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古代インドの女性観 (2)

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  • コダイ インド ノ ジョセイカン 2

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Here is presented the well-known story of a Brahmin's family in danger with his wife, daughter and son, given in the Mahabharata 1.145-147. The article consists of two parts, a Japanese translation and a study.(I) The story is located in the Baka-vadha-parvan, where the man-eating Raksasa Baka demanded a victim from a Brahmin family, otherwise he threatened to devour all the four. First, the Brahmin deplores of the tragedy and suggested the possibility to offer himself as a victim (145). Upon this, his wife proposed to offer herself instead (146) and then his daughter repeated the same (147). Both the wife and the daughter insisted the important role of a father in family and triviality of the wife after bearing children and of the daughter as a nuisance for the family. In the statement of wife and daughter we can see how women were treated and regarded in ancient India. (II) The second part consists of three portions. (II-1) Responsibility of the Head of Family. Both the wife and the daughter emphasize the important role of a father in the family. The duty of family ptotection (pati<palana, bhartr <bharana) is attributed to him, whereas all other dependant upon him. Women are considered weak (abala). Wife without husband is anatha (without resort) or anavrta=nagna (uncovered) and is destined to be exposed to danger. (II-2) Women should not be killed. The wife dissuades her husband from going, insisting that if he go, he would be killed, but if she go, she may be safe, since it is the universal maxim that women should not be killed (avadhya). The maxim is observed even among dasyu (plunderers) as prescribed in the Steya-sastra. The maxim includes stri-purva, stri-nama, stri-svarupin, hence Bhisma did not fight with Sikhandin. (II-3) Remarriage of men and women. Despite the rule of monogamy established by Svetaketu (MBh.1.113) and Dirghatamas, (1.56), polygamy was prevalent and remarriage was admitted for men, but not generally for women. In the case of a man, it was part of his duty to remarry after his wife's death (MS.5.167, YS.1.89), though Rama refrained from remarrying after Sita's death (R.7.89.4). Yet, the life of a widow was miserable as Maddi speaks of it in the Vessantara-Jataka.




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