[Advaita-l] Women and Vedas

Sanjay Srivastava sksrivastava68 at gmail.com
Thu Apr 6 15:37:37 CDT 2006

Sri Viswanathan N wrote:

> what you said is abosolutely correct and there cant be any second
> opinion.  you need not go anywhere, neednt read/ or even hear anything form
> outside....everything is there within you. Just start looking inwards and
> start your journey verymuch in that direction. Thats what the meditaion is
> all about.

I am afraid we are mixing up here advaita vedanta and mysticism. In advaita
vedanta self-knowledge comes from "shastra-yonitvat." Looking inwards is a
part of nididhyasana, but not sufficient by itself. In fact, a distinct
trend is to consider shravana as the angi, and manana and nididhyasana as
anga-s. Accordingly, listening to scriptures from a qualified teacher is the
principal discipline in advaita, and manana and nididhyasana are helpful

Sri Ger wrote:

> But when I read in this mailbox about women and tradition, well, there you
> can learn something from the west. Many of the best talks I had about
> adwaita was with a woman with a very sharp intelligence and a very awake
> alertness, and a very good heart.  And that are the qualities that are
> needed, it has nothing to do with gender.

Developing an understanding of advaita has nothing to do with the learning
of veda-s. One is for moksha and the other for dharma. For advaitic
knowledge, we have numerous examples of sages who never learnt veda-s
and numerous examples of vedic pundits who remain ignorant as ever. Confuse
the two, and you start seeing contradictions in women advaita teachers and
not learning of veda-s.

> And if your tradition sais
> something different in this matter, well, this time your tradition is

In that case, you have to specify "wrong" in what sense. If you say "wrong"
in the sense of "being less egalitarian", I am entirely with you. Vedic
tradition is definitely not one of the shining examples of egalitarianism.

However, may I suggest that egalitarianism may not be a relevant issue here.
An spiritual tradition should be judged by its effectiveness or otherwise in
ensuring spiritual evolution of its members. It can be called "wrong", only
if it has failed in this objective. If someone has some data to prove that
caste or gender based restrictions on eligibility of certain texts, have
actually harmed the spiritual evolution of that gender or caste, then I am
all against such restrictions. But is that what we are arguing here? If
you believe that in dharma, egalitarian approach is "right" and caste or
gender based differences are "wrong", then you have to prove your argument
on basis of actual results of spiritual good rather than its conformance to
some concept which you think should be considered better.


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