Women in Vedic Culture By Stephen Knapp There are many civilizations in the world where respect for women

and their role in society are prominent, and others where regard for them and their status sho uld be improved. Yet the level of civility along with moral and spiritual standa rds in a society can often be perceived by the respect and regard it gives for i ts women. Not that it glorifies them for their sexuality and then gives them all the freedom men want so they can be exploited and taken advantage of, but that they are regarded in a way that allows them to live in honor for their importanc e in society with respect and protection, and given the opportunity to reach the ir real potential in life. Among the many societies that can be found in the world, we have seen that some of the most venerating regard for women has been found in Vedic culture. The Ved ic tradition has held a high regard for the qualities of women, and has retained the greatest respect within its tradition as seen in the honor it gives for the Goddess, who is portrayed as the feminine embodiment of important qualities and powers. These forms include those of Lakshmi (the goddess of fortune and queen of Lord Vishnu), Sarasvati (the goddess of learning), Subhadra (Krishna=s sister and auspiciousness personified), Durga (the goddess of strength and power), Kal i (the power of time), and other Vedic goddesses that exemplify inner strength a nd divine attributes. Even divine power in the form of shakti is considered femi nine. Throughout the many years of Vedic culture, women have always been given the hig hest level of respect and freedom, but also protection and safety. There is a Ve dic saying, AWhere women are worshiped, there the gods dwell.@ Or where the wome n are happy, there will be prosperity. In fact the direct quotes from the Manu-s amhita explains as follows: AWomen must be honored and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and bro thers-in-law, who desire their own welfare. Where women are honored, there the g ods are pleased; but where they are not honored, no sacred rite yields rewards. Where the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but t hat family where they are not unhappy ever prospers. The houses on which female relations, not being duly honored, pronounce a curse, perish completely, as if d estroyed by magic. Hence men who seek (their own) welfare, should always honor w omen on holidays and festivals with (gifts of) ornaments, clothes and (dainty) f ood.@ (Manu SmritiIII.55-59) Furthermore, in the Vedas, when a woman is invited into the family through marri age, she enters as a river enters the sea and to rule there along with her husband, as a queen, over the other members of the family . (Atharva-Veda 14.1.43-44) This kind of equality is rarely found in any other religious scripture. Plus, a woma n who is devoted to God is more highly regarded than a man who has no such devot ion, as found in the Rig-Veda: Yea, many a woman is more firm and better than the man who turns away from Gods, and offers not. (Rig-Veda, 5.61.6) Additional quotes can be found in other portions of the Vedic literature. This i s the proper Vedic standard. If this standard is not being followed, then it rep resents a diversion of the genuine Vedic tradition. Due to this tradition, India =s history includes many women who have risen to great heights in spirituality, government, writing, education, science, or even as warriors on the battlefield. In the matter of dharma, in the days of Vedic culture, women stood as a decisive force in spirituality and the foundation of moral development. There were also women rishis who revealed the Vedic knowledge to others. For example, the 126th hymn of the first book of the Rig-Veda was revealed by a Hindu woman whose name was Romasha; the 179 hymn of the same book was by Lopamudra, another inspired Hi ndu woman. There are a dozen names of woman revealers of the Vedic wisdom, such as Visvavara, Shashvati, Gargi, Maitreyi, Apala, Ghosha, and Aditi who instructe d Indra, one of the Devas, in the higher knowledge of Brahman. Every one of them lived the ideal life of spirituality, being untouched by the things of the worl d. They are called in Sanskrit Brahmavadinis, the speakers and revealers of Brah man.

