In this article we shall review some of the most popular allegations on Hinduism with regards to its treatment of women and provide the authentic Vedic perspective. The allegations are collected from a wide variety of sources. It is difficult to trace the original source of this nuisance because it has already become very widespread. But you can check up on google to match with whatever versions of original text is available on different sites. One sample is available at http://truthofhinduism.com/women/women-in-hinduism/ that we take as a base for this article.
1. Allegation of Hinduism hater: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. ‘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.
Naturally, seeking shelter under such religious sanctions, unscrupulous women disgraced women to the maximum possible extent and made them means of satisfying their lust. No one wanted a daughter. As a result; female infant came to be considered unwanted. No one wanted a daughter. Everyone was interested in having a son. The birth of the son was celebrated, but the birth of the daughter plunged family into gloom. This attitude still persists, even though certain other customs have undergone changes. ‘Rig Veda’ itself says that a women should beget sons. The newly married wife is blessed so that she could have 10 sons.
Agniveer:Too many dialogues in the allegations, but here are the facts:
1. There is not even one single verse in Vedas that demeans women. On contrary there are a huge number of verses that glorify women to a level that is impossible to understand even by modern feminist intellectuals. http://agniveer.com/1291/women-in-vedas/ gives a very small sample.
2. Sati Pratha has nothing to do with Vedas. Vedas, on contrary, appeal to a widow to start life afresh and not waste life merely remembering the past.
3. Dasi Pratha was a gift of Christian, Muslim and Jew cultures or their predecessors. There is nothing about this in Vedas. However Testaments and Quran (modern versions) are replete with it.
4. Niyog Pratha was a social custom to beget a child that was prevalent in all societies and more so in Biblical and Quranic society. Bible, Quran and Hadiths are full of such references. But Vedas have no mention of Niyog. People have interpreted vedic verses to create social custom of Niyog to prevent prostitution in emergency situations. But neither is it a Vedic order nor a compulsory practice in Aryan society. On contrary, many a prophets of Christianity and Islam got children from slave-girls but never made them their wives! Prophet Abraham is supposed to have even attempted to abandon his slave-girl to death after having child from her. Prophet Muhammad is supposed to have the only son from his slave Maria. God only knows the veracity of these stories and support for sex-slavery in Bible and Quran. But as far as Vedas are concerned, any relation apart from one single wife/husband is clearly considered to be cause of miseries.
The foundation of Hinduism is the Vedas. So if one has to prove that Hinduism demeans Vedas, he must show that Vedas demean women. If Mulayam Singh Yadav, being a Hindu, talks of appeasing Jihadi terrorists, that does not mean Hinduism aka Vedas justify Jihad!
5. This is true that for last 1000 years birth of son was celebrated and birth of daughter plunged family into gloom. But this was not because of a Vedic injunction. On contrary, there are specific verses in Vedas that pray for begetting daughters! Refer Rigveda 10.159.3, Rigveda 8.31.8 and Rigveda 9.67.10. I do not know if Quran and Bible also have such verses.
The reason why birth of a daughter became a curse in last 1000 years was due to the butchers from West and Central Asia coming in name of Islamic Jihad to kill men and rape women. The entire history of last 1000 years is full of resistance against these terrorists. Thus people wanted sons who could fight these terrorists or at least not be raped by them the way they used to rape women. Birth of daughter thus became a curse because safeguarding the dignity of a daughter was a challenging task. This is why purdah system came in India. This is why dowry system became prevalent – ensuring safety of women became a risky thing. And soon these evil practices became part of the culture. However Vedas are complete against all this and it is time we get back to Vedas.
6. The word ‘Putra’ in Vedas is generic and does not necessarily mean a son but implies a child. This is same as ‘mankind’ does not mean only men but all human beings. In most mantras of Vedas though, word ‘Praja’ is used which again means children. As mentioned previously, there are mantras which desire specifically a daughter. For example, Rigveda 10.159.3, 8.31.8, 9.67.10, Yajurveda 22.22, Rigveda 4.32.23 and Atharvaveda 10.3.20. Thus all these claims of Vedas being male-centric is childish at the best.
