[Advaita-l] How do you reconcile?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Wed Mar 6 22:55:41 EST 2019

On Sun, 10 Feb 2019, kuntimaddi sadananda via Advaita-l wrote:

> In the 9th Chapter of Vedanta Sangraha Ramaraya Kavi says – The study of 
> Vedanta shastras by women are prohibited. On the other hand, we see in 
> Brihadarnyaka Upanishad sage Gargi arguing with the sage Yagnavalkya. In 
> Geeta also there is a sloka that says that women are prohibited. In the 
> Kenopanishad, third chapter when Indra goes to inquire who is that 
> Yaksha who appears to be more powerful than the Gods, Goddess Uma 
> appears. Here Uma is equated to shastras. Of course, Goddess Saraswati 
> is the very embodiment of knowledge itself.

Bhagavati Uma and Saraswati (including Her avatara as Bharati) are no more 
women than Ganeshji is an elephant or Hanumanji is a monkey.

> How do we reconcile these 
> with the statement that women should not study Vedas – Does that apply 
> to Vedanta also?

It definitely applies to the upanishads as they are part of the Vedas too.

However the basic adhikara for Vedanta is viveka (as opposed to the 
karmakanda which is desire for heavenly reward -- svarga kama)  Now women 
are certainly capable of viveka indeed any being endowed with 
consciousness should.  But if they cannot do shravana of atleast the 
mahavakyas there would appear to be a catch-22.

The Smarta response is that Bhagavan Veda Vyas out of compassion for those 
in this quandary took the essence of the Vedas and composed the 18 puranas 
bhagavata etc. and the Mahabharata (which includes the Bhagavadgita.) By 
listening to those, the anadhikaris can also attain the supreme goal.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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