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The Living Dead

Once upon a time widows were burned alive on their dead husband’s funeral pyres. It was believed that if a widow burn herself to death soon after her husband died, her husband would go to heaven and all his sins would be gone with the wind. Suttee or sati (“good woman” or “chaste wife”) was the Indian tradition of a widow burning herself. The practice of Sutee was banned in 1829.

‘Suttee was sometimes committed voluntarily, but cases of compulsion, escape, and rescue are known. Scattered instances of it continue to occur, most notoriously in the case of Roop Kanwar, an 18-year-old widow who committed suttee in 1987. The incident was highly controversial, as groups throughout India either publicly defended Kanwar’s actions or declared that she had been murdered.’

Religion supports widow burning.

‘The most sacred of Hindu scriptures are the Vedas, and the Rig Veda, the oldest Veda, explicitly sanctions the custom of Sati. The following famous `Sati Hymn’ of the Rig Veda has been recited during the actual immolation of the widow . Rig Veda 10.18.7 : ” Let these women, whose husbands are worthy and are living, enter the house with ghee (applied) as corrylium ( to their eyes). Let these wives first step into the pyre, tearless without any affliction and well adorned.’

Rise, come unto the world of life, O woman — come, he is lifeless by whose side thou liest. Wifehood with this thy husband was thy portion, who took thy hand and wooed thee as a lover. (RV 10.18.8)

The Garudapurana favourably mentions the immolation of a widow on the funeral pyre, and states that women of all castes, even the Candalla woman, must perform Sati. The only exceptions allowed by this benevolent author is for pregnant women or those who have young children. If women do not perform sati, then they will be reborn into the lowly body of a woman again and again till they perform Sati. [ Garuda.Purana. II.4.91-100 ]

* A sati who dies on the funeral pyre of her husband enjoys an eternal bliss in heaven [ Daksa Smrti IV.18-19 ] [ Sm.Samu p.30 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]

* According to Vasishta’s Padma-Purana, a woman must, on the death of her husband, allow herself to be burnt alive on the same funeral pyre

* Yajnavalkya, the most important law-giver after Manu, states that sati is the only way for a chaste widow [ Apastamba.I.87 ] [ 1200, p.65 ]

* The Yogini Tantra enjoins upon Brahmana widows to burn themselves on the funeral pyre of their husbands [ Yog.T. II.303-308 ]. Vaisya and Sudra widows were also allowed to do it. It was prohibited to unchaste women and those having many children. [ 1200, p.67 ]

* The Vyasa Smrti gives one of the two alternatives for a Brahmana widow, ie. either to become a sati or to take up ascetism after her tonsure [ Vyasa Sm. II.53 ] [ Sm.S. p.362 ]

Further, the Vishnusmirti gives only two choices for the widow:

Vishnu Smirti.XXV.14 : “If a woman’s husband dies, let her lead a life of chastity, or else mount his pyre”

— [ Vis.Sm. xxv.14 ] [ Clay.13 ]

Brahma is one of the main Aryan gods, being the creator of the world ( later he was identified as an incarnation of Vishnu ). One of the Puranas is named after him, the Brahma Purana. Like other Puranas, it was composed after the Vedas ( Pandits hold 4000 B.C., Indologists 700 B.C.) This scripture also sanctions sati:

Brahma Purana.80.75 : ” It is the highest duty of the woman to immolate herself after her husband “.

Long life is promised to the sati:

Brahma Purana.80.76, 80.77 : ” She [ the sati ] lives with her husband in heaven for as many years as there are pores in the human body, ie. for 35 million years.”

— [ Br.P. 80.76, 80.77 ] [ Sheth 103 ]

Vishnu Dharmasutra XXV.14 contains the statement: ” On her husband’s death, the widow should observe celibacy or should ascend the funeral pyre after him.”

Remember Rudyard Kipling’s poem The Last Suttee?

Widows are excluded from society.
There is a ceremony during the funeral of husband. Widows smash their bangles, remove their vermilion, colorful clothes and all jewelries they have been wearing. Widows have to wear simple white clothes. They are forced to shave their heads. They are not allowed to eat fish, meat, eggs, milk, onions, garlic and many different kinds of vegetable, animal products and spices. They have to fast many times a month. Widows are not thrown on the funeral pyres these days, but they are thrown on some other kinds of pyres. That is not any less traumatic.

There are more than 40 million widows in India. Most of them are ‘living dead’.

A widow’s family members would be excluded from the society if they didn’t respect to the restrictions society impose on widows. A widow is considered a bad omen, she is excluded from all auspicious events. In some cases even her shadow is considered polluting or offensive to society.

