Essay about Roles of Women in Vedic Culture

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Roles of Women in Vedic Culture Vedic culture seems to have conflicting views regarding its attitude towards women, specifically its attitude towards a woman’s sexuality. This conflict can be seen by contrasting the ways in which women are treated in sacrificing rituals with how they are treated in a more intimate atmosphere, such as lovemaking, which is still often treated as a ritual in and of itself; ritual regarding fertility, love, and childbirth. To represent the roles of women in ritual, Stephanie W. Jamison has written “Sacrificed Wife, Sacrificer’s wife, which is a description and evaluation of women’s roles in ritual and hospitality in ancient India. “The general subject of [Jamison’s] book is the conceptual position of…show more content…
The purpose of this paper is to examine the sexual roles of women in Vedic culture, paying particularly close attention to the vast contrast and similarities between the treatment of women in ritual versus the treatment of women within the male-female relationship, keeping in mind the concept of ‘yoni’, crucial to the Vedic Scriptures, specifically the principal Upanishads. To make this comparison, I intend to compare the discussion of these roles in “Sacrificed Wife, Sacrificer’s Wife” with the portrayal of women in “The Kama Sutra”. These texts are particularly interesting due to their referral to the same culture with completely different lenses that illuminate certain contradictions, yet they contain many similarities. In “Sacrificed Wife, Sacrificer’s Wife” the woman is looked at as a tool for ritual and a server of hospitality, even though she is still viewed as the bringer of sexuality. In the “Kama Sutra” this sexual aspect is further explored, in a way that is perhaps more exonerating, yet the woman’s duties to the husband are still acknowledged. A quotation from “Sacrificed Wife, Sacrificer’s Wife” encompasses the main idea behind both texts. “Women are perceived as the primary locus of active sexuality in ancient India”. Perhaps this is because women are described as containing more parts of sexuality than men, men only
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