Tuesday, March 06, 2012



A Woman Has No Religion





Perhaps a Baul saint Lalon Fakir (1774–1890) of Bangladesh declared first the notion in his song:
 “Shob loke koy lalon ki jaat shongshaare
Aar lalon bole jaater ki roop,
Dekhlaam-na ei nojore.
Sunnath dile
hoy mussalmaan
Naari jaatir ki hoy bidhaan?
Aami bamun chini poita proman
Bamni chini kishe re?”

(The English translation of that song is like this: “Everyone asks, ‘What religion has Lalon in this world?’ And Lalon says, ‘What the shape of religion is, I have not seen with my eyes’. The religion he speaks of encompasses and surpasses not only religious identity, but also notions of gender. ‘If circumcision makes you a Muslim, what then is the dictum for women? If a Brahmin can be identified by his sacred thread, how shall I know a Brahmin woman?’  asked Lalon.)
Any honest, thinking person cannot ignore the blatant misogyny and barbarity of any religion towards women. The powerful Creator Gods were the product of a patriarchal, tribal, violent, intolerant society. They reflect the ignorance and brutality of that society and at the dawn of a new millennium, fundamentalists insist that we should all abide by their religious law. Here are some examples how some of our prominent religions are misogynistic and sexist in their attitudes.




Women in Hinduism
All women are liars, corrupt, greedy, and unvirtuous. (Manu II 1)
·         It is the nature of women to seduce men in this (world); the wise are never unguarded in the company of males (Manu II. 213).
·         Killing of a woman, a Shudra, or an atheist is not sinful. Women are an embodiment of the worst desires, hatred, deceit, jealousy and bad character. Women should never be given freedom (Manu IX. 17 and V. 47, 147).
·         One should not sit in a lonely place with one's mother, sister, or daughter, for the senses are powerful and master even a learned man (Manu II. 215).
·         A Brahmin male, by virtue of his birth, becomes the first husband of all women in the universe (Manu III. 14).
·         Though destitute or virtuous, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife (Manu V. 154).
·         At her pleasure, let her (i.e. widow) enunciate her body by living voluntarily on pure flowers, roots, and fruits, but let her not, when her lord is deceased, even pronounce the name of another man (Manu V. 157).
·         A woman must always maintain her virtue and surrender her body to her husband only, even if she is married off to an ugly person or even a leper (Manu IX. 14).
·         Women have no right to study the Vedas. That is why their Sanskars are performed without Veda Mantras. Women have no knowledge of religion because they have no right to know the Vedas. The uttering of Veda Mantras, they are as unclean as untruth is" (Manu IX. 18).
·         None of the acts of women can be taken as good and reasonable (Manu X.4).
·         A woman shall not perform the daily sacrifices prescribed by the Vedas. If she does it, she will go to hell (Manu XI. 36/37)



Women in Islam
·         Men are superior to women (Surah 2:228).
·         Women have half the rights of men: a) Half rights in court witness (Surah 2:282), b)Half rights in inheritance (Surah 4:11).
·         . Women are a possession (Surah 3:14).
·         Women are unclean (Surah 4:43).
·         Women to veil themselves always when they are outside their home (Surah 24:31).
·         Women are lacking in mind and religion (Al Bukhary Vol. 2:541).
·         They [women?] are a bad omen (Al Bukhary Vol. 7:30).
·         Women are harmful to men (Al Bukhary Vol. 7:33).
·         Men are free to polygamy (Surah 4:3).
·         Men are free to divorce his wife by oral announcement (Surah 2:229).
·         When a husband has pronounced divorce three times on his wife, she then may not lawfully remarry her husband until she has married and been divorced by another man (including having intimate relation with him) (Surah 2:230).
·         A wife is subject to punishment by her husband (Surah 4:34).




Women in Buddhism
·         Women are irritable, jealous, greedy and unintelligent, thus undeserving of any worthy undertaking (Anguttara Nikaya 4:80, in Nyanatiloka/Nyanaponika, 1984).
·         They snare of Mara, the Evil One (Anguttara Nikaya 6:55).
·         can never become fully enlightened (Anguttara Nikaya 1:15).
·         Women are compared with a chain of bones, a lump of flesh, a grass torch, a pit of glowing embers, a slaughterhouse, spears, swords and a poisonous snake (Anguttara Nikaya 5:76).
·         Women are the source of disorder; they are foolish, lowly and weak; their sole duty is to serve their husband (see Confucius' Analects 8:20, 17:25, 18:4).
Women were not allowed to become members in a ‘sangha’ during Buddha’s time. But it is the attempt of Ananad, a disciple, Buddha at last agreed to have female members in his ‘sangha’ with the following conditions:
·         A Bhikkuni (nun) even if she was in the Order for 100 years must respect a Bhikkhu (monk) even of a day's standing.
·         A Bhikkuni must reside within 6 hours of traveling distance from the monastery where Bhikkhus reside for advice.
·         On Observance days, a Bhikkhuni should consult the Bhikkhus.
·         A Bhikkhuni must spend rainy season retreats under the orders of both Bhikhus and Bhikkhunis.
·         A Bhikkhuni must live her life by both the orders.
·         A Bhikkhuni must on two years obtain the higher ordination (Upasampatha) by both Orders.
·         A Bhikkhuni cannot scold a Bhikkhu.
·         A Bhikkhuni cannot advise a Bhikkhu.




