Incredible India is the tag line used so often by many agencies to promote tourist attraction to India. If there was a tourist present in the legislative assembly hall of Haryana state of “secular” India yesterday, she might have felt “incredibly” disgusted.
They would have witnessed a completely naked man, sitting on the dais above the seats of Governor and Chief Minister of the state, and giving a lecture to the people’s representatives. That man’s name was Tarun Sagar, a famous monk of Digambara sect of Jainism, an ancient Indian religion. He said:
The control of dharma (morality) over politics is essential. Dharma is the husband and politics is the wife. It is the duty of every husband to protect his wife and it is the duty of every wife to accept the orders (discipline) of her husband,” “if there is no control of dharma over politics, it will be like an elephant out of control,”
This was not a surprise. The ruling Hindutva party,the BJP , consider all the religions originated from South Asian geographical area as their own and really believe in the “spiritual superiority” of Indian philosophies.
Also it was not surprising to hear such misogynist statements from the monk. His sect of Jainism, the Digambara sect, can be considered as the most misogynist of all religions that originated here.
Digambara comes from Dig (direction) and ambara (cloth) in Sanskrit. That means those who wear spaces of four sides as their clothes. In other words they do not use any clothes at all. Clothes being an attachment is, they believe, a hindrance to reach the ultimate aim, moksha (liberation from re births ). There is another sect of Jainism called Svetambara, whose monks wears white clothes. For them moksha can be attained with or without clothes.
Both sects agree that women cannot go around naked.
If women went around naked it would cause men to experience sexual desire and the desire produced would hinder the man’s progress to liberation.
Naked women would feel ashamed of being naked and the feeling of shame would hinder their progress to liberation.
It’s also intended to prevent the disruptive consequences of allowing women to walk around naked.
Digambaras thus think a woman can attain moksha only after being re-born as a man, because for them naked living is mandatory for it. Svetambaras think women can attain moksha with clothes on if all other criteria are met.
For Digambaras women are inferior not only because of their inability to attain moksha but also for other reasons.
Jains consider injuring any living thing, even an ant under your feet, as grave sin. That is why when they walk or sit, they clear the area off any insects with a piccihi, a broom made off fallen peacock feathers. Digambaras consider women as less non-violent than men.
This scholarly review of Jain scriptures and writings describe the misogyny in Jainism like this:
According to the unanimous Jaina view, certain portions of a woman’s body, particularly orifices and indentations such as the genitals, the space between the breasts, the armpits, and the navel, give rise to vast numbers of minute and subtle living organisms, known as aparyaptas ;. These creatures, sometimes seen as arising specifically from menstrual and other bodily fluids are, the argument goes, destroyed in vast numbers by the ordinary activities of the woman whose body is their host and so she is seen as inevitably the agent of massive involuntary himsa ;, or injury to living beings. Moreover, it is thought that the activities of these microscopic beings in the genitals are perceived by women as a sort of “itching” that can be relieved only through intercourse. As a result of this, Digambara authors such as Kundakunda argue that a woman is, by virtue of her very anatomy, incapable of fully adopting the great vows incumbent on an aspirant to liberation for, as a consequence of her inevitable infestation with these aparyaptas, she is, on the one hand, constantly violating the cardinal Jaina precept of ahimsa, or noninjury to living beings, and, on the other, never free from the sexual desires that block spiritual progress.
It is argued, for example, that women are not only physically weaker than men, and hence unable to endure the harsh asceticism regarded as necessary for liberation, but are intellectually, ethically, and morally inferior as well. Thus Sakatayana cites, as his purvapaksa ;, the arguments that women are excessively devious and fickle, that they lack the intellectual, forensic, and supernatural powers of advanced male spiritual adepts, and that they lack the physical, moral, and spiritual courage of men. In several passages the general cultural attitude that women have less control of their sexual passions than men is brought forward.
Sadly many of these two thousand years old Digambara myths about “evil, greedy, impure, violent, devious but intellectually inferior” women are regurgitated today in present day world, not only by lay persons but also by “intellectuals”.