2. Allegation of Hinduism hater:‘Vedas’ prescribe a special ritual called ‘Punsawan sanskar’ (a ceremony performed during third month of pregnancy). During the ceremony it is prayed: ”Almighty God, you have created this womb. Women may be born somewhere else but sons should be born from this womb” – Atharva Ved 6/11/3
Agniveer:1. Punsawan Sanskar is recommended for aspirants of both sons and daughters. So there is no male bias here.
2. The mantra meaning has been distorted to suit the agenda. The mantra has a deep meaning. But simply put it means that: “By Grace of Ishwar, woman is able to have a womb and nurture the child therein. May the woman have a son if she desires and planned so ELSE she may have a girl.”
Thus the mantra simply implies that if couple has planned for a boy, may boy be born else girl be born. What translators have done is to translate ‘Anyatra’ as ‘Elsewhere’ instead of ‘In other condition or else’.
3. The Vedic methods of procreation suggest ways of deciding either a boy or a girl. But regardless of the case, Punsawan Sanskar is practiced by all Veda followers. Hence there is no gender bias here.
3. Allegation of Hinduism hater:“O Husband protect the son to be born. Do not make him a women” – Atharva Ved 2/3/23
Agniveer:Again case of wrong translation. Actual translation is “Protect the child in womb from infections and diseases. Be it a girl or boy, may it not be troubled.”
Here again, “Ma Pumansam Striyam Kran” is translated as “Do not make boy in womb into a girl”. But how can gender change in womb after fertilization? Actual meaning is “Do not trouble male or female child”.
4. Allegation of Hinduism hater:In ‘Shatpath Puran (shatpath Brahman)’ a sonless women has been termed as unfortunate.
Agniveer:Vague allegation. Kindly show the verse. In any case, Vedas are evidence in matters of Hinduism and not Shatpath. But first reproduce the verse please!
5. Allegation of Hinduism hater:‘Rig Veda’ censures women by saying: ”Lord Indra himself has said that women has very little intelligence. She cannot be taught” – Rig Ved 8/33/17
Agniveer:Actual meaning: Do not try to rule over the thought process of woman. She can think very fast and in multiple dimensions.
This is also true. Women can think and connect at emotional levels that is impossible for men. That is why women can nurture children in ways men cannot even think of.
What translators have done is to distort ‘Ashasyam’ to mean ‘cannot be taught’ while it means ‘cannot be ruled’ . Then they translated ‘Raghum’ to mean ‘little’ while it actually means ‘agile’ or ‘able to move rapidly in variety of locations’ or ‘dynamic’. That is why Raghu of Raghukul to which Ram belonged was named so.
6. Allegation:At another place in Rig Veda it is written: ”There cannot be any friendship with a women. Her heart is more cruel than heyna” – Rig Ved 10/95/15.
Agniveer:1. First there is a spelling mistake that is seen in ALL versions of this article I could check on the net. No one even bothered to read it once! It is ‘hyena’ and not ‘heyna’.
2. This mantra from the celebrated ‘Pururava-Urvashi sukta’ is completely out of context. All Hinduism-bashers including some home-grown pseudo-intellectuals cite this sukta to showcase vulgarity in Vedas! Some have written cheap poems on this. In reality, this Sukta from 10th Mandal is among the most deeply-meaning Sukta of entire vedas. In fact, entire 10th Mandal of Rig Veda contains very deep knowledge of universe and its mechanisms of actions. They also convey subtly other lessons especially in realm of politics and country-management.
Thus the particular mantra can be interpreted variously. The particular mantra is part of an allegorical conversation between Pururava and Urvashi. Pururava has several meanings like Cloud, Air and Person. Urvashi means electricity, speech or a woman. Thus the mantra, rather Sukta, provides deep insights. Let us try to understand the context by taking it as conversation. Interestingly this mantra is uttered by the woman herself!
From this context, the Sukta is a disussion between a man who is attached to the woman and is ignoring his duties to the country as a general. The woman advises him in this mantra that: Do not run away from your duties due to indulgence in a woman. Do not share confidential details of country with anyone. They may be wolves in garb who want to destroy you and your country. A woman befriended for sensual purposes is a wolf in disguise. Hence stay away from sensual vices to protect the country.
