November 21, 2016

A Woman Is Her Own Temple

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Thomas Kelley
Thomas Kelley

From the age of the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, women have been looked down upon. They were counted in and treated like sudras (the lowest caste the Indian hierarchy), they weren’t even allowed to read the holy books. Our own wives and daughters treated like they did not belong. Our own mothers, who gave us the beautiful gift of life were accused of a sinful birth. What was it all for? Even as we have come a long way beyond those periods, have we grown enough to look past all of it? Accept our female counterparts just for who they are?

I happen to find out about how the women of that age were mistreated through a lot of quotes, surprisingly, through quotes from Hindu scriptures.

Is this what has smeared the minds of men of the 21st century? Is this the reason that men, by default, have accepted that women are objects of their belongingness? I suppose, yes.

Sage Ashtavakra said,  “Women can never be their own mistresses. This is the opinion of the Creator himself, that a woman never deserves to be independent There is not a single woman in the three worlds that deserves to be regarded as the mistress of her own self. The father protects her while she is a maiden. The husband protects her while she is in youth. Sons protect her when she is aged.Women can never be independent as long as they live. The Mahabharata Anusasana Parva, Section XX”

It makes me sad, to read such words from a culture that is so celebrated. I used to take pride in being a part of it, being a Hindu.

These words only let me down, to think that the status hasn’t changed a tiny bit from millions of years ago, to now.

Question yourselves, what kind of protection was it when the Pandavas had to bet on their own wife after they lost everything and watched as Dushasana disrobed her? What kind of protection is it now, when a man comes home drunk and beats the life out of his wife? Until today, I was never in favour of writing about women; I never thought that, for a feminist, it was okay to write about women only. Now, I know why they do it; why women are in need of such attention. They deserve it. When the scriptures have done so well in sculpting a submissive image for women, it is time for us to change that.

Lord Indra himself has said, “The mind of woman cannot be disciplined; she has very little intelligence.” – Rig Veda 8.33.17

We’ve had women like Cleopatra, Jane Austen, Queen Victoria, Florence Nightingale, Mirabai, Marie Curie, Helen Keller, Rani Lakshmibai, Annie Besant, Mother Teresa, Indira Gandhi, Anne Frank, Wangari Maathai, Benazir Bhutto, Oprah Winfrey, Princess Diana, Joan Kathleen Rowling, Malala Yousafzai and Queen Elizabeth II in our history; women who’ve made history.

I would have named a few and used etcetera, but I wanted us to remember each one of them, of the immeasurable efforts they have shown towards the society. The queens in our history did not, for a second, flinch and give up. They ruled just as fine as any king would have, and we call them of little intelligence.

Women have been accused of speaking untruth, debarred from the study of Vedas, are said to be false in behaviour and labelled as seducers. No wonder they blame a victim for her own rape in the 21st century. She does not have equal rights as another man of her status and is paid less for the same post. They want to keep her buried and forget that the extent of this might be the possibility that their sons might never be born to continue this tradition of theirs – to disrespect women.

Ansuya (Rishi Atri’s wife) said to Sita, “A woman is impure by her very birth; but she attains a happy state by serving her lord (husband)”-  Tulasi Ramayana Aranya Kanda, 5 A-B

Women pitting against women. Accepting their own miseries as their fate is bad enough. The Lords managed to imprint this on their minds that all these women were, were worshippers to their husbands. Nowhere is it mentioned of how a man should treat his wife, of how he should respect her as she does him, of how he should love her and care for her after everything she does for him. The only job of a husband is to earn for the family and sit like and idol when he gets home.

Never have I ever been so embarrassed because of who I am. I believe that every woman is a Goddess, she can do things that a man can never. The Higher Power has made her to serve a greater purpose, to continue what it started. How can even one dare to put her down in such a way? How can one be daring enough to make her go through an agnipariksha? How is it possible that a woman with five husbands is unclothed in a court full of men?

A woman is pure and divine; she is selfless and giving; but she is also bold and hard working.

When a woman comes back from work, she cooks supper and wait until everybody in the household is done. All a man does is wait for his tea and food to be served. A woman can do a million tasks and yet never complain, ask a man to do two extra chores and he’s yelling already. It’s high time when women need to stop seeking permission from men, be it their fathers, husbands or sons. It’s high time women stood up for themselves and took pride in being who they are and what they are.

Women should be proud of their uteruses and the wonders it can do. Apologizing for being real, should be the last thing a woman should ever do in her life. Carry those bodies and the smiles on your faces gracefully. Hold your heads high, and show the world that you are not afraid of one damn thing. TC mark

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