Vedas consider woman to be source of enlightenment and hope for future. And rightly so! She is not only the first teacher in form of mother, but also patient, emotionally mature and full-brain thinker to nurture the society into constant learning and understanding.
Vedas equate feminine power with Usha – the dawn or sunrise. There are several mantras in Vedas that sing the glory of Usha. The parallel between dawn and woman are obvious. Just as dawn brings light in our lives and purity in thoughts, woman, in form of mother, brings light in any newborn’s life. In fact there is a mother in every woman showcased by her care, tenderness, affection, patience and selflessness. That is why Vedas regard every woman regardless of age and relation as mother. One who welcomes dawn is guaranteed with long life and prosperity. Similarly a society that respects women is bound to be prosperous and happy. Those who indulge in sleep or nefarious deeds during dawn destroy their own future and happiness. A society that either demeans or materializes women is bound to be afflicted with miseries, grief and failures. The only way to respect woman is as mother – symbol of pure affection, knowledge, guidance, leadership and brilliance.
This mother is praised in Vedas in various forms. Sometimes as Saraswati – source of knowledge, sometimes as Sahasraveerya – epitome of courage and patience and sometimes as Usha – the first rays of hope and enlightenment.
Here are a few chosen Mantras from Rigveda that humbly bow to the motherly Usha:
Rigveda 4.14.3: O glorious woman! You are full of brilliance and you come in form of enlightening dawn to illuminate the society away from ignorance.
Rigveda 7.78.3: We can see brilliant women enlightening the society with their noble qualities right in front of us. They have given birth to the sun of knowledge and fire of noble actions. Due to their glory, darkness of ignorance, sins and negativity is destroyed.
Rigveda 1.124.3: We can see the glorious woman who wears a dress of noble virtues. She is the daughter of brilliance and synonym of mental faculties. She follows perfectly the path of truth and virtues alone. She knows her goal and never breaches her discipline.
Rigveda 1.48.8: The entire world of noble people bows to the glory of the glorious woman so that she enlightens us with knowledge and foresight. She is the leader of society and provides knowledge to everyone. She is symbol of prosperity and daughter of brilliance. May we respect her so that she destroys the tendencies of evil and hatred from the society.
Rigveda 1.92.5: May the entire society respect and praise the glorious woman. She is the epitome of truthfulness, noble virtues, selflessness, enlightenment and worthy actions. She can destroy the strongest obstacles of hatred, violence, evil and ignorance with her shining light.
Rigveda 1.113.5: The glorious woman destroys the greatest of darkness of ignorance, hatred, violence and evil with her radiating brilliance. She is the firm pillar that supports all noble deeds. She is the daughter of light that ignites the sun of goodness and knowledge in the society.
Rigveda 1.113.12: The glorious woman is symbol of prosperity. She has permeated the entire society with her brilliance to inspire us all to reject laziness, get dynamic, conduct noble actions, become philanthropic and provide us with wealth and happiness.
Rigveda 1.123.13: O glorious woman, you firmly hold the ray of truthfulness and virtues. May you bless us all with inspiration of noble thoughts, words and actions. May you remove our ignorance by nurturing us so that we obtain the bliss of material and spiritual wealth.
The message of Vedas is clear and unambiguous – If society needs to be prosperous and happy, one cannot sideline the imminent need to restore women to highest pedestal of respect, make them leaders of our social awakening and surrender to the glory of the motherly force.
May we respect the woman always and may she guide as always towards bliss in form of Usha – the sunrise.
References: Commentaries by Swami Dayanand, Vedic Naari by Pt Ramnath Vedalankar, Vedik Shabdarth Vichar by Pt Ramnath Vedalankar, Vedic Kosh by Pt Rajveer Shastri.