Recently a friend raised an issue as to how we have transformed rather declined so much from the era of high degree of freedom of mind and body to the present characterised by loads of clothes on body and innumerable ideological knots, kinks in mind and intellect. Even women used to be sparsely attired, semi-clad or even topless to be more precise in ancient Bharata. Even during sixties / seventies of past century, rural hinterland across the nation was absolutely comfortable with topless women. That is very well depicted through idols, sculptures that used to be crafted and chiselled in very large numbers across the continent. Amarasilpi Janakacarya is one of such legendary sculptors who raised several highly sophisticated, refined temples in the country. Most of Madanika-s i.e. women dancers or characters in Valmiki Ramayana / Mahabharata / Upanisad-s were topless as a measure of routine life-style without inviting ignominy or undesirable attention. Then trooped in invaders like Muslims / Christians who found themselves “horrified” to behold ‘fashion statements’ of our ancestors and forcibly loaded then from tip to toe with clothes without bringing in European winter along with the heavy clothing !
It appears like an enigmatic mystery to present generation as to how semi-clad / topless women were so secured in those days with no trace of gender crimes in those ancient societies, whether every nook and corner of every town was appointed with CCTV cameras, whether every street was intensely patrolled by Beat Constables of Haryana Police !!!! Or was it due to fear of extreme punishment like castration etc. being awarded instantly in a kangaroo court !!!
No. Not really so. Mystery lay somewhere else.
Our ancestors in ancient Bharata were highly advanced and most sophisticated / refined society in the world. Cultural and Adhyatmika framework of ancient society constituted by our ancestors was very sturdy, inviolable, sacrosanct and impenetrable. Also it used to be nourished and strengthened by every section of that society.
Most conspicuous constituent of that institutional framework was four Asrama-s comprising of Brahmacarya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. And the Asrama of Brahmacarya was at the root of our entire glory as Visvaguru in the world, highest order of knowledge and refinement in every, I repeat emphatically, every aspect of life. Let us scrutinise the Asrama of Brahmacarya in detail.
Brahmacarya Asrama used to be practised in hermitage of Guru-s who used to be Siddha Tapasvi-s. Let us have a glimpse of Brahmacari-s in his Guru’s hermitage as detailed in Manusmriti –
Sevetemanstu Niyamanbrahmacari Gurau Vasan I
Sanniyamyendriyagramam Tapovrddhayarthamatmanah II II / 118 II
While dwelling in the hermitage of Guru, while pursuing enrichment of wisdom and knowledge, Brahmacari is ordained to practise following instructions.
Brahmacari is the one who lives life of an ascetic in a hermitage with his Guru. Observing severe asceticism with augmented emphasis of celibacy, he is required to pursue study of Veda-s and other scriptures along with other disciplines of study. Brahmacari compulsorily undergoes Upanayana Samskara at the hermitage under the supervision of his Guru. As the discipleship advances a bit, Brahmacari is awarded a Varna depending upon his abilities, faculties and inclinations. Brahmacarya i.e. the state of being a Brahmacari, continues in the hermitage so long as the Brahmacari carries on with his studies before entering into the phase of being a householder. Maharsi Manu has prescribed a descriptive catalogue of mandatory duties and responsibilities to be practised by every Brahmacari so long as he dwells in the hermitage in the august company of his Guru.
Varjayenmadhumansam Ca Gandha Malyam Rasanstriyaha I
Suktani Yani Sarvani Praninam Caiva Himsanam II II / 120 II
All sorts of indulgences viz. Gandha, Mala, Rasa, company of man and woman must be eschewed by ascetics religiously.
Extravagance to gratify senses must be abhorred and eschewed as these are gateway to decline and certain disaster. And a Seeker is called upon to assimilate the regime of self-denial to ensure self-consecration. These are effective distractions for an ascetic that may eventually succeed in destroying all pursuits.
Abhyangamanjanam Caksnorupanacchatradharanam I
Kamam Krodham Ca Lobham Ca Nartanam Gitavadanam II II / 121 II
Singing, dancing, playing musical instrument, use of black streak in eyes, touching organs aimlessly, wearing shoes and crown, Kama, Krodha, Lobha etc. must be shunned.
Those are activities that may potentially distract an ascetic from the charted path of Sadhana into frivolity. These must be abhorred and eschewed by Brahmacari-s and Sadhaka-s.
Dyutam Ca Janavadam Ca Parivadam Tathaanritam I
Strinam Ca Praiksanalambhamupaghatam Parasya Ca II II / 122 II
He must ever refrain from gambling, indulgence in lying and carping, watching women and harming others in any possible manner.
Aforesaid indulgences also must be eschewed by Brahmacari-s and Sadhaka-s.
Ekaha Sayita Sarvatra Na Retaha Skandayetkvacit I
Kamaddhi Skandayanreto Hinasti Vratmatmanaha II II / 123 II
Must sleep in isolation, never allow ejaculation of Virya as it destroys one’s Brahmacarya. Brahmacari must be absolutely particular about not discharging his Virya as loss of Virya destroys Brahmacarya.
