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108 Women to Chant Vedic Mantra in Haridwar and perform Yajna

108 Indian women from a cross section of Hindu society including Tribals and Dalit women will be chanting Vedic mantras and performing yajna in Haridwar on November 6, 2011. The women have been trained in the chanting of Vedic mantras and can now chant mantras in other Hindu religious ceremonies such as engagement, weddings and child-birth ceremonies. The program is organized by Gayatri Parivar as part of the birth centenary celebrations of Yugrishi Acharya Shriram Sharma.

Why this program is important? – Hindu women were forbidden from chanting Vedic mantras but this has changed in many societies. But still there is section of Hindus who have difficulty in accepting women priests.
Reuters India reports
"It's a long overdue victory for women, especially in a country where women were not even allowed to hear the Vedic Mantras in ancient times," said Manju Agarwal, a psychology professor and women rights activist in Lucknow, northern India
Known as "Brahmavaadinis," or the ones who speak God's language, the women were carefully chosen and trained over six months for their unprecedented duty. The number 108 is auspicious in Hinduism. 
"The selection of the women was done through a rigorous process, in which they were tested for clarity of diction, accuracy in pronunciation and proper understanding of the Mantras," said Amrendra Singh, a follower of Gayatri Paravar, the organization behind the ceremonies. 
Most of the women are between 25 and 30 but a few are over 50, and a majority come from educated, well-to-do backgrounds. 
Deena Trivedi had a Master's degree in Labour Welfare and took a government job, but left in search of something deeper. 
"I left my job in order to live life at a different and more evolved level," the 48-year-old said.
"I am chanting mantras since then and I can see my personality has improved, with better concentration and more focus."
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