Many in India and abroad believe that ancient Vedic literature is full of wisdom and high philosophy. Here is how Vedas are described by the website run by Indian ministry of Culture
The Vedas are the source of integral wisdom, science, tradition and culture of a remarkable civilization. They are Oral compilations of distilled wisdom of cosmic knowledge survived from the time immemorial. They are not only identified as scriptures, but also as the fountain head of Indian culture and human civilization….
The Veda in the form of prose and poetry in Sanskrit language, has been regarded as authoritative knowledge. Its authority seems to have remained unquestioned for several millennia, and it has been considered the last tribunal in matters of dispute whether in religion or philosophy or social customs. ….
The religion and culture of the Hindus are rooted in the Veda. Till date, their worship, sacrifice, rites and attitudes are influenced by the Veda.
The Veda contains the highest spiritual knowledge (Para vidya) as well as the knowledge of the world (Apara vidya). Thus, apart from philosophy, we find here descriptions of various aspects of the different subjects such as sciences, medicine, political science, psychology, agriculture, poetry, art, music etc.
The Veda is unique in its purity and sanctity. The text of the Veda is preserved in its pure and original form without any alteration or interpolation even after thousands of years. The Veda is the only unadulterated treasure house of true knowledge.
Reading all those high sounding words one may get an impression that Vedic literature is something special. It is true that there are some verses of high philosophical thoughts, but many others are very down to earth materialistic verses on how to get a smart son or how to subdue and rape an unwilling wife/woman. Here are the verses on marital rape from Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.
Now, if a man sees himself (his reflection) in water, he should recite the following mantra: “May the gods bestow on me vigour, manhood, fame, wealth and merit.” In praise of the wife who will bear him a son: She (his wife) has put on the soiled clothes of impurity; she is, verily, loveliness among women. Therefore when she has removed the clothes of impurity and appears beautiful, he should approach her and speak to her.
If she does not willingly yield her body to him, he should buy her with presents. If she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with his hand and overcome her, repeating the following mantra: “With power and glory I take away your glory.” Thus she becomes discredited.
If she grants his desire, he should repeat the following mantra: “With power and glory I give you glory.” Thus they both become glorious.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6 -4 – 6/7/8
This is a reflection of women’s position in ancient Indian society. Unfortuantelty it is not much different in 21st century. Marital rape
is still not criminalised in India.