Svabhava Esa Narinam Naranamiha Dusanam I
Atoarthanna Pramadyanti Pramadasu Vipascitah II II / 145 II
Moral fibre of man being disrupted immediately after coming in contact with woman, is quite natural herein. Hence the wise ones must observe extreme discretion while interacting with women.
In this Sloka, Maharsi Manu has likened man and woman with Indriya and Visaya respectively. If Indriya-s are conceded liberty of interacting with respective Visaya-s, it is known as the state of Bhoga. When Indriya-s are denied the liberty consciously, it is the state of pursuit of Tapa.
If Indriya-s remain in the state of Bhoga perpetually, more and more Samskara-s are generated requiring increasing number of births and deaths in the world, more of agonies and miseries. Bhoga is a certain recipe of decline and degradation. Revelling perpetually in the state of Tapa leads to dissolution of incumbent albeit unredeemed Samskara-s, purification and consecration of one’s Citta. Through Tapa, one advances towards Moksa gradually. Undesirable and purposeless interaction between man and woman too, leads both in the same direction of decline and destruction ultimately.
Matra Svasra Duhitra Va Na Viviktasano Bhavet I
Balavanindriyagramo Vidvansamapi Karsati II II / 147 II
He must refrain from being alone in company of mother, sister or daughter as powerful Indriya-s may overpower Viveka of even the enlightened ones. As Indriya-s are assertive and powerful, one ought to be abundantly discreet by refraining from being alone with women.
Brahmacarya is the spiritual pursuit entailing one to deport oneself in the highest traditions of Adhyatma without pause. When elements of Astangayoga of Maharsi Patanjali i.e. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are ardently pursued by a Brahmacari, he is certain to attain the highest abode of enlightenment, highest order of sanctity and highest expanse of divinity. Out of these eight elements, it is Pranayama that is the highest order of Sadhana capable of absolutely purifying Sadhaka of entire basket of Samkara-s i.e. imprints of past yet unredeemed Karma-s from his / her Citta. There is one more mystical attainment that is possible to realise – complete command over five Bhuta-s as well as all carnal desires including Kama i.e. lust herein.
Complete control / command over lust / wayward mind is perfectly attainable through intensive Pranayama from 30 to 60 minutes everyday by developing perfect restraint over the ‘Bull-hormone’, also know as Testosterone, sole culprit responsible for all anti-woman crimes if not restrained effectively. Practising Sadhu-s have confessed to me, such a control through Pranayama is so powerful, so effective that they dislike even looking at women !! Ancient Bharata had a network of more than 8 lakh Gurukula-s across the country funded and patronised by local populace. Young lads used to join these Gurukula-s at their very young age, reside and study for next 15 to 20 years. During stay at these Gurukula-s, they compulsorily followed a very stringent regime of Yoga–Sadhana, Japa, study, sports, misc. errands etc. Rigorous Pranayama was absolutely essential for all of them. When the entire young and old ‘male-mankind’ in ancient Bharata had to compulsorily undergo hours and years of Pranayama, Yoga–Sadhana of this stringent order, how can anyone even visualise these ascetic Brahmacari-s turned absolutely Sattvika Grihastha-s having any malicious or lascivious thoughts towards women ? Semi-clad, even topless women did not deter them at all, rather did not even bother them at all !!
Thus, those Gurukula-s ensured, complete safety and security of women throughout the country by raising such Sattvika, ascetic men. Anti-women crimes were completely unknown to them for thousands of years. Is all that possible today with kids staying with their parents, going to their schools with tiffin boxes and water bottles in a van / bus, attending schools 8 am to 1 pm and attaining even half of those cultural roots ? Next to impossible to attain.
Eight lakh Gurukula-s were methodically destroyed by Thomas Babbibgton McCaulay, a British missionary who later introduced, western oriented anti-Hindu Convent education that gradually ruined our cultural moorings and population of stalkers / rapists / eve-teasers / acid-throwers started rising exponentially in the country. Centuries later, nation witnessed Nirbhaya-Kaand, massive agitation launched and the whole world castigated us for not respecting our women !!! BBC shot an abusive documentary indicting Hindu-s and Sanatana Hinduism responsible for rapes and all gender crimes without uttering even a word about grave crimes perpetrated by their ancestors upon our ancestors !! All these ‘eulogies’ for a community which did not even know how to be rude to a woman till they forcibly entered, destroyed our values and looted our country to dreaded famines and mass deaths on streets of Kolikata !!
Years ago, Swami Ramdeva of Patanjali Group once challenged on live TV channels to name even a single, even a single case when a Gurukula educated person was apprehended for anti-woman crimes. The challenge is yet to met by anyone. As human civilisation has moved considerably in various directions, it is not feasible or advisable to revert to ancient Gurukula system now. Network of Acarya Kulum schools being raised by them may be the appropriate move in that direction integrating all practices. Similar such chain of schools are being developed by other religious preacher-reformers too. Once this generation is in majority few years hence, gender disparity may be addressed to a great extent.