Sunday, July 14, 2024

Empowered Women in Indian Society: A Vedic Perspective

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Women have played a pivotal role in the empowerment of Indian society. The roles of women in the society of Bharat are deeply intertwined with its culture, spirituality, and daily life. With a rich heritage dating back to the Vedic era, Indian women are examples of strength, wisdom, and resilience. To understand the role of women in Indian society a review through the lens of Vedic philosophy is necessary. Only then can the enigma of Women of India be understood.

The Women of Vedic India

Education for women in the later Vedic period

The Vedas, the ancient scriptures of India, emphasize the equality of men and women. The ancient Vedic society revered women and accorded them a central role in the community. The shlokas from Rig Veda and other Puranas showcase the understanding and implementation of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Vedic India. The Rigveda beautifully states:

उषस्तमश्यां यशसं सुवीरं दासप्रवर्गं रयिमश्वबुध्यम् । सुदंससा श्रवसा या विभासि वाजप्रसूता सुभगे बृहन्तम् ॥ Rig Veda 1.92.8

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Meaning: “O woman! You are a harbinger of good fortune, good deeds, fame, and food. O woman! Grant blessings of good children, servants, horses, wealth, and fame.”

The shloka encapsulates the importance and honor of women as a nurturer, preservers, and sustainers of human development. The Bharatiya of the past celebrated the divinity of women. This belief laid the foundation for the equal treatment of women in education and society. 

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Vedic Women As Rishikas

Vedic society didn’t restrict the education of girls. All girl children were considered a manifestation of Shakti or the divine feminine energy. Thus, although the roles of men and women were clearly defined in most parts of Vedic India, women were also allowed to aspire to pursue knowledge as their goal of life. Be it in the sphere of knowledge of Shastra or Shaastra women were free to make decisions for their lives. 

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There are instances where women remain unmarried while being a productive part of society. The term ‘Amajur’ was used to refer to unmarried women who chose the path of staying a maiden all their lives. The Vedic era witnessed the presence of women scholars and seers who contributed significantly to spiritual knowledge. Hymns composed by women seers like Ghosha and Vishwavara Aatreyi are present in Rigveda. Lopamudra, considered a Brahmavadini, was the wife of Rishi and a Rishika herself. The Vedas have stories of Rishikas Apala and Godha that celebrate them for their intellectual prowess.

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Empowerment of Vedic Women

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Vedic Indians laid a huge emphasis on education. The empowered Vedic women would often partake in scholarly pursuits and engage in philosophical debates. Thus, women seers and sages played an essential role in the pursuit of truth and knowledge.

Vedic philosophy maintains that both men and women can achieve spiritual realization. Thus, the path of spirituality was always open for women. Vedic women were never treated as unclean or unworthy of spiritual guidance. The Bhagavad Gita also emphasizes devotion and self-realization as paths to liberation, regardless of gender.

Women’s Empowerment for Modern India

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While Vedic traditions celebrate women’s roles, modern India faces many challenges in the name of gender disparities. Gender-based violence, unequal access to education, and disparity in the workforce are a few examples of the current state of Women. These changes are the new India, while Vedic India did not have this issue. Thus, the presence of such injustices against women can be due to the influence of other cultures and religions in India. All those societies where women are considered subservient to men are influencing the new narrative of Bharat.

Since the role of women in Vedic society reflected gender equality, it is time for Bharat and Bharatiya to reclaim this philosophy. Rooted in the profound philosophy and spirituality of Sanatana Dharma, India that is Bharat must march forward by recognizing the importance of women and women empowerment. This philosophy is essential and indispensable to the progress of Bharat on global platforms. Actualization of Vedic India’s ancient wisdom in the modern world through acts of empowerment removes gender-based societal distinctions in the world. May Bharat play a crucial role in helping the societies of the world acknowledge the divinity that resides in every human being.

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