Words : samskRtam : arhati

In modern telugu the word arhata means right, as in “freedom is my birthright.”

In bhagavad gīta and vālmiki rāmāyaņam, we have the phrase “na tvam śocitum arhasi”. This does NOT mean that “you have no right to grieve”., it means “you Ought Not to grieve”.

In manu smRti, it is said that dēvā: delight where women are worshipped (respected – pUjya). This is is seen as a contrast to na strī svātatntram arhati, from the same text. This has been incorrectly interpreted as ” a woman has no right to freedom”. I believe the correct interpretation is that the (respected) “woman Ought to decide with the support of father in childhood, husband in youth and sons in old age.” Basically competent men of the right age should also be consulted when making a decision. She Ought not decide all by herself.

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