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Chakravarty, U. - Vedic Daughter

Chakravarty, U. - Vedic Daughter

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Chakravarty, U. - Vedic Daughter
Chakravarty, U. - Vedic Daughter

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Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute

VEDIC DAUGHTER Author(s): Uma Chakravarty Source: Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute, Vol. 81, No. 1/4 (2000), pp. 179189 Published by: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/41694612 . Accessed: 13/01/2014 05:14
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This content downloaded from 94.26.23.157 on Mon, 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions

26. Vedic family.Griffith.was male-dominated. 123. Süryä. his daughter: This content downloaded from 94. here lies the reason why the Vedic girl child was unwanted in the family. it inheritedthe principal traitsof its mother-culture. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 'Fair as a brideembellishedby hermother thoushowestforth thyform thatall may see it. One cannothope to get sons only. The daughterhad hardly any scope in this regard.e.23. Following the law of naturethe girls also had to be bornalong withsons. i. 85) According to the marriage hymn (RV X.' (tr.VEDIC DAUGHTER By Uma Chakravarty Introduction : Before going to our discussion on the position of a daughterin a Vedic familywe are to take it for grantedthatVedic culturebelonged to the Indo-European traditionwhich was highlypatriarchal. Indo-European. 11 ab.157 on Mon. It was the son's duty to pave the path of emancipationof his fatherafterdeath by offeringoblations to him. Afterthe girl was born natural made themlove theirdaughters also. p.like the Indo-Europeanfamily. Positive aspect of parents-daughterrelationship One does notcome across singlereference to thedesirefora daughter all through the Saiiihitã and the Brähmana literature.even thoughone had so desired. with all pomp and The verse 13ab in thehymnspaks about thegiftsSavitrsentwith grandeur.Consequently. So we find parentallove and affection in mythological worldUsas' mother had nicelydecoratedherdaughter before she set out forher day's journey : (i) susarhkãsãmãtrmrsteva yosã ãvis tanvankrnusedrše kam RV I. And. 85) Savitr arranged the marriage ceremony of his daughter.

Sítã approached Soma and fullyconquered him. 17. 31. Instead thebridalcar (or gift?)forhis daughter and all teh of SavitrTvastrarranged gods assembled in thatmarriage. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . AV.157 on Mon.53 : tvasta duhitrevahatumkrnoti višvambhuvanamsameti tenedarh an interesting TaiBr.Griffith. XVIII.' (tr. verses read as follows : III. Helpless Sita approached her she put to him her problem father.III.Prajãpati fathomedthe process of solution of her daughter's problem. Afterhaving paid homage to her father and begged a solution thereof. She wantedto get Soma as herhusband. 31.which Savitrstarted. 3. X. p. RV. 594) RV. 1. 1. II. Prajäpati's other daughter. p. close and sweet relationbetween father and daughter. 'Tvastar harnesses(yuj) forhis daughter AV. LXXXI ( 2000) Süryäyä : vahatuhprãgãt Savitã yam avãsrjat 'The bridalpomp of Süryä. Griffith.1. intheage ofBrãhmanas a daughter did nothesitate The storyrevealsthat to approachher father seekingsolutionof problemarisenout of her love for This content downloaded from 94.26. p. 541) The AV.53 tellus thesame story. 17. however. He turnedher face to a very attractiveone followingritualistic processes. moved along' 1 (tr. 140) translates yunakti Whitney a weddingcar iyahatu).23.1-3 reveals through storycandid. The storyin brief is as follows : Prajãpati had a daughterSítã by name.X.180 Annals BORI.5 and XVIII.Soma. 10.1 ab : tvastäduhitrevahaturh krnoti idam višvathbhuvanamsameti 'Tvastar preparesthe bridal of his Daughter : all the world hears the tidingsand assembles.was in love with Šraddha.5 : tvastäduhitrevahatumyunakti idam višvambhuvanamvi yãti : tvastäduhitre vahatum as: (HOS 7.

