how women are regarded within Hinduism. Provide at least two (2) explanations, rooted in Hindu beliefs, for the status of women.Note:
In ancient India, women occupied a very important position, in fact a superior position to, men. It is a culture whose only words for strength and power are feminine -"Shakti'' means "power'' and "strength.'' All male power comes from the feminine. [ Literary evidence suggests that kings and towns were destroyed because a single woman was wronged by the state. For example, Valmiki's Ramayana teaches us that Ravana and his entire clan was wiped out because he abducted Sita. Veda Vyasa's Mahabharatha teaches us that all the Kauravas were killed because they humiliated Draupadi in public. Elango Adigal's Sillapathigaram teaches us Madurai, the capital of the Pandyas was burnt because Pandyan Nedunchezhiyan mistakenly killed her husband on theft charges.
In Vedic times women and men were equal as far as education and religion was concerned. Women participated in the public sacrifices alongside men. One text mentions a female rishi Visvara. Some Vedic hymns, are attributed to women such as Apala, the daughter of Atri, Ghosa, the daughter of Kaksivant or Indrani, the wife of Indra. Apparently in early Vedic times women also received the sacred thread and could study the Vedas. The Haritasmrti mentions a class of women called brahmavadinis who remained unmarried and spent their lives in study and ritual. Panini's distinction between arcarya (a lady teacher) and acaryani (a teacher's wife), and upadhyaya (a woman preceptor) and upadhyayani ( a preceptor's wife) indicates that women at that time could not only be students but also teachers of sacred lore. He mentions the names of several noteworthy women scholars of the past such as Kathi, Kalapi, and Bahvici. The Upanishads refer to several women philosophers, who disputed with their male colleagues such as Vacaknavi, who challenged Yajnavalkya. The Rig Veda also refers to women engaged in warfare. One queen Bispala is mentioned, and even as late a witness as Megasthenes (fifth century B.C. E.) mentions heavily armed women guards protecting Chandragupta's palace. www.hinduwisdom.info/Women_in_Hinduism.htm
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Newspaper carry report of rape and burning of women for not bringing sufficient dowry or their inability to satisfy the demands of greedy in laws.
Basically, [ out present attitude towards women streams from our religious scriptures which refer to women as contempt. Our oldest book are the 'Vedas' which contain highly objectionable and condemnable passages concerning women. Taking cue from the 'Vedas' authors of subsequent religious scriptures referred to women in more contemptuous form. 'Sati pratha' (custom of burning the widow with the body of her husband), 'Dasi Pratha' (keeping the slave girls), 'Niyog Pratha' (ancient Aryan custom of childless widow or women having sexual intercourse with a man other than husband to beget child), were among cruel customs responsible for the plight of the women. http://mukto-mona.net/Articles/kasem/women_hinduism.htm
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