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Views On Women By Varahamihira

Views on women by Varahamihira, Hindu astronomer during 5th century CE is of great importance. The views of Varahamihira on women may be taken to represent the progressive view of the cultured Hindu society.

Varahamihira was critical of the Sannyasi (ascetic) School of thought. He is the author of Panchasiddhantika (five schools of astronomy), and his school of thought is called Romaka Siddhanta.

From the beginning years of Common Era, one comes across passages portraying women in negative terms. The prevalent perspective then on women dubbed them as frivolous, fickle, faithless, vindictive and with an uncontrollable sexual urge. If a woman remained virtuous, it was because she could not get proper ‘cover, place and opportunity’. These views were propagated by the Sannyasa School, which decried women in order to dissuade men from marrying.

Varahamihira made a very critical and thorough analysis of the extant views of the Sannyasa School. He pointed out that both men and women had common defects, but women mad an effort to get rid of them. Marriage vows were equally binding on the couple; while women tried to live by such rules, men ignored them. Widowers, though old, remarried, whereas even young widows lived chaste lives. He said that men who called women fickle and faithless were ungrateful. Such men were like thieves who looted and yet blamed innocents and demanded the stolen goods from them (Brihat Samhita Chapter 76).

Varahamihira’s masterly and just indictment shows clearly that the arguments of misogynists were weak.