All The Writings Agreed
Women Have No Moksha At All!
There were two things on which all those books, the Dharma Shastras, the Sacred epics, the Puranas and modern poets, the popular preachers of the present day and orthodox high-caste men were agreed that Women (of any caste) as a class were bad, worse than demons, as unholy as untruth; and that they could not get Moksha as men. The only hope of their getting this much-desired liberation from Karma and its results, that is, countless millions of rebirths and deaths and untold suffering, was the worship of their husbands. The husband is said to be the woman’s god; there is no other god for her. This god (husband) may be the worst sinner and a great criminal; still, he is her god, and she must worship him. She can have no hope of getting admission into Svarga (the abode of the gods) without his (husband) pleasure and if she pleases him in all things, she will have the privilege of going to serve him and be one of his wives among the thousands of Svarga harlots who are presented to him by the gods in exchange for his wife’s merit. The woman is allowed to go into higher existence thus far but to attain Moksha or liberation, she must perform such great religious acts as will obtain for her the merit by which she will be reincarnated as a high caste man, in order to study the Vedas and the Vedanta, and thereby get the knowledge of the true Brahma and be amalgamated in it. The extraordinary religious acts which help a woman to get into the way of getting Moksha are utter abandonment of her will to that of her husband. She is to worship him with wholehearted devotion as the only god; to know and see no other pleasure in life except in the most degraded slavery to him.
The woman has no right to study the Vedas and Vedanta, and without knowing them, no one can know the Brahma: without knowing Brahma no one can get liberation, therefore, no woman, as a woman, can get liberation, i.e., Moksha. There are two things, upon which all Shastras and others are agreed. I had a vague idea of these doctrines of the Hindu religion from my childhood, but while studying the Dharma Shastras, they presented themselves to my mind with great force. My eyes were being gradually opened; I was waking up to my own hopeless condition as a woman and it was becoming clearer and clearer to me that I had no place anywhere as far as the religious consultation was concerned. I became quite dissatisfied with myself. I wanted something more than the Shastras could give me, but I did not know what it was that I wanted.
One day my brother and I met Sri Keshab Chandra Sen. He gave me a copy of one of the Vedas. He asked if I had studied the Vedas. I answered that woman were not fit to read the Vedas. It would be breaking the rules of religion if I were to study the Vedas. He could not but smiled at my declaration of this Hindu doctrine and advised me to study the Vedas and Upanishads. New thoughts were awakening in my heart. I finished reading Upanishads, Vedanta, and Veda. After reading I became more dissatisfied with myself. In the meanwhile, my brother died. Having all faith in the religion of my ancestors. I married a Bengali gentleman of the Shudra caste. After two years of our marriage, my husband died of cholera. Then I was twenty-two years old. I was left alone to face the world with a baby in my arms.
Women in England
I went to England in order to study and fit myself for my lifework. One day the Sisters took me to see the rescue work for women carried on by them. I met several of the women who had once been in their Rescue Home, but who had so completely changed, and were so filled with the Love of Christ and compassion for suffering humanity, that they had given their life for the sick and infirm. Here for the first time in my life, I came to know that something should be done to reclaim the so-called fallen women, and the Christians whom our country considered outcaste and cruel were kind to these unfortunate women, degraded in the eyes of society. After my visit to the Homes at Fulham, where I saw the work of mercy carried on by the Sisters of the Cross, I asked the Sisters to tell me what it was that made the Christians care for, and reclaim the ‘Fallen’ women.
Then she opened the Bible and read the story of Jesus Christ meeting the Samaritan Woman: There was Jacob’s well and Jesus tired as he was from the journey, sat down by the well. His disciples had gone into the town to buy food. It was mid-day when a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, ‘will you give me a drink?’ The Samaritan woman said to him ‘You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?’ (For Jews did not associate with Samaritans) Jesus answered her ‘If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked you and he would have given you living waters.’ ‘Sir,’ the woman said, ‘You have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob who gave us the well and drank from it himself as did also his sons and his flock and herd?’ Jesus answered, ‘Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.’ The woman said to him, ‘Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water’ He told her: ‘Go call your husband and come back’ She replied ‘I have no husband’ Jesus said to her, ‘You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is you have had five husbands and the man you now have is not your husband what you have just said is quite true’ The woman said ‘Sir, I can see that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.’ Jesus declared ‘Believe me woman, a time is coming when you will worship the father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem, You Samaritans worship what you do not know: we worship what we do know: for salvation is from the Jews, yet a time is coming and has now come, when the true worshippers will worship the Father in Spirit and Truth for they are the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. God is Spirit and his worshippers must worship in Spirit and in Truth. The woman said: ‘I know that Christ is coming when he comes, he will explain everything to us. Then Jesus Declared: ‘I who speak to you am Christ.’
After finishing the reading of this wonderful discourse on the nature of the worship, and explained it to me, she spoke of the infinite Love of Christ for sinners. He did not despise sinners but came to save them. I had never read or heard anything like this in the religious books. I realized that Jesus Christ was truly the Divine Savior He claimed to be, and no one but He could transform and UPLIFT the downtrodden womanhood in this world, physically as well as Spiritually.
Pandita Ramabai was beginning to move towards something she had never encountered. This SomeOne dramatically changed her life.
You can learn about the ‘Who’ she is referring to on the NEXT PAGE.