Women Superiority or Equality

Acharya Harish Chandra

August 2016

The Vedas don't discriminate among human beings. Even if there is a distinction then it is purely on the merits because it is only the human society that has categories of good and bad humans. Also, there is no distinction among men and women in the Vedas. However, the current trend in civil society is to discourage discrimination based on the gender, probably because women have been deprived of their legitimate rights in the recent past. Indeed, such shortcomings originated in the western culture because even the word 'woman' seems to have been derived from the word 'man' indicating their secondary status. We can be proud of the Vedas that it gives us the independent word for woman - Stri. The root meaning of the term is 'one that should be respected to the extent of being worshipped'. As the Vedas have their origin from the Supreme Being that has promulgated all the natural functions, it can be appreciated that men instinctively let a woman proceed if there happens to be a narrow passage even if she is a stranger. 'Ladies first' is the natural principle accepted worldwide. Manu has correctly stated that a society is well developed where men have acquired the status of Devatas that they treat women with respect - his word pujyante can be translated as 'respect to the point of worship.'