Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
I said that the twice-born must perform sandhyavandana with the
of women and other jatis in mind. I also explained why all
samskaras are not prescribed for the fourth varna. Now we must consider
the question of women, why they do not have such rituals and samskaras.
Even though we perform the punyaha-vacana and namakarana of
newborn girls and celebrate their first birthday, we do not conduct
caula and upanayana nor the other samskaras or vows laid down for
brahmacarins. Of course, they have the marriage samskara. But in other
rites like sacrifices the main part is that of the husband, though she
wife) has to be by his side. In aupasana alone does a woman have a part
in making oblations in the sacred fire.
Why is it so?
The rites performed before a child is born are intended for the birth of
male child (niseka, pumsavana, simanta). Does it mean, as present-day
reformers and women's libbers say, that Hindu women were downgraded
and kept in darkness?
What reason did I mention for the fourth varna not having to perform
many of the samskaras? That these were not necessary considering their
vocations and the fact that they can work for the welfare of the world
without the physical and mental benefits to be derived from the
samskaras. If they also spend their time in Vedic learning and in
what will happen to their duties? So most of the samskaras are not
necessary for them. They reach the desire goal without these rites by
carrying out their duties. "Svakarmana tam abhyarcya siddhim vindati
manavah", so says the Gita. I have spoken to you about this earlier.
Just as society is divided according to occupations and the samskaras
correspondingly different, so too there are differences between men and
women in domestic life. Running a household means different types of
work, cooking, keeping the house clean, bringing up the children, etc.
nature women can do these chores better than men. If they also take an
active part in rituals, what will happen to such work? Each by serving
husband and by looking after her household becomes inwardly pure.
In truth three is no disparity between men and women, nor are women
discriminated against as present-day reformers allege. Work is divided
the proper maintenance not only of the home but the nation on the
whole; and care has been taken not to have any duplication. There is no
intention of lowering the status of any section in this division of
The body, in the case of certain people, is meant to preserve the
and there are samskaras which have the purpose of making it worthy of
the same. Why should the same rituals be prescribed for those who do
not have such tasks to carry out? Glassware to be sent by railway parcel
specially taken care of since it is fragile. Even greater care is taken
dispatching kerosene or petrol. If the same precautions are not taken in
transporting other goods, does it mean that they are poorly thought of?
Astronauts are kept in isolation before being sent up in space and after
their return. Mantras have their own radiation that is even more
powerful than what is found in space. If you appreciate this fact, you
understand why Brahmins are separated from the rest and special
samskaras prescribed for them.
The body of a Brahmin (male) is involved in the nurturing of mantras. So
from the time of conception itself it is to be made pure through
samskaras like pumsavana, simanta and so on. There are samskaras with
the same objective also after the boy child is born.
The vocations have to be properly divided for the welfare of mankind. If
everybody paid attention to this fact, instead of talking of rights, it
be realised that the sastras have not discriminated against women or any
of the jatis.