‘In India, widows are an invisible community. Although many widows are treated less harshly nowadays, they still face discrimination and neglect. People treat widowhood not as a natural stage in the life cycle of a woman, they treat it as some kind of an aberration. People accept death but do not accept widowhood. “Because somewhere in the Indian psyche, the woman’s identity is with the man and the minute he’s not there, it’s something that cannot be accepted.” Women are not considered as separate human beings. Your husband is dead, you are dead. The suffering of widows is one of the brutal consequences of patriarchy.

Shunned from society, widows flock to Vrindaban and Varanasi, pilgrimage towns to die. Young widows are often sexually exploited. Older women beg at temple gates. Some go to Ashrams where they chant prayers. For a four hour chant they can earn a cup of rice and 7 rupees( 12 cents).’

‘Hindu widows are not supposed to remarry. With little social or economic status, many become destitute. The truth is, women do not lose their dignity and basic rights when they lose their husbands. But our anti-women society do not like to think about women’s basic human rights.

What happens when a man’s wife dies? Is he treated as a bad omen? Is he excluded from all auspicious events? Does he stop eating certain food and stop wearing colorful clothes? Is he sent to a lonely place where he has nothing to do but to wait for his death? No. Men don’t get abandoned, they remarry young women and start a new life.

You can always watch Water, a great movie. The story of an eight-year-old widow.

Comments

  1. Taru Dutt says

    I am an Indian woman. Taslimadi is right about the way India treats widows, especially and most importantly Hindu India – and shame on me as a human being if I were to deny the truth of her words. I will not deny the truth because it is ugly, because it is inconvenient. She is right; she is right; she is right.

    Taslimadi, say on! Solidarity and admiration.

    • CuriousSkeptic says

      Taru.. The most important thing is to recognize the problem. It is half the solution. I admire your courage.

      • CuriousSkeptic says

        No need to mention Taslimaji’s life time work for the betterment of women.
        PS. I am an Indian-American male.

    • Ram says

      Hello,

      I have come across the topic ‘Sati’ in this website, and want to share my feelings/questions arised(in mind), also wants to take some valuble suggestions from anybody. I have some cases why Sati shouldn’t be abolished totally. Please find them below:

      1) If a girl/woman who totally believed/trusted that his men is her entire world, after he passes away, how can she share the love with others ?…If she is able to share her love , well and good….but what if she is not capable of ?

      2) Let’s take the old couple, whose children were abondened them/child less, what if the old husband dies and she is not capable of doing her regular activities? Is she capable of living lonely till her life end ?

      The above two scenarious made me feeling that Sati practice shouldn’t be totally eradicated.

      I even see, in some cases, “Mercy Killing” is legal in some particular cases, In the same way…why shouldn’t the Sati practice compared to Mercy Killing.

      ———————————————————————————————————————————————–

      I came here not to argue with anybody, but I am on my way to find out suggestions/hints/answers for my questions.

      Any reply/comment should be really appreciated.

      Regards,
      Ram

  2. says

    Sati was recorded only in West Bengal – Despite nummerous scripture quotes, widows in the other parts of India did not commit suicide. The Rig Vedic stanzas quoted here has been misquoted/misinterpreted. It is not a stanza for burning, rather, asking the woman to come away from the pyre.

    It is not that man goes to heaven because his wife has burned herself. Rather the woman because of her chastity.

    Widows are not considered inauspicious at least in Kerala. When a man’s wife dies, in case he is a Brahmana, he stops his daily sacrifices, no ones accepts any dakshina or gifts from him. This is a religious demerit.

    • Taru Dutt says

      Ah, the Hindu apologism has begun. The writer appears to have forgotten about Rajasthan’s satis. But then this sort of memory lapse is normal when one has to face ugly truths… the writer has also forgotten the ill-treatment of women in Kerala – attested to in painful detail by her women writers. This is quite typical.

      As an Indian woman, AND one brought up as Hindu, and as one not given to lying about the ugly truths of Indian patriarchy and its accompanying misogyny, but rather to exposing them, I implore non-Indian readers not to listen to this Indian male’s pathetic attempt at apologism. His apologism is of the same order as that of those who claim that Islam is a woman-friendly religion. He is attempting to protect the reputation of India and Hinduism while pissing on women themselves – we the real, we the living, we who suffer.

      Women in India are treated like as inferior from the moment the fetus is known to be female. This is a widespread truth all across India. Yes, whether in bloody West Bengal or bloody Kerala.

      • says

        I am not in the habit of lying, Taru. Since you do not know me, I will let it pass. You impute motives without knowing. I would request you to be moderate in your comments.

