Yoga Retreat

A Comparison Between The Women Of Modern Society And Of Ancient Times With Respect To Stress

A literary research submitted by Nidhi Choudhary
In partial fulfillment of
The Master's degree in yogic sciences M.Sc. (Yoga)
Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana , Banglore


Abstract: Stress is a subject which is hard to avoid. The term is discussed not only in our everyday conversations but has become enough of a public issue to attract widespread media attention. Different people have different views about it as stress can be experienced from a variety of sources.

It is interesting to see how slow change in lifestyle of Indian women has brought the stress in their life. Traditionally, Indian women worked within the framework of the family system. That time the stress definition was different, basically emotional tension. Now they have stepped out for jobs and business. So the consequent outcome is that modern women live in two systems and need to perform both familial as well as professional role. This in turn leads to a number of stresses among working women, which sets in their body as many psychosomatic and other diseases.

The concept of stress in the modern sense is not easily found in the traditional texts of Indian culture. However, a number of concepts developed by ancient Indian scholars, like greed, envy, anger, desires and ego etc, relate to or appear similar to the phenomenon of stress.

Now the problem is of coping with the stress. It is more of a psychological rather than a medical problem. What can be treated medically are the effects of stress but not its causes. In Indian scriptures there are many systems like yogic literature, meditation techniques and respiratory controls etc which try to remove the cause of the stress. Here a sincere effort is made to compile the reasons, effects and coping of stress by Indian women.

Summary & Conclusion: Thus we can summarize the status of women in different ages as follows:

  1. Women in Vedic age were respected, had freedom to choose to lead a family life or Brahmavadinas. This is the golden period for women in India.

  2. There were dual thoughts in smritis age at certain places they talked in the praise of women and at others against their freedom.

  3. Women were given proper education and freedom during epic age. And the status of women was same as in the Vedic era.

  4. During Buddhist age female education was encouraged. It was possible that women could become missionaries and they could remain unmarried.

  5. Medieval period is the darkest in the history of Indian women in general. Exploitation of women in the form of early marriage, female infanticide enforced widowhood etc. caused several detrimental effects of women.

  6. During British period many Indian reformers along with the help of British government, introduced value systems to eradicate many social evils and thus helped in changing the attitude towards the women.

  7. With independence, the constitution of India has brought women on par with men, by eliminating sex discrimination. Education to all women enhanced the status of women.

  8. Education and employment among the women is encouraged. Present situation is that most of the women are having job outside the house which leads to dual responsibilities. Too much load brings stress and thus many psychosomatic diseases.

We saw that how slowly the role of Indian women in the society changed. Previously females were never got stressed up. The reason was the lifestyle, education and thinking.

Now the conclusion is that in present situation the reasons for the outside job are various and some are valid too. Like if the bread-earner is not capable to run the whole family or he died or one person's income is not enough then she needs to go for a job. Thus the need of the time is to change the lifestyle, bringing effective coping mechanism in it.

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Summary & Conclusion

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