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Sexism within Hinduism

User Thread
 36yrs • F •
Sexism within Hinduism
There are many aspects of Hinduism that are detestable. A large one being the sexist gender roles and demeaning views contained towards women. For example, when a woman is menstruating, this is considered dirty and she is not allowed to partake in religious rituals and ceremonies during that time.

I will research and post excerpts from ancient and also revered Hindu texts that demonstrate and expose the origins of sexist views and beliefs that lie within Hinduism. Many of these views, though centuries old, are still held strongly in Hindu society and culture.

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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
[  Edited by Dawn at   ]
 36yrs • F •
Manusmriti - The Laws of Manu

The Manusmriti is an ancient Vedic book that contained verses that outlined the way people and society should conduct itself, both towards religious duties and general aspects of life. It was a revered and important text and it's origin is estimated to date back to 500 BC.

The following are translated versus that pertain to the roles and treatment of women:

5.148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.

5.149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible.

5.150. She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure.

5.151. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory).

5.152. For the sake of procuring good fortune to (brides), the recitation of benedictory texts (svastyayana), and the sacrifice to the Lord of creatures (Pragapati) are used at weddings; (but) the betrothal (by the father or guardian) is the cause of (the husband’s) dominion (over his wife).

5.154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.

5.155. No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven.

5.156. A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead.

5.157. At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died.

5.158. Until death let her be patient (of hardships), self-controlled, and chaste, and strive (to fulfil) that most excellent duty which (is prescribed) for wives who have one husband only.

5.160. A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men.

5.161. But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband,brings on herself disgrace in this world, and loses her place with her husband (in heaven).

5.162. Offspring begotten by another man is here not (considered lawful), nor (does offspring begotten) on another man’s wife (belong to the begetter), nor is a second husband anywhere prescribed for virtuous women.

5.163. She who cohabits with a man of higher caste, forsaking her own husband who belongs to a lower one,will become contemptible in this world, and is called a remarried woman (parapurva).

5.164. By violating her duty towards her husband, a wife is disgraced in this world, (after death) she enters the womb of a jackal, and is tormented by diseases (the punishment of) her sin.

5.165. She who, controlling her thoughts, words, and deeds, never slights her lord, resides (after death) with her husband (in heaven), and is called a virtuous (wife).

5.166. In reward of such conduct, a female who controls her thoughts, speech, and actions, gains in this (life)highest renown, and in the next (world) a place near her husband.

5.167. A twice-born man, versed in the sacred law, shall burn a wife of equal caste who conducts herself thus and dies before him, with (the sacred fires used for) the Agnihotra, and with the sacrificial implements.

5.168. Having thus, at the funeral, given the sacred fires to his wife who dies before him, he may marry again,and again kindle (the fires).

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"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail."
 18yrs • F •
A CTL of 1 means that ravenclaw is a contributing member of Captain Cynic.
Hinduism is also the source of other misguided ideas, including flying saucers (I'm being serious here) and proliferating rats.
It is a very, very, old religion, so it doesn't really fit in with any modern ideas, or really anything after the advance of science.

I've found the Muslim religion to be very interesting, although, like most religions, it has some considerable amount of sexism, it has a very different attitude towards science. It is also much more recent compared to other major religions, and it's interesting to see the ideas of each religion compared with the time each one was founded.

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 42yrs • M
Aravind is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Hi,

I am Aravind , a Hindu, and I feel that you have a few misconceptions on Hinduism, which I would like to correct in friendly discussion.


The first being Hinduism being sexist.

Ever heard of Shakti. It is the feminine divine power in Hinduism, and as per this teaching women are the source of all power and strength in this universe. For this reason they have to be respected and esteemed, if one is to succeed in life.

This is similar to the european proverb, " Behind the success of every man there is a woman."

You can see the goddess Saraswati , who is the deity connected with knowledge and education, while Lakshmi is the feminine deity connected with prosperity and Durga is the feminine deity connected with victory in war.

Shakti is considered as the feminine side of Brahman, the almighty Lord of the universe.

For this reason the feminine is highly venerated and worshipped in Hinduism.

You stated , "For example, when a woman is menstruating, this is considered dirty and she is not allowed to partake in religious rituals and ceremonies during that time. "


In hinduism, we believe in positive and negative energies, and it is for this reason that a menstruating woman is not allowed to partake in rituals and ceremonies during that time period.

However in all other times she is allowed, and many of the rituals cannot be performed without the presence of a woman.

The same applies to a man too. If the man is unclean , or had non-vegetarian food or undergone sexual intercourse , he will be barred from the rituals as well.

In hinduism, women are allowed to temples , and due to various reforms done in Hinduism by enlightened masters, women now even hold the priests role in many temples.

