is the essential part of the scripture. By traditional understanding there can be no interpretation of koran w/o support of the hadith.
    What is Here, is Elsewhere. What is not Here, is Nowhere.

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