Wednesday, 7 August 2013

THE ROLE OF WOMEN IN HINDU SPIRITUALISM

The Wife as a Tapa Sakhi


In the book on Kavyakantha Vasistha Ganapati Muni entitled NAYANA, A BIOGRAPHY OF KAVYAKANTHA VASISTHA GANAPATI MUNI [1] (from the original Telugu texts by Gunturu Lakshmikantam), Dr G Krishna says Ganapati Muni had described his wife as a Tapa Sakhi, meaning comrade in Tapas just as Arundhati was the Tapa Sakhi of Vasistha and so were the wives of many of the rishis.
“They never considered their wives as hindrances to Tapas.”
Ganapati Muni advised that women should not be barred from any spiritual or religious chores when it was prevalent at that time that women were not considered fit to worship Agni, study the Vedas and recite Vedic Mantra and were denied the benefits of upayana. Ganapati Muni himself used to initiate women into Mantra japa. Many were the women who were initiated into Gayathri Vidhya, which was considered exclusive to men. Visalakshi, wife of Ganapati Muni took to the worship of Agni whenever Ganapati Muni was out of station.
“Visalakshi paid equal attention to house-keeping and Mantra upasana. Ganapati did not share the belief that a woman was the source of sin and Maya. The study of scriptures had convinced him that the ancient rishis had practiced austerity and attained self-realization without giving up family life and responsibilities. Women were not treated as objects of pleasure by our ancient rishis. They were as qualified as men to discharge spiritual responsibilities. The ancient rishis by their exemplary behavior became spiritual preceptors to their wives and helped to establish a well ordered society.”
M. Govindan in BABAJI AND THE 18 SIDDHA KRIYAYOGA TRADITION, Kriya Yoga Publications, Quebec, Canada, 1991, (M.Govindan, 1991)says,
“The Siddhas never called for seclusion of oneself. On the contrary, Siddhas have asked us not to neglect our families and responsibilities but to attend to worlds, the material and spiritual.”
As M. Govindan says, “They challenge us not to turn our backs on the world in our quests for spiritual enlightenment.”

Tavayogi Thangarasan Adigal told me that I have to bring my family too into their (the Siddhas) fold. My family and I started by conducting prayers which included singing the praise of the Siddhas. Later when Agathiyar came to our home in the form of a bronze statue my family and I performed the bathing ritual or Abhisegam according to Agathiyar’s wishes. Then Tavayogi instructs us to carry out the Homam. Later he conducts the Homam in our home where we learn to fine-tune the procedures. Since then my family and I have been conducting these rituals on Pornami, Amavasai and every Thursday. We also conduct them on auspicious days including Shivarathri, Navarathri, Vinayagar Chathurthi and on Agathiyar’s Jayanthi and Guru Pujai.

Agathiyar is full of praise for my wife and children who do all the preparation in view of these prayers. The very action of performing service to Agathiyar brings merits in multifold. We are blessed indeed to be given an opportunity to serve Agathiyar!

[1] Kavyakantha Sri Ganapati Sastri, a Vedic scholar of repute in his age with a deep knowledge of the Srutis, Sastras, Tantras, Yoga, and Agama systems, came to visit Ramana in 1907. After receiving instructions from him, he proclaimed him as Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. Ramana was known by this name from then on. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

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This blog postings are those of beginners who have taken the first step exploring the mysterious & mystical world of Siddhas. It is purely about devotion (Bakthi) and miracles. For those who think or feel that they have advanced spiritually and passed these initial, preliminary and primary stages, please reserve your comment.