What to do We say about streedharma ( womanhood) when We talk about Sastras and tradition? English translation of a Tamil Article on “Penmai”. Thanks to Sri Krishnamurthi Subramanian for a wonderful translation.

Streedharma means to safe guard and maintain her natural feminity For this she should not go for employment or hold any post in the outside world like her husband but should look after her household duties . She should be modest and keep in her mind that so doing is her birth duty and which gives her salvation through following sanadhana dharma. This is how a lady can attain true and longstanding peace without being constantly disturbed. Not only she will be at peace but due to her home administration, she will keep her entire family disciplined. For the husband,wife and children in the house to live as a peaceful and unified family the duty of Stree, the Goddess of the house, will pave the way.

Thus the individual members of a family are disciplined.Automatically the Nation with many such families will be disciplined. To get peace, quietitude and contentment for the individual, family and Nation We prescribe the way for women and men the division of labour beautifully ordained In the Sastras according to the nature of men and women, for her to be in charge of home department and for men to be in charge of external affairs.

If said like this the present day revolutionaries get angry. They contempt Us for following the writings of those who wrote the Sastras whom they call as dictators who prevent women from attaining equality with men by crushing their rights. They argue that there is no different dharma for men and women and there is only one dharma i.e human-dharma.

But if without hurry we think truth will be found. Here we do not have any fight or struggle for equality. One type of duty is not high or low than the other. To earn by working outside the house and to maintain the house with the money earned are both essentials of life. That is how the

Sastras have given power to husband and wife. The husband is Minister for Income and the wife is Minister for Expenditure. The Dharma Sastras have given power only to the woman to plan for the household expenditure and to purchase the necessary things that are needed. The husband should only work and earn. She should maintain the house by planning for the expenditure. Thus the Sastras say which makes it clear that women themselves have freedom and they are not curtailed without powers.

When there are two kinds of duties why should opinion be raised treating one as superior and the other as inferior. Therefore there is no need to think that the husband who does external duties is superior and the wife whose activities are confined to her home is inferior. He has external duties and she has internal duties. If her duties are not thought demeaningly as kitchen-oriented but she is treated as Domestic Management Executive, everything will be all right and equality is established. She is even one step better, because when husband is working for remuneration she does home management honourarily without any remuneration . Is not doing duties honorarily better than doing duties for wages? That too working all hours except during sleep without doing 6 – 8 hours duty and not enjoying any weekly holidays is certainly ahead of equality. I said this only as a joke. There is no question of equal or unequal.

Two different persons are doing two different duties according to their nature, which are both essential.That is it. When the lungs and heart function in a human body to keep the person alive by their essential duties where is the question of equality or unequality? In the same manner man and woman function according to their naturality, live as true humans and thereby let the family and the Nation live.

Categories: Upanyasam


8 replies

  1. This is a very very sentitive topic for which there is no one stop shop solution. It’s for each and every individual to take whatsoever is granted by shastras that applies to his / her daily lives today. It would be better we stay away from this sensitive preaching debate and practice whatever is ordained for us as per our guru sampradaya & family sampradaya.

  2. To be candid, we are unnecessarily invoking these sensitive issues just to provoke disagreement among mahaperiyavaa devotees. I read in one of the postings that ultimate surrender / saranagathi is the common thread that unites among ardent mahaperiyavaa devotees, where is the question of invoking these topics in today’s context which can never be generalized in justification at any sort / fashion among unqualified people like us. My 2 cents candid submission on this.

  3. Superb. Maha Periyava encouraged women to work outside in two professions, Medical which included Nursing and Teaching, while continuing their Svadharma as Housewives. But in these days of ‘modernity’, women continue to work in all fields as ‘equal opportunity competitors ‘ with men and that has led to all round misery. Simple living is still possible without luxuries. Only Maha Periyava can tell Dharma. People should take care to listen and follow to their benefit. Jaya Jaya Shankara, Hara Hara Shankara!

  4. No doubt Shastras are very clear. Those days after some years, girl children were not sent to higher education or for employment. But then, the present day calls for social security because of more adharma prevailing in the society.

    Jaya Jaya Shankara Hara Hara Shankara

  5. It is true that one is the home minister and another is the revenue minister and they shared their duties.I wish it should be adhered, but in this modern world, when the unity of the family had been disintegrated by LAW and Necessities, it is very difficult for anyone to advocate the spirit behind the sastras.

    • With due respect to you sir, are we here to ignore / shun the law and necessities and advocate the spirit behind the sastras, for that matter no person beyond Mahaperiyavaa is even qualified to do so, not even the present day preachers.

  6. GReat translation a real special thanks from me in a way that’s the right way but now in kali yuga how to meet both ends if both don’twork but some how i like the idea given in OUR SHASTRAS

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