"1 In the Br. upper especially. 4. she was not deprived of the parental love and affection. marriageable age and was goingtobe somebody'swifethat had to be given A Vedic wifenecessarilyenjoyedgood status.17. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . 85.208) (1sted.'3 i Alsosee RV. p.As she reached awardedherstatus.X. 4. her father.16) special diet has been couple who desiredto have a scholarlydaughter. 2 Œ Br. VI. coming to the family was more a liability than an asset to her father. Upadhya's (1942.A girlof orthodox Hindu familywould not dare to do so even today.She.17 (= ŠatBr. 38. prescribedforthe married of life. cooked with ghee.2 One would nonetheless and a son as one would betweenthe statusof a daughter note the difference read in the next sentencesof the same Upanisad the diet prescribedforthe parentsdesiringson : 'if theydesire a scholarlyand highlyreputedson who would be able to delivergood speeches in theassembly. logically inferman's lifestyle was undesireablebecause she is : thebirth Our inference of a daughter Her was incapable of paving the path to the heavenlyregionforher father. herbirth was undesirable. caressed and fondledby her parents who lavished was affectionately her her withpresentsat the timeof marriage.well-versedin all the Vedas and endowed with full lengthof life thenthe husband and the wife a calf or a bull would have to takebeef mixedwithtucecooked in ghee. jãyetasarvãn iyãditimãmsaudanam isvarau auksena vãrsabhena vã : sarpismantam pãcayitvã asniyaum janayitava This content downloaded from 94.157 on Mon. The above delineation is based on mythologicalallusions.4. One can fiom the storyof gods. 1933) wordsbear relevancein thisregard: "The daughter.18 : athaya icchet mepandito susrüsitäm putro vigitah samitiňgamah bhãsitã vedãn anubruvita sarvamãyur vacam. as thatwas also theprestigeissue of in marriagewithall pomp and grandeur with the stratum of society. ÄraU. therefore. athaya icched mepanditã duhitã jãyetasarvam ãyur iyädititilaudanam pãcayitva : išvarau sarpismantam asniyãtãm janayitavai 3 Cf.Both thehusbandand wifeare asked to take endowed withfulllength rice mixed with black sesame.26. 4.either would do.ibidVI.23.Chakravarty : V edic Daughter 181 somebodywho did not respondto heremotionalfeeling. Consequently.VI. 9.AraU. XIV.But as she grewup quite naturally.

prescribed for thebirth ofa son.a son and a necessity son in the daughter followingwords (AitBr. p.4.157 on Mon. 319) holds : "Never do we come across withthedesirefora daughter in thevedic poems. So how could we except a different scenario in the maledominatedVedic society. 300) Sarkar(1085.and a son a lightin thehighest heaven.HOS 25. 65n. tri.4) observes we findin one of theearlyUpanisads a certainritualto a householderforensuringthe birthof a recommending that thisritual did notbecome (Br.5(tr. Apte (1965 p.VII. p.. 5 "Nirgends finden wirindenvedischen Liedern denWunsch nacheiner ihre Tochter.ÄpaGs. ÄraU. p. p. 1947.Zimmer (1879..) Oldenberg. (ii) While Närada had been explainning to thesonless kingHarišcandrathe of in a man's lifehe specifiedthestatusof a wife. Itis true scholarly daughter so popularas thePumsavanaone. producing some ritesto be observedby one who Later. Part II.' (tr. V. 13) : sakhã ha jãyã krpanamha duhitã jyotirha putrahparame vyoman 'A wifeis a comrade. M.. (withoutthe daughters may thumb).mine).Mookerji. 1928]) observeswithreference to Keith's translation of theword krpanamas misery but ' krpanam'theremightas well mean evokingtenderfeelingsand compassions. 4. 4. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .182 Annals BORI. There is no denyingthe in anypatriarchal factthata daughter is never bornwitha silverspoon society in her mouth. VI.SBE 30.a daughera misery . Geburt wurde offenbar ungern gesehen. 105 [1sted. Subramania. Sarkarmay be literally correctbut we feel thatwith reference to the storyof sonless Harišcandra ' ' 'misery' for krpanam is more contextual.458 [1st.59. II.26.23. in thekeen 1951]) states:"The relativepositionof thetwo sexes is reflected 4 Alsosee. p. 259 Daugher : unwanted child So farwe triedto explore positiveelementswhatevercould be traced in theVedic daughter'srelationtowardsherparents." This content downloaded from 94.12 prescribed desireddaughters : Yadi kãmayetastrir èva ityaňgulirèva 'if he wishedonly be born to he seize only thefingers should him. 1961. LXXXI( 2000 ) Altekar(1938.' (tr. Keith. p. Shas p. Her birth was outright disliked. 105. ed.17).