3. Thus the mantra advises sane persons to stay away from womenizing. Based on this, Bharateeya Rajaneeti also recommends the king to not share confidential matters of nation even with his wife. I believe that if all citizens of the country start following this advice, stay away from womenizing and consider women only as beings deserving highest respect (and not affection out of lust), our country would be much different. World knows of incidents where womanizing has led to downfall of families and nations. Those studying history would know of cases where seductresses have inflicted heaviest damage to countries by fooling the leaders. Thus Vedas recommend leaders to be even more disciplined Brahmacharis than ordinary citizens.
The deep meanings of mantra also unravel that all those women indulged in luring people by glamor – read actresses, models etc – are basically wolves in disguise. So far the country keeps adoring the Aishwarya Rais and Kareenas and Katrinas and ignoring Rani Laxmis and Ahilya Bais and Rani Karnavatis, we simply cannot prosper. Glam-girls are wolves in disguise. And when political leadership starts getting close to them, nothing can be better recipe for national disaster. This mantra thus asserts that considering women as objects for sensual pleasure is not advisable.
4. A similar allegation is put on Adi Shankaracharya quoting ‘Naari Narakasya Dwaram’ or ‘Woman is gateway to Hell’ from one of his texts. The truth is that the great Shankaracharya referred ONLY to sensual attachment to women and NOT women in general. On women in general, he writes in Matru Stuti - ‘I humbly bow to that motherly woman who faces so much of labor pain. Forget about other sacrifices that the mother undertakes, we cannot repay even for the pain she has to bear when she carries us in her womb.’ This is the real Vedic approach towards women.
Ved (Taitriya Sanhita)- “Women code says that the women are without
energy. They should not get a share in property. Even to the wicked they
speak in feeble manner” [Yajur Ved 6/5/8/2]
Shatpath Puran, preachings of the ‘Yajur Veda’ clubs women, ‘shudras’ (untouchables), dogs, crows together and says falsehood, sin and gloom remain integrated in them. [14/1/1/31]
In ‘Aiterey Puran’, preaching of the ‘Rig Veda’ in Harsih Chandra – Narad dialogue, Narad says: “The daughter causes pain”
Agniveer:1. The first reference is not clear. In any case Taitriya Samhita is not original Yajurveda. Kindly provide a reference from actual Yajurveda (Madhyandina Shukla Yajurveda Samhita to be specific, which is the actual Veda Samhita).
2. There is no text called Shatpath Puran and Aiterey Puran. They are Shatpath and Aitereya Brahmans. In any case, again these references are not from Vedas. Further we request the author of these allegations to provide the exact verse.
8. Allegation:To insult and humiliate women further, the Hindu scriptures depict women of having ****** *********** with animals or expressing desire for ********** with them. What greater insult can be heaped upon women than this!
Such references are found at a number of places in Yajur Veda, where the principal wife of the host is depicted as having *********** with a horse. For example, consider the following hymn:
“All wife of the host reciting three mantras go round the horse. While praying, they say: ‘O horse, you are, protector of the community on the basis of good qualities, you are, protector or treasure of happiness. O horse, you become my husband.’” [Yajur Veda 23/19.]
After the animal is purified by the priest, the principal wife sleeps near the horse and says:“O Horse, I extract the ***** worth conception and you release the ***** worth conception’” [Yajur Veda 23/20]
The horse and principal wife spread two legs each. Then the Ardhvaryu (priest) orders to cover the oblation place, raise canopy etc. After this, the principal wife of the host pulls ***** of the horse and puts it in her ****** and says: “This horse may release ***** in me.” [Yajur Veda 23/20]
Then the host, while praying to the horse, says: “O horse, please throw ***** on the upper part of the **** of my wife. Expand your ***** and insert it in the ****** because after insertion, this ***** makes women happy and lively” [23/21]
Certain words have been removed because they were extremely vulgar. You can check the original text elsewhere on internet.
Agniveer:1. Again, it seems that the porn lovers have lifted the translations from western indologists or translators who existed during era of Muslim Sultanate in India. Because such stupid translations are found nowhere else! Here are actual meanings:
2. Yajurveda 23.19: O master of all people, we submit ourselves to be guided by you alone. O the most loved one among all loved ones, we submit ourselves to be guided by you alone. O provider of knowledge and prosperity, we submit ourselves to be guided by you alone. May I be able the understand, with your blessings, the Nature that has produced my own body and world, and is controlled by you alone.
