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Abstract for potentail contrbution to the Stevens Conference

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Sat Jun 17 2000 - 10:06:52 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :

I have been invited to speak at the World Congress on
Vedas at New Jersey during next month. The extended
abstract of my paper is attached .
 
Best wishes,
V.Sadagopan 


" Women, Family and the VedAs " By Dr.V.Sadagopan 
  Scarborough , NY

Vedas instruct us extensively about the importance of 
developing social consciousness , which deals with 
the individual's relation to the immediate family 
and the extended family (Society). Service (Kaimkaryam ) 
to others and sacrifice (ThyAgam ) for the benefit
of the members of the family and society are the stepping 
stones to perfection of social consciousness . Service and 
sacrifice are thus fundamental for the survival and 
stability of soceity .

Vedic dharmas and karmas ( sacrifices) emphasize  
the development and reinforcement of  Saathvika ThyAgam
in the saadhakan . Lord Krishna instructs us about this 
glorious Vedic path through His upadEsam:
" parasparam bhAvayantha: srEya: paramavApsthyaTha "
He says: "Thus nourishing one another , May you obtain
the highest good (mokshA)" .

The contribution of Women to the VedAs
***************************************

>From time immemorial, Women have palyed a key role in
Kaimkaryams and ThyAgams for their families. Indeed 
Vedic women have served as the key role models through their 
scholarship, service and sacrifice for the perfection of 
social consciousness as family women . One Rg Veda manthram 
specifically states that women have intrinsic longing for 
spiritual duties and spiritual welfare of the immediate 
and extended family: "uta tvA strI sasIyasi pumso bhavati 
vasyasi adevatrAt arAdhasah ". Another Vedic passage points out 
the divine aspect of women this way :" SriyA vaa etat rUpam 
yathaa patnayah". Yaksha,the author of nirukta says in 
the context of commenting on the Vedic word , " Purandhi" 
states that women are more intelligent than men .Such is 
the lofty reverence with which the VedAs look upon and 
salute women as the pillars that hold society together . 

The RshikAs or the lady-seers of the Rg Veda are
the earliest holders of this tradition of holding aloft
the twin goals of Kaimkaryam and ThyAgam for attaining
parama purushArtham (Moksham). Among the 407 Rishis (Seers)
listed by the SarvAnkramaNi of KaatyAyana , few are RishikAs
(Lady-Seers) with their own divinely inspired vision of 
specific Veda manthrams.They are recognized thus as 
the manthra dhrashtAs . There is no gender-bender here.
There are samhitAkArAs from the group of seasoned sages 
known for their austerities(tapas) , who were men or women.
The Women sages of distinction were thus not relegated to 
the background in the Vedic age.

The personal and the family names of these SamhithAkArAs 
are historically determined to be authentic by links to
their prvarams and Gothrams).The women Rishis are associated 
with both Kshudra SookthAs ( Shorter hymns ) as well as 
MahA sookthAs (longer hymns) in Rg Vedam. For instance , 
the lady-seer (RishikA ) of Rg Vedic Rk X.151 is 
Sraddhaa KamayAni .This is considered one of the noblest 
SookthAs of Rg Vedam dealing with the adoption of truth 
with all fidelity and visvAsam (sathyamEva jayathE). 

The other lady SamhithAkArAs of the Vedic hymns 
are LOpaamudhrA ( Rg I.179.1-2) . The word LOpAmudhra
has been translated as "the one completely absorbed or 
lost in oneself ".ROmasA , the wife of the Vedic Seer ,
Svanya is the BrahmavAdhini RishikA of Rk.I.126.7.

The lady seer VisvavArA of the Athri family is 
the RishikA of the entire set of six hymns housed in 
Rg V.28. The loftiness of the vision of this seer, whose
name translates as "One who repels all sins" is revealed
in the V.28.2 Rk:

" samdhyamAno amruthasya rAjasi 
  havishkruNvantham sachasE svasthayE
  visvam sa dhatthE dhraviNam yam-
  invasy Athithyam agnE ni cha dhattha ithpura:"

(Meaning): " O Adorable Lord! Whilst Your glory 
enkindled , You become the King of mortals. You
take care of the offerer of the oblation for his welfare.
He whom You favor , acquires universal wealth ; 
he sets before You , O Lord , the gifts that 
guests may claim ".

In another of these six hymns , This RishikA salutes 
the Lord and His bounty this way : " The glory of
adorable Lord , when enkindled , spreads lustre 
through the firmament , and shines widely turning 
unto the universal light of divine intelligence--".

The Mysticism behind the lines can be linked to 
the fruits of saathvika ThyAgam, prapatthi prayOjanam
and the angams of Prapatthi as MahA Visvaasam . 

Vasukrapathni , GhOshA , the daughter of Sage kakshivAn ,
JuhU , the seer of the most mystical hymn X.109 ,
VaagambruNI , PolOumi Sachi, the daughter of PulOma Rishi 
are some of the well known RishikAs , who shared their
divine visions through various Rks as manthra DhrashtAs.

In this presentation , we will offfer salutations to women, 
family and dwell on the importance of social consciousness as 
a Vedic doctrine with ample quotations from the VedAs .

V.Sadagopan    
  


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