Women in the Bible
·         Eve created from Adam's rib. (Genesis 2:22).
·         Cain marries sister (Genesis 4:17).
·         Man marries two wives (Genesis 4:19).
·         Keeping many concubines is OK (Genesis 25:1-6).
·         Samson gives wife to another man (Judges 14:20).
·         Samson visits prostitute (Judges 16:1)
·         David took many wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13).
·         Ammon rapes his own sister (2 Samuel 13:14).
·         Absalom sleeps with his father's concubines (2 Samuel 16:21-22).
·         Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines (1 Kings 11:3).
·         Women are property of men (Exodus 20:17).
·         OK to sell daughters. Female slaves can be used for sex. Polygamy permitted. Unwanted female slaves can be set "free" without payment of money (Exodus 21:7-11).
·         Burn daughters (Leviticus 21:9).
·         Rape victim must marry rapist; rape victim's father compensated for depreciation of his property (Deuteronomy 22:28).
·         Woman's vow invalid unless approved by her father or husband (Numbers 30:1-16).
·         Do not waste strength on women (Proverbs  31:3).
·         Woman created for man (I Corinthians 11:2-10).
·         Women must be silent in churches (I Corinthians 14:34).




And lastly, my two cents:
Religion, I think, is always a patriarchal concept, though it's my personal assumption and I adhere to it.  But I am against this. I am looking, myself, at the point where Lalon Fakir once placed himself.

10 comments:

Supriya Panda said...

Whoever wants to have a religion can have irrespective of his/her gender. Because religion is the deepest self-realisation with a positive attitude towards life. But unfortunately many rituals and "Lokachar"s have been believed to be religion which is incorrect. More unfortunate is when we see that in the name of religion how wrong things were/are imposed on women and they were/are being tortured. Saroj, I have gone through Lallan's life-history and his wonderful songs, and what a positive philosophy he had at that age !! I respect him like nything. At that time many people, both men and women who were tortured by the then "uppercast"s, took shelter in Lallan's place where they lived a cast-less life. You may be knowing that even Rabindranath found Lallan's songs as very essential for cleansing the then society. So I personally believe that both men and women must seggregate rituals from religion and prohibit the imposition in the name of religion. Saroj, I am not against rituals, because some are very sweet and interesting, but I never confuse it with religion.

श्रीकान्त मिश्र 'कान्त' said...

मेरी उपरोक्त कथन से सहमति है .. साथ ही प्रश्न भी उठता है कि यदि नारी का कोई धर्म नहीं तो उसकी सन्तति का धर्म कैसे ? .. इसलिये मेरे विचार से मूलत: धर्म की अवधारणा ही हेतु पूरक व्यवस्था मात्र तक सीमित है। शेष जो व्यवहृत धर्म है वह मात्र सामाजिक सत्ता हेतु आडम्बर ही है। वास्तविक आध्यात्मिक उन्नति के मार्ग पर चलने वाला व्यक्ति अपने जीवन से सबसे पहले यदि किसी का परित्याग करता है तो संभवत: वह है इसी तथाकथित धार्मिक संकीर्णता का। इस के उपरान्त ही उसकी अध्यात्म के मार्ग पर प्रगति होती है। उदाहरण के लिये आध्यात्मिक रूप से जागृत सभी महान विभूतियों के जीवन गाथायें हैं। उनके आचरण में सर्व धर्म समभाव ही मुखर एवं परिलक्षित है जो तथाकथित सम्प्रदाय की वयवस्था के विपरीत है।

अत: उपरोक्त वाक्य से सम्पूर्ण सहमति के साथ मैं कहना चाहता हूं कि जिसे हम भ्रम वश धर्म कहते हैंवह मात्र एक व्यवस्था है।

सादर

vinay said...