3. Yajurveda 23.20: O ruler and the subject! You should expand bliss for everyone by putting efforts for benevolent actions, developing resources, achieving desires of soul and hence obtaining salvation. May the subject support and strengthen the ruler so that he can control the criminals. The mantra can be interpreted for Ishwar. Ishwar is the ruler and we are the subject. We should cooperate with Ishwar in his mission to bring bliss to all of us. Only in this manner is purpose of creation justified.
4. Yajurveda 23.21: O powerful ruler, one who earns by exploiting women should be hung upside down and severely punished. (The message of Vedas is clear for all indulged in cheap business that exploit women. And if this ruler does not do that, Ishwar, for sure would hang them upside down through Law of Karma)
5. Thus the very mantras that glorify dignity of women are being quoted as references against women in Vedas!
CUSTOM OF POLYGAMY
9. Allegation:In the Vedic age, the customs of polygamy was prevalent. Each wife spent most of the time devising ways and means to become favorite to her husband. Clear references are available in Rig Veda 14/45, and Atharva Veda 3/81.
Agniveer:1. Rigveda has 10 Mandals. So Rigveda 14.45 does not exist. Kindly provide at least an authentic reference even though the translation may be fake!
2. Again Atharva Veda Kand 3 has only 37 Suktas. We do not know which Atharva Veda has these references.
3. Please refer http://agniveer.com/621/polygamy/ where hoax of Polygamy in Vedas has been thoroughly debunked.
Aryans in those days used to attack the original inhabitants of this
place, or other tribe within their own race, loot them and snatch away
their women. Thus, these militant, wicked men had more wives. This
custom of polygamy helped a great deal in bringing down the women. Rig
Ved 10/59 says that Lord Indra had many queens that were either defeated
or killed by his principal wife.
Agniveer:1. Any evidence, manuscripts or any vague reference to hypothesis of either Aryan invasion theory or Aryans being a race or even any tribe claiming to be Arya killing or plundering anyone? Please cite a single reference to this most stupid hoax of Aryan Invasion.
2. Rig Veda 10.59 has 10 mantras. They talk about rebirth and law of karma. None has any reference to any wife of any Indra committing any murders. We request the ‘allegators’ to provide exact reference.
11. Allegation:In ‘Aitrey Puran’, preachings of ‘Rig Veda’, (33/1), Harish Chandra is referred to have had 100 wives.
Agniveer:Again, please provide exact reference from this non-Vedic text. (We consider only Vedas as benchmark for Hinduism).
12. Allegation:‘Yajur Veda’ in the context of ‘Ashva Medha’ (Horse Sacrificing ceremony) says that many wives of Harish Chandra participated in the ‘Yagyna’ (religious sacrifice).
In ‘Shatpath Puran (Shatpath Brahmin)’, preachings [13/4/1/9] of the Veda, it is written that four wives do service in ‘Ashva Megha’. In another place, Puran [Tatiraity Brahamin, 3/8/4] says wives are like property
Agniveer:Again a very vague allegation from non-Vedic sources. Kindly cite exact mantras. Ashva Medha is the process of strengthening the nation and not any material Yajna or has anything to do with Horse. Please refer http://agniveer.com/68/no-beef-in-vedas/ for details.
13. Allegation:Not only one man had many wives (married and slave girls), but there were cases of many men having a joint wife. It is confirmed from the following hymn in ‘Atharva Veda’: “O men, sow a seed in this fertile women” [Atharva Veda 14/1]
Agniveer:1. This time we have something from Vedas but reference is wrong. Atharve Veda 14.1 has 64 mantras. None has anything remotely close to this nonsense.
2. By the way, all versions of the article carry the same mistake of having ‘women’ and not ‘woman’ showing that someone wrote it out of hatred knowing well that he is lying and others blindly copied in similar hatred. No one bothered to actually verify before publishing.
3. The actual mantra that can be misinterpreted in this manner is Atharve Veda 14.2.14 which belongs to the Sukta that details duties of husband and wife. All mantras refer to a single couple only. This particular mantra means, “O Men! Each of you first bring strength and vitality in yourselves and then each of you procreate noble children from your respective wife.” Since the mantra addresses men in general but wants to emphasize that only one woman is permitted as per Vedas for each man, woman is addressed in singular.