        When one describes a social custom/mores, one not only looks at its sociological/ideological or religious underpinnings and sees how wide spread or prevalent it is in a given society and then decides. Will Taru Datta answer whether ALL the Bengali widows were burnt? How prevalent was the custom in all of India? Can we have some statistics especially from the British period? Wikipedia describes this and interested parties may click on the link and make their own minds.

        Position of women in all cultures have varied greatly with time, place, and society. To broadstroke entire societies is unfair.

        Let us understand that judging past societies with current societal values is always dangerous. Taru Dutt says “And as for the hint that women enjoy equality in Kerala, that’s even more laughable” Why do you think it is laughable. If you think it wasn’t – please do write a blog.

        • Taru Dutt says

          Not only do you lie, but you resort to the usual apologisms. And the distractions – as though anyone, anywhere, has ever claimed that ALL women in a region are made to commit Sati. As though it needs all women to be killed in order to prove that women in that region and in others are oppressed.

          I am glad, on one level, that you came in here with your lies, damned lies, statistics (or pathetic appeal thereto) and red herrings. You have laid bare, more fully than I ever could, the sheer callousness and hypocrisy among Indians that lies behind the need to defend the indefensible – the cruelty, the willingness to ignore real suffering. Few things can be more nauseating than this – when someone resorts to denial for the sake of ethnic pride – with very real consequences in terms of silencing and or giving the lie to the real suffering of living human beings – who are just not important enough because of their gender. It was necessary for apologists like you to bare their attitudes here, for only so can the true ugliness of India’s treatment of women be revealed. Thus honour to you for coming.

          And shame.

          • Varsha says

            Dear Taru, I’m a woman from Kerala. We have many widows in my family. They lead a normal life. So your comment is not truth.

            Once upon a time, the Brahmin (mostly the Konkani Brahmins who settled in Kerala) ladies were not allowed to re-marry. where as, other caste ladies could. Especially, in the Nair community of Kerala, the wife has the major role. Even I got my mother’s family name – and not Father’s. So Nair women enjoyed good privilege in Kerala. And they still are enjoying. Also, after marriage, in most of the places, the first night of the couples is in girl’s house. Not Boy’s.

            But later, from the Namboodiri people itself, youth came out and stood for widows, they revolted mainly with the help of communist party and eradicated this social evil among them.

  3. Stacy says

    Sati was recorded only in West Bengal – Despite nummerous scripture quotes, widows in the other parts of India did not commit suicide.

    Not according to Wikipedia:

    Records of sati exist across most of the subcontinent.

    ….

    In modern times, sati has been largely confined to Rajasthan, mostly in or near Shekhawati, with a few instances in the Gangetic plain

    This–

    The Rig Vedic stanzas quoted here has been misquoted/misinterpreted

    –seems to be true.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sati_(practice)#Prevalence

    • Taru Dutt says

      Stacy – it’s quite simple. Paratrup lied in his throat. Surprisingly common reaction across all cultures when the deepest, most loathsome truths about one’s culture are blatantly exposed. The lying begins almost instantly. Indians are just as good at it as any other culture, I have noticed. I have also seen similar apologism and denial from Euro-Americans when the ugliest facts about racism are pointed out to them. Suddenly, then the problem is only local (it can only happen in the South) or the person who reports it is exaggerating, or some other response.

      Admit the truth it all its ghastliness – the only thing that will bring about change? Rarely, rarely, does one see such a response from those seeking, though they will never admit that is what they are doing, to protect privilege and sustain national/ethnic supremacy and “pride.”

      • Taru Dutt says

        *Lying about Sati being confined to West Bengal. Bollocks. And as for the hint that women enjoy equality in Kerala, that’s even more laughable – women are treated as inferior, to a greater or lesser extent, all across India. Refusing to admit this only makes the problem worse.

        • Abal says

          @ Taru Dutt
          I agree that women were mistreated and subjected to several atrocities in India by people practising Hindu religion. So were people (both men and women)of different sections of the society under the caste system. But for the sake of historic accuracy, I have to point out that what paratrup said about widows in Kerala(in his/her first post) is true. There is no recorded instance of sati in Kerala. Widow remarriage was common in most sections of the society except among Brahmins. And a matrilineal system was practised by many sects. But I make no claims that the society was by any means egalitarian. Women must have suffered in many other ways. The state of Brahmin women was abject. Caste system was rigid and often the source of great cruelty. But until recent times most of the societies all around the world have been witness to and complicit in treating women as inferior humans.
          I am not an apologist either for Hinduism or Kerala. But I think it is a bit of unfair simplification to make generalized statements about people of a subcontinent, who have diverse beliefs, practices and ways of life and who hence face different kinds of problems.

