Do women have the same varna as their husbands?

by Chaitanya Charan dasNovember 10, 2013

Answer Podcast

Transcription: Jyoti Shirasangi

Edited: Priyanka Amit Kumar

Question:Do women belong to the same Varna as their husbands? Or they have their separate varnas?

Answer: No,  they do not necessarily belong to the same Varna as their husband’s. Woman and  man are separate souls ,  have done different kinds of karmas in their previous life,  accordingly have different kinds of svabhava, and thus  have particular Varna., Logically, , Varna is determined by one’s own nature, which stands differently for every individual. Within a marriage, one  spouse may have Brahmanical nature, and the other  may have Vaishya’s nature or vice versa and so , it  would  definitely  be erroneous to say   that wife has the same Varna as the husband’s.

In fact, it would be appropriate to mention about the two terms here that is  Anulom marriages and Pratilom marriages, which basically talk about the husband and wife belonging to different varnas . The marriage in which    the husband is from a higher Varna and the wife  from the lower Varna,  is  Anulom marriage,  and vica versa  is called Pratilom marriage.The very fact that such terms exist, indicates that the husband and wife have different varnas, and that  does not remain the same always. However, above is the case at the time of marriage, but  How is the Varna otherwise determined ?

In a traditional Vedic society, the children would have same Varna as their parents, because the parents would have a particular consciousness, and accordingly when they  would  unite,,  would attract a soul with  similar consciousness. That’s why, when a Brahman and a Brahmani would unite, they would  have a Brahmanical child. However this is not the primary defining characteristic.

The primary defining characteristic is individual’s nature, say if a man  has a Brahmanical nature, and  gets married to a woman  of   Vaishya’s nature, it’s not that  either person’s nature is going to suddenly  change  after marriage., therefore both women and men have separate Varnas. One such example can be cited from  Ninth Canto of Srimad Bhagwatam where Yayati ,aKshatriya marries the daughter of Shukracharya. a Brahmana, , the marriage  is between a Kshatriya and a Brahmani, and  the wife is still treated like a Brahmani even tough she is a Kshatrani, wife of Khsatriya  but simultaneously,  being born in a Brahmanical family is treated as a Brahmani.

The  social roles constituted  before marriage may not remain the exact way after marriage, infact may change, in the sense that  a Kshatrani may not do the exact activities as a Brahmani would, because her husband is in a different role, and thus accordingly her roles may change slightly. However the important point is that, the Varna doesn’t change.

Hence  one should not think of women as mere appendage in the social system, as is the notion of some people, who propagate this idea that, women have no Varna apart from their protectors. It is not true. Women are separate souls,  have their own natures, and thus  have their own Varna.

Thank You. Hare Krishna.

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Chaitanya Charan das
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