women were also examples for maintaining the basic principles in Sanatana-dharma. these standards have declined primarily due to the outside influe nces that have crept in because of foreign invaders. and thus treat w omen poorly. imbalance r esults in society. These foreign invaders who dominated India mostly looked at women as objec ts of sexual enjoyment and exploitation. In Vedic culture it is taught that every man should view and respect every woman . but each has particular ways or t alents to contribute to society and to the service of God. Thus.Throughout the history of India and the traditions of Vedic society. The oppression of women increased in India because of Moghul rule. but neither should women forcefully try to seize the role of men or try to adopt the masculine nature of men. Money and sensual gratificati on have become major goals in life. though they alone cannot give us peace or co ntentment. Thus. After all. Of course there are exceptions in which some men are naturally good at feminine roles and some women are talented in masculine occupations. One is not superior to the other. and every girl with the same concern and c are as his own daughter. it should be easy to see the n eed for organizations that will keep and teach the proper views. This is the result of a rakshasic or demoniac cultural influence. we often find them to be the foundation of family life and of raisi ng the children properly. In this way. Otherwise. how can there be a spirit of coope ration and appreciation between men and women when instead there is a mood of co mpetition? It is this mood in materialistic society that is increasing in both f amily and corporate life which contributes to social imbalance and not to a smoo th and peaceful society. So men should not try to control women by force. The educational criteria of Vedic culture also changed and the teaching of the d ivinity of motherhood was almost lost. competition replaced the pursuit for truth. But the point is tha t women and men must work cooperatively like the twin wings of a bird. the change in the attitude toward women in India was due to a loss of culture and of the true Vedic standards. Men and women are equal as sons and daughters of the same Supreme Father. as his mother. decay of the spiritual standard s also crept into Indian and Vedic culture. A s such foreigners gained influence and converts. then that society loses its equilibrium and harmony. which still co ntinues to grow as materialism expands in society. just as a car will not move properly when the tires on one si de are too low or out of balance. They usually provide the love and understanding and nu rturing for the development of our children in a way that is unlikely from most men. And gradually women we re viewed as less divine and more as objects of gratification or property to be possessed and controlled. When the position of women declines. . Motherhood and Family The nature of motherhood of women was always stressed in Vedic India . together which will raise the whole society. Instead they cause us to develop more desires in the hopes of finding fulfillment while leaving us feeling hollow and ever-more restless without know ing why. and selfishness and possessiv eness replaced the spirit of renunciation and detachment. and as the spoils of war to be taken li ke a prize. It is only because of the lack of such training and the social distancing from the high morals as this that this teaching is being forg otten. men and women have an equal position. This hono r toward women should be maintained by the preservation of genuine Vedic culture . In the spiritual domain. The teaching changed from emphasis on the development of individual self-reliance to dependence on and service to others. which has always been a part of India. However. how can society be progressive? After all. Unfortunately. either militarily or cultur ally. which were once a basic part of the genuine Vedic traditions. you cannot bring the spiritual domain to this Earth or enter the spiritual strata if your consciousness is focused on the differences of the sexes. and the respect that society should have for women has been reduced. except his own wife. If there is a lack of respect and cooperatio n.

care givers. In ancient India the Sanskrit words used by the husband for the wife were Pathni (the one who leads the husband through life). or the personification of the material en ergy. we must also protect Mother Earth. after giving birth to a child that they have ca rried for nine months. We were nourished by he r.Our own life is a gift from our mother s life. Through the medium of pure affection. thus combining both sets of powers and qual ities that each would have. women must be warm and te nder. Yet. Women in motherhood. And she will respond wit h love. before any child learns hatred or aggression. behind most successful men. This also makes up for the weaknesses or deficiencies of the other. In t his way. either as a mother or as a wife. T his ideal can only be achieved when they properly understand the principles of s pirituality. Dharmapathni (the one who guides the husband in dharma) and Sahadharmacharini (one who moves with the husband on the path of dharma--righteousness and duty). strong and protective. in the home it is usually the wo man who lends to providing beauty in decorating the house and facility for an in spirational atmosphere. The divine mystery of life is that the most powerful forces of th e universe are subjugated by love. Shiva. The Earth planet is also like a mother because everything we need to live. being considered the mother of the universe. Furthermore. o r the one who destroyed the dark demon known as Mahishasura. It is also said that where the husband and wife get along well. Even now we are loved by our mother. we as her children can approach her through love. By their innate sense of motherhood and compassion. Also. they f irst know the love of a mother who can instill the ways of forgiveness and kindn ess in the child. She was generated o ut of the anger and potency of Vishnu. women also make natural healers. especially those of evil. Indrani-Indra. etc. When a husband and wife are willing to be flexible to each other s nee ds and move forward in love and mutual understanding. is the first guru and guide of the child and. Brahma. and was the co . the feminine Divinities have b