should be given to women throughout their life. The fifty fifth verse in the third chapter states -
िृिभृिशैाः ििद वर ैसथा ।ूजया ू षिययाश बहक ु लयाणीपुिः ।।
The meaning is “women must be honoured and adorned by fathers, brothers, husbands and brother-in-laws who seek their own welfare
." The same attitude has been reflected in another beautifulverse -
य नायसु ू जय ेर े द ेवाः ।यैासु न ू जय ेवसाऽफाः ियाः ।।
The universal truth is that in a house, all the deities are pleased where women are honoured and nomeritorious deed will not yield any result where they are abused. In fact, great sage Manu hasalerted us from all the aspects of sanatana dharma that women should be protected and revered.Swami Vivekananda opines- “
Circumstances have forced upon us, for many centuries, the women'sneed of protection. This, and not her inferiority, is the true reading of our customs
2. Women of Vedic Times
In Vedic culture, the status of womanhood had been so glorified so much so that some women suchas
रोा, ोाुा, िवावरा, गाग, ैेयी, अा, घोषा, अिदि
etc., had revealed the highest truth ofabsolute reality to Indra who is considered the king of celestial beings. Technically they are called
s or women Rishis.There is an interesting story in Santiparvan of Mahabharata regarding a philosophical debatebetween king Janaka and Sulabha, a women sage. Janaka a learned scholar realized the supreme selfwhile being a king. Sulabha, a yogini by practice, wants to check and validate the knowledge ofabsolute truth of king Janaka. She appears as a beautiful lady and proceeds to the court of the king.By merely looking at Sulabha's attire, youthfulness etc., the king could not recognize her actualform and starts to enter with her in a philosophical debate. Sulabha answers all his questions andultimately defeats the king in debate amidst the group of scholars before disclosing her real form.Meanwhile, there is a great conversation between them with regard to gender, caste, celibacy andso on. Janaka is convinced that there is no gender to the self (
) and the bodies are just thesubstratum of the selves which are perishable while agreeing with her on remaining arguments.This story tells us the actual reality of status of women and
in our scriptures. Thereare several other stories in which one can find the same sort of phenomenon. So, it is clear thatwomen are no less than that of men who succeeded spiritually even in Vedic times. It is believedthat a lost
of Rgveda is attributed to the
Sulabha. In similar lines thedebate between Gargi and Yajnyavalkya, a learned sage should be observed here. Some of thenames of women seers are apparent in Rgveda.On the other hand, women were not liberally allowed of learning Vedic scriptures due to the factthat they undergo lot of gynaeic developments, hence, considered not suitable for continuous studyof Vedic treatises.
In contrast, women seers such as Sulabha etc., are not house wives and purecelibates.
However, Indian scriptures instructed not only to respect women as equal to men but alsosee the same divinity in all creatures, since, the indwelling eternal self is one and the same in allliving beings. The same spirit has been spread in the Asian continent that has been influenced byIndian civilization.
2Eternal Values in Manusmriti, pp 10-11