Jivanmuktiviveka of Swami Vidyaranya

Aravind Krishna seeksha at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Feb 1 14:59:02 CST 2000

>Women are also entitled to this renunciation.  The Chaturdhari commentary
>on the Mahabharat in describing the conversation between Sulabha and
>Janaka in the Mokshadharma mentions that Sulabha was a bhikshuki (female
>monk) and indicates that women may renounce before marriage or after the
>death of their husbands[6] and may hear appropriate shastras dealing with
>moksha[7].  In the Devatadhikarana of the Brahmasutrabhashya,
>Shankaracharya has mentioned Vachaknavi as another female renouncer.
>These instances support the right of Maitreyi the wife of Yajnavalkya of
>whom she asks[8] in the brhadaranyakopanishad, "Of what use would such
>wealth be to me if it would not make me immortal?  Tell me whatever you
>know sir as to what I should do to be free of mortality."[9]

This clarifies a lot of misnomers on the status of women in your society. In
south, a female almost looks like a sanyAsi with saffron robes and shaved
head after her husbands death.  But it’s a question if the community really
imparted the knowledge for such a state to them or just the physical
renunciation was emphasized. There was no option for a female except to take
up this so-called ‘Atma sanyAsa’, but a man normally could remarry or stay
like that.


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