7

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 6.4.7

If she does not willingly yield her body to him, he should buy her with presents. If she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with his hand and overcome her, repeating the following mantra: “With power and glory I take away your glory.” Thus she becomes discredited.

Garuda Purana 1.109.31

Wicked persons, artisans, slaves, defiled ones, drums and women are softened by being beaten; they do not deserve gentle handling.”

What kind of teaching is this? Because other verses run contrary to these sayings. E.g, here in Adi Parva it says:

No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife; for happiness, joy, virtue and everything depend on the wife. Wife is the sacred soil in which the husband is born again, even the Rishis cannot create men without women--------------Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book, 1.74.50-51

  • You should first look up at the context of the passage discussed... see from the link given there ater 6.4.2 comes 6.4.6... where are 6.4.3, 6.4.4, 6.4.5?... They aren't discussed there because they aren't suitable to discuss there... you should understand it... – Tejaswee Jun 2 '17 at 9:20
  • also see hindudharmaforums.com/… – zaxebo1 Apr 8 '18 at 9:43
  • That is not hard. Here is how it works - 1. If the literal meaning is not consistent or is undesirable, then reinterpret it to mean something else. Many Sanskrit words have multiple, unrelated meanings and - with some ingenuity - scholars have created wildly different interpretations of the same text. 2. If 1 does not work, then dismiss these verses as interpolations – TheExorcist Aug 21 '18 at 17:06
  • 3. If these verses cannot be dismissed away as interpolations, then plead ignorance. Claim that the text has a hidden meaning and we are not competent enough to know it. And the text is back to consistent and infallible again! If you really wanna read it, I request you to read it in Sanskrit. – TheExorcist Aug 21 '18 at 17:06
  • Shastras also say we should hit a child (spare the rod, spoil the child) if he does not obey rules of society. Shastras also say we should execute a criminal man if he don't obey rules of society. Why do shastras discriminating against unruly children and men ? Rules should be EQUAL to good and bad people. – ram Aug 21 '18 at 18:56
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Garuda purana 1.109.31 is a verse taken From manu smriti, also it's taken without its context

Manu says this

8.299. A wife, a son, a slave, a pupil, and a (younger) brother of the full blood, who have committed faults, may be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo,

Its not promoting violence similarly in next verse manu says

Manu 8.300  But only on the back part of the body, and never on the upper part; he who strikes otherwise than this incurs the guilt of a thief. — (300)

Now look what commentor medhatithi says-

What is enjoined here is the method of keeping the persons on the right path, and not actual beating; so that chastisement may be administered verbally; and in cases where the fault is serious, there may also be beating.

...

‘Split bamboo’ — the bark of the bamboo. This has been mentioned only as illustrative of the lotus-fibre and other such objects which cause only slight pain. — (299)

Apparently "they don't deserve gentle handling" this verse is not found in either garuda purana or manu smriti, it's not promoting violence but doing quite the opposite.

Anyway as for the verse from brihadaranyaka upanishad- it's a mixed scripture. As it's its name suggest brihad-aranyaka-upanishad it contains brahmana-aranyaka-upanishad together

The verse you've taken is from last part or the brahmanas which deal with rituals for householders, and other rituals for material well-being, brahmanams don't place down laws for householders. So don't confuse it to be a law or teaching it's a ritual to be more precise, some acts are allowed in rituals, they are not literally done but acted in such a way.

If she does not willingly yield her body to him, he should buy her with presents. If she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with his hand and overcome her, repeating the following mantra: “With power and glory I take away your glory.” Thus she becomes discredited.

*it's clear it is prescribing a ritual for progeny as it says to chant mantras similarly other verses in this brahmanam also deal with food that should be eaten to get desired progeny, food-mantra it's all part of the ritual.

it's similar to other rituals like queen sleeping with horse of ashvamedha etc

Offcource if it was promoting domestic violence it would not say to chant mantras, it's not saying to beat women literally but the "striking" part is part of the ritual.

Given the fact it's from brahmana it's very clear that it's not some kind of law because smritis deal with material laws furthermore they declare beating women to be sin,

the beating part is part of the ritual(with no actual beating) pretty sure no severe physical harm is meant here. It's similar to how some animals are mocked-yoked before sacrifice or other ritualistic acts are done on them.

Many brahmanams also allow meat to be used in rituals etc but nowadays the brahmanam portions are not so well followed because of popularity of vedanta school and the falling of purva mimansa' s popularity, vedanta is more vegeterian-ascetic-moniker friendly as these values are upheld in gita, rather than the ritualistic parts of brahmanams.

Edit: I'll take this opportunity to discuss morality based on smritis and certain rituals which do not subscribe to this morality

Shabara in his Commentary of purva mimansa sutras discuss certain "immoral" acts prescribed in brahmanas as rituals.

As a matter of fact, the Veda indicates both what is moral and what is immoral.—" What is moral?" —That which is conducive to good, such as the Jyotiisfoma and other acts." What is immoral 1"—That which leads to evil (sin), such as the Shyena, the Vajra, the Ian and other (malevolent) acts.— Thus the Sutra has used the term   artha',   what is conducive to good ', in order to preclude the possibility of the Immoral act (which is not conducive to good) being included under the term  dharma

Objection :—" Why should the immoral act be so called Y "

ADHYAYA I, ADHIKARANA (3). 7

Reply :—Because it involves inflicting of injury, and the inflicting of injury has been forbidden.

