Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 08 Jan 2016



[Evening Message] Shri Ajay asked: I found one lady devotee preaching in T.V. saying “I don't know from where this bad tradition of restricting the ladies from the recitation of Gayatri Mantra has come?” Please give your comments on her remark.

Shri Swami Replied: This shows that the lady devotee is angry regarding this bad tradition. I can say that her remarks are based on the situation already filled with total confusion. In such case, I have to say that she is right from one angle and not right from another angle of misunderstanding. My remark will be well understood if I clarify first the background and then explain about My remark. If the background is clarified, the remark becomes self explained also.

This Gayatri Mantra, the Vedic hymn, is not at all the real Gayatri. It is called as Gayatri hymn because it is just a verse existing in a Vedic meter, named as Gayatri. The name is only to give identity for an item to be isolated from the other items just for the purpose of addressing it. We call some person as Rama, who tells lies, doing all sins and maintaining illegal sex relations. The meaning of Rama brings the Lord called Rama, Who is totally against to all these sinful characteristics. Still, people call this fellow as Rama because the name is not fixed according to the meaning of the word, but fixed just to call him by some specific word. A lady, who does not give even a cup of water, can be called by her name as Ganga. Therefore, Gayatri is only the name of a Vedic meter and the real meaning of the word Gayatri is not at all seen in the Vedic meter or Vedic hymn existing in that meter. This Vedic hymn is only a poem that can be recited. This poem is not a song at all and nobody sings this Vedic hymn as a song. Even if the Vedic hymn is sung as a song (as we see in these days from the cassettes played), it is not the real Gayatri because its meaning is unknown and even known is not applicable at all! All the characteristics of the word 'Gayatri' should be known (Gayantam Traayate) if you want to use the word Gayatri in the light of its real sense. The characteristics of the meaning of the word Gayatri are: 1) It is a song to be sung and 2) Its meaning should be known, which suggests that we should be well acquainted with the language of the hymn, the Sanskrit. The language can be also the mother tongue since the omniscient God knows all languages. 3) The meaning of the song should be related to God as a prayer. 4) By singing the song, the singer should develop emotional devotion towards God, which can bring protection from God. In the present Vedic hymn, called Gayatri, let us see whether these characteristics are applied or not? 1) This Vedic hymn is only recited and never sung. Especially, in general, the men are not good in singing. 2) Generally, people do not know the Sanskrit language and hence do not understand the meaning of this Vedic hymn. 3) Even though it is a prayer to God, since the meaning is not known, it cannot be treated as a prayer. The prayer should come from your heart with feeling. When the meaning is not known, feeling cannot come. 4) Emotion comes from feeling and feeling exists only if the meaning is known. In the absence of emotional devotion, no protection from God comes. Now, tell Me whether this so called Gayatri, a Vedic hymn, is the real Gayatri? It is only called as Gayatri by the name of the meter and the name is just for the sake of calling an item with specific word irrespective of its meaning (Samjna). You brood over the ancient tradition for not allowing you to recite this unreal Gayatri! It is just like crying about the fortune of your friend, who told you that she drank Goldspot drink in her yesterday-dream and you could not drink that in your yesterday-dream. The funniest situation is that you weep about your friend drinking Goldspot in the yesterday-dream and your crying is done today while drinking the real Goldspot! Actually, the ladies have Gayatri with them! The men have only unreal Gàyatri with them. You sing devotional songs in your mother tongue while doing worship to God with full emotional devotion and getting the protection from God. The unfortunate men spend in reciting this unreal Gayatri hymn without singing, without knowing its meaning, without getting emotional devotion and without getting the protection from God. The actual situation is reverse because the men should cry against the women for the misfortune hailing over them!

Split Due to Misunderstanding & Misinterpretations of Middle Aged Scholars

Recitation of this Vedic hymn is not the worship of God because it is only an important point of spiritual knowledge that should be strongly memorized through recitation during the propagation of spiritual knowledge in the society. The meaning of this Vedic hymn is that you should worship the human form of God coming to this world to activate your intelligence by giving the spiritual knowledge with full analysis. It also means that God is unimaginable and cannot be worshipped or served directly in any way. A small part of this Divine creation resulting from the unimaginable power of God, called the human body, becomes the medium of God enlightening your intelligence through preaching, which alone can be meditated upon. Thus, this hymn belongs to the domain of spiritual knowledge and does not belong to the domain of devotion and worship. Some men, called as Brahmins, in the ancient times were only interested in the propagation of the spiritual knowledge, who were involved in memorizing (Japa) the important concepts. Their ladies, engaged in cooking the food and serving them, got their due share of grace from God. Since this was not at all the context of the worship of God, there is no direct loss in any way to the women and they were given the due share of the fruit from males for their service to them. You scold Brahmin-sages for creating this bad tradition of restricting the propagation of spiritual knowledge to the ladies, misunderstanding them that the ladies are prevented from the best type of worship of God while the reality is that the women were only provided with the best worship of God (real Gayatri). Even if you interpret this Vedic hymn as prayer to God, there are better prayers and better ways of praying like singing. Recitation of a poem (the Rigveda) is a better way than recitation of a sentence (the Yajurveda) as prayer. Men are blessed with this second better way. The best way is to sing the prayer (the Samaveda) and this best way is allotted to women. This is also the will of God because women are blessed with sweeter voice than men, which is a requirement for the song. If a student passing in first class blames the student passing in second class saying that the second student is favoured by the university with partiality, how it looks! Women blaming men in this context are similar to this example. Moreover, Gayatri is represented as woman Goddess and I do not know how this representation is justified in the light of the meaning of the word Gayatri. Gayatri means the best mode of worship of God through singing as per its meaning. I do not know how such a mode becomes male or female!

All this split is resulting due to the misunderstanding and misinterpretations of the middle aged scholars, who blindly recite the scripture (the Veda) without knowing the meaning of a single word in it. Their heads were filled fully with ignorance creating such foolish remarks to enrage the other castes and women of all castes. If you say that Brahmin-sages created this bad tradition due to caste feeling, how the male Brahmins did injustice to the women of their own caste? My criticism looks mixed since I appreciate the merit and scold the wrong defect. The essence is that there are several ways to worship God and one better way is chosen by the first group of males of Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vysyas through Holy Thread Marriage (Upanayanam). Another better way than their own better way i.e., the best way of singing prayers to God was allotted to the second group of Shudras and women of all the four castes. This arrangement was done because the second group was interested and involved in the Divine service. The allotment of different ways was not done by force but as per the interests and qualities. The second group allotted with the best way is scolding the first group allotted with better way based on caste and gender! This is the misunderstood angle because the women of Brahmins were pushed to the second group to prove that the caste feeling rubbed on them is not correct. Caste is stronger than gender and hence based on the gender injustice to own caste cannot be done. If this is wrong, do you find any caste in present time doing injustice to the ladies of their own caste? Do you see that the B.C. castes fight for reservations to the B.C. males only neglecting their females based on the partiality to gender? Therefore, you should not blame the caste of Brahmins for doing injustice in Hindu religion. Of course, I fully agree with the middle age Brahmin priests doing all such foolish things due to lack of the Vedic knowledge since their brains were blocked with the routine blind recitation that gives full ignorance. The original classification and arrangement of tradition was done by the Brahmin-sages, who were the embodiments of the Vedic knowledge. You should appreciate them and should not rub your foolish misunderstanding on such sacred sages. Of course, I shall join you in scolding the middle age Brahmin priests, who were foolish due to lack of the Vedic knowledge and are responsible for the present confusion and split resulting in weakening Hindu religion. Certainly, the other religions should be appreciated for not having such unfortunate effects.