One of the most popular posts of my blog is 'Chanakya and his views about women'. I wrote it back in 2012, it is almost four years since this post was published, so now it is time to update it. Many people read that post and shared their views about it. I request readers interested in discussions related to this post to go through the comment section of it to see how different people perceived the post very differently. Let me warn you that it is very lengthy, but people who are really interested in such discussions might find it worthy of their valuable time. Some readers accused me of trying to malign the name of great Chanakya. I don't know on what basis this accusation was leveled against me, but let me clarify that Chanakya is a legend in many ways, but he is not above criticism, analysis or scrutiny by anyone like any other great historical figure, so there are and will be lots of articles, books or blog posts written about his work and my post is just one of them. It was not written with any bad intention and I don't think it is easy for anyone to malign the image of anyone like Chanakya. Some tried to defend the quotes mentioned in the post, it is all there in that discussion section, please go through it if you are interested. Recently I read one message sent to me by Mr.
where he explained me why he thinks my post portrays wrong or misleading
interpretations of Chanakya's views about women. I think this message is worth
sharing. I always appreciate counter views, I think we all should
listen patiently and attentively to people who disagree with us, it is very
important Tapan . I
like whenever people try to make a point by using rational approach. Whether I
agree with their point or not is really immaterial, but I feel that anyone
interested in any topic should try to read all possible sides of any topic to
get the complete picture about that subject. This is the main intention behind
sharing Tapan's comment about this topic.
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.
"What people need to understand is that Chankya's literature is in Sanskrit and those who have not learnt Sanskrit properly or the grammar, or cannot interpret Sanskrit should keep their opinions to themselves and not spoil literature of such kind."
A very fair warning, but I didn't interpret any of those verses as I don't understand Sanskrit, I just used popular translations of Chanakya's work available in the public domain, so if those translations are wrong or corresponding author misinterpreted anything then obviously I am also wrong.
Then he makes a very good point, "A Sanskrit word can have multiple meanings and the meaning should be put in, in reference to the context. This message is for those people who have wrongly interpreted Chanakya Niti, and Arthashastr and other books like the Vedas, which has caused great ignorance and foolish beliefs."
It is true that many of these ancient texts, some of which are in the form of poetry can be interpreted in various ways. That is why we see many different interpretations of the same verse from the Gita or Quran or any other ancient book, but it is not an easy task to decide which one is the correct interpretation and which one is not. That's why we need to look into all interpretations and discuss them.
He has provided very different interpretations of some of the verses which I quoted in my post (quotes from my post are highlighted in bold). They are very interesting.
Coming to Chanakya's views on Women, in Arthashastr written by Arya (Noble)
BOOK 4 CHAPTER 12, 1) It is repeated many times ' No man shall have
sexual intercourse with a woman against her will' 2) When a man
refuses to stay in a marriage with a his wife as agreed upon, he shall be fined
200 . You
will find many such instances in the book. Also, the verses from Chanakya Niti
you have quoted are wrongly interpreted- 1) Chapter 1, verse 17, Women
have hunger two fold, shyness four fold, daring six fold and lust eight fold
compared to men.. You don't need to wonder anything here. It is
self explained, but still if you don't get it, I'll interpret it for
you, Women have 2 fold hunger- Well women give birth to children,
help them grow, hence their food has to be nutritious, good and double that of
a man. There is no mention of shyness in the verse, in fact,
instead of shyness the word 'Buddhi' is used, hence the verse becomes
women have four times more Brain, it is evident as women are doing
better than men today (the panas verse
is-' sanskrit striNaam dviguN BUDDHISTAASAAM (no
mention of shyness) aahaaro , chaturguN ShadaguNam saahasam chaiva kaamoaShTaguN ). Their
daring is 6 times more than that of a man. Women are not that daring and strong
compared to men, but if a woman shows some daring, then that is 6 times
more powerful than a man. Now the word uchyate is
used here not Kaam ,
there is a difference. Men who ejaculate during Reproduction, after ejaculation
for some time their sexual desire decreases or comes to rest, but not in the
case of a woman. Hence Kaam is 8 times more in a woman than that of a man. Such
a beautiful verse wrongly interpreted by foolish, ignorant people who
do not understand Sanskrit. lust
2) One should not place trust in rivers, animals with horns, armed ones, women or in ruling families. Congrats another wrongly interpreted verse (and that too not knowing what the S
3) Fire, water, women, fool,
the royal family, beware of all these, they can prove fatal. Another
baseless claim, there is no mention of the word woman in this verse, the verse
is in chapter 9 verse 7- snake - snake, ahim nrupam - and
King, cha - tiger
or cheetah, shardulam kiTim - pig, cha baalakam - a
small child, tatha parashvaanam cha - someone's
dog murkham , a
fool, sapta suptaan na -never wake
up these 7 when they are in sleep. Also chapter 12 verse 13- the one who sees a
woman as his mother, other's wealth as a heap of sand, and all animals same as
him (they too have a right to live), he sees everything as it is. bodhayeta
5) 'For good days one should save money, women should be protected even if it takes the money saved. But for self preservation the money and the women should be sacrificed!!.' Another claim not backed by proofs and lack of understanding. Chapter 1 verse 6-Aapadarshey
dhanam - protect
money for emergency situations, rakshed daaraan - protect
your wife more than money. rakshedhanairapi aatmanam satatam -
protect yourself more than money and your wife, rakshed daarairapi -
because if you are not alive, dhanairapi what
is the use of money to you and the use of you to your wife. than
So you have quoted these wrongly translated verses from a foreign author who clearly has no knowledge in Sanskrit and is keen on giving Chanakya and Indian literature a bad name. So just see what you have done, you have wrongly accused Chanakya and spoiled his name and his book and mislead hundreds of people. I would like your response on this matter and please ask you to take
back. My objective is just to know the truth and reject untruth. I was not able
to post this as a comment on you I
decided to send blogger
I ignore any personal remarks made against me in any comment if it provides any relevant or useful information related to the topic. There is no point in getting personal as it doesn't contribute anything to the topic of discussion. So I am going to follow the same principle here also. I still find problems with some of interpretations quoted by Tapan: 1. The explanation offered for women having
desire) 8 times more than men, doesn't make any sense to me. 4. Why is it
assumed by kaam like
Chanakya that women don't have an understanding of their own health to
decide when to keep fast and when not? 5. Will Chanakya offer the same advice
to women if they face such a difficult choice? If he will, then this verse
should have been a gender neutral. scholar
I am not discussing number 2 and 3 as Tapan wrote that translations which I used are wrong, so as I mentioned already, if the translation itself is wrong, then obviously my criticism is not valid, but as long as these translations are out there in the
domain, and are published by reputed publishers
people like me will always refer to them. The only way to minimize such
occurrences is to publish correct and authenticated translations certified
by some independent and reliable authority so that everyone has access to them.
I am doing my bit by publishing alternative view on my blog, I hope this helps
to continue our discussion on the important topic of gender
Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.