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Religious People Should be Gender Blind

We Hindus worship Mother Goddess in numerous forms. And a large section of the worshippers of Goddess in Hindu society practice gender bias in numerous ways – the most horrific form of it is in sex-selective abortion and female infanticide. Worshippers of feminine aspects of divinity, often fail to respect women in real life.

Writing on this subject in the Faith section of Washington Post, Aseem Shukla, Co-founder of Hindu American Tradition, says that the sacred traditions should be gender blind.

As a Hindu male I can speak to the choices I can make. I can choose to see our most sacred scriptures, the Vedas, as influenced by some of the towering divine intellects that communed to put forth this compilation--Gargi, Savitri or Anasuya--who happened to be women. The four major divisions of my faith--Shaivism, Vaishnavism, Smartha and Shakti--all worship Femininity as an equal half to a male representation, but the Shakti followers worship the Mother Goddess as a representation of the creative feminine divine force and the central force to be worshipped.

Yes, males--mostly Brahmin--occupied the interpretive space of ancient Hinduism in the post-Vedic era, and the Manu Smriti, for example, is seen by many to reflect the privileged male despite the many exalting verses also found. But most Hindus see their religion as a living one, a faith whose revelatory power did not end millenia ago, but continues to this day. The modern spiritual masters, scores of whom are women, attest to this vivacity. A predominant male perspective dominated the past, but the future must hark to balance and empowerment of all voices of Truth--gender blind.

It is not the religion that is gender blind but it is the practitioners of religion who are gender blind. They should follow and put into practice the original teachings of their religion and not the doctored version sold by wholesale dealers of religion.

We should stop being proud by saying that the Hindu faith has a wonderful tradition of Shakti - female divinity – not found in any other religions. The very same Hindus who are proud to be part of this great tradition consider their daughters as a burden.