  4. says

    I think that if widow-burning is recorded in ANY section of any country, it is an atrocity. Same thing with the exclusion of widows from society; if it happens at all, it is a human rights violation.

    It’s especially appalling when the widows are just little girls, because they didn’t get a choice in marrying at that age. When they are cast out of society, it is a waste of an entire lifetime.

  5. Taru Dutt says

    As for the scriptures, whether or not the some scripture justifies it, who cares? Scriptures are written by human hands. Why should one obey them without first using one’s own judgement?

  6. says

    How dare you suggest all husbands want their wives to commit suttee! Sure, of course a husband wouldn’t want his wife to live after he died. It’s called love, you know. But some husbands actually prefer their wives hang themselves or use pills. Your sweeping generalizations about all husbands everywhere don’t acknowledge the sundry acceptable methods of suicide open to wives.

    I demand an immediate apology and retraction and then for you to close your blog forever and never speak a word against the global supremacy of dudery again.

    • anat says

      Sure, of course a husband wouldn’t want his wife to live after he died. It’s called love, you know.

      A very strange form your notion of love takes. This is not love. This is ownership and control. A loving man would wish his wife found new happiness and lived on in good health.

  7. No Light says

    Who gave you the right to come here and make demands on women?

    This may be difficult to grasp, but you’re not in control. No woman here, or anywhere, owes anything to you.

    Patriarchal shamers of women deserve nothing. Women are entitled te speak the truth about heinous religious practices, to SCREAM IT from. every rooftop.

    Truth scares men like you more than anything.

    • No Light says

      Argh,, this was supposed to be a reply to paratrup! Not sure how it got here, stupid threading!

      • Taru Dutt says

        Nolight – as an Indian woman, I can attest that paratrup is giving the reply I’ve heard from countless Indian men – and no small number of female enablers – over the decades. As you said, the truth scares some people – hence the scramble to damage-control by lying.

        Thanks for challenging him. Alas that men like him who seek to deny or downplay the suffering of Indian women in their own country go so often unchallenged!

        • says

          Taru if you thinnk that I have been “challenged” by NoLight you are mistaken. She needs help. 50% of the world comprises of Patriarchal shamers of women” as she puts it. Time should have given you a dispassion to examine an issue dispassionately and objectively. When you describe a social phenomenon you need to see how wide spread a phenomenon it is. In a country of 1 billion or so (may be lesser in past century), you need to see the percentage of population that practised it. I still urge you to give me statistical figures from Bengal and from the rest of the country.

          Let me give you another example. Matriarchy was practised amongst ALL the Nairs, Nambissan, Ambalavasi, Kshatriya and SOME nambooidiri community in Kerala and amongst Bunts in Mangalore. Historically, we know some of the Kuru heroes were also addressed by the maternal names. Does it mean that Hindu society practised matriarchy? No, you can only conclude that some Hindus also practised matriarchy. Further, women in Kerala did wear any upper cloth at all and went bare chested. Does it mean that modern/liberated/western female. No. Just a social phenomena.

          You till have not answered as to why is it that only Bengali widows go to Brindavan? No widows from other states. Tamil Nadu, Andhra and Karnataka have very staunch vaishnavites. Their women are found not there. You need to analyze this better.

          Learn to take off your ideological glasses. They enable you to see better. Rhetoric cannot pass for argument.

          • CuriousSkeptic says

            Paratrup,

            I was born in a Hindu family. I am a man. I did not take dowry or I will not give dowry for my daughter or accept dowry for my son.

            There are still honour killings happening in India. When an upper caste girl falls in love/marries a lower caste boy, there are several instance that either the girl or the boy or the both got killed. This is still happening in all regions of India. Even if it is a small percentage, there should not be any excuse for these cruel practices in Hindu culture. Other cultures may also practice these. That is not a justification for Hindus to do the same. A crime is a crime irrespective of the percentage or the religion or culture or tradition or ethnicity. In villages, girls are afraid to fall in love with other caste boys or the vice verse. Still boys are considered assets and girls as liabilities. Boys earn dowry when they marry. Girls’ parents need to give their life savings as dowry. There are abortions based on the sex of the baby.

            These are shameful acts committed by both men and women. Very few women are fighting against the cruelties on females. Most of the women are accomplices in these heinous crimes.

    • Taru Dutt says

      Ah, Westerners, with murderous imperialism, colonialism, extermination of Native Americans, and the African slave trade, Jim Crow, apartheid, lynchings, and other such cultural characteristics are not the ones capable of cruelty. ALL cultures can be, and often are, cruel.

  8. Gorbachev says

    By and large, it makes me laugh when I hear Muslim or South Asian men tell us how society should be run.

