Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Can Ladies learn Vedas?


Can  Ladies  learn Vedas?

Compiled  by
P.R.Ramachander

       I am definitely not competent    to answer this question. It is a generally held opinion that   they are not eligible to learn Vedas. Arya Samaj    a Vedic religion started  by Swamy  Dhayananda   SAraswathi  thought otherwise  .He has trained  large number of Women in Vedas   and  many of them act as priests  in  Arya Samaj . The  very orthodox  Maharashtrian community  of Pune   is not only   teaching   Vedas to them but very large number of women  act   as priests   to that  community.(refer http://www.ipsnews.net/2009/11/india-women-as-hindu-priests-have-an-edge/      ) 
 Four  Women  Vedic sages   do appear  in several  Upanishads   in arguments   with men sages. They are Gosha, LOpamudhra  , Maithreyi and Gargi  . Gargi in an open forum challenges   the great   sage Yagnavalkya    for argument about Vedic truths. Parashara   Smriti   defines  Brahmavadini as   a lady   who studies Vedas   after  Upanayana  . There are also   a class of women in the Vedas called  Rishikas( Women sages). The Harita Dharmasutra (of the Maitrayaniya school of Yayurveda) declares that there are two kind of Status  to Women women: Sadhyavadhu who marry, and the Brahmavaadini who are inclined to religion, they can wear the sacred thread, perform rituals like the agnihotra and read the Vedas. Bhavabhutis Uttararamacharita 2.3 says that Atreyi went to Southern India where she studied the Vedas and Indian philosophy. Shankara debated with the female philosopher Ubhaya Bharati, and Madhavas Shankaradigvijaya (9.63) mentions that she was well versed in the Vedas. Tirukkoneri Dasyai (15th 10 century) wrote a commentary on Nammalvars Tiruvaayamoli, with reference to Vedic texts like the Taittiriya Yajurveda.   Any way these are subject to argument   and as I told  , I am not competent   to  tell my opinion    about it
        But I would like to  draw your attention  to the  legend  in Temple at  Uthirakosa mangai in Ramnad    about  Lord Shiva teaching  Vedas   to  goddess  Parvathi.    When the Lord taught the Goddess  Vedas , she was  not able to repeat them. So God  Parameshwara  cursed  Goddess Parvathy  to become  daughter in a vedic family  in Ramnad  . He told her that only after   she  passes in the test of Vedas   after she learns  it she will be taken back,. Goddess    as the lady Poonmulayaal   learns Vedas from her scholar father  and when Lord Shiva came to marry her  , she was   able to answer his questions  in a proper  manner tHe marriage takes place   but when Lord Shiva further tested her  knowledge  of the Vedic Manthras   she failed.But then the lord taught her   the correct import of all  Vedic Manthras. Uthira means   answer and Kosa   means  Vedas   and since the  lady Answered about  Vedas   the place was called  Uthirakosamangai.  Since Lord Shiva married her there  it is also called  Kalyana pura.
 

      ( Note on the temple:The God in this temple is called  Mangalanayakar   and the Goddess Poon mulai ammai.  There is a saying in tamil  “Mann mundhiyo , mangai MUndhiyo”  indicating that  Goddess parvathy is more ancient than the mud.Another greatness of this temple is its  a very huge  six feet  emerald  Nataraja statue   which is always covered with sandal paste . On Arudhra darsanam day , however  you can see  God Nataraja  in his green glory. No musical instruments are  played in the temple fearing that it may damage   the emerald  Nataraja.Also there is sahasralingam at this temple)

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