Objection :—" How then is it that an immoral act (in the shape of the Shyena sacrifice, for instance) is enjoined as something that should be done ? "

The answer to this is that the Shyena and other such  (malevolent) sacrifices are nowhere found to be spoken of as what should be done; they are indicated only in the form that 'if a man desires to inflict injury upon another, the performance (of the Shyena) would be the means for that purpose'r what-the-Vedic-text-says is only that-'-one-desiring  to inflict injury may perform the Shyena' (cf. Saclvirhaha-Brahman 8.  1-2),—not that  one should inflict injury '. [The man is urged to undertake the performance of the Shyena entirely by his desire to inflict injury, not by any Vedic text enjoining that act as what ought to be done.]

Shabara first goes on and discusses that samhitas and other parts of vedas as well as smiritis say that inflicting damage injury to other life is immoral and he says that is true for all beings animals, womens, sudras in vedas

Then how can immoral acts of inflicting damage can come under dharma?Then how can vedas say to kill animals, "beat" women as part of rituals isn't it contradictory?, to this he argues that we know what is moral and immoral only through scriptures so it is allowed in certain places as ritual/what can be done/it's not a teaching.

-He takes example of shyena sacrifice where if one wants to inflict damage on others can take part in the yajna.

-the purvapakshin says how can veda allow such stuff when inflicting damage is immoral? -to this he says that veda isn't giving this ritual as a teaching but saying if one wants too I.e. its totally based on ones choice

The answer to this is that the Shyena and other such  (malevolent) sacrifices are nowhere found to be spoken of as what should be done; they are indicated only in the form that 'if a man desires to inflict injury upon another, the performance (of the Shyena) would be the means for that purpose'r what-the-Vedic-text-says is only that-'-one-desiring  to inflict injury may perform the Shyena' (cf. Saclvirhaha-Brahman 8.  1-2),—not that one should inflict injury '.[The man is urged to undertake the performance of the Shyena entirely by his desire to inflict injury, not by any Vedic text enjoining that act as what ought to be done.]

Similarly if one is desiring to have good progeny can take part in the ritual mentioned in brihadaranyaka upanishad even if it has ritual of beating but doing harm to others outside of ritual is sin as per vedas

Nowhere in vedas it is said that "it should be done" but "can be done if one desires so"

*Now let's contrast these 3 verses according to the situation they are set in. *also as the morality is defined(whatever that leads to good is moral)

No man, even in anger, should ever do anything that is disagreeable to his wife; for happiness, joy, virtue and everything depend on the wife. Wife is the sacred soil in which the husband is born again, even the Rishis cannot create men without women--------------Adi Parva, Mahabharata Book, 1.74.50-51

The above verse is general teaching it says that you should not do wrong to women even when overcome by senses, if he does he incurs bad karma(also there is no situation given the women are innocent here) is this good/leading to good? Yes. This is moral

Now the verse from manu-

8.299. A wife, a son, a slave, a pupil, and a (younger) brother of the full blood, who have committed faults, may be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo,

This verse is not general statement, there is a situation given I.e. who have commited fault which means this is done in rare cases, is this leading to good? Yes, if a person commits fault and is not discouraged at once through verbal punishment or symbolic physical punishment he may try to repeat that fault. So this is leading to good thus moral.

Now the brihadaranyaka upanishad(brahmana portion)

If she does not willingly yield her body to him, he should buy her with presents. If she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with his hand and overcome her, repeating the following mantra: “With power and glory I take away your glory.” Thus she becomes discredited.

This is a ritual for good progeny, the symbolic beating is part of the ritual to have good progeny, is this good? Yes, as this is helping in having progeny, a gain thus Artha- which leads to good and progeny is good.

So you see the above three verses are not in contradiction at all they are all bearing good teaching or results because dharma changes according to place, person, birth, Vedic ritual, general teaching etc

What is good here maynot be good there, so people say to derive your morality from scriptures, and scriptures say which ultimately leads to good is moral and giver of good karma. While there is general sense of morality in everyone it needs also to be changed according to situation and result it yields.

  • "the symbolic beating is part of the ritual" - how do you know it's symbolic? Are you quoting someone's commentary or is it your own interpretation? Even if it's symbolic, why is the beating required/desired in first place? What message is it conveying? Nowhere in vedas it is said that "it should be done" but "can be done if one desires so" -- can you cite sources/examples for this statement? – sv. Aug 22 '18 at 5:00
  • @sv. Yes, the actual sanskrit verse says "if she is yet unyeilding one can strike her with a stick or hand" dharma sastras go along with the ritualistic parts of veda, they say that strickes can be used only in exceptional cases, and only on the back part. Basically its reiretating what is said in dharma sastras, only when there is fault, there is fault if first the women agrees and then when the man follows all rituals at the end suddenly changes her mind and disagrees. – Anubhav Jha Aug 22 '18 at 10:15
  • @sv. The sastras also say to be campossinate, so there is no compulsion, but they do agree that when there is fault one might use little force, even if it is ceremonial and the force is flower petal like. At the end of the day one has to choose what to do, its based on consience similarly we have to choose how to interpret the above verses without any sensationalization. – Anubhav Jha Aug 22 '18 at 10:18
  • 'one can strike her with a stick or hand' - what is "symbolic" in this? It's clearly a physical act both in the smriti and the upanishad. I'm just questioning your choice of words. – sv. Aug 22 '18 at 17:34

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