Study of the Digambara philosophy followed by this “distinguished” naked guest of Haryana government gives us a better idea of roots of sexism in human civilization.
chigau (違う) says
Why is he wearing eye-glasses?
That seems like an attachment.
Abhishek jain says
Eye glass is necessary for reading and teaching purposes only. It is not a material of comfort or luxury… it just helps a person to continue his/her research and practice dharma (religion).
Last I checked, men had armpits and navels, effectively indistinguishable from women’s. So why isn’t this a problem for men?
chigau (違う) says
In the photo, he is not reading.
He doesn’t need eye glasses to speak.
Marcus Ranum says
Jainism is misogynistic? Sam Harris has said nice things about jains, so they can’t be misogynistic, or something.
Marcus Ranum says
According to the unanimous Jaina view, certain portions of a woman’s body, particularly orifices and indentations such as the genitals, the space between the breasts, the armpits, and the navel, give rise to vast numbers of minute and subtle living organisms, known as aparyaptas
Jains haven’t got intestines?
Jains haven’t got eyebrow mites?
Just another bunch of woowoos.
Marcus Ranum says
women are excessively devious and fickle, that they lack the intellectual, forensic, and supernatural powers of advanced male spiritual adepts
In order to deceive someone, you must be smarter than they are; indeed, in western language we say “so and so outsmarted their opponent.” Clearly the jains have made a horrible strategic blunder – they think they are ahead of their foe but have actually been lapped long ago.
Get a life dude ! Have you listened to any of his teachings or heard of his preachings ever before ? A dude sits on his computer and write anything calling it “unanimous Jaina view” and shitholes started believing. There is lot in India to worry upon rather than writing blogs that is based on ‘free thoughts’ of caste, religion, etc. Please don’t spread hatred, its already available in abundance in India.
Ravi behl says
He was a bad choice for political discourse.
@ c4, Marcus Ramun: Where does that quote come from?
The Witches´ Hammer?
Or showing how similar religions are?
(and how useful for sexists today?)
Hi, can you please quote source of the text in blue. Thanks
You can click on “scholarly review” and you will be taken to that page. If not able to visit the page please tell me.
Marcus Ranum says
The bit about women being fickle and whatnot? That’s in the OP.
The bit about having to be smarter than someone to lie to them? I made that up and on further reflection, I realize it’s wrong.
Dicks out for Jainism.
Mitul Jain says
This article is more a rant than being informative.
True, Jains believe that we cause damage to micro organisms, equal for both men and women. But this fact is pushed just as a realisation. Nowhere do the preachers discourage men or women with any unrealistic refrains.
Also such preachers are treated as leaders and not prophets.
Sascha Vykos (@sacshavykos) says
“True, Jains believe that we cause damage to micro organisms, equal for both men and women. ”
Then why do they bother with the different standard?
It’s just more of the same bullshit we’ve already heard.
The arrogant and grotesque insistance on male nakedness and the hypocrtical utilitarian eyeglasses don’t really change that.
Laxman Katrat says
It is funny that when beautiful ladies demonstrate nudism, hypocrites run to courts and file PILs for assault on cultures . Why these idiots are mum when these public nudity is demondtrated and forced on all irredpective of age, gender and religion? We are bunch of 1.35 billion watching and listening to idiots and assaulted day in and day out ???
Joy Krishna says
This nudity has religious sanction.
Oh, the Good Load and all Its Angles, the Jains have dreamt up a unique reason for men to consider women their spiritual inferiors; women are colonized with micro-organisms, especially on their genitals and other convoluted bits, and men are not. The best part of this religiously entrenched bit of woman-hating is that it is scientifically testable, which makes this nasty religious precept doubly unique. It’s not unique, though, for its nastiness. That is standard issue misogyny.
But the Jains rely on the usual patriarchal logic when forbidding women the freedom of nudity, including this gem “…the inevitability of their provoking and living with a constant fear of sexual attack that would, in any case, be inimical to the peace of mind necessary for the true spiritual path.”
Yep, women can’t follow the spiritual path because they are rapable. However, men’s capacity, and perhaps their inclination, to rape don’t seem to inhibit men’s spiritual prowess one whit. So much for the gentle religion.