Though i have not gone through much,religious books,but i know bit about manusamhita,and it has denied rituals,to be performed by women,but the creator of men and women is God,Allah,aur ishwar,whatever a any person call to allighty,nirgun,sagun,dwait aur adwait,he has created both the genders males and females,to balance the nature.
shiv is masculine without shakti,shiv is shub without shakti which is Feminine,and represnted by kali,durga,radha,sita. I had read the many ancient spiritual stories,eg Gargi who defeated yagvalakya in shastrarth,wife of mandal mishra who defeated shankryacharya in shastrath,In this universe if there is no energy or shakti,then there will be no creation,because everything is in lifeless stage without shakti,which is Feminine.
The soul of men or women or any creature of God does not have any gender,which is part of God,"atma ansh jeev avinashi",the soul can enter in any body irrespective of gender,"atma ansh hai parmatma ka".
So according to me,every social norms can be performed by men or women.yes i agree there is some physical and emotional difference is between men and women,which is necessary for balancing nature.

Masud Ahmad said...

লালনের জীবনদর্শন আপনার বেশ ভালো লাগছে, তাইনা?
নারী দিবসে আমরা নির্বিশেষে মানবিক হওয়ার পার্থনা করি...

Ganesh World said...

The code set by manu is a lot discriminating to woman reducing them to something like menial workers.

The caste system mentioned in the smriti is unbelievable that it gives the feeling as though caste system had something to do with hinduism.

how come an incarnation of vishnu, give mankind, a set of codes that sets a sort of discriminative rules against the weaker sez, and the rigid caste system?
The code of Manu states "In childhood a female must be subject to her father (Pita), in youth to her husband(Pati), then to her sons (Putra); a woman must never be independent. There is no God on earth for a woman than her husband.....She must on the death of her husband allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre. That everyone will praise her virtue."
for more details: http://www.bhagwanvalmiki.com/manu-smriti.htm

SHEY EDWARD DINAYEN said...

Christianity dignifies the woman through whom the Savior of the world came.She is seen as man's suitable helper with whom man works and who is to be loved and protected by him.When a man finds a wife he finds a good treasure and obtains favor from God.There reaches a point where men should know that before God, man is not different from woman as it has become a mystery that the first woman was made from man but now all men are born by women.And when we'll stand before the Judgment Seat of God no mention will be made any longer about our sex.These and more show how Christianity sees woman, the one to be loved and respected by her children who call her with their father ''blessed''.

Silke Liria Blumbach said...

BUT THERE IS FEMININE SPIRITUALITY in many variations (MY WAY), and it is extremely empowering, and nourishing to the soul, thus being an important complement to political and social feminist commitment (YOUR WAY).
For years I read about matriarchy and followed the path of the witch, which is the way of the old matriarchal ways here. I was not interested in magic, but mysticism. The GODDESS. But as I didn't find a convenient group, I shifted to other ways of spiritual practice.
Then in autumn 2010 I experienced the Durga Puja in Berlin. Although in the male-led Hindu context, it was the first time that I experienced the worship of the Goddess as being something alive. It was a bit like homecoming, I thought: this is what I have been looking for for ten years...

Silke Liria Blumbach said...

Religion has often be abused to reinforce patriarchy. On March 8th, also Sri Caitanya's appearance day, I read an appalling quote of Iskcon's founder Srila Prabhupada, claiming that women are the most dangerous weapon of maya. Men who blame women as the object of their desires when they themselves are unable to control their senses have the logic of a child who bumps into a table and says that the table is bad.
BUT THERE IS FEMININE SPIRITUALITY in many variations (MY WAY), and it is extremely empowering, and nourishing to the soul, thus being an important complement to political and social feminist commitment (YOUR WAY).
For years I read about matriarchy and followed the path of the witch, which is the way of the old matriarchal ways here. I was not interested in magic, but mysticism. The GODDESS. But as I didn't find a convenient group, I shifted to other ways of spiritual practice.
Then in autumn 2010 I experienced the Durga Puja in Berlin. Although in the male-led Hindu context, it was the first time that I experienced the worship of the Goddess as being something alive. It was a bit like homecoming, I thought: this is what I have been looking for for ten years...

Manas Mallick said...

If a woman has no religion,then nothing to worry...so called institutional religions are against the humanity and equality, though there are many written religious texts which contain some favorable lines for women, but those seem to be contradictory...all institutional religions in the world are alike....one has to go above all these to establish humanity..and humanity knows no discrimination irrespective of caste, colour, gender etc.

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Good to read your concept and idea about women and no religion. I write in malayalam and just borrowing your idea to write my own version of the same concept.how will you justify it??

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