Women in Religion
There has been immense contribution by Women in religion from the ancient times but their contributions have been grossly undervalued by the patriarchal society. As I had mentioned before, in the early times of human civilization, womanhood and the feminine was seen with high regard and in fact worshiped. The Indus valley civilization which was one of the oldest civilizations that was discovered had shown the emergence of the Shakta tradition of Hinduism which worshiped the goddess as the ultimate creator, preserver and destroyer of the universe. All gods and the masculine principle were considered to be subordinate to the feminine. Moreover the role of Women in religion as scholars and preachers was at the highest pedestal in these very early days of human civilization.
But during the course of history this perfect harmony that existed in the early period of human civilization was overturned for a masculine force dominated society which was based on ruthless action for self-interest and power. In this setup the status of women was drastically reduced to a commodity where women were only considered as a tool for either enjoyment or reproduction and procreation. This thinking was overtly practiced in all modern societies till recently. Though overtly today this thinking is not supported but in the deepest of the subconscious mind this thinking is still alive in the society and its manifestations can be seen in covert ways.
Women in religion: The advent of major religions
The larger issue here is that all the religions of the world had evolved 100’s of years back and circumstances were different those days and circumstances are very-very different today. It was totally an ultra-patriarchal society those days, which cannot be sustained in today’s world. Any bias against any class or creed, especially bias against women cannot be accepted today, as the world is moving towards the concept of unification against the earlier concept of reductionism. We have to understand it clearly that we are all interconnected to each other and any decision based on reductionism can affect many others in the society. It is no more the question of I live my life and you live your life. It is the question of us living our lives together. Let me touch upon the concept of reductionism vs. unification in great detail.
Women in religion: Collective action for Unification
The World needs collective action for unification rather than reductionism. We are a multi-religious, multi-culture society around the world. Everybody is proud of their religion and their culture but above all we should be proud to be human. Human existence transcends all cultures and religions and even today with so much divisiveness around, the human species is still surviving. Have we ever thought why? It is just because we embrace positive change and we are always open to positive change as human species. We are very-very liberal in our nature and we believe in “Unification” rather than “Reductionism” as our basic nature. It’s only the fringe elements in the society based on the power structure of a patriarchal society who ignite the flames of divisiveness and reductionism.
Women in religion: Reductionism eventually fails
History is testimony to the fact that any society or campaign, which was ever based on reductionism and negative change, failed miserably. The great Roman Civilization of the past vanished because it considered itself superior at the behest of the rest of the humanity. The treatment of salves in ancient Rome is something which we cannot imagine now. Hitler’s Germany based on a superior race could not survive either. Any religious, social or political movement which divides a society and imprisons the mind, the heart, the soul and the body of its people is bound to fail miserably either today or definitely in the near future. Science is a great leveler. It connects us to the universe and shows us the vision, which is beyond a lifetime. Let me give some examples in a simple way avoiding much complexities of medical science.
Women in religion: Example of Unification and Reductionism in human body system
The human body initially grows out from one cell (single cell-fertilized egg) and this cell has a genetic code, which is called the DNA. As this cell divides & multiply, various tissue are formed, various organs are formed and ultimately the human body develops with multiple organs, multiple structures and a fully developed body has approximately 50 trillion cells at a particular time.
These 50 trillion cells are of different types with well-defined different functions and they form the tissues, organs, body fluids and various structure of the body. Now all these cells are independent cells having different functions and different roles but still they function as a system that is the human body. Every cell goes through the process of birth, growth, doing its activities and finally death but all under the framework of the larger system called the human body. They are independent in nature and they work differently but they never cross the framework of the system that is the human body.
Have you thought what will happen if some of these cells decide to cross the framework of the system that is the human body. Then you have cancer. In cancer the cells go through uncontrolled multiplication, lose their normal function and spread all throughout the body without caring for other cells. If you look from the perspective of cancer cells, then you find they are doing a great job. They are rapidly growing, spreading in every direction and they are taking care of their interests.
But when you look at the system that is the human body then you can see the damage. These cancerous cells cross and topple all frameworks of the system and start attacking the normal cells and thus damaging the normal tissues, organs and ultimately the larger system that is the human body. What is the end result? The system called human body collapses and the whole system collectively dies.
Women in religion: The larger systems around us are similar to the biological system
The working of the biological system as an example is applicable to the larger systems around us. The world is a system and all of us are living in this system. We have to work together under a common framework of unification of forces. At individual levels we may exhibit independence as each cell in the body exhibits but the golden rule is to work always under the framework of the bigger system called the society, the country and the world. If we don’t follow this principle and if we will work only for our selfish interest by undermining the aspirations of the others in the society, the country and the world then we are just like the cancer cells trying to destroy the society, the country and the world.
This is the reason any campaign which is based on negative reductionism is going to be very dangerous for the society and the world. What we need is collective, unified generative change for the betterment of the system as a whole. Role of women in religion becomes very important in this regard.
Women in religion: Example of human genetics shows that source of all Religions is one
Now let’s come to religion. Again if you look at our human body we can get answers that how each religion is just part of the system meant for unification and not dividing the society. The first genetic code that is seen in the first human cell is called the DNA. This DNA Code is same for all the 50 trillion cells of the human body. But they are expressed differently. Each cell in the body carries out its day-to-day activities by expressing different genes from the same type of DNA present in each and every cell. The “genes” express different types of mRNAs, which express different types of proteins for carrying out different actions of the cells.
A group of heart cells, which make up a tissue, produce similar kind of mRNAs and proteins from their common DNA. Similarly a group of brain cells, which make up a particular tissue, produces similar kinds of mRNAs and proteins from their common DNA. So as we can see one group of heart cells with the same original DNA produce common mRNAs and proteins among this group of heart cells. Similarly another group of brain cells with same original DNA produce common mRNAs and proteins among this group of brain cells.
Women in religion: The common genetic code
What does all this mean? It means that the common genetic code is the DNA and it does not change for the whole body. But from the same DNA we have different mRNAs and Proteins for different cells. We also see that similar kind of cells produce similar kind of mRNAs & proteins.
Women in religion: Working of the larger uinverse is similar to the micro universe of the body
The larger system called the universe also works on similar principle. We only have one universal supreme power, which is akin to the DNA. Different societies are like different organs in the system like the heart and brain. Based on the same universal supreme power (DNA) these societies develop different religions and faiths (mRNA) with different traditions and principles for day-to-day practice (Proteins)
In this way everybody works in the framework of the universe in relation to the universal supreme power. One more important point to note is that the DNA of the organism remains constant throughout its life but the kind of mRNAs and proteins produced change during its lifetime based on the interactions with different internal and external factors. Similarly though the supreme universal force remains constant in the form of energy, the world, the society and religions change and evolve around the supreme universal force.
Women in religion: Women as saviours of the human race
If everybody had cared to understand this universal truth, life would have been a little better in this world. I believe that women have great understandings of such basic principles of unification and they can be the saviors of the human species. We need to undertake an in-depth study to reinforce the role played by women in religion for achieving the nature’s purpose of unification of forces.
Article by Sanjay Nair
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