[Advaita-l] varNAsharama system at the time of shankara

latha vidyaranya lathavidya at yahoo.co.in
Sun Jul 6 09:05:47 CDT 2008

hari om
why did sri shankara bhagavadpaada include strii along with baala, andha and jada?
let me try to examine with my limited budhdhi :
strii along with baala - baala is a child. children are impulsive and so are women in general. they think with their heart and not always with their head. hence many of their decisions are not logical, but emotion driven. perhaps the shaatraic studies require a logical mind and hence sri shankara might have felt that women are childish.
strii with andha - andha is blind. and may be short sightedness can also come under this. again for the same reason as above, women's emotions cloud their reasoning. many times they may act impulsively without thinking of the longterm consequences. and becoz of this emotionality, perhaps women develop stronger attachments towards others than men. and this attachment or moha can also blind them many times.
strii with jada - jada can mean a person with limited intellectual capacity or intellectually challenged. women in general were expected to play the role of a wife and a mother and were bound to home and hearth. to manage a family, more than intellectual intelligence, emotional intelligence is required, which a woman has in abundance compared to a man. and there were seldom occasions when a strii could exhibit her intellect to the outside world. to study shastra and understand the width and depth of it, certain level of intellectual shrpness is required. perhaps sri shankara thought that women lacked it in general.
the closeness that sri shankara had with the only woman in life was with his mother. she was widowed when sri shankara was very very young (i think just 3 years old) and i am sure, like any other woman, she held shankara very close to her heart and had developed such a strong attachment to him, the only apple of her eyes, that she was very reluctant to let-go of him when he sought her permission to take up sanyaasa (the mohaandhakaara must have made her not see the noble cause of sanyaasa). only that crocodile incident made her agree to his sanyaasa as she felt that atleast she could see her son alive than gone. and before he left for his studies, in search of a guru, she elicited the promise from him to come and be with her during her final moments. a perfect tear-jerker story ! an abundance of women's emotionality than tough logic. 
all the above must have made sri shankara include strii in the set of baala, andha and jada.
the sentence is only a generalisation and there are always exceptions. now a days the exceptions seem to have become the rule !
i have tried to answer this question as objectively as possible without falling in line with baala, andha or jada. i am not that well versed in sanskrit as to read and understand the shankara bhaashya on sri dakshinaa murthy stotra. may the learned members of the List who have studied the bhaashya throw proper light on this particular sentence in the stotra.
i also believe that there is a purusha in every woman and a srii in every man (the yin and the yang or prakriti and purusha). to study any shastra and understand, i think both the dimensions are equally important. one needs to have the sensibility and the sensitivity. if we can balance the both, we may understand the true perspective of any concept. i am sure sri shankara refers to the to the 'streetva' and 'purushatva' whenever he uses the words stree or purusha.
i am grateful to the List for allowing my comments here, however baala, andha and jada the comments may seem. thanks for the inclusiveness of the List..

--- On Sat, 5/7/08, Dr. Yadu Moharir <ymoharir at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Dr. Yadu Moharir <ymoharir at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] varNAsharama system at the time of shankara
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>, lathavidya at yahoo.co.in
Date: Saturday, 5 July, 2008, 4:53 PM

Namaste Latha-ji:
Why do you think that Acharya encompassed "strii, baala, andha & jaDa" in one group ?
Dr. Yadu

--- On Thu, 7/3/08, latha vidyaranya <lathavidya at yahoo.co.in> wrote:

From: latha vidyaranya <lathavidya at yahoo.co.in>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] varNAsharama system at the time of shankara
To: "Advaita List" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Thursday, July 3, 2008, 10:58 PM

hari om
yes, thanks to those who believe that 'tvam' in "tat tvam
asi" is all inclusive and hence have an egalitarian view.
when i wrote my comment, i was only remembering incidences when some
people used to equate stree with baala, jada, andha (just becoz sri shankara
has made that sentence in one of the stanzas of sri dakshinamurthy stotra) and
used to belittle a woman who was aspiring to realize the ultimate. the word
'people' in my comment does not include people from this List :))

--- On Fri, 4/7/08, Anbu sivam2 <anbesivam2 at gmail.com> wrote:

From: Anbu sivam2 <anbesivam2 at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] varNAsharama system at the time of shankara
To: lathavidya at yahoo.co.in, "A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta"
<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Date: Friday, 4 July, 2008, 6:41 AM

People argue on what they want to agrue. Karma is kama driven.  Arguing is
karma too!

Our scriptures clearly say 'Tat Tvam Asi'.  It would not have said it
if you didn't have the right to know.  'Tvam' does not exclude
anyone.  It is an unconditional 'Tvam'!


Get an email ID as yourname at ymail.com or yourname at rocketmail.com. Click here.

      Meet people who discuss and share your passions. Go to
Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

      Best Jokes, Best Friends, Best Food and more. Go to http://in.promos.yahoo.com/groups/bestofyahoo/

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list