It may be a profound astonishment for anyone to behold that a nation of Sanatana Dharma wherein almost every virtue is vested in a Devi, abhors women in society, averse to having daughters, even burns down women for want of dowry, a social menace. Devi Durga symbolizes Sakti to protect humanity from oppressions; Devi Laksmi is the deity of wealth and splendour; Devi Saraswati of erudition and wisdom and Ma Kali as benefactor of all. On the contrary, national statistics reveal a dismal state of affairs. Incidence of female-foeticide and –infanticide, dowry deaths, domestic violence including rapes as well alarming sex ratios speak a different story altogether. Vast amount of statistical data are available on various websites of our State and National Governments which do not require to be reproduced here as focus of this article is entirely different.
Our society has been deeply rooted in patriarchical norms and values for centuries in spite of the reality that all Sanatana scriptures sway between gender neutrality to matriarchical tilt. These are the same Sanatana scriptures which are incessantly under recitation, discourses, discussions and debates all over the nation. Our ancestors have been active practitioners of matriarchical pursuits and customs so much so that all veterans of yore used to be identified by their mothers and not by their fathers viz. Ganga-Putra Bhisma, Kunti-Putra Arjuna, Karna as Radheya, Kausalya-Putra Rama, Kaikeyi-Putra Bharata, Devki-Nandana Vasudeva Sri Krsna, Vir Mata Jijabai-Putra Shivaji Maharaja, so on and so forth. This tradition was in reality rooted in Vedanta-Darsana of Sanatana Dharma as we shall rationally explore herein as we move on.
Root-cause analysis of the issue gradually boils down to the fundamental belief that Vamsa i.e. family lineage is carried forward by male progeny alone. Patriarchical inheritance has been the accepted norm, daughters were denied equal claim to family silver and ‘compensated’ through proportionate dowry. It is the same consideration that created the conviction that daughters belong to families of their in-laws while families of their birth and growth turned ‘out-laws’ for them immediately after marriage. No claim to family lineage or even surname is entertained by their original homes of birth as well as her in-laws. A strange notion creeped into society to the effect that parental home is the home of birth for daughters while in-law’s home is the home of their funeral. Left behind are sons to shoulder and carry forward the family lineage even if ‘asymptomatically’.
Other ‘compelling’ multiple reasons to justify craving for male offspring floated around sound like last rites must be solemnised by sons and not daughters as daughters are presumably ‘weak’ psychologically, that Pinda-Dana too must be undertaken by sons and not by daughters for the same reason etc. Daughters being psychologically weak is a miasma deftly woven by select few ‘Dharmadhikari-s’ of our society itself. If a daughter is continuously suppressed by her parents during her growing years and discriminated against, she is certainly destined to grow into a ‘weak’ personality. So is absolutely true in case of sons too. Even an aggressive, agile chimpanzee shall turn submissive and subdued enclosed in a cage if constantly badgered by the care-taker !!! So if daughters are psychologically ‘weak’ and sons ‘strong’, that is precisely what parents and society had / have aspired for and designed that accordingly. Sanatana scriptures have nowhere mandated to the effect that daughters are not allowed to undertake Antyesti, Sraddha, Pinda-Dana etc. Interestingly, Sanatana scriptures do provide for undertaking these rituals by anyone for himself / herself only if one so desires or necessitated by ‘compelling’ circumstances. Similarly attainment of Moksa too, is entirely offspring independent. Neither son nor daughter, irrespective of their psychological ‘strength’ or ‘weakness’ whatsoever, can facilitate, accelerate, hinder, retard or completely stop cosmic journey of their elders to attain ultimate emancipation from shackles of this world. It is absolutely independent of one’s marital status too !! It is entirely and absolutely a function of one’s Guru’s blessings and Adhyatmika strive undertaken assiduously, may be transcending several lives and deaths.
Every human being ‘in the form of son or daughter’ is an aggregate of body and Atma. There is no third constituent at all. Physical body one receives from mother and mother alone and no Pramana whatsoever is required to prove the fact visible with our gross eyes. Atma is carried into Zygote (that turns into foetus, then infant) by sperm from father –
Srī Bhagavān Uvāca
Karmaṇā Daiva-Netreṇa Jantur Dehopapattaye I
Striyāḥ Praviṣṭa Udaraṁ Puṁso Retaḥ-Kaṇāśrayaḥ II (Srimad Bhagavatam 3.31.1)
Under supervision of Param Brahma and directed by Prarabdha Karma-s, Atma enters into womb of a woman escorted by sperm in semen to incarnate into a specified body.
Nobody’s Atma has it’s own distinct identity at all as all Atma-s are exactly and precisely alike as well as it is impossible for anyone to perceive his / her own or anyone’s Atma with gross eyes. When all Atma-s are transmitted through fathers, how can Vamsa i.e. lineage be justified in father’s surname ?? Indeed, Atma doesn’t have any surname at all and can never have in future. How can Vamsa be maintained and preserved in the name of father’s surname ‘attached’ to Atma that is invisible and doesn’t carry any mortal frame at all ? Mortal frames or physical bodies solely on the basis of which Vamsa is sought to be maintained and preserved, is provided by mothers alone. If a Vamsa is maintained and preserved in the name of mothers, it does make some sense of sanity although only temporarily as no Vamsa in the history of humanity has been immortal or eternal and will never be for that matter. How absurd is the preference for male child for adoption by childless couples from child-care homes !!!! Man is often entirely conscious of his / her frailties and fallacies yet refuses to reject all that.
If tomorrow daughters of the country unitedly agitate and claim, they alone enjoy the prerogative of running business of Vamsa, sons will have no ground to hold onto, will have to retreat gracefully with dignity. Such a liberation also enjoins upon them onerous responsibility of following Dharma assiduously and incessantly with Devi-s like Durga, Saraswati and great women like Gargi, Maitrayi and Rani Chinammaas their role models.
Discussion about this post