33. Upadhya(1942. 498).In this Samhitä references are made to mystic charmsforundoingtheeffect of a femalefoetus 6 and forchanginginto male. VIII.' In verse 25 a desire thatthedemonic forcedoes not change the male child intofemalehas been kr an 'let themnot make the male female' expressed:mã pumãmsamstriyam HOŠ P.hath "Prajäpati. The third verse goes as follows : prajãpatir anumatihsinivãly'ciklpat : straisüyam anyatra dadhat pumãmsamamu dadhat iha :: woman Siniväli. pp." Even princesses were dealt as property by theirroyal fathers. the for for the birth of a son.King Jánašruti his beautiful to thelow caste poor Raikva Pautrãyana gave daughter inexchangeofhis desiredknowledge( ChãndoU . Each verse. Satavalekar entitles VI. and the AV.) thata daughter alone can be the saviour of the family. But thisnatural societywhererelationship all exceeds bounds of or when we read in the predilection propriety morality Aitar is a source of miseryand a son eya Brãhmana (VII. 13. followingtheatharvanic way itwas intended AV.43-44. [1sted. Ill . 1933]) observeson thetotalabsence of desire fora daughter in the RV. shaped.thatno longingfora male child in theRgveda desire forthe birth of a daughter is ever expressedin theentirerangeof the Rgveda.Anumati. II purhsavanam. however.157 on Mon. in which to arrest thebirth of a girlchild. 6 has been entitledby Satavalekar' garbhadosanivãranam' and Whitney 'To guarda pregnant womanfrom demons.23. Her birthis even deprecatedin the Atharvaveda. andWhitney 8.mayhe putelsewhere but may he put here a male.26. : "We finda veryfrequent It is surprising. This content downloaded from 94. (Whitney 'forbirthof sons'.Chakravarty : Vedic Daughter 183 desire for male progeny. 25)." We shall now have a glimpse into a few poems of the AV. p. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . sixth. King ààryâta's sons 6 Alsosee Shakuntala Rao ShasUi.prays except B.23 consistingof six verses is a hymnagainst sterility. S. 1954.' birth.This may be regardedas naturalin a partriarchal was recognizedthrough thefather. IV.

approached of a brother. 1941. 17.l72n. IV. of comparison drawn between Usas and the brotherless girl.98 (1st p." Brotherless daughter : The word abhrãtã brotherless (maiden) occurs thricein the Samhitã literature8 and not at all in the Brãhmanasand the Upanisads.22:Sarkar. 1990. descent in matriarchal had to live a veryhumiliating system and often of rankthrough thefemaleline gave woman a place of importance a woman was not elevated herto topmost station But amongcommoners allowed to eat withthe humblestof man.does not go in accordance withthepoints Säyana's interpretation. 1940. As she was brotherless so.7a.In course of describing heaventoearthin herchariot RV.Accordingto Säyana. At birth and mpreliable to be thrust alive intothe was less welcome thanherbrother grave.nor of food preparedin the same she viands reserved oven. IV. This content downloaded from 94. Sãryãta mightbe caused by the misbehaviour him his young beautiful offered daughter Sukanyã ( ŠatBr. Hambly (1926.Thoughthecomparisonis with a goddess yet it is a verynegativeimagery. hardlyanybodywould come ofhis own accord to marry prevailingnorm. HOS 33. Usas about of brotherless moves gives veryhumiliating picture Uke a brotherless maidenwho runsafter men.17 that a daughter could also be given been prescribed ÄsvaSS. norof morenutritious by taboo formales.Í928): Altekar. LXXXI ( 2000 ) theevil effects which peltedtheold ghostlike Cyavana withclods.9 (iii) 7 For onthe ofscholars miserable fate ofthe Vedic see: Winternitz 1920. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . So she had to make herown fortune. 5. It has the V.1.7 therumblings of goddess Usas from a a maiden. In Säyana's one does notget it. Situationsled herto become daringand also disgraceful. 124. » See RV. A brotherless in daughter theVedic age was like one bornaccursed. AV.26. 1938.5. 286) while discussing the statusof woman womanamongcommoners even though lived amongprimitive people saysthat life: "In Hawaii. p.p.i.5). sati svabhrãtarisa èva pituhpindadãnãdikam pitrãdingacctn. p.184 Annals BORI.7.I. opinions daughter ed.17. « See Geldner. ¿he went towardsher father and the like persons. p.1. 20. 1. 3. 124.Sharma. however. by as daksinã to the officiating priest( Kanyãm ca)? W. p. p. 1985.23. To prevent of his sons towardsCyavana. accordingto the interpretation her. p.Pinkham. bhratrrahitã pitrãdinprati or she with her forefathers the duties of a son in theabsence oblations.157 on Mon.3 : Indra. D.I. 60. 5.

