अ॒धः प॑श्यस्व॒ मोपरि॑ संत॒रां पा॑द॒कौ ह॑र । मा ते॑ कशप्ल॒कौ दृ॑श॒न्त्स्त्री हि ब्र॒ह्मा ब॒भूवि॑थ ॥
adhaḥ paśyasva mopari saṁtarām pādakau hara | mā te kaśaplakau dṛśan strī hi brahm
“O men and women, keep your eyes down on earth and not sky let your lower legs be covered and not exosoed ; walk on both feet together(as two wheels and two horse draw chariots together, let women be high priest of Home Yajna”…
Here RV refers of performing Yajna, And they are referring to performing Yajna on ground where Agni flames.. They said to both men and women cover their lower legs.. It may have some poetic meaning but There isn't any veil..
"It is the acutal translation "
Rig Veda 8.33.19 doesn't seem to be saying that women should wear a veil. This hymn 8.33 is about Asanga who became a female due to curse.
अधः पश्यस्व मोपरि सन्तरां पादकौ हर |
मा ते कषप्लकौ दर्शन सत्री हि बरह्मा बभूविथ ||
Cast your eyes downwards, and don't look up. Keep your feet closer;
let not anyone observe your back side, for from having been a Brahma
you have become a female.
Indra is advising Asanga not to look upwards but look downwards. He also advises him to keep both of his feet very closer without leaving much gap. He also advises him let not anyone see your back side (कषप्लक - back side, translated by Griffith as garment) since Asanga has become a female.
Rig veda refers to veil only because as per vAlmiki rAmayaNa, women veiled themselves in vedic society and this was known as avaguNThana in sanskrit. This can be seen in yuddha khanda of rAmayaNa where rAma describes the veiling system of women as to when they should veil or unveil themselves. Verses below talk of 6 situations when a women is exempted from veiling herself implying that in other situations they should veil themselves:
व्यसनेषु न कृच्छ्रेषु न युद्धे न स्वयं वरे |
न क्रतौ नो विवाहे च दर्शनं दुष्यते स्त्रियः || ६-११४-२८
"A woman becoming visible to public :
in times of a calamity is not condemned in difficult situations,
nor in battles,
nor in self-choosing of a husband by a princess at a public assembly of suitors,
nor in sacrificial ceremonies
nor in marriage-functions."
सैषा युद्धगता चैव कृच्छ्रे महति च स्थिता |
दर्शनेऽस्या न दोषः स्यान्मत्समीपे विशेषतः || ६-११४-२९
"The younder Seetha is in distress and beset with a great difficulty. There is no fault in her appearance in public, (6) particularly in my presence."
Above verses are for veiling the gross body (sthula sharira) of women and are not to be confused with verse ६-११४-२७ where rAma mentions "character" as a shield for subtle body (sukshma sharira) of women.
After rAvaNa’s detah, manDoDarI laments in front of his dead body making reference to absence of veil(avaguNThana):
दृष्ट्वा न खल्वभिक्रुद्धो मामिहानवगुण्ठिताम् || ६-१११-६३
निर्गतां नगरद्वारात्पद्भ्यामेवागतां प्रभो |
"O Lord! Are you not indeed enraged, in seeing me on foot in this way out through the city-gate, unveiled and come on foot in the way?
पश्येष्टदार दारांस्ते भ्रष्टलज्जावगुण्ठनान् || ६-१११-६४
बहिर्निष्पतितान् सर्वान् कथं दृष्ट्वा न कुप्यसि |
"O lover of your consorts! Look at all your spouses, who came out, with their veils dropped off. Why are you not getting enraged in seeing this?"
harivamsa-viShNuparva-chapter66 describes avaguNThana as a cloth used for covering face (vaktra) by satyabhAmA :
avaguNThya yadA vaktramupadhAne nyaveshayat | idamantaramityevaM tadA gatvA janArdanaH ||2-66-12
As she covered her face with a cloth and rested her head on a pillow, thinking that to be the best opportunity, janArdana (kR^iShNa) went near her.
