[Advaita-l] Re: Women and Vedas

Basker Rajaraman Basker.Rajaraman at bh.ey.com
Thu Apr 6 08:40:41 CDT 2006

I came across an upanyasam by His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sri Sri 
Chandrasekharendra Sarasvati Mahaswamigal wherein His Holiness has 
indicated that women are allowed to perform aupasana and the Vedas have 
given the right to women to perform aupasana.  Below is the extract of his 
The husband and the wife must do the aupasana together. Even when the 
husband is away the wife must perform it by offering unbroken rice grains 
in the sacrificial fire. The Vedas themselves have given women such a 

Aupasana is the only Vedic right that a woman is entitled to perform on 
her own. Of course, there are so many pauranic vratas and pujas that she 
can perform according to the sastras, but these belong to a different 
category. Besides, she has naturally a share in all the works of her 
husband. Apart from caring for the household, she does not have to perform 
any rite (other than aupasana). Even if she does, it will not yield any 
fruit, for such is the rule according to the Vedic dharmasastras

We hear people talk of "rights". It is my wish to create an awareness 
among women about their right, the right to aupasana. I should like every 
home to become bright with the sacred aupasana fire. Women should fight 
for this right of theirs and impress upon their husbands the importance of 
performing aupasana. "Even though you have given up all scriptural karma, 
you at least do the Gayatrijapa to retain your tenuous connection with the 
Vedic dharma. If you do not do this japa or even forget the mantra, one 
day you will feel repentant over it thinking of the upanayana samskara you 
had", women should tell their husband. "As for me I have had no upanayana, 
nor am I entitled to mutter the Gayatri. If at all I have any right 
according to the Vedas, which are the source not only of our religion but 
of this world and of creation itself, it is this aupasana. If you refuse 
to perform it I will be denied my Vedic right. " In this manner women must 
fight for this sacred right of theirs and make their husbands perform 
aupasana. Aupasana is indeed their one great Vedic "property". 

Women must bear in mind the importance of aupasana and agnihotra (like 
aupasana, agnihotra must also be performed twice a day). "So many fires 
are burning in the home", they must tell themselves. "We make coffee on 
the fire and cook food or make the water warm to bathe. By not performing 
aupasana we will be extinguishing that fire which was witness to our 

The sacred fire must be kept burning by adding rice husk to it now and 
then. In many ways it is advantageous to pound rice at home for, apart 
from the husk, we will have nutritious hand-pounded rice to eat. Also the 
poor labourer who does the pounding will get a little cash or a few 
handfuls of rice for his or her sustenance. (For the unbroken rice grains 
offered in the fire the housewife must pound the rice herself. This is a 
piece of work done to the accompaniment of mantras). 

It does not cost much to perform aupasana nor does the rite take long to 
go through. All you need is the will to do it. Hand-pounded rice is also 
good for your health. Milled and polished rice is not good. Besides in 
hand-pounding there is something of the Gandhian ideal too. 

The aupasana fire will keep away all evil spirits and afflictions of all 
types. Many Brahmins today have exorcist rites performed by others with 
neem leaves or bamboo sticks. They go to a mosque for relief, or they come 
to me praying for help. Aupasana is a remedy for all ills and wearing the 
aupasana ashes is a great protection.


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