30) of all luster: The AV.whythebrotherless daughter's been alreadypointedout by Hopkins. deceptive) word.Precisely. a situation Nobody would welcome such onlyand notto his father. p.untruthful.5 calls her 'sin'. Anypersonwho would marry through over his fromhis right a brotherless would have to deprivehimself daughter son who would maintainthe lineage of his rightover his son who would and offer oblations to him maintainthe lineage of his maternalgrandfather in his life. 'untrue'and 'untruthful' alongwithwomen who have lefttheirhusbands : abhrõtarona yosano vyantah patir ipo na janayah durevãh pãpãsah santo 'nrtã asatyã idam padam ajanatã gabhlram :: maidens who are chasing men. veins withred garments. 17.Chakravarty : Vedic Daughter 185 " it would seem thatthe Hopkins (1889. Aryan prohibits marriage preserved daughter Sarkar(1985. 1928) holds.The third falls on In of a son the to be repaid through sons. the absence responsibility thedaughter herhusbandand his son.340 ." brothers were normallyexpected to be on the look-outfora matchforthe brotherless sister's. boldly towards turning girlshad oftento be veryforward men attracting attention by red garments.a man is born. Whitney.23.18).341) observes The thanthe father.Our thought also obviouslyfollowsthem. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .accordingto theVedic whichis of themis towardshis forefathers belief.Sarkarand otherscholars. "As witha girlthathas no brother. This content downloaded from 94. withtheirsplendorsmitten.26.1 also describes a brotherless girl bereft amür yã yantiyosito him lohitavãsasah : abhrãtara iva jãmayas tisthantu hatavarcasah :: like brotherless that 'Yon women (yosit ) go.bad." RV.P." (tr. pp.1987. dishonest. p. 1. IV. like women of evil "Like brotherless they (the design who cheat on theirhusbands. (tr.withthreedebts. H. fatewas so deplorablehas The question.157 on Mon. HOS 7. Schmidt. sisters let themstop ( sthã). p. 108 [1sted. offendersof Mitra and Varuna) have generated this deep (mysterious. 5. was scarcely less necessaryto the girl's fortune brother a since rule from rude brother fate.

" The deep-rooted faith that theessentialduty ofa Vedic householder was a debt whichhe owned tò to maintainthelineage and worshiptheancestors. Concisely.This factlies at therootof a vedic daughter being unwelcometo herparents. onthenext (Continued page) This content downloaded from 94. The storyin real life. p.for Accordingto Yäska (III.186 Annals BORI. a father-daughter incest inquest ofa sononthe ofthe father. brought vedic daughter'sfate. suggests part III. his fore-fathers all the plightsin the since the momentof his birth.38) : "The aversion to a brotherless maidenwas motivated thebride'sfather bythefearthat marrying with the prospectof would claim the future son and leave the bridegroom without a son of his own who would continuehis lineage and offer remaining the ancestorworship. and the AitBr.We could collectthepicture ofa pleasantrelationship between anddaughter parents fromthe mythologicalsphere in the storiesof U§as. go daughter.III. Of all the Vedic daughters. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .1 : flV.23.is totallydifferent. and Prajâpati's daughterSita. naturally. a girl was not welcome'in a The AV. suffered the most deplorable fate.however. Sûryâ. probably.26. 5 : : abhrätrkäyä upaymanapratisedhah : pituš ca putrãbhãvalf : pratyaksah 1 1 RV. Male-dominationwas one of theprincipaltraits of boththesecultures.Quite it inherited themaintraits of itsmother-culture i. family.as could be collected fromthe relevant texts. 31.157 on Mon. >o Nifukta III.e.give evidence in supportof thisobservation.1isoneofthe difficult verses ofthis Saitihiti.12 Conclusion : The Vedic culture belonged to the Indo-Eruopean tradition.10 his (husband's) son belongs to him (to the father Schmidt's comment in this regard (1987. LXXXI( 2000 ) a brotherless maiden. 31.5) 'One should not marry of the girl). Thefirst two verses ofthis hymn about the father and his brotherless The third line of the first verse. Indo-European. the one who had no brother.11 brotherless The later literaturedealt with this problem in details and tried to theacutenessof theproblemto some bringforth ways and means to mitigate extent.

