DUTIES OF THE TRUE HINDU WOMAN

DUTIES OF THE TRUE HINDU WOMAN



I.  THE BASIC NATURE OF WOMEN (ACCORDING TO HINDU DHARMA SHASTRA)
II.  THE DUTIES OF THE TRUE HINDU WOMAN
III. 
THE BHAGAVAD-GITA'S WARNING AGAINST THE CORRUPT IMMORAL WOMAN AND DEGRADATION OF SOCIETY


I.  THE BASIC NATURE OF WOMEN (ACCORDING TO HINDU DHARMA SHASTRA)


The following quote from Manusmrti elucidates the basic nature of women which may be virtually as true today (or more so) as it was millennia ago:

"Good looks do not matter to them, nor do they care about youth; 'A man!' they say, and enjoy sex with him, whether he is good-looking or ugly. By running after men like whores, by their fickle minds, and by their natural lack of affection these women are unfaithful to their husbands even when they are zealously guarded here. Knowing that their very own nature is like this, as it was born at the creation by the Lord of Creatures, a man should make the utmost effort to guard them. The bed and the seat, jewellery, lust, anger, crookedness, a malicious nature, and bad conduct are what Manu assigned to women. There is no ritual with Vedic verses for women; this is a firmly established point of law. For women, who have no virile strength and no Vedic verses, are falsehood; this is well established." -- Manusmrti 9:14-18.  [Doniger, Wendy.  The Laws of Manu.  Pub.: Penguin Books.  ISBN 0-14-044540-4.  p.198].

According to genuine Hindu teachings, women are generally low-grade creatures, have a crooked nature, and are devoid of Vedic verses as illustrated in the above quote.


II.  THE DUTIES OF THE TRUE HINDU WOMAN

The following excerpt from Manusmrti details the duties of women:

"A girl, a young woman, or even an old woman should not do anything independently, even in (her own) house. In childhood a woman should be under her father's control, in youth under her husband's, and when her husband is dead, under her sons'. She should not have independence. A woman should not try to separate herself from her father, her husband, or her sons, for her separation from them would make both (her own and her husband's) families contemptible. She should always be cheerful, and clever at household affairs; she should keep her utensils well polished and not have too free a hand in spending. When her father, or her brother with her father's permission, gives her to someone, she should obey that man while he is alive and not violate her vow to him when he is dead. Benedictory verses are recited and a sacrifice to the Lord of Creatures is performed at weddings to make them auspicious, but it is the act of giving away (the bride) that makes (the groom) her master. A husband who performs the transformitive ritual (of marriage) with Vedic verses always makes his woman happy, both when she is in her fertile season and when she is not, both here on earth and in the world beyond. A virtuous wife should constantly serve her husband like a god, even if he behaves badly, freely indulges his lust, and is devoid of any good qualities. Apart (from their husbands), women cannot sacrifice or undertake a vow or fast; it is because a wife obeys her husband that she is exalted in heaven. A virtuous wife should never do anything displeasing to the husband who took her hand in marriage, when he is alive or dead, if she longs for her husband's world (after death). When her husband is dead she may fast as much as she likes, (living) on auspicious flowers, roots, and fruits, but she should not even mention the name of another man. She should be long-suffering until death, self-restrained, and chaste, striving (to fulfil) the unsurpassed duty of women who have one husband. Many thousands of priests (Brahmins) who were chaste from their youth have gone to heaven without begetting offspring to continue the family. A virtuous wife who remains chaste when her husband has died goes to heaven just like those chaste men, even if she has no sons. But a woman who violates her (vow to her dead) husband because she is greedy for progeny is the object of reproach here on earth and loses the world beyond. No (legal) progeny are begotten here by another man or in another man's wife; nor is a second husband ever prescribed for virtuous women. A woman who abandons her own inferior (caste birth) husband and lives with a superior (caste birth) man becomes an object of reproach in this world; she is said to be 'previously had by another man'. A woman who is unfaithful to her husband is an object of reproach in this world; (then) she is reborn in the womb of a jackal and is tormented by the diseases born of her evil." -- Manusmrti 5:147-164.  [Doniger, Wendy.  The Laws of Manu.  Pub.: Penguin Books.  ISBN 0-14-044540-4.  pp.115-116].

As described in the above quote, women are not fit for independence and must worship their husbands as gods; these are the duties required of virtuous Hindu women.  The Visnusmrti, quoted below, also delineates very similar duties of the true Hindu woman:

"Now the duties of a woman (are as follows): To live in harmony with her husband; To show reverence (by embracing their feet and such-like attentions) to her mother-in-law, father-in-law, to Gurus (such as elders), to divinities, and to guests; To keep household articles (such as the winnowing basket and the rest) in good array; To maintain saving habits; To be careful with her (pestle and mortar and other) domestic utensils; Not to practise incantations with roots (or other kinds of witchcraft); To observe auspicious customs; Not to decorate herself with ornaments (or to partake of amusements) while her husband is absent from home; Not to resort to the houses of strangers (during the absence of her husband); Not to stand near the doorway or by the windows (of her house); Not to act by herself in any matter; To remain subject, in her infancy, to her father; in her youth, to her husband; and in her old age, to her sons. After the death of her husband, to preserve her chastity, or to ascend the pile after him. No sacrifice, no penance (vow), and no fasting is allowed to women apart from their husbands; to pay obedience to her lord is the only means for a woman to obtain bliss in heaven. A woman who (apart from her master) keeps a fast or performs a penance (vow) in the lifetime of her lord, deprives her husband of his life, and will go to hell. A good wife, who perseveres in a chaste life after the death of her lord, will go to heaven like (perpetual) students, even though she has no son." -- Visnusmrti 25:1-17.  [Jolly, Julius.  The Institutes of Vishnu. Sacred Books of the East (vol. 7).  Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1880.  pp.110-111].


III
.  THE BHAGAVAD-GITA'S WARNING AGAINST THE CORRUPT IMMORAL WOMAN AND DEGRADATION OF SOCIETY

The Bhagavad-Gita recognizes the wisdom of guarding women (and children) from their evil tendencies.  The following quote from the Gita not only further confirms the above excerpts, but also clearly warns that in societies where religion is lacking, women resort to their polluted tendencies, and unwanted progeny therefore results; Arjuna explains to Krishna:

"When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny." -- Bhagavad-Gita 1:40.  [Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.  Bhagavad-Gita As It Is: Complete Edition, Revised and Enlarged.  Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1986.  p.66].

To elaborate on this pertinent and common sense principle, the full purport regarding the above verse from the Bhagavad-Gita As It Is is excerpted below:

"Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. The varnasrama religion's principles were so designed that the good population would prevail in society for the general spiritual progress of state and community. Such population depends on the chastity and faithfulness of its womanhood. As children are very prone to be misled, women are similarly very prone to degradation. Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. By being engaged in various religious practices, women will not be misled into adultery. According to Canakya Pandita, women are generally not very intelligent and therefore not trustworthy. So the different family traditions of religious activities should always engage them, and thus their chastity and devotion will give birth to a good population eligible for participating in the varnasrama system. On the failure of such varnasrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence."  [Prabhupada, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami.  Bhagavad-Gita As It Is: Complete Edition, Revised and Enlarged.  Los Angeles: Bhaktivedanta Book Trust, 1986.  pp.66-67].




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