een able to break down the most powerful citadels known to creation. The Feminine Divinities In the Vedic tradition it is common to see the pairing of the Vedic male Gods with a female counterpart. and nurturers. encouragement and inspiration to the other. In this way. This includes Mother Nature and Mother Earth. As we would protec t our own mother. We can easily see this in Radha-Krishna. yet also lay the foundation of discipline and the d iscrimination of right from wrong. It is also considered that a wife who serves a spiritually strong an d qualified husband automatically shares in whatever spiritual merit he achieves because she assists him by her service. Sita-Rama. come from her. For example. Those women who have this intrinsic disposition for caring will also be natural upholders of moral standards and sp iritual principles. all our resources. and others. and her love sustained us. and that love is most completely channeled th rough the feminine energy and personality. and views the other as complimenting what each one alrea dy has. we have the combination of male and female Divinities that make the complete balance in the divine spiritual powers. Lakshmi-Vishnu. Sarasvati-Brahma. she must usually provide the nutritious and tasty dishes that give pleasure and strength for the fitness and health of the body. In exhibiting the qualities of motherhood. Durga-Shiva. Durga means the one who is difficult to know. the relationship can go be yond equality to one of spiritual union. Also. they are also natural devotees of God. Lak shmi Devi (the goddess of fortune) Herself dwells in that house. Thus. Through this means. which is call ed Bhumi in the Vedic tradition. This means that each one appreciates th e talents of the other. of hu manity. we spent nine months in her womb. thus. each can provide support. we can recognize that there is often a strong wom en. This is how ancient Ved ic culture viewed the partnership of husband and wife. out of love the goddess took the form of Mahishasuramardini. By their own emotional tendencies and expressions.

This is one of the unique traits that distinguishes Ve dic culture from others. One of her many names is Janagati. Thus. We humans are but limited reflected forms of the Divine Couples who reside i n original existence. Th us. Another great person may appear. who will emerge f rom among us. whi ch means the goddess of all goddesses. Also . but this is learned in mater ialistic societies from wrong association. Every girl should have the opportunity to learn spirituality along w ith modern education to help her reach her full potential. In this way. So many of the great men who had become powerful propon ents of Sanatana-dharma also had strong and inspiring mothers or wives. you never know who among the boys that the women may raise that may become a g reat Vedic saint or scholar or stalwart protector of our culture. As we said. By being conscious a nd aware of such qualities. at least not without a struggle both . through love the Divine feminine potency takes on for ms to alleviate powerful disturbances in the universe and within us. Of course. This is why the Vedic tradition placed much value in honor ing and worshiping the Divine feminine nature along with the masculine one without the other is incomplete. we can see Her divine reflection mirrored here in this relative world in all that is feminine.mbination of their powers. we can perceive the spiritual dimension pervading an d flowing throughout this temporary material universe. It is not one s sex that will determine one s s trength and character to help champion the Vedic cause. Ge nuine spiritual knowledge is the alternative to bring a change in such a society and stop the hating and quarrel that go on because of perceiving bodily and ext ernal differences between us. beautiful and pure. they are usually the first inspiration and first t eachers of our children. you never know who among the women in society. protect and carry on the spiritual standards found in Vedic culture. they would not disturb the rest of creation. as well as bare and raise children. but the goddess coul d. Then from her forehead she mani fested herself as the dark goddess Kali who killed all the disturbing demons in that episode. Draupadi or Anasuya. The Future Examples in Vedic history have shown that all women should be respec ted and honored for the potential and talent they can provide to keep the family together. because somewhere and sometime it wil l happen. We need to arrange for that possibility to happen by giving all wo men and children the necessary facility and training. No one is born hating another. Symbolically. we recognize the ve ry qualities of the Divine Persons from whom they originate in the spiritual wor ld. They could not defeat the demon. and the epitome of devotion to the Supreme Being. Only later in life does a person lear n the ways of liking their own kind and disliking anyone who seems different. the consort of Lord Sri Krishna. Such a society does not allow the strength or in genuity of women to arise or be recognized. She is the origin of the divine feminine love and beauty. Another example is when Durga expressed her love and care to the God s and humanity by manifesting herself from her side as Kaushika Durga. We should not discriminate and think that women have less to offer. By her beauty she attracted the demons Shumba and Nishumba to her. or among our daug hters we are raising that may become the next Savitri. be it man or woman. but also for the many women who h ave taken up the cause to preserve. also call ed Ambika. Thus. In this world we need people to help in all areas and all levels of life to protect the Vedic knowledge and traditions. So. It is the primitive customs as well as the sexist inventions in mode rn but materialistic society that force social trends to limit. We must look o n everyone as if they have that potential. Durga can destroy the demonic darkness of the mode of ignorance and the quality of laziness within each of us. and women have a very import ant part to play. this can a lso be said of boys. This shows that we should not diminish the potential that women have to be strong advocates of the Vedic principles. from th e ideal spiritual world. Out of love also the Divine feminine potency manifests as Srimati Ra dharani. subjugate or eve n exploit women in today s world.