Apastambagrhyasütra (Continued from p. Umesh Chandra Pandey Varanasi. SBE SVOU J TaiBr.30-75hasdealtindetails Schitiidt.26. 1938 Anandashram SanskritSeries 32 Press. Aitareyabrõhmana Apastambagrhyasütra Ašvaldyanašrautasůtra Atharvaveda Brhadãranyakopanisad Chãndogyopanisad HarvardOrientalSeries Rgveda Šacred Books of the East Sri VenkateswaraUniversity OrientalJournal.Tirupati Taittirlyabrãhmana 187 Bibliography Aitareyabrõhmana Altekar. 186) Sãsadvahnir duhitur gãd naptvam : vidvân dldhilirh saparyan rtasya duhituh sekam pitáyatra rftjant :: samiagmyena manasä dadhanve See Schmidt. with a comparative Vedastothe brotherless from the study Smjtis alongwith daughter Greek etc. HOS RV. 1987.157 on Mon. p. Br. reference toother tranditions This content downloaded from 94.Chakravarty : Vedic Daughter Abbreviations AitBr. 32. : Benares Hindu University The CulturalPublicationHouse. ÃraU. ChãndoU. S. 12 HansPeter related to with theproblems ibid. Pune : Anandashram inAncient The Positionof Women India . ÄpaGS. ChowkhambaSanskritSeries. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .A. ÃsvaÉS AV. likePersian.pp.23. Kashi SanskritSeries 59 ed.

D. 8. 1995 ( 1sted. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .)Ganganath Seshachari.V. E. Hoshiarpur : Sadhu Ashram. Gita Press. Anandashram Sanskrit Series Press. RanavirSimla Bava and others. XIII. F. 1984 (1st published 1920-1927) Pune : Vaidika Samsodhana Mandala. Hopkins. 57-372. Sripad Damodar Satavalekar. Geldner. No. 1933) The Hymnsof the Rgveda Der Rigveda This content downloaded from 94. (tr.188 Apte.HOS 33-36. V. (tr. Gorakhpur. 1967.W. 1926 Origins of Education among PrimitivePeople. Macmillan & Company "The Social and Military position in ancientIndia as represented by in theSanskrit J AOS. pp.Lakshman Sarup. 1889). ed. Majumdar. D. W.) W. ed.SvadhyayaMandai.26. reprint (Germantr.) K. R. Whitney. C. II 1986 1990 Atharvaveda Atharva-Veda-Samhitä Brhad-Äranyakapanisad Chãndagyopanisad Hambly. London : George Allen and Unwin.157 on Mon. Delhi : Motilal (reprint) Banarsidass. Griffith. ed. & tr. (tr. Annals BORI. Delhi : Motilal Banarsidass. Madras. H. M.C. 1951) in The Vedic Age. 1889 The Nighantuand Nirukta Rgvedasamhitã 4th ed. ÃÉvalãyanaÊrautasUtra Part I. HOS 7. Satara : Pardi. Indological Punjab University Series 31.Pune: Anandashram Jha.23.) R. ed. epic". LXXXI ( 2000 ) 1965 (1st ed. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. 1975 (1st éd. T. 63 .

(1st ed.Heinrich This content downloaded from 94. 1928 (1st Indian ed.23. Benares : Nand Kishore Bros. I-III New Delhi : The ResearchInstitute 1970 AncientScientificStudies of 1967. Berlin : WeidmanscheBuchhandlung. Altindisches Leben. 13 Jan 2014 05:14:33 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Patna : JanakiPrakashan 189 Šatapatha-Bráhmana Schmidt. 1933) 1879 Womenin the Rgveda. Series 37 1Anandashram Sanskrit 373 1941 2nd ed. Taittirlyabrãhmana Upadhya. Zimmer. 1985) Some Aspectsof teh Earliest Social Historyof India. 1969.S. B. Pune : Bhandarkar OrientalResearch Institute.26. C. S. 1987 Ritesand Rights in Some Women's the Veda .157 on Mon.Chakravarty : Vedic Daughter Sarkar.Hans Peter Vols.

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