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On the relationship of Men and Women in Hindu Culture – Swami Ranganathananda

Hindu culture has behind it a profound philosophy, the Vedanta, which is the product of a penetrating scientific study of nature and man. Among the values that this philosophy has placed before all humanity, the most significant is the truth of the innate divinity of man.

Men and women and all beings are divine in their essential nature, and men and women have been endowed by nature with the organic capacity to inquire into and realize this great truth. Hindu culture views all social evolutions the process of the incorporation of this truth into the texture of human relationships. From it are derived the values of freedom, equality, and the dignity and sacredness of the human personality.

Men and women are essentially the ever-pure, ever-free, ever-illumined Atman, the sexless Self. Associated with body and mind, this Atman becomes conditioned as male and female.

In the realization of the manhood of man by men and the womanhood of woman by women, in the context of the equality of the marriage relationship, Hindu culture recognizes a significant experience of spiritual education. It points out that there is no real independence in this sphere for either man or woman; here, inter-dependence is the law; it alone leads to happiness and fulfillment for both. But true inter-dependence cannot come if man is free and woman un-free.

Swami Ranganathananda

(Source: Excerpts from ‘Women in the modern age’, published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Mumbai.)