Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Are we identifying the correct ideal?

[Satī and Sāvitrī are ideal Hindu women. Agreed. But are we identifying the correct ideal when we talk about them? Are we drawing the right lesson from their lives? ... In the case of Sāvitrī, it is exemplified in her resolve to bring back her husband even from the land of the dead. This then is the kind of love and loyalty Hindu wives should display towards their husbands... In the case of Sāvitrī, her father asked her to find a groom for herself, as people felt too intimidated by her for him to find a husband for her. Interestingly, Manu says that if the father cannot find a husband for her, the daughter should find one for herself. And she does.
This raises two points for us to consider: (1) Should not the ideal of Sāvitrī be construed as suggesting that women should be encouraged to choose their husbands for themselves, rather than let the parents do so, and (2) Is it possible to be so devoted to one’s husband as Satī and Sāvitrī were, if one does not choose one’s husband on one’s own?
42.) Satī and Sāvitrī as Ideal Hindu Women
from Indological Provocations by arvindsharma]

It might be difficult for Sri Aurobindo's Savitri to confront such politically inconvenient questions. [TNM]

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