Do women have the same varna as their husbands?
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.