[Advaita-l] Women and Vedas

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Apr 3 16:48:17 CDT 2006

On Sun, 2 Apr 2006, Ram Garib wrote:

> Later commentators have tried to make ammends in this
> situation, by distinguising between study of veda-s
> and vedic knowledge per se. According to this view,
> vedic knowledge should be gained by women and shudra-s
> from  other sources (most notably: gita), but not
> directly from veda-s.

I think this view most accurately represents the mainstream Advaita

> Yet others have made distinction between vedic study
> and vedic chanting. According to them, upanayanam is a
> requisite for vedic chanting only. Study through
> translations does not require upanayanam.
> Some other commentators have tried to bypass this
> criteria by postulating a guna based varna division,
> however, this solution does not help women.

Not to mention it is actually far more condescending to people it is
trying to help.

> Traditionally, Sri Ramanjuacharya-s tradition was most
> liberal in such interpretations. Today, it is as rigid
> as others. Due to the explosion of information in
> today's time, the texts and their commentaries are not
> an issue now. However, getting acceptance into a
> traditional ashram for vedic study, is still tough for
> women and shudra-s.

What I don't get (I'm not being glib here, I really don't.) is why they
would want to do so?  Yes, I'm sure there is an intellectual fascination
for some but the ones who are interested for religious reasons?  In my
previous conversations all I have been able to gather is that they somehow
feel it will make them more "spiritual."  But personally when I think of
the people I admire for their spirituality (or don't as the case may be) I
have never felt that how much they new about Vedas was relevant.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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