    When it comes to women’s rights, India largely can only teach the West what not to do, or how to resist vicious and brutalizing patriarchy under its worst conditions.

  9. Slaughter says

    I first heard of this from a story about Charles James Napier, the British general in charge of India in the 1840s. This is from Wikipedia:

    A story for which Napier is often noted involved Hindu priests complaining to him about the prohibition of Sati by British authorities. This was the custom of burning a widow alive on the funeral pyre of her husband. As first recounted by his brother William, he replied:

    “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.”

  10. Azuma Hazuki says

    Thank you for bringing this to the public eye again. I’ll wager most of your audience is in the Western hemisphere, and most of it (even me, at this point!) had forgotten that such things still happen…though likely many people here never even knew it.

    For whatever this is worth, I have high hopes for the subcontinent as enough technology and education filter down into it. My sister works with a very large Indian/American crossover group in NYC and it’s run by women from the ground up; I’ve no doubt she will contribute to the cause. I personally may become a travelling volunteer (“Peace Corps”) in a few years in the region.

    There’s still some hope. I believe you are doing a good deed by keeping these atrocities uppermost in the minds of the public consciousness. This should be a simple human rights issue, because men and women are both humans and diminishing the rights of any part of humanity diminishes them all.

    • paratrup2012 says

      Dear Azuma, Sati was practiced by the upper caste men in in the Eastern part of the country in 1800s. The tradition is dead now; One recorded instance was Room Kanwar in the state of Rajasthan. We are living in the 21st century. Never mind in case you wish to rant about something that is dead and long gone. That is your choice when you need to focus you energies on more pressing concerns of today.I give up.

  11. kiran says

    This writer is making a mountain out of a molehill. The scriptures have been totally misquoted and taken out of context. Sati means ‘virtuous woman’ and does NOT mean “widow-burning”–There is NO Sanskrit word for Widow burning.
    It seems pretty hopeless trying to explain anything to this guy/girl who swears, huffs and puffs at those trying to add another perspective to his misconceptions.

    Now as for criminals who burn their daughter-in-laws may have arisen out of misconception of their beliefs, in the same way that caste System grew or that ‘Thugees’ grew. It happens and these certainly needs to be addressed.

    This article however is hopelessly laying the blame on ALL Hindus and their religion by a person so proud to point out the errors of their way because he himself claims to be a Hindu and therefore is justified in making all his claims.
    Naturally westerners and those who dislike Hindus will love and lap up this article.

    I’ll be very surprised if my comment even passes any stage.
    I wont be surprised if it does —I’ll get a lot of abuse about being in denial or being an apologist or being naive or liars, or bacward or dumb or whatever other name calling you have made to others here.

    Corruption Crime and many other problems exist and Hindus are not blind to it. There are actions being sought to Educate and Eradicate. India is a massive nation with tribal and cultural backwardness that still exist. Murder in the name of Sati may take place here and there but these are problems we need to eradicate by Justice and Education through films is one way.

    Howling ‘blue murder’ on blogs and all Hindus and Indians are therefore murderers and follow this sati, I am very righteous — is nothing but a farce from an immature mouth.

  12. arya says

    tasleema nashreen challange to u
    der is no sati system in vedas ..
    first u have lack of knwledge of hinduism
    listen there is two things in hinduism
    first shtuti and second smirti
    shtuti means revealed by ishwara ( god)
    smiriti means written by humans
    only vedas are shuti means revealed by ishwara.
    now like i know you are a copy paste
    you went to some web sites ..and copied frm there..
    as u knw very well indian was ruled by mughals and britishers
    what they did with us..they interpolated our books..still world are reading der translation of vedas…
    but adi shankarcharya and rishi dayananda re establish vedic values
    more over u have seen mahabrhta or ramayana did u see any sati system in those epics….
    no book in hinduism can challenge vedas..if one verses of book is against vedas ..it wuld be reject reject cos it is aginst the vedas…now i will show u vedas hymns…

  13. arya says

    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.

  14. arya says

    rig ved 10.18.8 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. ”

    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.”

    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!

  15. arya says

    tasleema nasrin specially for u about our holy vedas..i proud to be an arya..
    Women are accorded the greatest respect in Vedas. Still, ignorant semi-literate communists keep propagating the false propaganda that Vedas demean women. Presented here are verses from Vedas obtained from texts of most learned scholars in this field to establish the truth.

