women's intelligence

Chris Beetle bvi at AFN.ORG
Wed Feb 4 02:41:48 UTC 1998

At 11:38 AM 2/2/98 -0800, you wrote:
>>       My query is whether there is any indication in the Sanskritic
>>tradition (at any historical point) that the actual intelligence
>>itself--the cognitive faculty--of women was considered inferior to men's
>>(as opposed to the *focus* of the intelligence or the social or cultural
>>realm within which it was applied). In other words, regardless of social
>>circumstance, whether women's buddhi, or dhii, or praj~naa was a priori,
>>constitutionally and inherently considered to be inferior or lesser than a
>For a Jaina discussion on the inability of women to participate in debates,
>which is linked with the inability to develop the requisite occult powers,
>see Padmanabh S. Jaini, Gender and Salvation (UC Press, 1991, p. 18, #33ff
>and p. 53 #21 ff.  Both Shvetamba (Yapaniya) and Digambara sources state
>that women lack supernatural powers such as skill in debate, do not have
>direct mental perception, and are inferior in scriptural understanding
>(because there are certain texts that are not to be taught to women).
>According to Shvetambara sources, this does not prevent the attainment of
>moksha but these are among the reasons cited in Digambara sources for their
>position that a woman cannot attain moksha.

Regarding women and moksha, according to Vaisnava tradition, as expressed by
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad-gita verse 9.32, anyone, be they women or men of
any class, can attain moksha by taking simply by taking shelter of Krishna.

Chris Beetle

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