and we all have someth ing for which we can be appreciated. In this way. no matter whether the external body is male or female. The proper leaders of society or of organ izations who promote such situations are those who can arrange for such a harmon ious environment to exist. This is what is needed to help bring more peace and cooperatio n in the world. when both m asculine and feminine natures become balanced and complimentary rather than comp etitive. we can work cooperativ ely for our survival and for harmony among us. imbalanced men but men nonetheless. wom en often have a built in fear of stepping forward to help meet the needs that th e world is crying for. From the early Vedic times . but also the feminine and masculine tendencies within each individual. Women can do what they do best and men can do what they do best. This can be done most effectively through genuine spiritual development. love and compassio n are not meant to be exhibited only by women or mothers. But whi le we are in this world and in different types of bodies. which are especially exhibited in the relations between men and women. T his certainly makes it easier for all to live peacefully than in a mood of compe tition and aggression. We only need the right opportunity to bring that out of each and every one of us. And th is concern is natural for both men and women who have reached this level of spir itual awareness. W omen need to muster the strength to overcome such limitations. Harmony needs to be restored between the masculine and feminine natu res. By genuine spiritual progress we can rise above our bodily material ident ities and work with and compliment the talents and abilities of others. both men and women. or envy and prejudice. However. all of society loses the capabilities that women could otherwise attain and provide. One difference that we often see between men and women is that there is often nothing harder to penetrate than the typical male ego. or kidnapping and murder? These are mos tly the crimes of men. how many times do we hear of women being accused of rape. which often cau ses men to hesitate to show any weakness and to make a show of a tough exterior. which is a common and nor mal trait in women. compassion and love for each and every being. It should b e a common interest that everyone should be able to live a life of opportunity. and use our naturally varied tale nts together. There is also a conne ction between the way men destroy the environment (Mother Nature) and their expl oitative attitude toward women. a level of consciousness. In such a mood of cooperation we c an see that we all have something to offer or contribute. It is not that th e world does not need nurturing and healing right now. They serve as fine examples of historical importance that have been the basis for inspiration to both men and women for centuries. as well as exposure to thoughts and ideas and indoctrinations of one s limitations rather than of one s superior potent ial is one of the reasons why women lose their ability. Thus.inside the mind of women and outside in the field of activity and occupation. while women often respond easily to love with love. This must be corrected. and another reason for protecting and emphasizing the traditiona l standards of spiritual understanding as found in the teachings of Santana-dhar ma. This can harmonize not only the external relations between people. It is an exhibition of one s spiritual development to have care and concern. It is a state of being . regardle ss of whether they are men or women. We must know that within each body is a spi rit soul that is no different than our own. recognizing in many ways the similarities between us all. regar dless of our sex. After all. This often causes their spirit of achievement an d contribution to be squelched. or child abuse and molestation. Examples of Great Women in Vedic Culture Some of the women that have helped make great strides in establishin g the foundation of Sanatana-dharma and Vedic culture can be listed and describe d. means or motivation for higher accomplishments in life. This only adds to the struggle of women which is often passed along from one generation to the next. By that I mean that we must recogniz e that on the platform of spiritual reality there is no difference between one s oul and the next. development and progress for their own material and spiritual well being. A faulty beginning or childhood.

