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STRĪ - स्त्री

See also:  स्त्री

1) Origin.
In both Hindu and Christian scriptures, the story about the origin of woman appears to be similar. It is stated in [Manusmṛti, Chapter 1, Verse 32], that Brahmā divided his body into two and made one part male and the other part female and the male embraced the female, from which union was born the Virāṭpuruṣa. Dvidhā kṛtvātmano dehamardhena puruṣosbhavat / Ardhena nārī tasyāṁ sa Virājamasṛjat prabhuḥ // In the book of Genesis in the Bible, the origin of the first woman is given. It is somewhat similar to the one given above. God created Adam as the first man. God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. Then he took a rib from Adam, made a woman with it, and gave that woman, who was called Eve, to Adam as wife.
2) Fascination.
A story as given below occurs in [Devī Purāṇa], which states how woman acquired fascination. Once Indra prohibited Aśvinīdevas from drinking the liquor called Soma. They complained to the hermit Cyavana, who agreed to recover for them the lost right, for which purpose he began a sacrifice. Indra caused obstruction to the sacrifice. Instantly by the power of Cyavana, an asura named Mada rose up from the sacrificial fire. Finally Indra begged the hermit for pardon. Cyavana divided the asura into four parts and placed one portion in gambling, one portion in hunting, the third portion in liquor and the fourth part in woman. Thenceforward woman began to have fascination.
3) Manu, about women.
The following is the place in society of women in ancient days, according to Manu. Husband or relatives should give women no freedom. Even if they became immoral, they should be kept under the control of men. As woman has to be under the protection of father in childhood, under the protection of husband in youth and under the protection of son in old age, she does not deserve freedom at any time. “Pitā rakṣati kaumāre Bhartā rakṣati yauvane / Rakṣanti sthāvire putrāḥ Na strī svātantryamarhati.” The father who does not give his daughter to a suitable husband before she attains puberty, the husband who does not engage in coition with his wife after puberty, and the son who does not support his mother after the death of her husband, are men of mean character. [Manusmṛti, Chapter 9].

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