Women, Saints, Rabbis, Imams and clergymen
Thursday, March 11, 2010 at 9:25pm
The article below, "Wary saints won't meet women alone" is an interesting observation, the orthodox Rabbis and Imams decline to meet women alone as well, not only that, some of them don't even shake hands with women. It appears that there is some wisdom in it, no matter which tradition it is.
A few thoughts;
Either men have to learn to over come their own temptations, especially the clergymen from making advances towards the vulnerable women; it amounts to taking advantage of their position as holy men.
Or they can hold back from meeeting women, for guard their own fears of falling to the temptations.
In the long run, you can trust a culture of civility far better than fear of falling to the temptations. Buddha had set an example, that one can be incharge of his own emotions despite the temptations that surround one.
A time is on the horizon, when men will respect the freedom and friendliness of a woman without mistaking it. A time will come in the society where women feel secure and comfortable with men, and men would not be a threat to their being.
It is an oppression of women, that these misunderstandings drive women to be reticent, reclusive and retrieve, due to men jumping to conclusions about their friendliness. Shame on us men, that our fellow beings have to fear us when we are alone with them.
I hope the full emancipation to women will come, when they can be free to be friends with any one, without worrying the common mistakes men make when a woman is friendly.
If we can learn to respect and accept the God given uniqueness of each one of us, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge
Wary saints won't meet women alone
Deepak Gidwani / DNAFriday, March 12, 2010 0:31 IST Email
Lucknow: Women devotees planning a darshan of a sant or mahant in Ayodhya better ensure they have male company. Otherwise, they’ll be met with a no-show.
Their reputation at stake following a string of unseemly controversies involving self-styled godmen, sadhus in the holy town have decided not to meet women alone.
The decision was taken at a recent meeting of priests of temples in Ayodhya. At the conclave, sants and mahants voiced serious concern at the sagging reputation of Hindu holy men due to the dubious activities of a handful of self-proclaimed babas.
‘Icchadhari Baba’ Bheemanand of Delhi, Swami Nithyananda of Bangalore and Baba Anoop of Ghaziabad had recently hit the headlines for alleged involvement in sexual misdemeanours in the garb of religion and spiritualism.
Nritya Gopal Das, Ram Janmabhoomi Nyas president and mahant of the famous Maniram Chhaoni, said, “Women should refrain from going to temples unaccompanied by men or meeting sadhu-sants and mahants alone in temples and ashrams.” He said the acts of some “fake” mahants had brought a bad name to all swamis and sants, who otherwise command great respect.
Ram Vilas Vedanti, former BJP MP and a much-respected peethadheeshwar, said, “At a time when some crooks are exploiting people, especially women, in the name of religion and in the garb of sadhu-sants, it has become imperative to take some urgent steps to save our reputation… in such a situation, we had to think of drastic steps.”
“We have made a beginning in that direction,” he said.
The “perverse” and “retrograde” decision, however, has not gone down well with social activists.
Roop Rekha Verma, former vice-chancellor of Lucknow University, said, “What these mahants are saying is unconstitutional… women and men have been accorded equal status in our constitution… to say that women should go to temples accompanied by men reflects their perverse mentality.
“By saying that women need male security in temples, the mahants are revealing that they are in fact sex-starved beasts who would pounce on a lone woman.”
Prof Sadhna Singh of Kanpur University said, “Today, when women are flying jets and Boeings without male supervision, these men want to take us back to the medieval ages.”
Mahant Chidanand Muni of the renowned Parmarth Ashram in Rishikesh said Nritya Gopal Das’s utterances were entirely uncalled for. “Temple priests are supposed to be epitomes of divinity, whether a woman is alone or accompanied should not matter to a sadhu… it’s unfortunate that such advice is coming from a learned saint.”