WOMEN OF INDIA-1
In this book a few lectures and interviews on this subject are added. Swami Vivekanand spoke on this subject in Cambridge on 17th Dec.1894 and this lecture is presented in a book titled ‘Women of India-1’…That time, there had been some mouths in Western countries only to curse the women of India and it was a reply to them by Swamiji…
Ladies and gentlemen…
In speaking about the women of India, I feel that I am going to talk about my mothers and sisters in India to the women of another race, whom have been like mothers and sisters to me. Though, unfortunately, within very recent time there have been mouths only to curse the women of our country but I have found that there are some who blessed them too. I become bold when I find such noble souls who will not curse, whose mouths are full of blessings for me, my country, our men and women and whose hands and hearts are ever ready to do service to humanity.
I first intend to take a glimpse into time past of Indian history and we will find something unique. All of you are aware, perhaps, that you Americans and we Hindus are the descendants of one common ancestry known as Aryans. Above all, we find three ideas wherever the Aryans go- the village community, the rights of women and a joyful religion.
The second idea of the Aryans is the freedom of women. It is in the Aryan literature that we find the women in ancient time taking the same share as men, and in no other literature of the world.
Going back to our Vedas, they are the oldest literature the world possesses. There oldest portion is composed of hymns, and these hymns are to the God whom the Aryans worshipped. In the tenth chapter comes a peculiar hymn- for the sage is woman- and it is dedicated to the one God who is at the background of all these Gods.
This is the first glimpse of women’s work in the Vedas. As we go on, we find them taking them a greater share- evening officiating as priests. There is not one passage throughout the whole mass of the literature of the Vedas which can be construed even indirectly as signifying that women could never be a priest.
Then we come to the last portion of Vedas- which is really the religion of India. There, too, we find women preeminent. A large portion of these books are words which have proceeded from the mouth of women. It is there- recorded with there names and teachings.