Perspective of Woman in Hinduism Then and Now

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Brahmanism is the branch of the Hindu religion, previously known dominators of the Indian society, the priests. They are considered to be higher class than any other Hindu person. These Brahmans are the ones in the religion who do all the rituals and sacrifices as it is part of their dharma(duty). Some brahmans believe that woman’s role is to procreate, and continue the family lineage. It is said that woman need to be cared for their whole lives by men, before marriage its their father, later their husband and when they are old its their son. Woman’s role in the vedas were different then and now they are totally different. In the vedas they don’t demean, woman but the woman aren’t as important as men. So the role of woman then and now are totally different, Brahmanism has come a long way in the ways of woman. The status of woman started decline with time.

Then, “women should remain stagnate, running the household, rearing the children, and participate in religious rituals as an assistant to their husband.” As a brahmin priest, you would need to be married to perform rituals, even though the woman isn’t involved in any of the rituals she has to assist her husband, as its her duty. According to Mahavidya which is a scholar website on hinduism, they stated that female’s role as a wife to bear her husband’s children and educate them in their traditional practices. To maintain there dominance over the women men have their wives maintain the home and the family that he has made and provided for.

The purpose of the woman is just to be they’re for the husband and family, that they can’t be educated and can’t be gurus. It was believed that the male had power over the female, during this time the woman couldn’t even study the vedas, young girls had to be married when the hit puberty and devote their lives to their husbands, and as for part of the rituals the woman wouldn’t be able to perform it just assist her husband. Life was hard as a woman, if your husband dies and you become a widow, all her status and name is tarnished. The woman go through a lot of trouble, when a woman gives birth to a girl, she feels ashamed, since they saw having a baby girl as a burden.

Previously also if woman decide to go out without their husbands permission, they would amputate their ears and noses according to the Pacatantra and also another punishment for woman if they are guilty of cheating on their husbands, they get death penalty. Woman also have a lot of restrictions such as she the wife can’t own any property, as everything she has belongs to her husband, when her husband isn’t in town, she has to stay with another female relative. So basically the woman doesn’t own anything and just is there to support her family, she has no say in the religious activities and the household decisions as she is a woman. She couldn’t even learn the vedas or become a guru, as she isn’t worthy. They also believe that men control woman since the only purpose of a woman is to procreate, and always assist their husband in the rituals.

Daughters seemed to have more freedom as they can own properties shared with their father, According to rig-veda society, a married daughter has no rights of the property of her father, since now her role is to start a family and take care of her husband, and adhere to his every wish. Some even say woman don’t deserve independence otherwise she’ll be a disappointment to the family by not being chased. It is also said all woman must serve and worship their husband as that is what they were born to do.

Woman life was much harder if they were placed in the higher caste, the higher the caste the more the male domination. Even though woman are seen as the representation of God as stated by the hinduwebsite, Women are considered aspects of Nature or embodiment of Universal Mother, Shakti, in her aspect as pure energy (shaktiswarupini). She is extolled as mata, the Mother Goddess, or devi the auspicious one.(V,2019)they still need a man to protect them and take care of them till the end which is an obligatory job for him. So Brahmins is the highest caste meaning the woman is the most oppressed in this caste, as I have previously mentioned the woman in brahmanism have more of a supporting role to their husband.

“Brahmanism recognized that women had a vital role to play in the reproduction of its envisioned social order, particularly in the maintenance of caste and lineage purity and the family (all three being important pillars of the Brahmanical social order). Therefore, women had to be controlled.” (Ray,1999). Also what I have to come learn myself from being a Hindu is that when woman get their menstruation they are considered unclean and cannot enter a temple until that week of menstruation is over. According to tradition all the have been applied and accepted by society, woman don’t get much say. Society is a very important factor in this religion, the people in this religion tend to stick to their old outdated beliefs that need to be updated.

Tradition recommends four prominent roles for a married Hindu woman: that of a servant (dasi), that of an advisor or counselor (mantri), that of a mother (mata) and that of a lover (rambha) (V,2019). This roles truly objectify woman as they can only a servant meaning family before everything and taking care of the house, advisor/counselor only to your husband he doesn’t even have to listen to you, it’s their choice so it’s a terrible thing. Third is mother which is taking responsibility of the children and trying to have only male children otherwise needing to face embarrassment and being ‘burdened’ by having a daughter. Lastly lover which is basically just being there to procreate for your family. Woman tend to not have more roles than that, in these times woman are also shunned if they have jobs since they believe women are only meant for the kitchen and to support her husband.

As for woman today, life is a bit easier not as free or liberating, but in terms of education, a lot more women are being educated today. When woman started getting access to politics then life became a bit easier for them. “With models such as Indira Gandhi, females have had images of successful women working in what has traditionally been a man’s realm of responsibility. Interestingly, powerful women in politics are common throughout the Indian subcontinent” (the role of woman in hinduism, 2019). Its not completely easy but its a start, woman have been treated a bit better, but are still labeled as weak by the misogynistic brahman mindset. “In the 21st century, India has been trying to make equal rights for men and woman, and trying to reform the mindset of Indians that woman should be taught in schools, and should have jobs, in order to support each other and themselves” (Basharat 2009).

Still it is a hard to make everyone of them get rid of tradition as it is been decreed by the elders and it is believed that the elders know best for everyone, it is wrong to deny or disrespect them even though they are wrong. They want to bring a sense of “purdah” which is seclusion from men mainly because woman can’t be with men until they are wed while men could do anything they want, if a woman does something wrong they have to deal with that shame for life while men get away with it, so a lot of traditional Indians object to women being educated.

Cite this paper

Perspective of Woman in Hinduism Then and Now. (2021, Jan 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/perspective-of-woman-in-hinduism-then-and-now/

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