Chandamama - March - 1979
Why all avataras happened in India only?
nandagopabhoopavamshabhooshanam vibhooshanam bhoomibhootibhuri- bhaagyabhaajanam bhayaapaham. dhenudharmarakshanaava- teernapoornavigraham neelavaariv....Click here to know more..
MARRIAGE is a social institution of such vital importance that a nation's ideals of marriage and married life have a direct bearing on its well-being and progress or the reverse. The truth of this proposition is well borne out by the history of the Indo-Aryans. The vicissitudes of their long and hoary civilization can be traced to the gradual changes in their ideals of marriage and married life and in the status assigned to woman in society.
Three important stages with reference to the laws of marriage and the status of woman may be distinguished in the history of the Indo- Aryan civilization as revealed in the extant literature.
There was a time when, among the cultured classes of the Aryan community, woman's status was almost equal to inan's. when she had equal opportunities for receiving a complete education and was therefore equally free to choose between an independent life of singleness devoted entirely to spiritual culture and a married life of temporal interests permeated with spiritual devotion; when this idea of equality as reffected in the Vedic ideal of marriage-a free self-chosen life-long union of man and woman, of two friendly and sympathetic souls combining in harmony their temporal interests and spiritual aspirations-was a determining factor in all social relations be- tween man and woman; when at the time of marriage the bridegroom and the bride were both adults having passed through a well-devised course of physical, intellectual, moral and spi- ritual discipline as a preparation for a proper discharge of the duties pertaining to their joint life as householders, and were thus fully alive to the responsibilities that would devolve on them respectively from the very day of their marriage. Then the Aryans were a free, manly, vigorous, energetic, enterprising, progressive, noble and spiritual people, as represented by the Brahmarshis like Vasishtha and Vamadeva, Rajarshis like Ikshvaku, Vishvamitra and Janaka, women Rishis and Brahmavadins like Ghosha, Gargi, Maitreyi and Sulabha. This was the golden age in the history of the Aryan Civilization.
The next stage was marked by a transition to a lower ideal of married life and to a lower status of woman, and by a corresponding change for worse in the fortunes of the people. Glancing over the period which intervened between the ancient golden age and the modern dark period of our civilization, we find the idea of equality of man and woman replaced by the idea of woman's subordination to man. Woman's early education became at first limited and afterwards altogether neglected, till it became a recognised rule in prac- tice that no woman should be taught the Veda and Sciences and should offer sacrificial worship independently of man. It was held that woman was not qualified to lead an independent life of singleness entirely devoted to spiritual culture. She was married earlier in life than man, the wife being regarded as the husband's help-mate or handmaid intended to assist him in the discharge of his duties as a householder, not as his co-partner and co-operator with equal responsibilities in the joint life. The offspring of the union of such un- equal pairs, unequal in culture and status, were less vigorous and enterprising than before; they grew narrow-minded and conventional. Forma- lism took the place of free original thinking; out- ward forms engrossed men's attention, instead of the living inward thoughts which expressed them- selves but partially in those forms.
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