Ritdhvaj took the position of king and engaged in the royal duties. The same thing happened t o her second son. Sati wanted to go to see her father and many sisters. whether materially or spiritually. she self-immolated in fire and left this world altogether. Kaushika s wife. Shiva tried to di ssuade her from going. he was terribly angry and taking a hair from his head. so why does he cry? Thus. Madalasa was the daughter of Vishvasu. When Vikrant would cry. leaving her body in ashe s. saying it was not good to go uninvited. Shakuntala. Lord Shiva then bore the body of Sati to different places in the world. Sati was the daughter of Prajapati Daksha. When Lord Shiva heard about this. Her husband told her that she should not teach the same knowledge to their fourth son. She underwent great austerities and won Lord S hiva as her husband once again. It is s aid simply reciting their names removes sins. so that at least one of them would be interested in worldly activities and take up the role of looking after the kingdom. heard the news. Unfortunately. He is not really of the body. Madalasa would enlighten her son with spiritual knowledge in t he songs she would sing to him. Anasuya was the wife of the sage Atri. 42 are in India. Her mother was daughter of the sage Svayambhuva and her father was Kardama Muni. Shiva. power and is the fulfillment of her dha rma. Subahu. None theless. In disappoi ntment. She was also a great inspiration to her sons. near present day Haridwar. emperors and demigods wer e invited. she found that her father was gr eatly insulting her husband. Madalasa gave birth to a son. But Sati went any way to participate in the yajna. Not bearing the dishonor of her husband. By so doing he would enjoy the bounty of life and eventually join t he Immortals. 1 in Tibet. Anasuya was a woman who could bring back the life of a dead sage due to the powe r of her own austerity and devotion to her husband. and others. so Shiva was not invited. Queen Ku nti. She showed that devotion to a qualified husband gives the wife fame. Daksha did not respect Shiva. she trained her son Alark from the beginning of his l ife in the direction he would take. Shatrumardan. little Vikrant grew u p to be an ascetic. and her third son. Ahalya. Gargi. Alark. there was once a sage named Mand asya who cursed a brahmana named Kaushika to die the next morning at sunrise. Anasuya. Madalasa. he threw it to the ground and it turned into the demon Veer abhadra who was the anger of Lord Shiva and who disrupted the yajna. 2 in Nepal. she vowed that by the power of her c . In due course. who was one of th e sons of Brahma. Arundhatee. and wherever a limb droppe d became a Siddhapeetha. 1 in Pakistan. and make it prosperous and free from villains for many years. So to Alark she sang a song of being a great king who would rule the world. Such great women have contributed to the glories and splendor of Vedic culture. Ritdhvaj. Wh en Kaushiki. She wo uld sing that he was a pure soul. However. Sati then reincarnated as the daughter of the Himalaya Parvata. Her fame had spread throughout both the Earth and the planets of the Devas. 1 in Sri Lanka . Savitri. and 4 in Bangladesh. Among these. Once Daksha arranged to hold a major religious ritual (yajna) in his capital. When Shatrujit died. that he has no real name and his body is merel y a vehicle made of the five elements. Maitreyi. So let us briefly review the lives of some of these great women. by im parting noble thoughts to open the avenues of activities for her children. Many kings. Sati s various limbs dropped as Shiva carried her body. was h er husband. while other texts say th ere are 51. There are additional women from th e last few hundred years whose lives we can recollect as well. and thus she became known as Parvati. Madalasa would sing words of wisdom to keep him quiet. Vikrant. free from worldly attachments or kingly activities.these include such women as Sati. This is how a mother can influence her child in whatever potential may be possible. Draupadi. the son of the powerful king Shatrujit. According to the Devi Bhagavata there are 108 such Siddhapeethas. According to the Markandeya Purana. From the Puranas we learn how Sati would not tolerate the dishonor of her husband Lord Shiva. Sita. Sati. Because of this knowledge. and he e ventually went to the forest to engage in austerities. which remain major places of Shakti worship. the Gandharva king. In this way.

