Surely, a woman who has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period is the most auspicious of women. When she has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period, therefore, one should approach that splendid woman and invite her to have sex. Should she refuse to consent, he should bribe her. If she still refuses, he should beat her with a stick or with his fists and overpower her, saying: “I take away the splendor from you with my virility and splendor (6.4.9,21).

Good looks do not matter to them, nor do they care about youth; ‘A man!’ they say, and enjoy sex with him, whether he is good-looking or ugly. By running after men like whores, by their fickle minds, and by their natural lack of affection these women are unfaithful to their husbands even when they are zealously guarded here. Knowing that their very own nature is like this, as it was born at the creation by the Lord of Creatures (Prajapati), a man should make the utmost effort to guard them. The bed and the seat, jewelry, lust, anger, crookedness, a malicious nature, and bad conduct are what Manu assigned to women. There is no ritual with Vedic verses for women; this is a firmly established point of law. For women, who have no virile strength, and no Vedic verses, are falsehood; this is well established. Manusmrti 9:14-18.

Men must make their women dependent day and night, and keep under their own control those who are attached to sensory objects. Her father guards her in childhood, her husband guards her in youth, and her sons guard her in old age. A woman is not fit for independence. — Manusmrti 9:2-4.

The mind of woman cannot be disciplined; she has very little intelligence.’ — Rig Veda 8.33.33-34.

A woman who has been unchaste should worship Siva in his calm aspect, Siva who is Kama. Then she should summon a Brahmin and give herself to him, thinking, and ‘This is Kama who has come for the sake of sexual pleasure.’ And whatever the Brahmin wishes, the sensuous woman should do. For thirteen months she should honour in this way any Brahmin who comes to the house for the sake of sexual pleasures, and there is no immorality in this for noble ladies or prostitutes.” — Matsya Purana 70:40-60; cf. Mahabharata III:2:23.

Manusmriti – The Laws of Manu

The Manusmriti is an ancient Vedic book that contained verses that outlined the way people and society should conduct itself, both towards religious duties and general aspects of life. It was a revered and important text and it’s origin is estimated to date back to 500 BC.

The following are translated versus that pertain to the roles and treatment of women:

5.148. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent.

5.149. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible.

5.150. She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure.

5.151. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory).

5.152. For the sake of procuring good fortune to (brides), the recitation of benedictory texts (svastyayana), and the sacrifice to the Lord of creatures (Pragapati) are used at weddings; (but) the betrothal (by the father or guardian) is the cause of (the husband’s) dominion (over his wife).

5.154. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife.

5.155. No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven.

5.156. A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead.

5.157. At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died.

5.158. Until death let her be patient (of hardships), self-controlled, and chaste, and strive (to fulfil) that most excellent duty which (is prescribed) for wives who have one husband only.

5.160. A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men.

5.161. But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband,brings on herself disgrace in this world, and loses her place with her husband (in heaven).

5.162. Offspring begotten by another man is here not (considered lawful), nor (does offspring begotten) on another man’s wife (belong to the begetter), nor is a second husband anywhere prescribed for virtuous women.

5.163. She who cohabits with a man of higher caste, forsaking her own husband who belongs to a lower one,will become contemptible in this world, and is called a remarried woman (parapurva).

5.164. By violating her duty towards her husband, a wife is disgraced in this world, (after death) she enters the womb of a jackal, and is tormented by diseases (the punishment of) her sin.

5.165. She who, controlling her thoughts, words, and deeds, never slights her lord, resides (after death) with her husband (in heaven), and is called a virtuous (wife).

5.166. In reward of such conduct, a female who controls her thoughts, speech, and actions, gains in this (life)highest renown, and in the next (world) a place near her husband.

5.167. A twice-born man, versed in the sacred law, shall burn a wife of equal caste who conducts herself thus and dies before him, with (the sacred fires used for) the Agnihotra, and with the sacrificial implements.

5.168. Having thus, at the funeral, given the sacred fires to his wife who dies before him, he may marry again,and again kindle (the fires).

Bhagvad Gita

From Chapter 1, Text 40 (or 40 and 41):

A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada translation: “When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the family become corrupt, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny.”

Edwin Arnold translation: “And- rites neglected, piety extinct-Enters impiety upon that home; Its women grow unwomaned, whence there spring Mad passions, and the mingling-up of castes.”

Ramanand Prasad translation: “And when immorality prevails, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupted; when women are corrupted, social problems arise.”

Sri Aurobindo translation: “Owing to predominance of lawlessness, O Krishna, the women of the family become corrupt; women corrupted, O Varshneya, the confusion of the Varnas arises.”

W.Q. Judge translation: “From the influence of impiety the females of a family grow vicious; and from women that are become vicious are born the spurious caste called Varna-Sankara”

From Chapter 9, Text 32 and 33:

“Those who take shelter in Me, though they be of lower birth women, merchants and workers can attain the supreme destination.” How much more this is so of the righteous brahmanas, the devotees and the saintly kings. Therefore, having come to this temporary, miserable world, engage in loving service unto Me.”

If you read these two verses, Lord Krishna clearly suggests women are considered of lower birth and that God-realization is easy for those who not women, merchants or workers. The lower castes are part of a four segmented system which Lord Krishna clarifies in (Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 4, Text 13) Brahmins (priesthood), Kshatriyas (nobles, warrior or rulers), Vaishyas (merchants and professional class) and Shudras (workers: artisans and labourers). The last two merchants or workers but especially workers where

the fourth and lowest of the traditional social classes, of India. Shudras are not permitted to perform the upanayana, the initiatory rite into the study of the Vedas (earliest sacred literature of India). The Shudra social class includes a wide spectrum of endogamous status groups with dominant, landowning groups at one end of the scale and near-untouchables at the other. These variations derive from the belief that certain behaviour patterns and occupations are polluting, a concept that gave rise to a distinction between “clean” and “unclean” Shudra groups; for example, washers, tanners, shoemakers, sweepers, and scavengers were once relegated to the status of untouchable. Ref

By Damien Marie AtHope