9 May 2012 - QA 7

According to the textbooks of University of Toronto it says that a woman has to reincarnate in the body of man to attain enlightenment. The text book says that this is written in the Vedas.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Totally wrong! Immediately write to them a letter telling them this is wrong. It is not said like that anywhere in the Vedas. Let them give me a quotation. It is simply not true.
Yes, it is what is called the Smritis, but the Smritis are not the Vedas, they were written by different Kings of different times. In the ancient times, different Kings of different kingdoms wrote the rules and regulations for the society. One of those is Manu Smriti, in which he has written only one thing, that women are not fit for freedom because she needs protection by the father, and then by the husband, and later on by the son. All through her life she needs protection, so she is not fit for freedom.
But this is only in the Smritis, which means it is only a King’s opinion. Nowhere in the Vedas is it said that women cannot attain enlightenment. There are women saints! Gargi and Maitri, they are enlightened ones.
Tell them to read Yoga Vasishta. Lessons of the Vedas are in the Yoga Vasistha. It is a woman who attained enlightenment first, Chudala. And then another woman called Leela.
Leela and Chudala, these are the women who have attained enlightenment first, and then had their husbands attain through them. We should ask them to change their text.