No doubt Hinduism has the most progressive ideology than any other religion in the world. But one of the reason of being in love with Hinduism is it’s respectful outlook towards the women. While going through some of the ancient religious books on Hinduism, I found them abundant with the shlokas in the praise of women. The contribution of women in the field of education has already been discussed in my last post.

Now I have decided to take one of the most controversial books of Hinduism, Manu Smariti. This book was once burnt by Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar for its narrow views on women. Now let’s see what Manu Smariti says about women-

At least in the above three shlokas I don’t find any disrespect towards women. now let’s move further to the most controversial shloka-

The great sage Manu said this to ensure that the security of women is important and must accomplished compulsorily by all the men related to her.

Everyone is aware of this biological fact that the physical power of female is less than that of male, if Manu by this shloka wants to ensure the safety of women, I just don’t find anything wrong in it. We must make one thing very clear here that the word “rakshyate” means protection, it does mention anywhere that the freedom of women is restricted. Now even if this shloka wouldn’t mentioned this, then also every responsible father, brother, son do protects his mother, wife and sister. There is nothing objectional in it.

Now let’s move further and see what Manu says about the marriage. The great sage Manu has high intellectual thoughts relating to marriage.

The above three shlokas show how concerned Manu was regarding the daughter’s marriage, even he permitted love marriage at the circumstances. If we follow Manu Smarati pattern of marriage system in today’s society then many of the problems relating to marriage may get easily solved.

Manu Smrati mentions 8 types of marriages, out of eight, 4 he considers as superior and 4 as inferior. Out of those 4 one of the best form of marriage is Brahma Vivah-

Brahma Vivah says that the girl has full rights to choose her life partner of the equal qualities as her of the same varna with the consent of her parents, no dowry will be involved in this, this will be done only after completing their Bhramcharya Ashram (studenthood). It is also considered best form of marriage.

The marriage which is arranged in social gatherings, where simultanously many marriages take place, in less expense without much celebrations is considered to be as 3 rd highest form of marriage Daive Vivah.

We see that the great sage discouraged dowry, encouraged education, encouraged group marriage without mush show off, which is the desire of every poor parents in today’s society.

Now let’s come to one of the most progressive ideology of Manu Smriti, which our today’s progressive society can’t even think of, what if women begets no child on account of husband’s defect –

According to the great sage Manu, the women who begets child by the above procedure shall live with full respect in society and even the child has the full care and the responsibility of father.

One of the shloka which shows duty of husband towards the wife-

I have selected only one shloka here, actually there is a complete list of duties of husband and wife. Husband has the responsibility of fulfilling the needs of his wife, he must approach her in the due seasons, he must fulfill all her desires, he must fulfill the needs of his children etc. with much more. There is complete list of rights mentioned in various chapters of Manu Smriti. It gives widow remarriage rights, it has property rights, it gives education rights, it has severe punishments for rape etc. and much more which we can’t even think.

Manu Smriti is a guideline which shows how to live in a progressive society. It has set of rules for every sections of society. Yes, there are restrictions, but on small subjects, with a proper reason for it. Without restrictions human will be like an animal. I think the learnt scholar Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar must not be well versed in Sanskrit that’s why he was unable to find the real meaning of shlokas of Manu Smriti and decided to burn it.

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