Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Worship Of Goddesses And The Place Of Women In Hinduism Essay

The Worship Of Goddesses And The Place Of Women In Hinduism - Essay Example It is worth to note that unlike other religious faiths like Islam, Christianity among others, Hinduism attach a lot of significances to the female . Their inherent belief in the goddess puts them at a relatively better position when it comes to gender parity in religious activities participation. It would be strange to note that in most religious groups give women less important roles as they are considered lesser beings. This is contrary to the Hinduism that has a long standing history of a strong belief in the goddess. Critical analysis of the Hinduism faith gives an insight into the significance of religion in the overall cultural organization of any society . It is notable that the better part of the lifestyle and way of doing things among the members of this faith is derived from their deep rooted religious doctrines . Within the tenets of their tradition is involvement of women in the worship process and continued belief in existence of supreme God and goddess. Several scholarly works indicates that in the Hindu mythology there are both gods and goddesses. The divine, Ardhanarishvara, is drawn as half man and half woman. The right side is Shiva and the left side is Pavarati. The purpose of the drawing is to show that the divine consist of both a male and a female side and that these two are equally important. This can be seen as a starting point for equality between men and women which at least recognize the place of women in this society as compared to other faiths3. In ancient India, women oc cupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to, men. It is a culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine -"Shakti'' means "power'' and "strength.'' All male power comes from the feminine. Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the state. For example, Valmiki's Ramayana teaches us that Ravana and his entire clan was wiped out because he abducted Sita4. Veda Vyasa's Mahabharatha teaches us that all the Kauravas were killed because they humiliated Draupadi in public. Elango Adigal's Sillapathigaram teaches us Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas was burnt because Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan mistakenly killed her husband on theft charges. It can therefore be seen that the female occupy a recognizable position in the family and the community at large. In Vedic times women and men were equal as far as education and religion was concerned. Women participated in the public sacrifices alongside men. On e text mentions a female rishi Visvara. Some Vedic hymns, are attributed to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant or Indrani, the wife of Indra. Apparently in early Vedic times women also received the sacred thread and could study the Vedas 5. The Haritasmrti mentions a class of women called brahmavadinis who remained unmarried and spent their lives in study and ritual. Panini's distinction between arcarya (a lady teacher) and acaryani (a teacher's wife), and upadhyaya (a woman preceptor) and upadhyayani ( a preceptor's wife) indicates that women at that time could not only be students but also teachers of sacred lore. He mentions the names of several noteworthy women scholars of the past such as Kathi, Kalapi, and Bahvici. The Upanishads refer to several women philosophers, who disputed with their male colleagues such as Vacaknavi, who challenged Yajnavalkya 6. The Rig Veda also refers to women engaged in warfare. One queen Bispala is mentioned , and even as late a witness as Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions

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