    Atharva Ved

    Atharva 11.5.18

    In this mantra of Brahmcharya Sukta, it is emphasized that girls too should train themselves as students and only then enter into married life. The Sukta specifically emphasizes that girls should receive the same level of training as boys.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 8

    Girls should train themselves to become complete scholars and youthful through Brahmcharya and then enter married life.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya, Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 413-414)

    Atharva 14.1.6

    Parents should gift their daughter intellectuality and power of knowledge when she leaves for husband’s home. They should give her a dowry of knowledge.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 8,9

    When girls ignore external objects and develops foresight and vibrant attitude through power of knowledge, she becomes provider of wealths of skies and earth. Then she should marry an eligible husband.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya, Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 654)

    Atharva 14.1.20

    Oh wife! Give us discourse of knowledge

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    The bride may please everyone at her husband’s home through her knowledge and noble qualities.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 660)

    Atharva 7.46.3

    Teach the husband ways of earning wealth

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    Protector of children, having definite knowledge, worth thousands of prayers and impressing all directions, O women, you accept prosperity. O wife of desrving husband, teach your husband to enhance wealth.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 804)

    Similar meaning

    (Book: Atharvaved ka subodh bhashya (7-10 chapters), Author: Sripad Damodar Satvalekar, Page 97)

    Atharva 7.47.1

    Oh woman! You are the keeper of knowledge of all types of actions (karma).

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    O woman, you provide us wealth and prosperity.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 804)

    Similar meaning:

    (Book: Atharvaved ka subodh bhashya (7-10 chapters), Author: Sripad Damodar Satvalekar, Page 98)

    Atharva 7.47.2

    Oh woman! You know everything. Please provide us strength of prosperity and wealth

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    O woman! You enhance our wealth and prosperity

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 805)

    Similar meaning:

    (Book: Atharvaved ka subodh bhashya (7-10 chapters), Author: Sripad Damodar Satvalekar, Page 98)

    Atharva 7.48.2

    Oh woman! Please provide us with wealth through your intellect

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    Scholarly, respectful, thoughtful, happy wife protects and enhances wealth and bring happiness in home.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 806)

    Similar meaning:

    (Book: Atharvaved ka subodh bhashya (7-10 chapters), Author: Sripad Damodar Satvalekar, Page 99)

    Atharva 14.1.64

    Oh woman! Utilize your vedic intellect in all directions of our home!

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    O bride! Reach the home of scholars and bring bliss and happiness by ruling your home

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 678)

    Atharva 2:36:5

    Oh bride! Step into the boat of prosperity and take your husband beyond the ocean of worldy troubles into realms of success

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 12, 13

    O bride! Step into the indestructible boat of prosperity and take your husband to shores of success.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 219)

    Atharva 1.14.3

    Oh groom! This bride will protect your entire family

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 13

    O groom! This bride is protector of your entire family. May she dwell in your home for a period and sow seeds of intellect.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 80-81)

    Atharva 2.36.3

    May this bride become the queen of the house of her husband and enlighten all.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 13

    Similar meaning as above

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 218)

    Atharva 11.1.17

    These women are pure, sacred and yajniya (as respected as yajna); they provide us with subjects, animals and food

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 13

    These women are pure, sacred, worth being worship, worth being served, of great character, scholarly. They have given subjects, animals and happiness to the entire society.

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 352)

    Atharva 12.1.25

    Oh motherland! Give us that aura which is present in girls

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 13

    May we have the same aura and prosperity as in women!

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 480)

    Atharva 12.2.31

    Ensure that these women never weep out of sorrow. Keep them free from all diseases and give them ornaments and jewels to wear.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 13-14

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 507)

    Atharva 14.1.20

    Hey wife! Become the queen and manager of everyone in the family of your husband.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 14

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 660)

    Atharva 14.1.50

    Hey wife! I am holding your hand for prosperity

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 14

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 672)

    Atharva 14.1.61

    Hey bride! You shall bring bliss to all and direct our homes towards our purpose of living

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 14

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 677)

    Atharva 14.2.71

    Hey wife! I am knowledgeable and you are also knowledgeable. If I am Samved then you are Rigved.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 14

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 708)

    Atharva 14.2.74

    This bride is illuminating. She has conquered everyone’s hearts!

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 14

    May the bride be victorious and prosperous!

    Similar meaning

    (Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Page 709)

    Atharva 7.38.4and 12.3.52

    Women should take part in the legislative chambers and put their views on forefront.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 23

    Rigved

    Rig 10.85.7

    Parents should gift their daughter intellectuality and power of knowledge when she leaves for husband’s home. They should give her a dowry of knowledge.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 9

    Rig 3.31.1

    The right is equal in the fathers property for both son and daughter

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 21

    Rig 10.159

    A women speaks after waking up in morning, “My destiny is as glorious as the rising sun. I am the flag of my home and society. I am also their head. I can give impressive discourses. My sons conquer enemies. My daughter illuminates the whole world. I myself am winner of enemies. My husband has infinite glory. I have made those sacrifices which make a king successful. I have also been successful. I have destroyed my enemies.”

