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The truth of women empowerment in Vedic India.

The followers of the Sanatan dharma face hatred and backlash because of social media-fuelled anger. The lack of knowledge and reading of scriptures has led people to inconclusive fights and meaningless dislike towards religion.

Here we will refute the following claims:-

  1. Women were barred from getting an education. 
  2. Women were the mere property of their husbands.
  3. Women never could go to fight wars.
  4. Women were not respected.
  5. They were given a status inferior to that of men.

The article will quote verses from the Vedas to provide proof against these baseless claims. One can go and check that particular verse online or download the Vedas to cross-check.

Women had access to education.

What proof does one have right from the holy books to prove otherwise? The evils of the society, the backward mentality, the poverty that discouraged female education in the families, cannot be the product of the Vedic teachings. It was the product of the society that failed to follow the Vedic path. Below is the list of Rishikas (female preachers).

In Atharvaveda, verse 14.1.6, it is mentioned that when Surya’s daughter was married off, all she had was her education to empower her and protect her from any harm in future. The Vedas here are very clearly encouraging the education of a female as her weapon and power.

There are verses in Padma Puran 1.43.369b-371a, where it is written that bright, knowledgeable girls were always appreciated and encouraged. Saying that females were not given the opportunity to shine in Vedic scriptures is only maligning the sacred books.

In Rigveda 10.159.1-3, a woman prays for becoming an influential Vedic speaker, a victor and add to the honour of her family through her deeds. This without a doubt proves that just like today, women then had dreams and were not objected to if they wanted to be an influencer in their society. It was not a taboo among females to rise in the field of education.

In Kathak Samhita 5.4.23-24, a girl’s prayer is recorded. She is going to start studying the Vedas and wants to be blessed with a high form of knowledge so that she can have the honour in the society, all the best qualities one can have and make name for her kula or family line. In this verse, can anyone say that women were not the pride of their family according to Vedas?

Women had equal rights as men. They were respected in their families.

There are religions where women are considered less religious for their biological nature. But in Vedas, no such claim is made. Instead, Yajurveda 3.60 shows young girls performing yajna to be blessed by good husbands and a forever bond with his family. 

Atharva-veda 14.1.46, it is advised that to be a good husband a man must include his wife in spiritual and religious deeds and engage her equally. Wives of such men are happy and offer their support in various endeavours. 

Atharva-Veda 12.3.1 tells us that in any spiritual work husband and wife get equal rewards as they both performed the yajna together.

Mahabharat, Anushasana Parv 145 similarly lays stress upon the fact that by performing religious rites with wife, one receives heaven. This is to imply that no good can be achieved if you do not respect your better half and include her in good deeds. Forsaking your spouses for selfish interests and out of disrespect and neglect will not be in your favour.

Women’s dignity and honour were maintained during the war and they were allowed to fight wars.

Matsya Puran 1.47.106 mentions the killing of a female as a sin. It says that under no circumstances it is allowed to slay a woman in a war. To go a little far, Markandey Purana 15.18 even suggests that a woman-slayer and a child-slayer is born a worm in his next life.

Bhagvat Puran 1.7.36 gives us a complete list of people who are not to be harmed or killed or tortured. Now how can one say that ill-treatment of housewives, murders and rapes of thousands of young girls today is the product of so-called Brahminical patriarchy? Vedas have always treated women fairly.

In Ramayan Kishkindha Kanda, chapter 33 it is advised against treating women harshly. If today someone misbehaves with females, is he the true follower of Sanatan dharma?

How can it go unnoticed that Vedas talk highly of female energy and call it the inseparable part of existence? Probably the only system where goddesses are worshipped to give strength to fight wars. Atharvaveda 4.30.5 talks about the goddess who destroys evil. Vedas came way before other cultures of gods and goddesses. The ancient people did not need the social justice warriors on Twitter to tell them that female energy makes life possible on earth and in life beyond death.

In Rigveda 1.116.15 there is mention of a woman who got her leg injured in the war. She received treatment and went for the war the next day too. This tells us two things, the fearless women we had and we celebrated, and the kind of training she must have received to endure so much pain but keep on fighting.

Even in Arthashastra 1.21, there is mention of female guards for the king. And this is no small thing. They have to be really well trained in the art of sword fighting and other things to be appointed. This proves that there was no discrimination if you had the will and education to perform well. There was nothing called man’s job on the battlefield according to our scriptures. 

For those who will say that these were only exceptions, Rigveda 5.30.9 talks about armies of women who were preparing to fight Indra. The military education must have been available to girls freely to be able to form an army in the first place.

Women were not the property of men, they had the right to choose their husbands.

Garund Puran 1.95.14 clearly states that women had the freedom to choose their husbands and unite with them through marriage. If families today do not respect the girl’s will to love and marry a person of her own choice, are our scriptures responsible? 

Garun Puran 95.10 stresses on marriage with mutual agreement and love. Forcing a girl for marriage and asking or paying the dowry is considered demonic. The beautiful daughters who are burnt for dowry today have all the protection in their Puranas but not in this evil society.

Agni Puran 227.40-45 says that a king cannot punish a girl to marry someone of her own choice in a Gandharva Vivah. If we want to relate this today, is it not in accordance with our present laws? The Purana is against those who kill for the honour when their daughters marry outside caste and religion.

Mahabharata, Shanti Parva, 144.16 talks of wives being the best friends to their husbands and the best shelters the men can get. Yes, not a property but an individual with qualities and a companion for life. 

Nirukta 3.21 honours women with synonyms like Menah and Gnah. 

After so many pieces of evidence if the blind folks online and offline want to hate the first-ever literature, culture and civilised society and their faith system, then they can only be asked to do more extensive research and verify all of this on their own. But most importantly, the followers of this timeless Dharmic system should educate themselves. Education is power and the ill-read people fear this power. There is no denying the fact that every society has its evils. Not everything is right and not every practice can go down well with every other person. But before criticising anything, it is one’s job to make sure he or she is not selective and hateful and biased in this process. Vedas hold the highest position in our religious system, the one who has no proof and has done no reading should be immediately refuted and debated in the interest of the sacred knowledge. And as the Geeta  preaches, everything has to change with time, our society is open to all the good changes.

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