Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming

Women in Hinduism

  • Karen PechilisEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_9319

Hindu definitions of the nature and role of women are rooted in classical images from philosophy and mythology. Such images have held cultural authority as ideals for centuries in Hinduism’s 3,000 years of literate tradition. Today, they serve as touchstones for the appreciation, critique, and transformation of traditional ideals of womanhood in the modern world (Pechilis 2012). The study of women in Hinduism contributes to our understanding of the psychology of cultural paradigms and expectations of women and their transformation.

Classical Paradigms

The ancient philosophy of Samkhya, one of the six orthodox schools in Hinduism, describes two principles that interact with each other to produce everything in the universe: purusha, which is associated with spirit, stasis, and maleness, and prakriti, which is associated with matter, energy, and femaleness. The necessity of these principles and their complementary relationship informs Hindu ideas on the nature and relationship of man and...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Drew UniversityMadisonUSA