In Geeta, Chapter 9 verses 32 and 33 have implications related to the superiority of particular varna and gender over the others.
The verse states that "EVEN Women and Shudra can attain God". Does this mean that in general circumstances they are not able to attain god ?
maam hi paartha vyapaashritya ye (a)pi syuh paapa-yonayah |
striyo vaishyaas tathaa shudraas te (a)pi yaanti paraam gatim ||9.32||
Let us see its meaning in the Sankara bhashya which is the first and most famous commentary on Geeta.
maam hi yasmaat paartha vyapaashritya - maam aashrayatvena grheetvaa, ye api syu: paapa-yonaya: ; paapaa yonir yeshaam te paapa-yonaya: ; syu: - bhaveyu: | paapa-yonaya: paapa yonir yeshaam te paapa-yonayah paapa-janmaana: | ke te ? ity aaha—striyo vaishyaas tathaa sudraa: tepi yaanti - gacchanti, paraam - prakrshtaam gatim ||9.32||
for; O son of Prtha, ye api, even those; papayonayah syuh, who are born of sin;-as to who they are, the Lord says-striyah, women; vaisyah, Vaisyas, tatha, as also; sudrah, Sudras; te api, even they; yanti, reach, go to; the param, highest; gatim, Goal vyapasritya, by taking shelter; mam, under Me-by accepting Me as their refuge.
Note what he has said here – papayonaya: are those who are born sinners (papa janmaana:) ke te? - Who are they ? striya: - women, vaishya: people of the vaishya caste, sudra: of the sudra caste.
Further, the verse 9.32 shoud not be read in isolation. While the verse 32 defines papa yonaya:, the verse following that ie 33 defines punya yonaya: as per shankara bhashya:
kim punar braahmanaa: punyaa bhaktaa raajarshayas tathaa |
anityam asukham lokam imam praapya bhajasva maam ||Geeta 9.33||
shankaras bhashya :
kim punar braahmanaa: punyaa: punya-yonayo bhaktaa raajarshayas tathaa raajaana: ca te rshaya: ceti raajarshaya: | yata evam, ato(a)nityam kshana-bhanguram asukham ca sukha-varjitam imam lokam manushya-lokam praapya purushaartha-saadhanam durlabham manushyatvam labdhvaa bhajasva sevasva maam ||9.33||
Brahmins and kshatriyas who have taken to austerity are punya yonaya:. Now if you link this verse 33 with verse 32 you will know that while Brahmins and kshatriyas are classified as punya yonaya: vaishyas sudras and women are defined as paapa yonaya: isn’t this quite explicit ?
Now many scholars have interpret this verse of 9.32 in a different way like this,
O son of Pritha, those who take shelter in Me, though they may be sinners, women, vaishyas [merchants] and shudras [workers]—can attain the supreme destination.
Here they have separated "papayoni" as a separate FOURTH category apart from women, vysya, and Shudras. But this does not fit as a meaning because in the preceeding verse, the word "punya-yoni" an antonym of "Papayoni" related to kshatriyas and brahmins is used.
Even if that is the case then grouping women, shudra, vysya with papayoni is not a good remark either. It equates them to a lower category of sinners or low grade people.
So how do such verses find its place in geeta which brands women and shudras etc as born sinners? Is it a possible interpolation?