4. For more skeptic ones, also refer to all the mantras before and after this particular mantra. The meaning becomes extremely clear. They all refer to one single couple and not one husband-multiple wives or one wife-multiple husbands anywhere.
14. Allegation:Both these customs clearly show that a women was treated like a moving property. The only difference between the two customs was that whereas according to former one man had a number of movable properties, in the latter, women a joint movable property.
Agniveer:In http://agniveer.com/621/polygamy/ it has been clearly proven that Vedas recommend only monogamy for both husband and wife. I believe that in light of above analysis, those who have spread otherwise would be humble enough to come forth and apologize for their baseless claims. Unless they want to portray that they stand only for fraud, deceit and hatred.
Its another matter that apart from Vedas, no text – Bible or Quran (whatever version is popularized today) ever considered women as anything apart from property. Refer http://agniveer.com/series/womenislam/ and http://agniveer.com/1267/i-am-a-christian-woman/
VEDAS ALSO SANCTION SATI PRATHA
15. Allegation:Widow was burnt at the funeral Pyre of her husband. The widow was burnt at the funeral pyre of her husband so that she may remain his slave, birth after birth and may never be released from the bonds of slavery.
The Atharva Veda says: “O dead man following the religion and wishing to go to the husbands world, his women comes to you. In the other world also may you give her children and wealth in the same manner. In the ‘Vedas’, widow is treated inhumanly. For example it is mentioned that on death of her husband, the wife was handed over to some other man, or to her husband younger brother.
Agniveer:1. Again a blind allegation without any reference whatsoever.
2. Our challenge is open to all – Cite one single verse in all 4 Vedas that justify Sati Pratha, or support polygamy, or insult women, or justify sex-slavery and we shall quit Vedic Dharma.
3. Let us add one more allegation referring to Rigveda 10.18.7 which Hindu-haters translate to mean “widow woman should go into fire”. However what the shameless haters have done is to change the word “Agre” in the mantra (which means going ahead) to “Agne” which means fire. The mantra by the way has nothing about widow. It means that: In matters of household management, wife should be the leader.
Vivekananda opines that even at that time women used to have sexual
intercourse with a person other than her husband to beget a child. The
hymn says: “O woman, get up and adopt the worldly life again. It
is futile to lie with this dead man. Get up and become the wife of the
man who is holding your hand and who loves you. [Rig Ved 10/18/8]. Apparently this shows that woman is considered to be a property. Whenever and whosoever desired, could become her master.
Agniveer:1. Opinion of Vivekananda or practice of ‘that’ time is none of our concern. Many Hindus go to worship graves or even support Jihadi terrorists of Kashmir. That does not make this a practice sanctioned by Vedas or Hinduism.
2. The meaning of this mantra provided has been slightly distorted and misinterpreted to suit one’s mindset of hatred. Actual meaning is:”O woman, get up from here and come back to the world of living ones. Do not waste your life in grief of one who is dead. You have the children of the person who had held your hand and became your husband, to take care of. ”
3. The next mantra (where this mantra comes in Atharva Veda 18th Chapter) refers to a childless widow. It says: “I have seen a young widow rising up from grief of dead to marry again and start her life again away from gloom and darkness.”
4. Thus the mantras give the noble lesson that a widow should not continue repenting on dead one but start life afresh and continue with her responsibilities. These mantras form the foundation in which widow-remarriage is encouraged and Sati Pratha is discouraged. And fools quote these very mantras to showcase the entirely opposite stand!
17. Allegation:If the women was not remarried, then her head was shaved. This is evident from Atharva Veda (14/2/60). This custom was obviously meant to disgrace her. For what connection does shaving of widows head has with the death of her husband? The condition of widows was miserable. She was considered to be a harbinger of inauspiciousness and was not allowed to participate in ceremonies like marriage. This custom is still prevalent in some places. She has to spend her life alone.
Agniveer:1. Einstein said “Two things are infinite – universe and stupidity. And I am not sure about the previous.” Reading all this, I am beginning to believe in this statement. Just see, the allegation started with Vedas justfying Sati Pratha or death of wife after husband was dead, and now they take it to forced remarriage! This is called reverse engineering. No matter what it takes, the fools have already decided the conclusion and are working backwards.
