Women in Hindu Purans
by Abul Kasem
e mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
women in Vedas
Women in Vedas Soma Sablok The Indian Constitution guarantees equal rights to both the sexes and does not discriminate on the basis of caste, color and creed However, despite the constitutional provisions, do women enjoy equality with men ?
The answer is 'No'. Their condition still remains miserable. Newspaper carry report of rape and burning of women for not bringing sufficient dowry or their inability to satisfy the demands of greedy in laws.
Basically, out present attitude towards women streams from our religious scriptures which refer to women as contempt. Our oldest book are the 'Vedas' which contain highly objectionable and condemnable passages concerning women. Taking cue from the 'Vedas' authors of subsequent religious scriptures referred to women in more contemptuous form. 'Sati pratha' (custom of burning the widow with the body of her husband), 'Dasi Pratha' (keeping the slave girls), 'Niyog Pratha' (ancient Aryan custom of childless widow or women having sexual intercourse with a man other than husband to beget child), were among cruel customs responsible for the plight of the women.
Naturally, seeking shelter under such religious sanctions, unscrupulous women disgraced women to the maximum possible extent and made them means of satisfying their lust. No one wanted a daughter. As a result; female infant came to be considered unwanted. No one wanted a daughter. Everyone was interested in having a son. The birth of the son was celebrated, but the birth of the daughter plunged family into gloom. This attitude still persists, even though certain other customs have undergone changes.
'Rig Veda' itself says that a women should beget sons. The newly married wife is blessed so that she could have 10 sons. So much so, that for begetting a son, 'Vedas' prescribe a special ritual
called 'Punsawan sanskar' (a ceremony performed during third month of pregnancy). During the ceremony it is prayed:
"Almighty God, you have created this womb. Women may be born somewhere else but sons should be born from this womb" - Atharva Ved 6/11/3
"O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a women" - Atharva Ved 2/3/23
In 'Shatpath Puran (shatpath Brahman)' a sonless women has been termed as unfortunate.
'Rig Veda' censures women by saying:
"Lord Indra himself has said that women has very little intelligence. She cannot be taught" - Rig Ved 8/33/17
At another placein Rig Veda it is written:
"There cannot be any friendship with a women. Her heart is more cruel than heyna" - Rig Ved 10/95/15.
'Yajur Ved (Taitriya Sanhita)'m- "Women code says that the women are without energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the wicked they speak in feeble manner" - Yajur Ved 6/5/8/2
Shatpath Puran, preachings of the 'Yajur Veda' clubs women, 'shudras'(untouchables), doga, crows together and says falsehood, sin and gloom remain integrated in them. (14/1/1/31)
In 'Aiterey Puran', preaching of the 'Rig Veda' in harsih chandra -Narad dialogue, Narad says: "The daughter causes pain"
To insult and humiliate women further, the religious books speak of
women having sexual intercourse with animals or expressing desire for
intercourse with them. What further insult can be heaped on women.
In 'Yajur Veda' such references are found at a number of places where the principal wife of the host is depicted as having intercourse with a horse.
For example consider the following hymn:
"All wife of the host reciting three mantras go round the horse. While praying, they say: 'O horse, you are, protector of the community on the basis of good qualities, you are, protector or treasure of happiness. O horse, you become my husband.'" - Yajur Veda 23/19.
After the animal is purified by the priest, the principal wife sleeps near the horse and says: "O Horse, I extract the semen worth conception and you release the semen worth conception'" - Yajur Veda 23/20.
The horse and principal wife spread two legs each. Then the Ardhvaryu (priest) orders to cover the oblation place, raise canopy etc. After this, the principal wife of the host pulls penis of the horse and puts it in her vagina and says: "This horse may release semen in me." -Yajur Veda 23/20.
Then the host, while praying to the horse says:
"O horse, please throw semen on the upper part of the anus of my wife. Expand your penis and insert it in the vagina because after insertion, this penis makes women happy and lively" - 23/21.
In the Vedic age, the customs of polygamy was prevalent. Each wife spent most of the time devising ways and means to become favorite to her husband.
Clear references are available in 'Rig Veda', (14/45),' and Atharva Veda (3/81)'
Custom of Polygamy
The Aryans in those days used to attack the original inhabitants of this place, or other tribe within their own race; loot them and snatch away their women. Thus, militant and wicked men had more wives. This custom of polygamy helped a great deal in bringing down the women.
In 'Rig Ved' (10/59) it is written that Lord Indra had many queens that were either defeated or killed by his principal wife.
In 'Aitrey Puran', preachings of 'Rig Veda', (33/1), there is a reference to the effect that Harish Chandra had one hundred Wives.
'Yajur Veda' in the context of 'Ashva Medha' (Horse Sacraficing ceremony), says that many wives of Harish Chandra participated in the 'Yagyna' (religious sacrafice).
In 'Shatpath Puran(Shatpath Brahmin)', preachings (13/4/1/9), of the Veda, it is written that four wives do service in 'Ashva Megha'. In another Puran (Tatiraity Brahamin, 3/8/4), it is written that wives are like property.
