[Advaita-l] Women and Vedas

Dr. Yadu Moharir ymoharir at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 8 10:08:56 CDT 2006

Dear All:
  I had expressed my "Two Cents" on this subject.
  Here is one more clue on this subject that we need to consider, which being why Veda Vyasa wrote Mahabharat ?
  I think the answer is given in bhaagavata
  striishuudradvijabandhuunaa.m trayii na shrutigocaraa . iti bhaaratamaakhyaana.m kR^iopayaa muninaa kR^itam .. bhaagavata \(1\.4\.25\.\) ..
This clearly suggests that during the mahaabhaarata times people had forgotten the meaning and even brahmins were merely for the name sake (varNa / jaati).  That is also one of the reason why puraana suuta samhitaa was given to lomaharhaNa one of the favorite students of maharShi vyaasa.  Incidentally, he was not a brahmin but a suuta putra.
  In Uttra giitaa bhagavan shrk^iShNa tell arjuna -
  yathaa kharaa ca.ndana-bhaara-waahii bhaarasya vettaa na tu saurabhasya
tathaa hi vipraH shruti-shaastra-puuraaNaH\, dnyaanena hiinaH pashubhiH samaanaH .. Uttara giitaa .. 
  Just some additional thoughts,
  hariH OM tat sat !
  "Dr. Yadu Moharir" <ymoharir at yahoo.com> wrote:

Before one can start taking on Sankarachaarya can some one comment why he may have said as expressed through his bhaaShya !?

Here is my take on it -

I think the real reason why this must have become an acceptable tradition is for two reasons:

1. Do we want to learn from those who have not themselves know the subject matter ?

This yard stick was probably applied to folks who were not initiated through upanayana.

2. This was then exploited by the upper brahmin class of the society for their benefit to the fullest extent. This stripped the potential competition from them.

3. In olden days upanayan was also performed for the female gender. I recall a shloka from kuurma puraana -

puraakalpe hi naariiNaaM mau~njaibandhanamiiritam

Meaning - maunjibandhna was practiced in the previous periods.

The initiation was usually done by the father, uncle or a brother. Other males were not allowed to practice this. I think the reason is quite obviously to avoid potential physical contact with the opposite gender. We all know that the mantropadesha was uttered in the ears of of the person being initiated who usually sits on the lap of the initiator.

brahmacaariNii girl usually asked from alms (bhixaa) in her own home.

Reference to amantraka initiation is found in manusmR^iti -

amantrikaa tu kaaryaiyaM striiNaamaavR^idasheshhataH | 
sa.nskaaraarthaM shariirasya yathaakaalaM yathaakramam.h || manu 2.66|| 

This suggests that during manu's period the initiation of females must have been in the declining phase.

Later on paNigrahaNa became the main samskaara for females. In haariitasmR^iti two kinds of uapanayan is recommended for the females.

a. brahmavaadinii - Ones who were desirous of studying brahmatattva and were encouraged to do so.

b. sadyovadhuu - One who chooses to become an house-wife was initiated and then married. As far as I know Aryasamaaji still practice this ritual.

As mentioned above anyone who is interested and capable of undertaking the study should be allowed with no inhibition of any kind.

Just some thoughts.

Dr. Yadu

Aditya Varun Chadha wrote:

After that, people like me and you might either say that
Shankaracharya may have been mistaken or atleast bound by the contexts
of his time when he wrote this, but there's no denying what he meant.

Aditya Varun Chadha
adichad AT gmail.com

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