2. Let us analyze this mantra (among very few ones whose proper reference is provided). This 14th Chapter relates to duties of marriage. This refers to marriage and not re-marriage in first place. It means: “May your daughter never weep with open hair in grief of parting away with loved ones because she is getting married in distant place. To ensure this, console and support her in matured manner.” This is a common scene at least in Hindu marriages where the daughter is aggrieved on leaving her home and her parents console her. The allegator just saw the word ‘Vikesha’ and forced this stupid meaning from infinity! There is no reference to any widow or death whatsoever in any mantra in the entire Sukta!
3. But I agree that condition of widows has been miserable for several centuries. This has been primarily because the first targets of all butchers who invaded from West Asia in name of Islam was to rape women – be it army of Qasim, Ghazni, Ghori, Khilji, Lodhi, Babur, Akbar or whosoever. Thus widows would have no one to even fight and lay their life for their dignity. Thus widowhood started being regarded as a curse. And soon it became a evil practice. Thanks to efforts of 19th century reformers especially Arya Samaj, this is no more the case with Hindu society that knows Vedic Dharma.
4. But the plight of women in Pakistan is extremely horrible. With no rights for divorce and the shameful Hudood ordinance, it has been a nightmare being a woman in a Muslim dominated country. Refer http://agniveer.com/series/womenislam/ for details. Christian women are better off because none of them takes Bible seriously and Churches go empty. They rather seek to align with Vedic Dharma to extent possible, though unknowingly. But if you are a nun, the world knows how they are exploited by spiritual fathers.
18. Allegation:In Rig Veda there are references to slave girls being given in charity as gifts. After killing the men-folk of other tribes, particularly of the native inhabitants, their women were rounded up and used as slave girls. It was custom to present slave girls to one other as gifts. The kings used to present chariots full of slave girls to their kith and kin and priests (Rig Veda 6/27/8). King Trasdasyu had given 50 slave girls. It was custom to present slave girls to Saubhri Kandav (Rig Veda 8/38, 5/47/6).
Agniveer:1. Not again! The mantra in 6.27.8 has a ‘Vadhu’ word which has been misquoted blatantly and foolishly. The sukta refers to national security. The actual mantra means: “May the wise king appoint a council of 20 able dynamic persons to create strategies to defend the nation from enemies.” The word “Vadhumatah” means one who is capable and dexterous in handling multiple situations smartly.
2. The reference to King Trasadasyu has been wrongly given again showcasing that no one even bothered to check the references. But whatever be the case, Tradasyu means one who defeats terrorists and criminals and hence ensures peace and progress. Saubhari means a noble person who takes care of students well. The actual mantra in Rigveda 8.19.36 means: “The king who is very philantrophic and protector of noble ones, who has defeated the terrorists has provided me 50 Vadhus.”
3. Now question is that what does Vadhu mean? Vadhu means anything that brings strength, vitality, protection or bliss. Since Vedic philosophy believes that women are source of all happiness that come in a society, Vadhu refers to a new bride who enters home of in-laws. Thus it can refer to a daughter-in-law or wife or a bride in general. It can also mean an armed force that protects the nation. Thus in no way the mantra refers to slave girls. If you take literal meaning of bride, then it means that King gave 50 already-wed women to a teacher. Obviously it then means that he arranged for marriage of his graduating students. But a more sensible meaning would be that the king gave a battalion of 50 to a general to protect the country. But no way, can it refer to a slave girl.
4. Rig Veda 5.47.6 mentions that: “Those educated women who happily choose their husbands and then give birth to noble children, plan and train their life and those of children in same manner as one weaves a cloth from threads slowly and steadily.” Again, mere presence of root Vadhu made them create all these imaginations.
INTERCOURSE WITHOUT MARRIAGE
19. Allegation:A slave girl was called ‘Vadhu’ (wife), with whom sexual intercourse could be performed without any kind of marriage ceremony. These girls belonged to the men who snatched them from the enemies, or who had received them in dowry, or as gifts. Only the men to whom they belonged could have sexual intercourse with them. But some slave girls were kept as joint property of the tribe or the village. Any man could have sexual relations with them. These girls became the prostitutes. The ‘Vedas’ also talk about ‘Niyog’, the custom of childless, widow or woman having sexual intercourse with a person other than her husband to beget a child.