Great ancient female rishis ( sages ) include Gargeyi and Maitreyi.

The female enlightened master Mata Amritanandamayi is considered as one of the greatest teachers or Gurus of Hinduism and she has millions of followers in India and the world.

It is a common sight to see Hindu men of all ages prostrating in front of her to get her blessings.

Other great female enlightened masters in Hinduism include Sri Anandamayi Ma, Meera,Sri Andal, Sharada Devi,Anandmurti Gurumaa, Mata Krishna Bai, Nirmala Devi, Amma Sri Karunamayi ,Sadhvi Ritambharaji.

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 42yrs • M
Aravind is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
With respect to the manu smriti, let me first explain that this is a smriti , and not a Shruti.

The Shruti are the eternal spiritual teachings in the Vedas, while the Smritis are social customs created from time to time, as per needs of society and are changeable with time.

The smritis should be regulated as per the Shrutis , but this practice was abused by ignorant and prejudiced people at times.

The manu smriti , a set of social customs composed many thousands of years back, adhered to the hindu human society which existed at that ancient time and which was mainly a feudal society.

Due to this reason, it appears primitive and feudal, in the present set of circumstances, which it is rightly so.

Every social system must undergo change with the times, or else it atrophies, decays and dies.

However , the Manusmriti has many redeeming points with regard to women, and one of them is this teaching.

" Where women are happy , there the gods rejoice, and prosperity abounds. Where women are unhappy, all efforts will come to naught. "

Thus happiness of women were considered important and vital for progress of society and the family, in those ancient times .

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[  Edited by Aravind at   ]
 42yrs • M
Aravind is new to Captain Cynic and has less than 15 posts. New members have certain restrictions and must fill in CAPTCHAs to use various parts of the site.
Ravenclaw stated , "Hinduism is also the source of other misguided ideas, including flying saucers (I'm being serious here) and proliferating rats. "

I do not know where you got the idea of flying saucers in Hinduism. There is nothing of the sort in it.

Also I don't know how you can consider it as misguided, considering the fact that many people have reported about alien crafts and also newspaper reportings as well. You can find many numerous websites in internet devoted to this.

I do not know whether alien crafts exist or not, but at the same time I am careful not to count them out.

I have an attitude similar to agnosticism in this manner, " I simply do not know. "

But there exists every possibility that other civilizations exist in this vast universe of ours with billions of galaxies. The statistical probability of sentient beings existing in other worlds is not low.

I have also read in the works of Yoga Vasistha ( an ancient hindu book ) on millions of worlds existing in this universe.

Now , with respect to ' proliferation of rats' stated by Ravenclaw, again this is a misconception.

Rat killing poisons are easily available at cheap rates in the Indian markets. There is no proliferation, but there is a state-sponsored annihilation of rodents in many places and manpower has been allocated for this purpose as well in certain areas.

This is because rodents eat up crops and grains, and hence does grave economic damage .

In a few temples associated with Ganapati, the rats are not killed, as the rat is considered as the friend and vehicle of Ganapati. This is basically a metaphor, and probably implies that no matter how big and strong you are, you should not underestimate the lowly or treat them badly.

An another theme connected with the pair of Ganapati and the rat is that the elephant head of Ganapati represents a big brain or intelligence, while the rat represents perseverance.

If you have the qualities of intelligence and perseverance, you can attain success in anything. This is what this metaphor means.

Ganapati ,also known as Ganesha, incidentally is the deity symbolically connected with removal of all obstacles and attainment of success.

Hinduism, as you say, is indeed a very old, old religion, the most ancient religion on earth.

However this does not mean that Hinduism is not incompatible with modern ideas or science.

Albert Einstein himself have stated , "We owe a lot to the Indians, who taught us how to count, without which no worthwhile scientific discovery could have been made.”

We have created world-class mathematicians in Srinivasa Ramanujan, Madhavacharya ,C.P. Ramanujam ; a Nobel prize winning physicist in C. V. Raman ( the first in Asia ); and great botanists in Jagadish Chandra Bose and a great astrophysicist in Meghnad Saha .

The great Indian physicist Satyendranath Bose worked with Albert Einstein on quantum mechanics providing the foundation for Bose–Einstein statistics and the theory of the Bose–Einstein condensate.

The subatomic particle Boson , is named after Satyendranath Bose.

This have now been filling newspaper headlines recently with respect to Higgs Boson.

Srinivasa Ramanujam made extraordinary contributions to mathematical analysis, number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.

India has created a supercomputer in Param.

India has also launched an indigenous space craft to the moon ( Chandrayaan ) with her own indigenous rockets, and this expedition was instrumental in detecting water on moon.

India will be launching a space craft to Mars next month.

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[  Edited by Aravind at   ]
Sexism within Hinduism
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