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 24

    The sun has gone up; my prosperity and happiness also have mounted high. Quite sure, I have regained the love of my husband, triumphing over my rivals.

    I am the emblem, I am the head, I am supreme and now I dictate; my husband must conform to my will; rivals now I have none.

    My sons are destroyers of my enemies; my daughter is a queen; and I am victorious. My and my husband’s love has a wide reputation.

    O enlightened, I have offered that oblation which has been offered by the one, the most illustrious and thus I have become renowned and most powerful; I have freed myself from my rival damsels.

    I am free from rivals; I am now the destructress of rivals, victorious and triumphant; I have seized other’s glory as if it were the wealth of weaker dames, who do not endure long. I have gained victory over these my rivals, so that I have my imperial sway over this hero and his people.

    (Book: Rgveda Samhita, Vol XIII, Author: Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati & Satyakam Vidyalankar, Ved Pratishthana, New Delhi) Page 4697

    Appendix to above hymn (Page 4813) of same book:

    Saci is the Rsi as well as the devata of the hymn. Saci is the Queen-Empress of the State or the Queen on her own accounts in a democratic state (the lady-President, or the Lady-Prime Minister of the State). Her sons and daughters are also dedicated to the State.

    Rig ved 1.164.41

    One ved, two ved, or four ved along with ayurved, dhanurved, gandharved, aarthved etc in addition with education, kalp, grammar, nirukt, astrology, meters i.e the six vedaang should be attained by the clear-minded woman, which is equivalent to the crystal-clear water and spread this diversified knowledge among the people.

    (Book: Vagambhraniya, Author: Dr Priyamvada Vedbharti)

    O men and women! A scholarly woman who has practiced or teaches one, two or four Vedas or four Vedas and four upavedas, along with grammar, etymology etc and spreads knowledge to whole world and removes ignorance of people is source of happiness for entire world. A woman who studies and teaches all parts of Vedas brings progress to all human beings

    (Book: Rigveda Bhashyam, Part III, Author: Dayanand Saraswati,Vedic Yantralaya, Page 382,383)

    Rig ved 10.85.46

    Like wise in so many other mantras a woman has been presented to play an essential role in family and as wife. Similarly she has been given the lead stage in society works, in governmental organizations, and for ruling the nation is also mentioned inVedas.

    (Book: Vagambhraniya, Author: Dr Priyamvada Vedbharti)

    Rigevda contains several Suktas containing description of Usha as a God. This Usha is representation of an ideal woman. Please refer “Usha Devata” by Pt Sri Pad Damodar Satvalekar as part of “Simple Translation of Rigveda (Rigved ka subodh bhashya)”. Page 121 to 147 for summary of all such verses spread across entire Rigveda. In summary:

    Women should be brave (Page 122, 128)
    Women should be expert (Page 122)
    Women should earn fame (Page 123)
    Women should ride on chariots (Page 123)
    Women should be scholars (Page 123)
    Women should be prosperous and wealth (Page 125)
    Women should be intelligent and knowledgeable (Page 126)
    Women should be protector of family and society and get in army(Page 134, 136)
    Women should be illuminating (Page 137)
    Women should be provider of wealth, food and prosperity (Page 141- 146)

    Yajurved

    Yajur 20.9

    There are equal rights for men and women to get appointed as ruler.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Chapter 1: Women in Vedic Dharma, Page 24

    Yajur 31.11

    In this mantra the Brahman, kshatriya, vaishya and shudra are there in each human body. Brahmin from the head, king from the shoulders, vaishya from the thigh, and shudra by feet. The progeny of the shudra through his karma(actions) can grow to be a Brahman.

    (Book: Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavrat Vedavachaspati, Gurukul Kangri University)

    Yajur 16.44

    There should me a women army. Let the women be encouraged to participate in war.

    (Book: Vagambhraniya, Author: Dr Priyamvada Vedbharti)

    Yajur ved 10.26

    In this mantra it is enforced that the wife of ruler should give education of politics to the others. Likewise the king do justice for the people, the queen should also justify her role.

