Gender Roles In Indian Mythology

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Indian mythology has several stories of alternate sexual choices or even of men turning into women or vice-versa. Shiva bathes in the Yamuna and becomes a gopi so that he can participate in raas-leela with Krishna. Another tale is that of Aravan, the son of Arjuna and Ulupi, who had to be sacrificed to ensure the Pandavas' victory in the war. However, Aravan did not want to die unmarried. As no woman wanted to marry a man who would die the next day, Krishna took his female form, Mohini, became Aravan's wife, spent the night with him and then mourned for him next morning - as his widow - when he was killed. Mohini, the female avatar of Lord Vishnu, is worshipped throughout Indian culture. Amongst her other stories in the Puranas is how Shiva…show more content…
None of these characters are discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. Rather, they are all treated with respect, and judged by their abilities rather than their sexuality. Several other ancient works such as the Arthashastra (a treatise on politics and economics) and the Kama sutra have numerous mentions of LGBT individuals in various professions free from any persecution. And stories such as Lord Ayyappa (born to Shiva and Vishnu as Mohini) indicate the mystical and subtle approach that Hinduism adopts towards matters of gender in varying…show more content…
The Manusmriti deals amply with one’s sacred duties, known as dharma. One of the central themes of dharma in Manusmriti is the need to produce offspring for the continuation of society. At one point, it states that “men who do not copulate for the sake of progeny are unworthy of making offerings to the gods and ancestors.” According to those who rely on the Manusmriti, individuals who do not participate in gender roles that promote classical nuclear families, and sexual relationships that do not result in progeny, can be considered as failing the aims and missions of Hindu

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