Women and their role in Hinduism
An often controversial issue within politics is how woman are viewed and treated in the Hindu religion. The role of woman in Hinduism is often disputed and positions range from quite reasonable to highly antagonistic. An often overlooked aspect is that, Hinduism is more of a way of life then a Religion. This is because Hinduism requires that we see the same reality in all the diversity of creation; that we see the same Self in all beings. Hindu women within this religion would view themselves as an important part of the family, but this is not shown through the contents of the Manusmriti. The Manusmriti directly translated is “Laws of Manu,” or “Institutions of Manu,” is regarded as the foundational work of Hindu Law and ancient Indian society. The Manusmriti, is particularly harsh against women and speaks of them with mistrust and disrespect. This being a main writing of Hinduism may skew society into believing that Hindu women are mistreated and abused. Yet, there is no evidence to believe that the writings of the book were followed by all divisions of society.
According to Hinduism, a woman is a form of energy known as “shaktiswarupini” or an aspect of Shakti. As a child, the woman is known as kanya, the goddess Durga, and is supposed to remain under the care of her parents. Once married, she becomes patni and saha dharma charini, a partner to her husband in his religious duties. She becomes property of her husband and he is ultimately responsible for her. Her duties to her husband are to perform four roles; as his servant known as dasi, as his minister in decision making known as mantra, as a mother to his children (mata), and as a lover in bed (rambha). As a mother she is worthy of worship, which translated in Hindu is matrudevobhava. When the husband of a women passed a way, in early times, the wife was either suppose to commit sati on his funeral pyre or retire to a life of social damnation, religious study and...
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