Not only one man had many wives (married and slave girls), but there were cases of many men having a joint wife. It is confirmed from the following hymn in 'Atharva Veda': "O men, sow a seed in this fertile women" - Atharva Veda 14/1
Both these customs clearly show that a women was treated like a moving property. The only difference between the two customs was that whereas according to former one man had a number of movable properties, in the latter, women a joint movable property.
'Vedas' also sanction 'Sati Pratha'
Widow was burnt at the funeral Pyre of her husband. The widow was burnt at the funeral pyre of her husband so that she may remain his slave, birth after birth and may never be released from the bonds of slavery.
The Atharva Veda says:
"O dead man following the religion and wishing to go to the husbands world, his women comes to you." In the other world also may you give her children and wealth in the same manner. In the 'Vedas', widow is treated inhumanly. For example it is mentioned that on death of her husband, the wife was handed over to some other man, or to her husband younger brother.
Swami Vivekananda opines that even at that time women used to have sexual intercourse with a person other than her husband to beget a child. The hymn says:
"O woman, get up and adopt the worldly life again. It is futile to lie with this dead man. Get up and become the wife of the man who is holding your hand and who loves you. - Rig Ved 10/18/8
Apparently this shows that woman is considered to be a property. Whenever and whosoever desired, could become her master. If the women was not remarried, then her head was shaved. This is evident from Atharva Veda (14/2/60).
This custom was obviously meant to disgrace her. For what connection does shaving of widows head has with the death of her husband ? The condition of widows was miserable. She was considered to be a harbinger of inauspiciousness and was not allowed to participate in ceremonies like marriage. This custom is still prevalent in some places. She has to spend her life alone In Rig Veda therre are references to slave girls being given in charity as gifts. After killing the menfolk of other tribes, particularly of the native inhabitants, their women were rounded up and used as slave girls. It was custom to present slave girls to one other as gifts. The kings used to present chariots full of slave girls to their kith and kin and preists (Rig Veda 6/27/8). King Trasdasyu had given 50 slave girls. It was custom to present slave girls to Saubhri Kandav (Rig Veda 8/38, 5/47/6).
Intercourse without marriage
A slave girl was called 'Vadhu' (wife), with whom sexual intercourse could be performed without any kind of marriage ceremony. These girls belonged to the men who snatched them from the enemies, or who had received them in dowry, or as gifts. Only the men to whom they belonged could have sexual intercourse with them. But some slave girls were kept as joint property of the tribe or the village. Any man could have sexual rlations with them. These girls became the prostitutes. The 'Vedas' also talk about 'Niyog', the custom of childless, widow or woman having sexual intercourse with a person other than her husband to beget a child.
In simple words 'Niyog' means sending a married woman or a widow to a particular man for sexual intercourse so that she gets a son. Indication of this custom is available in 'Rig Veda' In 'Aadiparva' of 'Mahabharata' (chap. 95 and 103), it is mentioned that Satywati had appointed her son to bestow sons to the queens of Vichitrvirya, the younger brother of Bhishma, as a result of which Dhratrashtra and Pandu were born.
Pandu himself has asked his wife, Kunti, to have sexual intercourse with a brahmin to get a son (Aadi Parva, chapters 120 to 123).
Chastity of woman was not safe
In the name of 'beejdan' (seed donation), they used to have sexual intercourse with issueless women. This was a cruel religious custom and the chastity of the women was not safe. The so called caretakers of the religion were allowed to have sexual intercourse with other man's wife. From 'Niyog pratha' it csn be inferred withouth fear of contradiction that women were looked upon as mere child producing machines.
In 'The Position of women in Hindu Civilization' Dr. B. R. Ambedkar writes:
"Though women is not married to man, she was considered to be a property of the entire family. But she was not getting share out of the property of her husband, only son could be successor to the property."
Gajdhar Prasad Baudh says: " No woman of the Vedic age can be treated as pure. Vedic man could not keep even the relations brother-sister and father-daughter sacred from the oven of rape and debauchery/adultery named 'Niyog'. Under the influence of intoxication of wine, they used to recognize neither their sister nor their daughter and also did not keep the relations with them in mind. It is evident from their debauchery and adultery what a miserable plight of women was society in then. (Refer 'Arya Niti Ka Bhadaphor'. 5th Edition page 14).
In the 'Vedas' there are instances where daughter was impregnated by her father and the sister by her brother. The following example of sexual intercourse is found between father and daughter in the 'Rig Veda':
"When father had sexual intercourse with his daughter, then with the help of earth he released his semen and at that time the Righteous Devas (deities) formed this 'Vartrashak (Rudra) Devta' (Pledge keeper diety named Rudra)" - Atharva Veda (20/96/15).
Women: Low grade creatures
From the aforesaid account, it is clear that in the Vedas women have been considered to be low grade creatures. It is high time we expose scriptures, preaching such inhuman teachings so that they lose their credibility. Only then can there be a hope on women's liberation, and of equality between sexes which is guaranteed by Indian constitution.
Last changed: January 02, 2001
Published in Muktomona ( http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mukto-mona/message/589 )
Note from Author : Dear All, If you thought that only Islam mistreats the women, perish that thought. Here is how Hinduism treats women. I did not publish this for a long time not to offend many Hindu readers. But the time has come to expose the misogynist nature of all religions. Please feel free to comments. Hindu fundamentalists, please prove that what is written in this bombshell article is wrong.