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.
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
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.
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.
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