Saturday, June 22, 2013

Women and Dharm

At one time I discussed Dharm according to Varn and Aashram. Varn means Braahman, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shoodra; and Aashram means Brahmcharya, Grihasth, Vaanprasth and Sanyaas. Today I am going to express my views about Dharm according to the gender, with specific reference to feminine gender. A woman, or a female also has several role in the society as a man. And in every role, she has to do different duties - this is called multiple Dharm.

(1) Daughter
When a girl is born, she is only a daughter. She has to do her duties towards her parents and a few elders in the family, if there are any. She obeys them, she learns whatever she is taught by them. As she grows, along with being daughter, she enters in Brahmcharya Aasharm. In today's world, she has equal opportunities with boys. She attends schools, she earns the same qualifications as the boys do. But all these opportunities do not change her gender - she still remains a woman. As there is not much difference between a boy and a girl at this age, a Shlok is famous about the characteristics of a student  to be a good student. This Shlok has nothing to do with time and space and is true for today also --
Kaag Cheshtaa, Bako Dhyaanam, Shwaan Nidraa Tathaiv Cha
Alpa Haaree, Griham Tyaagee, Vidyaarthee Panch Lakshanam

Means - A student should have his movements like a crow, should concentrate on his studies like a crane; he should sleep like a dog, eat only a little food and give up his house - these are the five characteristics of a good student

(2) Sister
Till she is in her parents' house, she might have some younger brothers and sisters. Being the elder sister, she has some special duties towards them. A boy can run away from his duties towards his younger brothers and sisters, but it is difficult for an elder sister to run away from her duties.

(3) Wife
After she is educated and gets matured, she gets married and goes to her husband's house. Some 30-40 years ago the girls used to go to their in-law's house, but now the times are changed, they do not live with them, they live with their husbands, and do jobs like their husbands. They are also the earning member of the family and are breadwinners. Although she lives like a boy, still she can't escape being a woman. Being a woman she still has to complete her certain duties - satisfy her husband physically and emotionally, give birth to children, possibly breastfeed the children after they are born. There is a Shlok about a wife's duties also, like the characteristics of a student given above -
Kaaryeshu Daasee, Karaneshu Mantree, Roopeshu Lakshmee Kshamayeshu Dharitree,
Bhojyeshu Maataa, Shayanehu Rambhaa, Shat Dharmyukta Kul Dharm Patnee

Means - A wife should work like a servant in the house, should be a counselor like a minister, should be beautiful like Lakshmee, should be a forgiver like Prithvi, should feed her husband like a mother, and should be like a prostitute in bed, these 6 qualities make a wife good wife.

The problem of this Shlok is this that its correct reference is difficult to find. Three references are given -
(1) In Rukminee Kalyaanam - Krishn says that Rukminee has all these 6 qualities,
(2) In Abhigyaan Shaakuntalam - by poet Kaalidaas , or
(3) Maybe by the poet Bhartrihari.

But whatever it is, it is a good Shlok in which 6 qualities of a wife are told. Although, in my opinion, 100% women will never agree with these qualities, but if they think with the perspective of a man or husband (as what type of wife he needs), all boys will agree with it.

(4) Mother
After being a wife, a woman becomes a mother. When somebody gives birth to a child, both parents have some duties towards him. If they do not perform them properly, they certainly commit a crime. To take care of the child of his physical, emotional and training needs is the primary duty of the parents, but this duty is more of a mother than father. Whatever a mother teaches him, he becomes like the same. Mother is the first Guru or teacher of the child - a very important duty of the mother.

Although there are many other roles also for a woman and all of them cannot be described here, because in this modern time her roles have changed a lot because of her financial earnings and changing social status, but still, the above mentioned roles - a role of a daughter, sister, wife, earner (new economic dimension)  and mother, are a must in her life. She cannot escape from them. That is another matter how does she play those roles. Everybody's Dharm is decied by the station in your life and is relatively simple moral coed to adhere to.

Here it will not be irrelevant to cite a Shlok about woman --
Pitaa Rakshati Kaumaaree, Bhartaa Rakshati Yauvane
Putro Rakshati Vriddhakyee, Na Stree Swatantryam Arhati

Means - Father protects a woman in her childhood, husband protects her in her youth, the son protects her in her old age, thus a woman is never independent.

Sushma Gupta


  1. Purushaarath has four defined roles; ARTH, KAAM, DHARAM, and MOKSH; Arth, Kaam and Moksh all depend on DHARAM which is determined according to the Varan and Ashram of an individual- the man and woman; Here , the gender also plays important role in determining the Dharam of an individual;
    A woman is conditioned ( social, religious, language , food and total style of living) several times in her life time in different situations ;Before marriage a woman is conditioned according to the environment of her parents; after the marriage according to the environment of her in-laws; later as the situation arises according to her children etc.However, socio-economic, scientific and technological changes and developments have influenced the life style of every individual, consequently not only locally but globally. Therefore, a new environment of duties and responsibilities has been created for the woman too.But the physical, emotional and spiritual aspects remain almost the sa. In case of a woman, varan and ashram are not as important as the gender. With a few exceptions in the history, woman normally confined to home, family and domestic jobs irrespective of any varan (eg; Bharti, Gargi, Maitrey , rani Laxmi Bai, Meera Bai etc.)

  2. This is true. The woman has to change according to her social environment. As soon the girl is born, she is trained according to her parent's house and the environment of that society. After a couple of decades, she moves to her husband's house where she has to adjust with her husband and his family. I wouldn't say here 80-100%, because now a days husband live separate from his family and since the girl lives with him only she does not need to adjust with his family members. She just needs to adjust with her husband, and that also only 10-20%. The third time she has to adjust with her son or daughter (children - new generation), if unfortunately her husband dies before her. This is the most unfortunate and most difficult situation. Every time her duties and rights are changed. Whoever women do not adjust in this manner their life is not peaceful. They make their own life as well their household members' life hell. A woman's main duty is to keep family intact with her sweet nature, appropriate behavior, conducive environment for all the members and she has to do lots of sacrifice to do this. She is the backbone of the family.