The Hindu Ideals of Man and Woman

According to Hindu, “Marriage is not a contract; it is the reunion of two souls.” Many people, nowadays, still believe that marriage is a big life-time commitment of two people to each other; it is a responsibility of the given opportunity of love. Connecting it to the Hindu ideals of man and woman, of course, a woman is wishing to be married to an ideal man and on the other hand, a man is also wishing to marry to an ideal woman. In Hindu religion, there are these ideal characteristics for every men and women that are expected for them to show. As we have discussed in our class and as I’ve read some articles, these ideals characteristics are greatly shown by the characters of some of the famous stories in India; some of these are the characters from the two of most great epics of India, Ramayana and Mahabharata.

The Ideal Man Rama, the main protagonist of the epic, Ramayana, is referred to be as an ideal man. He is the seventh reincarnation of the Hindu god, Vishnu. In the epic, it is clearly seen that Rama is a kind of man who shows excellence in his duties as a prince and as a warrior. Also, he is a very brave and courageous man who is not afraid to fight demons and evils. He is regarded also as a selfless man who is very thoughtful and kind. An obedient son that even though his father father’s wish is against to him, he still obeys it. A very loving man to his family. A devoted and protected husband to his wife, Sita. A very respectful man and when it comes to physical aspects, he is a physically fit and strong man.

The Ideal Woman Sita of Ramayana, some know women of Mahabharata, and Shakuntala are regarded as the ideal women of Hindu religion. Sita, being a not materialistic, brave, determined, faithful, devoted, strong-willed, and physically fit wife of Rama, made her regarded as a Hindu ideal of woman. I’ve read an article that a Hindu ideal woman knows and should take care of even a little garden for her to water the plants. Also, she should have love for animals. This instances shows that a Hindu ideal of woman being close to the nature. In the story of Shakuntala, the main protagonist, who is an adopted daughter of a hermit, is said to be a nature lover and this characteristic of her made her an ideal woman. There’s a passage in the story wherein Shakuntala is about to leave the hermitage and it seems that the plants and trees which she used to water are in mourn of her departure. Also, the deer fro the hermitage is also seems to be weeping of her departure. This only shows how a nature lover Shakuntala is. It seems that these non-talking living creatures are admiring her so dearly and this is what truly makes her an ideal woman. Savitri from Mahabharata is also regarded as an ideal woman. She’s the woman who followed and conquered death to bring back her husband. Her braveness and her wit made her as one of an ideal woman. As an addition of the characteristics of a Hindu ideal woman shown by some characters from Hindu epics and story, I’ve read some articles that also talk about many characteristics of Hindu ideals of woman. These articles identified that the Hindu ideals of woman being: one who walks in maiden sweetness with innocence in her mind, and modesty on her cheek; her hands should seek for employment/work and her foot does not delight in idle wandering abroad; she would be clothed

with neatness; she is fed with temperance and should be humble and meek enough; she should have the decency in her words; she should walk with prudence and work with virtue; her eyes should speak softness and love; she should presides in the house and there is peace; and, caring the family should be her delight. As an ideal woman became a mother and a wife, she should know her duties: she should be skillful in household affairs; devoted to her husband; should also view her husband as her first of friends; also, she should be the root of religion, profit, and desire; root of salvation; can perform religious acts; can lead domestic lives; she should informs the minds of her children with wisdom; in adversity, she heals the wounds of fortune with patience; in prosperity, she is not puffed up; and, should be a responsible one.

Conclusion Pondering on the characteristics of the given characters from some of the famous epics and story on India, and list of characteristics given by the various articles about the Hindu ideals of man and woman, people can say that this kind of ideals, does not only exist in this religion – it also do exist in the many minds of people. Even non-Hinduist people are also looking for this kind of men and women. Of course, many women are surely looking for a man like Rama and many men are probably looking for a woman like Sita, Savitri, or Shakuntala. Another thing also is that non-Hinduist people have what they called as “standard” in choosing their partner. This phenomenon of having standard for choosing partner is unavoidable but then, for some instances, these standards set by them are disobeyed due to some reasons. The difference of Hindu ideals of man and woman from the standard of non-Hinduist people is that the Hindu ideals are in the accordance of the Hindu religion and beliefs that shouldn’t be disobeyed because of their belief

in karma and of their belief that the Hindu god of death, Yama, will surely take the souls of those who would disobeyed from these Hindu ideals. Connecting this Hindu ideals of man and woman to the sanctity of Hindu marriage, of course, a Hindu man wouldn’t mind choosing and marrying a woman who isn’t ideal for being a true Hindu woman because it would bring shame and dirt on his name. A Hindu woman, on the other side, wouldn’t mind also to be married to a man who cannot support or cannot love and take care of her in return. These ideals are of much importance and should be obeyed as dictated by the religion and their belief.

Afro-Asian Literature
An Occasional Paper on

The Ideal Man and Woman of Hinduism

Submitted By: Rocillo, Michelle G. 11-14 BSE English

Submitted To: Prof. Ruth Alido

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