In simple words ‘Niyog’ means sending a married woman or a widow to a particular man for sexual intercourse so that she gets a son. Indication of this custom is available in ‘Rig Veda’ In ‘Aadiparva’ of ‘Mahabharata’ (chap. 95 and 103), it is mentioned that Satywati had appointed her son to bestow sons to the queens of Vichitrvirya, the younger brother of Bhishma, as a result of which Dhratrashtra and Pandu were born.
Pandu himself has asked his wife, Kunti, to have sexual intercourse with a Brahmin to get a son [Aadi Parva, chapters 120.23]
Agniveer:1. Again a vague allegation. We have provided meaning of Vadhu. Kindly state which dictionary gives so. Even the most modern Amarkosh 3.102 simply states “Vadhurjaya Snusha Stree Cha” or “Vadhu means Wife, Daughter-in-law or Woman”.
2. No reference whatsoever of this fancy story on prostitution, tribe, property etc etc. Perhaps this emanates from Semitic influences where women is merely for satsifaction for lust, and not Vedas which state that woman are source of all goodness in society. Where we pray that may we obtain the Teja of noble ladies!
3. Niyog has been discussed earlier. No need for repetition except that Vedas do not get into these details. They simply recommend a monogamous relationship between one man and one woman for a purposeful non-lustful life. Of course they do recommend that one should start a goal-oriented life after death of husband and not get into either depression or prostitution.
4. As for Mahabharat, well thats a historical text full of interpolations and written in an era when the Vedic values were already dwindling. However evidence in matter of Dharma can come only from Vedas. So kindly cite Vedic references.
5. In any case, even if Niyog existed, that was for men and women alike. Further that was optional and not compulsory. Thus how is this relevant for a discussion on Women Issues?
6. As for intercourse without marriage, Vedas strictly recommend against it. They recommend a relationship between man and woman that is based on commitments and for a purpose. Hidden relationships or goalless relationships are both rejected. Further both man and woman have same rights. However, modern Quran makes blatant mockery of Women Rights. Refer http://agniveer.com/series/womenislam/. Modern Bible, predecessor of Quran, is equally insulting of women. Refer http://agniveer.com/1267/i-am-a-christian-woman/
And for modern western society with all its emphasis on feminism, pre-marital sex is more of a law than an exception. So what benchmarks do we have to put the allegations on Vedas in first place, forget about they carrying weight or not.
CHASTITY OF WOMEN WAS NOT SAFE
2o. Allegation:In the name of ‘beejdan’ (seed donation), they used to have sexual intercourse with issueless women. This was a cruel religious custom and the chastity of the women was not safe. The so called caretakers of the religion were allowed to have sexual intercourse with other man’s wife. From ‘Niyog pratha’ it can be inferred without fear of contradiction that women were looked upon as mere child producing machines.
In The Position of women in Hindu Civilization, Dr. B. R. Ambedkar writes: “Though women is not married to man, she was considered to be a property of the entire family. But she was not getting share out of the property of her husband, only son could be successor to the property.”
Gajdhar Prasad Baudh says [Arya Niti Ka Bhadaphor, 5th ed., p. 14]: “No woman of the Vedic age can be treated as pure. Vedic man could not keep even the relations brother-sister and father-daughter sacred from the oven of rape and debauchery/adultery named ‘Niyog’. Under the influence of intoxication of wine, they used to recognize neither their sister nor their daughter and also did not keep the relations with them in mind. It is evident from their debauchery and adultery what a miserable plight of women was society in then.”
Agniveer:1. Once more vague allegations and no reference. Once more my request: Cite authentic references from Vedas to claim anything for Hinduism and not some historical allegations.
2. Ambedkar is not an authority on Hinduism. He admits in his writings that he has no knowledge of Sanskrit and has referred only to western authors in translations of Vedas.
3. And who is this Gajdhar Prasad Baudh? Yet another Prophet or reincarnation of some old prophet that his words are taken so seriously?