Note that sculpture/idol follow a different set of rules with regards to depiction and hence they don't reflect above practice. “Manasara” a shilpa text followed in ancient times for idol making mentions the below points in context of sculpture in chapter 51:
8-12. The chitranga, the ardhacitrāṅga and the ābhāsāṅga: these are said to be the three kinds (of images): that of which all the limbs are (made) visible is called the chitra** (high relief); that of which half the limbs are visible is called the ardhachitra (middle relief); and that of which one-quarter limbs are visible is called the ābhāsa (low relief or bas-relief); but the ābhāsa may be otherwise made (painted) on a tablet or a wall with five colours.
13-14. What is (called) the citra (high relief) is stated to be the best, the ardhacitra (middle relief) is fair, and the ābhāsa (bas-relief) inferior: thus should be always made (the images).
16-16. It has been said by God himself that the high relief is meant for all successes (i.e., spiritual benefit, worldly gain, enjoyment, and salvation), the middle relief for enjoyment and salvation, and the low relief for success in enjoyment (only).
From above points it is clear that idols which display all/many limbs are considered superior idols hence we find many idols without veils or even dresses but this was a rule specific to idol and not a generic social rule. Idols and images require dressing only at the time of worship. This procedure is known as shodasha upachAra which comprises of 16 steps and one of the steps is ‘vastra’ wherein worshipper should symbolically dress the idol/image.
Yes obviously. Indra is stating the rules of women which EVERY SINGLE WOMAN MUST OBEY, including in this part of Rig Veda where even a woman form which has emerged due to a curse definitely HAS TO FOLLOW THESE RULES. I am giving old translations from previous centuries or from village areas several years ago:
तू सदा नीचे देखा कर, ऊपर मत देख, पैरोंको पास रखते हुए चल, तेरे शरीर के दोनों भाग मुख और पिढलियाँ न दिखाई दें, क्यों कि तू ब्रह्मा कि स्त्री थी।। (Translation from -- Govind Bhavan Karyalaya, Gita Press, Gorakhpur)
It means you will ALWAYS LOOK DOWN, keep your feat together & walk, BODY & FACE WILL BE BOTH HIDDEN, because you were Brahma's woman/female.
(इन्द्र ने कहा) प्रयोगि, तुम नीचे देखा करो, ऊपर नहीं। (स्त्रियों का यही धर्म है।) पैरों को संकुचित रखो (मिलाये रखो) । (इस प्रकार कपड़ा पहनो कि) तुम्हारे केश (ओष्ठ-प्रान्त) और प्लक (नारी - कटि का निम्न भाग) को कोई देखने नहीं पावे । यह सब इसलिए फरो कि तुम स्तोता होके भी स्त्री हुए हो (Translation by Pandir Ramgovind Trivedi, Vedantshastri, Varanasi)
It means that it is a WOMAN'S DHARMA to look down instead of up... keep their feet together, cover their bodies etc. Here is another desi translation by Arya Samaj from 19th century:
Again it says WOMEN SHOULD COVER THEMSELVES. Now here is an old English translation from 19th century:
Cast down thine eyes and look not up. More closely set thy feet. Let none see what thy garment veils, for thou, a Brahman, hast become a dame [woman] (Translation by Ralph T Griffith)
Here is Sayana's medieval commentary in Sanskrit -
He also says THIS IS WOMENS DHARMA. So every single woman must be covered except in rare circumstances. Here is a medieval Indian painting:
Here is ancient folk representation of Bengal and other part:
Valmiki Ramayana is dated to at least 4th century BCE it also has mention of headcovering in Yuddha Khanda 6, Sarga 111, verses 63-64. And this part is found in 6TH CENTURY COPY (oldest) of the Ramayana:
“O Lord! Are you not indeed enraged, in seeing me on foot in this way out through the city-gate, unveiled and come on foot in the way? O lover of your consorts! Look at all your spouses, who came out, with their veils dropped off. Why are you not getting enraged in seeing this?” Tr. K.M.K. Murthy
And Hindu marriage also has Ghoonghat as compulsory for women. So anyone saying that headcovering is not in Vedas or Indian culture is wrong.
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