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Gayatri - the inner meaning.
Women & Gayatri Japam
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Why should women not chant Gayatri Mantra
                                                  by TRS Iyengar
There is a controversy existing that women should not recite/chant 'Gayatri'. As a matter of fact neither do the Vedic Scripts nor the Santana Dharma discriminate women. On the contrary, womanhood is held in the Highest Esteem, and women are respected as Maa, (Mother) irrespective of their age and status. Yes, you can call any woman your mother! In ancient days, women were the leading managers and heading their homes while their counterparts were scouting for daily needs. But why then are they not allowed to take part in the rituals? Why were/are they not allowed to chant some of the Vedic versus?

My father, Late Shri T.S.Ramabathrachariar of Mukkur once gave me the reason which is definitely a fitting reply to the above questions.

It is widely believed that some of the Vedic Versus are powerful in nature. Once a woman starts chanting these versus regularly, she is likely to lose her female-hood character and get manly tendencies developed in physical appearance . In majority of cases, it might cause disturbances in the body's physical mechanism and disturb their menstrual cycle. In rare cases, a woman who chants these slokhas and versus frequently, even develops masculine character which allows growth of hair in their face & mustache! Imagine, if every woman developed such growth!

It is a fact that to keep women in their natural glory and beauty, the ancient scholars did not allow them to chant or recite these versus. They knew precisely all the effects and side effects of what they did. However, they were allowed to do so once they cross their menopause stage, then the chances of disturbances in their body mechanism were minimal. Also the Gland functional in their body stops, at certain age - any further physical growth is minimal. Certainly it was not for any discriminations but purely on the aforesaid reasons and points.

I hope that this clarification stands valid even in this scientifically developed age. Every ritual and practice of this Great Hindu religion has a valuable hidden meaning. Unfortunately these were not carried on to the next generation that caused some imbalances in the society. Had it been given in full meaning, we very well could have avoided fanatics & half learnt scholars who now dictate and discriminate women on so many counts.

Even at the times of performing the last rites to the departed souls, only male persons are allowed and if there is no male issues for the deceased one, then power of attorney like authorization is taken from the female issues or from the wife of the departed soul. You know why?

After the cremation, the kartha or the performer has to shave/tonsure his head. But for women, would anybody like to do the same? How they will look, if done so, just imagine. Of course, there are many other reasons also given for giving these rights only to the male issues, but surely all are based only on sound and valid reasons.

Readers comment is welcome on this particular subject. It will help me in posting and feeding more authentic meanings about this Religion and its valuable Rituals.