4. As for incest (brother-sister or father-daughter relationship), Vedas recommend harshest punishment that sets example for society. Further, wine drinking is considered a foolish act. In fact anything that dumbs mind – wine, lust or anger – is considered foolishness in Vedic custom. But may be this new Prophet has come with some new revelations! We request your new Prophet to cite specific references instead of vague allegations. (I know this statement is getting repetitious but we have no other option)
21. Allegation:In the ‘Vedas’ there are instances where daughter was impregnated by her father and the sister by her brother. The following example of sexual intercourse is found between father and daughter in the ‘Rig Veda’: “When father had sexual intercourse with his daughter, then with the help of earth he released his semen and at that time the Righteous Devas (deities) formed this ‘Vartrashak (Rudra) Devta’ (Pledge keeper deity named Rudra)” [Atharva Veda 20/96/15].
Agniveer:1. Please re-read the allegation. First sentence mentions that reference is in Rig Veda and the actual reference is provided from Atharva Veda! This itself proves the intent and intellect of those who have created and are propagating the allegation.
2. Let us first provide meaning of Atharva Veda 20.96.15. It says: We shall destroy the person who molests/rapes a woman or kills her children posing as her brother or protector. This mantra justifies why punishment for rape is death sentence as per Vedic Dharma.
3. Now let us provide meaning to actual mantra being alleged to have intercourse between father and daughter. This is Rig Veda 1.164.33. The mantra explains the process of food/herb generation through rainfall. It says: Sunlight is like my father because he provides me nourishment and the earth is like my mother because she supports and feeds me. Sun and Earth face each other as if two armies stand against each other. Clouds impregnate the earth with rainfall so that food and herbs are produced that provide us nourishment. Thus this mantra describes a natural phenomenon through allegory and nowhere states that incest is recommended.
4. Please also note that ‘Duhita’ means one obtained from churning. Thus the mantra also implies that earth is formed from a part of sun that separated out in a process similar to churning. Astro-physicists can corroborate if this process of creation of earth from sun is indeed correct or not.
To conclude, let us provide some additional verses on glory of women from Vedas:
1. Rigveda 10.85.46: May you be empress and lead all.
2. Rigveda 4.14.3: O brilliant woman, remove ignorance with your bright intellect and provide bliss to all.
3. Atharva Veda 14.1.47: O woman, may you be strong and powerful like a rock. May you gain brilliance of sun and have a long prosperous life that benefits all.
4. Yajurveda 5.10: O woman, realize your potential. You are a lioness who can destroy criminals, ignorance and vices and protect the noble ones.
5. Yajurveda 10.26: O woman, you provide bliss and stability to world. You are source of valour.
6. Yajurveda 13.18: O woman, you are as strong as earth and are on very high pedestal. Protect the world from path of vices and violence.
7. Yajurveda 13. 26: O woman, you do not deserve to be defeated by challenges. You can defeat the mightiest challenge. Defeat the enemies and their armies. You have valour of thousands. Please us all.
8. Yajurveda 20.84: May the scholarly woman purify our lives with her knowledge, noble actions and guidance.
9. Yajurveda 20.85: Noble woman motivates us to be on path of truth, love and harmony.
10. Rigveda 2.41.16: O woman, you are the motherly force that provides direction to our life.
11. Rigveda 6.61.2: The way a powerful river breaks down even strongest rocks and hills, in same manner an intelligent woman destroys the fraud propagated by perverted ones. May we bow to such intelligent women.
12. Atharvaveda 7.57.1: Whenever I am hurt emotionally or physically, woman – as a mother, wife, sister etc – provides healing touch and rejuvenates me. I bow in humble respect to her.
May all of us realize the glory of women, as elaborated in Vedas, and establish them on highest pedestal!
NOTE: All translations of mantras of Vedas are based on word by word translations in works of scholars like Swami Dayanand Saraswati, Pt Vishwanath Vidyalankar, Pt Jaydeva and Pt Ramnath Vedalankar. Commentaries by Swami Dayanand, Vedic Naari by Pt Ramnath Vedalankar, Vedik Shabdarth Vichar by Pt Ramnath Vedalankar, Vedic Kosh by Pt Rajveer Shastri have been consulted primarily. All these books can be procured from www.vedicbooks.com.