Friday, June 27, 2014

Hinduism and Rape

Recently I made a meme that quotes a passage from Hindu scriptures:



I'd like to discuss some objections to this passage and look some more at the issues involved.

1. There is no 6th chapter in the Brhadrankaya Upanishad

It would appear that some versions do not have the 6th chapter, and others do. For example this version is lacking the 6th chapter: http://www.swami-krishnananda.org/brhad_00.html.

However another version includes the 6th chapter and notes that it is an appendage (a later addition to the original text?)
http://www.upanishads.kenjaques.org.uk/Brihadaranyaka_Upanishad_Chapter_Six.html

2. The translation is incorrect

It's difficult for me to know which is the correct translation.

Here is the translation from the above UK webpage (The verse numbers are slightly different but it seems to be the same verse)

6.4.6
 

If man sees his reflection in water, he should recite the following Mantra: '(May the gods grant) me lustre, manhood, reputation, wealth and merits.' She (his wife) is indeed the goddess of beauty among women. Therefore he should approach this handsome woman and speak to her.

6.4.7

If she is not willing, he should buy her over; and if she is still unyielding, he should strike her with a stick or with the hand and proceed, uttering the following Mantra, 'I take away your reputation,' etc. She is then actually discredited.


Beneath verse 7 there is a footnote and link to another discussion:
Edit. There is a question in the Q&A section regarding this verse. After reading it I still wonder how he knows that his interpretation of the verse is correct. It seems to me just to be a desperate attempt to explain away what it really means.

I'm still left wondering whether this translation (which does not mention sex) is correct, or whether the translation I've used for the meme is correct.

I'm also left wondering what happened to verses 9, 10, and 11 of Chapter 6.4 in the above translation with commentary. It's all a bit suspicious to me.

I got the translation for the meme from this apologetics article - An Investigation of Hindu Scripture  - and the quote is also repeated a number of times on the internet by others, including some people who seem to be Hindus.

Here's the quote again I used for my meme:

Surely, a woman who has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period is the most auspicious of women. When she has changed her clothes at the end of her menstrual period, therefore, one should approach that splendid woman and invite her to have sex. Should she refuse to consent, he should bribe her. If she still refuses, he should beat her with a stick or with his fists and overpower her, saying: “I take away the splendor from you with my virility and splendor” (6.4.9,21).

Even if this translation is not correct and the other above translation is correct, the other one is still advocating beating a woman.

The other thing is that this is not the only strange verse in the Hindu Scriptures - as is indicated in the apologetics investigation of hindu scripture article above - there is some really bizarre stuff in Hindu scriptures that include gods raping a woman, bestiality, pornography, human sacrifice, racism, sexism etc.

For example:

"Formerly the gods lusted for Gautama's wife and raped her, for their wits were destroyed by lust. Then they were terrified and went to the sage Durvasas [an incarnation of Siva], who said, 'I will remove all your defilements with the Satarudriya Mantra [an ancient Saiva prayer].' Then he gave them ashes which they smeared upon their bodies, and their sins were shaken off."  (Padma Purana 4:101:174-9)

Here is an online forum where people have been discussing these troubling verses from the Hindu scriptures. http://www.hindunet.com/forum/ubbthreads.php/ubb/showflat/Number/52908/site_id/1.

Some other questions I still have that are unanswered:

- Why is it so difficult to find information on the Hindu scriptures in English?
- How do I know which translation is the most accurate?
- Why are there no databases where I can do word and verse searches of Hindu scriptures?
- Why would it even matter whether a chapter had been added later in a religion that teaches that all is one and there are no distinctions?
- Is there anywhere in the Hindu scriptures that condemn evil acts such as rape (or calls anything evil or morally wrong given that there are no distinctions in Hinduism and the gods are rapists too)?

For more on Hinduism see my website page here: www.godorabsurdity.com/hinduism.html.

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