    (Book: Vagambhraniya, Author: Dr Priyamvada Vedbharti)

    Yajur ved 30.15

    (Book: Vagambhraniya, Author: Dr Priyamvada Vedbharti)

    Bibliography

    Mera Dharma, Author: Priyavart Vedavachaspati (Hindi)
    Publisher: Prakashan Mandir, Gurukul Kangri University, Haridwar
    Book: Rgveda Samhita, Vol XIII, Author: Swami Satya Prakash Saraswati & Satyakam Vidyalankar, Ved Pratishthana, New Delhi
    “Usha Devata” by Pt Sri Pad Damodar Satvalekar as part of “Simple Translation of Rigveda (Rigved ka subodh bhashya)”, Swadhyaya Mandal,, Aundh
    Atharvaveda-Hindi Bhashya Part 1 and 2, Author: Kshemkarandas Trivedi, Sarvadeshik Arya Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi
    Atharvaved ka subodh bhashya (7-10 chapters), Author: Sripad Damodar Satvalekar

  16. arya says

    and more over taslimaa sister..
    i dont want to talk abt smiriti,,
    cos i dont follow smiriti .
    if someone do against vedas it simply means he is anti vedas..
    vedas means knwledge not only book..

  17. arya says

    even i respect u tasleema
    u r very intelligent but dont say against anything abt vedas..
    if u think vedas have really problem u can go to arya samaj in india….they have original verses and all that ..white people screwed everything in india..namaste

  18. arya says

    more over there is not caste in hindusim …i can prove anyone in the world.. debate to all of u who says der is sati system in vedas and caste sytem in vedas

  19. kiran says

    I was listening to some talk on a Radio and it was a Muslim who out of the blues was quoting about Sati (not the first time). His concerns were about the poor women in India but he failed to see the concerns of women in Islam all around the world, where a child today is shot for speaking up, where women drivers are banned from driving and so forth blah blah blah.
    Muslims who bring up Sati are only bent on inciting hatred towards Hindus, by preaching other Muslims such stuff in their places of worship.
    I wonder why they never preach Love and Brotherhood? Muslims always look down upon Hindus with some petty quotes from their bible and our bibles.
    Its a sorry state of affairs that Muslims resort to petty name smearing campaign.
    Off course I would also like to point out that not Muslims are like this so Im not trying to paint all Muslims with the same brush.

  20. Prabhat says

    Don’t why these people misquotes our texts…Sati was never practiced in ancient India …this system came when muslim invaders after killing mens take their women as sex slaves as quran permits…Due to this women started giving their life to save their honour this was first observed in Rajasthan named as “Johar”….

    Vedas gives highest respect to women both vedas and Manusmriti talks about Remarriage of Widow women…it is a big shame these people often miss quotes our texts…

    Why you guys misquotes of texts…Regarding Holy Vedas here is the correct meaning..

    “rig ved 10.18.8 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. ”

    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.”

    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!”

    Anyway this evil was dead 200 yr ago .Pople still rant about it.If some body interested how vedas give highest respect to women can have a read here..
    http://agniveer.com/women-in-vedas/

  21. says

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  22. Srinivasan says

    First Muslims came and found this despicable practice in India and reduced it greatly . Then the Britishers came and totally eradicted it by making it illegal and strictly rooting it out – note Genreal napier’s comments which clearly indicate the state of things. Thanks to the revulsion of the foreigners, now Hindus can loudly say – “we do not have sati, why is everyone speaking out against us? ” And then they try to intimidate others – where are the stastics? Stastics about the past are not available immediately. When Roop Kunwar’s happen, these solitary instances reveal a lot, and the normal reaction to it by some sections reveals even more. Had it not been for the strong implementation of the law, we would have taken sure steps to revive this ‘glorious’ traditon. How do the commentators explain the scriptures in Garuda Purana, Brahma Purana, Vishnu Smriti, Padma Purana (Vashista himself!), Yogini Tarini etc etc which have not been refuted by anyone. These show a clear sati culture in India long before the arrival of the Muslims. Al Beruni the impartial, rational philospher who has praised India a lot talks of this practice. Unfortunately, try as one, one cannot get around the articulation and praise of this practice in some of our oldest scriptures.

  23. Ali says

    Assalamaalekum Wa Rahmatulla Wa Barakathu (May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings from Allah be on Us).. Islam is the religion in the sight of Allah and Quran is the final revelation sent by Allah to Muhammad (PBUH) for the whole of mankind. Islam is the way of salvation. Islam tell us about the hell and paradise and the eternal life after death. Anyone is dying as a non muslim (without beliving in Allah and his Messenger and whatever Allah has said ) then that person will go to Hellfire forevER. Please read and understand Quran because this is the world from Allah.
    Anway the SATIII hindu system has to be banned and Hindu should be educated to stop Sati system. No Widwon should be burnt alive with her dead husbands pyre. Well Muslim Mugal Empires had stopped it long time back and especially Mughal Empire Aurangzeb stopped Satti practice in Hindus. See how muslims are taking care for the hindus well beings..

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