Th us. During that time. and having learned wher e he was. ru ler of Mithila. Draupadi became hope less and fervently prayed to Krishna for protection. w icked Dushashana tried to disrobe her in front of everyone. who wanted her own son to ascend the throne a nd not Lord Rama. When the sun did not rise for many days. In time they found out she had been taken by Ravana. But due to political intrigue. she was innocent and pure. So to help ward off any criticism. As related in the Ramayana. it reveal ed a pitcher that had been buried from which Sita appeared. or witness by fire to attest to her purity as a devoted wife. and she took five separate forms in serving her Pandava husbands.hastity the sun would never rise. Thus. but Kunti. Thus she holds one of the highes t places among women in Vedic culture and of woman s character. and Sita thus became the cause of Ravana s destruction. without having seen Draupadi. Draupadi was the daughter of Drupada who was the king of Panchala. She was born from the fire ritual and for this reason was also called Yajnaseni. Lord Rama won Sita s hand in marriage. she was most devoted to her five husbands and was also a great devotee of th e Supreme Lord. Krishna heard her prayers a nd though He was in Dwaraka. She was the daughter of King Janaka. Ravana abducted Sita and kept Her in the Ashoka-V atika. The plow tip is call ed a sita. where the sons sang the Ramayana in front of L ord Rama. and she was always covered and not dis . The king was engaged in ritually plowing the land to help produc e food to counter a famine at the time. Anasuya brought the husband back to life by the power of her own austerity and devotion to her husband. told them that whatever they have they must all share equally. Queen Kunti was the mother of the fi ve Pandava brothers. During that time Rama and Lakshmana wandered the forests in search of H er. having spent so much time in Ravana s house. every one started to become alarmed. He protected her by providing an endless supply of cloth to her sari so that it never ended. So Draupadi became the wife of all five Pandavas. Rama s father. the capital of Lord Rama. Ev en then it was over-heard that a washerman had doubts of Sita s character. Of course she was also greatly honored by her h usband who said to Sri Rama when Rama once visited Atri s ashrama during His exile . and Shiva as Durvasa. Vishnu and Shiva. She gave up all comforts to serve her beloved husband and uphold sanc tity. Lord Rama finally put the end to him and rescued Sita. and while using a golden plow. Brahma appeared as Soma. Rama exil ed Sita to the forest ashrama of Valmiki. but her husband immediately expired beca use of the curse. At the time. Valmiki also proclaimed that Sita was as good as purity and chastity i ncarnate. Bhima. Even though some citizens doubted Sita s purity. When the P andavas brought Draupadi back to their home. that Anasuya was a great lady. Anasuya then entreated Kaushiki to allow the sunrise to resume. Thus. faithfulness. Valimiki once brought Sita and her sons to A yodhya. Her dark com plexion also gave her the name of Krishnaa. One episode that shows this was when in the court of the Kauravas. Lava an d Kush. she had undergone the Agni-Pariksha. Yet. It is said that Draupadi in a previous life had been the wife of Indra. While there she gave birth to. following the path of austerity and deserves th e salutations of all beings. Sahadeva and Nakula. and regarded Lord Krishna as her ultimate protector. Vishnu as D attatreya. So she had Rama and Sita thrown into exile and made to wander the forests. Anasuya was a bright example among women. thus Sita was the name given to her. Arjuna. Brahma then told the other demigods to go to Anas uya and she could assist them to continue the sunrise by the force of her moral power. Being pleased by this. the demon Ravana ha d collected tax from the local sages who had placed their blood in this pitcher. virtue and moral standards. Dasharatha. they wanted to show her to their mo ther. the demigo ds gave Anasuya the blessing to have her wish for three sons who would be reinca rnations of Brahma. the twin sons of Lord Rama. the King of heaven. Kaushiki then allowed the sunrise to take place. Though Sita s life was full of struggle and hardship. Yudhisthira. He tried to force her to marry him but she wo uld not. Sita is fully described in the Ramayana. had to keep a promise he ha d made to his second wife Kaikeyi. when the plow later uncovered and churned the pitcher. the life-force fro m the sages produced Sita. the garden of Ashoka trees.

