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Ramayana and women

Reading the Ramayana because I realized I had no historical or literary knowledge of India. There was some pretty myopic passages about women. Granted the translation is from the 1950’s, but I kinda want to reread an odessey/illiad/aeneid translation from the same time period and see if it’s as bad. Maybe Penelope and Circe are portrayed equally poorly.

But here are some of my higlights/lowlights

  • A woman of demoniac tendencies loses all consideration to be treated as a woman.
  • Having spent her childhood with Gautama, Ahalya knew his needs and so proved a perfect wife.
  • Cat, I know you; your obsession with the female is your undoing. May your body be covered with a thousand female marks, so that in all the worlds, people may understand what really goes on in your mind all the time.” Hardly had these words left his lips when every inch of Indra’s body displayed the female organ. There could be no greater shame for the proud and self-preening Indra. (okay this isn’t so much sexit as just hilarious)
  • She could not be married: Rama realized that if she were married he would instinctively have recoiled from her.
  • If he fails, Sita is sure to immolate herself and we will all follow her example.
  • using her flesh to bait a senile male,
  • I’ll not relent or yield to the desire of a mere female
  • a bride of your class should be presented properly, when she happens to be a sister of men of eminence such as Kubera and Ravana. You should not be offering yourself like this in matrimony.”
  • Oh, foolish creature, you are betraying a woman’s intelligence and a gossiping tongue.
  • You make too much of my acquiring my brother’s wife. It’s legitimate in our society. (okay in fairness that was a monkey society)
  • her beauty she had a touch of coarseness. She slept inelegantly with her arms and legs clumsily flung about, with her lips parted; she snored; and she talked in her sleep incoherently
  • I must tell you that it is not customary to admit back to the normal married fold a woman who has resided all alone in a stranger’s house.
  • She jumped into the fire. From the heart of the flame rose the god of fire, bearing Sita, and presented her to Rama with words of blessing. Rama, now satisfied that he had established his wife’s integrity in the presence of the world, welcomed Sita back to his arms.