Just because one doesn’t know anything means that the existence of that thing can be denied. Same is the logic applied when it comes to gazing the religions by the feminists. Around 80% of the country follows the Sanatan Dharma, so the feminists consider it as their holy duty to find patriarchy in the Sanatan Dharma giving its deep philosophical metaphysics a convenient miss.
The precepts of patriarchy as found in the Sanatan Dharma is based in and around the selective sightings from Manu Smriti, a few Chaupais of Sundarkand and the beautiful philosophy that guides the Karmic religion has been painted ‘patriarchal’.
The beauty with which the femininity is appreciated in the philosophical metaphyics of Sanatan Dharma is unparalleled. The concept of the soul is gender neutral and attached to much more earthly and unenlightened aspect of the world, the body or the flesh. The cultural bias that prefer male over female, young over old, fairer skin over darker skin are absent in the philosophy that stresses more over soul. On this day of the International day for men, let us really look whether the Sanatan religion is really a misogynist or is it an attempt to belittle ‘the great one’? Are we so much of anti feminism and so because we are guided by our religious philosophies or is it attempt to paint us with the same brush as with the non Karma based religions that were originally alien to the subcontinent ?
A soul may be born as a woman in one birth while as a man on the other. The stigma attached to the gender arises from the collective thought process of the society that is a bit aloof from the philosophy.
A deeper study of the religious folklore, puranas, Mahabharata etc. will reveal the impunity with which the ‘queerness’ was respected in the society. There are Gods transforming themselves into either gender to realize the pleasures of that particular gender.
The case of Mohini, or the celestial nymph whose get up was adorned by Lord Vishnu to entrap the Bhasmasur shows that there was no stigma attached to women. He again took the get up of Mohini when Arjuna’s son Eravan was being sacrificed for ensuring the victory of the Pandavas in the Mahabharata war. Eravan had expressed his desire to get married before he could sacrifice himself.
Krishna once again took the avatar of ‘Mohini’ to become the wife of Eravan, so that his last wish may get fulfilled.
The folklore of Brij attached to the Gopeshwar temple tells us how Shiva the Nataraja would dip himself in the Yamuna every night to become a woman and be a spectator to the celestial dance of the ‘Natawar’ (Lord Krishna) with his gopis. Even Arjuna his friend, became a gopi to view the spectacular event in the Vrindavan.
In astrology, the planet Buddha has been described as a person without a permanent gender. He was cursed by his father Vrihaspati when he found that Buddha was bourne because of her adultery. Tara, his mother had cheated on Vrihaspati and bourne Buddha from Chandra.
Then there is Shikandi or Shikandini who goes on to avenge her disrespect and became instrumental in getting Bhishma killed in the war of Mahabharata.
Be it the revered deity of Ayyappan or Ayanar, queerness of some form or the other has been attached to their birth, thereby discarding the thought that femininity has been looked down upon in the Sanatan traditions.
Even those whose behaviours were not masculine a 100% are revered as Gods across the Sanatan Dharma. The dilution of masculinity was not considered proscribed.
There are numerous other tales that tell that womenfolk were not accorded a secondary status in the erstwhile societies. The denigration started a lot later when the so called Hinduism got effected by the monastic orders of Buddhism.
The according of a superior status to asetics who were supposed to stay aloof from women in order to obtain ‘Nirvana’ and the prohibition on the women in the Buddhist Sanghas did impact the the traditions of the Sanatana Dharma. Being so ever flexible, it had to reinvent itself in order to save itself from loosing its existence to Buddhism.
The feminists call to paint Sanatan Dharma as misogynist is another attempt to break our socio-cultural fabric and erode the grip of our guiding philosophies.
The call to reform by citing something which is not existing is just another level of tomfoolery that our secular, liberal and feminist ‘jamaat’ seeks to attain. There are bigger and better things that urgently need a call for reform after all ‘triple talaq’ and polygamy are more visible forms of misogyny.