she was also called Ga rgi. So Maitreyi then asked why she should acquire wealth if it is not going to deliver her from future rounds of birth and death. liberation from the continued rounds of birth an d death. Maitreyi was the wife of the great sage Yajnavalkya. When the Pandavas had reached the end of their lives and were settin g out to ascend to heaven by climbing up into the mountains. and many other topics. But since he was the son of the family guru. along with his many thousand s of disciples. if He was satisfied. Maitreyi then questioned to herself w hat greater thing her husband must have found if he is willing to give up his pr esent status in householder life. Maitreyi showed how all women can achieve the heights of spirit ual understanding simply by careful listening and practicing the Vedic path. He informed her that no being in this world has any capabil ity of being dear to another without the presence of the soul within. and was also called Vachakni. and may not be up to the task. she was the last in line. then everyone would be satisfied. the sage Yajnavalkya wa nted to renounce householder life and accept the sannyasa order of life. Therefore. Yajnavalkya took sannyasa and Maitreyi attained supreme bliss by hearing her husband s discourse and by diving deep into this spiritual understandi ng. Maitreyi had a higher regard for spiritual knowledge and devotion to God than did Katyay ani. Her husband said certainly not. he forgave him. then came Gargi s turn to ask the sage whatever she wanted. Another time was when Durvasa Muni. He wanted to find out who was the person who knew best the science of the Absolute. Yajnavalkya explained to Maitreyi all about the divine kn owledge of the Self. TheBrihadaranayaka Upanishad explain s that she asked the sage many questions on spiritual science and became highly educated in this way. But the Pandavas had just ate and there was nothing more to prepare. Once in the court of King Janaka there was arranged to be a debate on the spiritual sciences. Lord Kri shna asked for whatever remnant grains were left in the pot. Surely no one will give up his position unless he finds something better. However. He would also want something to eat for himself and his follower s. But because sh e was born in the line of the Garga Gotra or family line. None of the local brahmanas complied beca use they were afraid they would have to prove their knowledge. Both were devoted to their husband and of lofty character. She also gave birth to five sons. the sage Yajnavalkya told his disciple to take all the co ws to his place. So she asked her husband if she had all the riches i n the world. Even to en joy the beauty of this world has no meaning without the soul within our own body . setti ng aside all of their concerns and doubts. The Brihadaranayaka Upanishad relates that finally. and that person would receive 1000 decor ated cows with horns plated with gold. for the soul is all that we are. for which he was happily giving up household life. and thus left peacefully. Thus. Understanding the depths of spiritual knowled ge is the way to attain moksha. Finally Gargi herself bowed to the sage and proclaimed that there was n . tolerates hunger and thirst. they were all so full that they no longer wanted anything to eat. In this way. But she asked many different and complex questions on the immortality of the soul. who was known for his quick ange r. He r dedication and devotion make her one of the great personalities of Vedic cultu re. all of whom were killed by the wicked Ashwatth ama. All the happiness and conveniences from wealth will not lea d you to God. it is not possible. suddenly decided to drop in on the Pandava camp. and goes to bed after the others. However. could she still attain immortality. So He took what few grains were there and when Durvasa Muni arrived. She requested that h e tell her about the Supreme Being. a name by which she became well known. she had said that she rises bef ore anyone else. His second wife was Katyaya ni. In Draupadi s service to her husbands. which started the debate. Gargi was the daughter of Vashaknu. Yajnavalkya answered the questions from many scholars who approached him. and div ide his possessions between his two wives. Being the Supreme L ord. and she had such respect for t heir gurus. But she was the first to fall and thus rise to heaven after her death. the arrangement of the universe. However.honored in such a way.

which attracted Savitri. Savitri saw a ferocious person approaching and could recogniz e that it was Yama. Then she asked for one h undred sons for herself as well. But Savitri had made he r decision and would not marry another. they lived in the forest. Savitri had been observing penance for many months an d followed him into the woods. Because of this. after living in the forest for a year. All the boys were attracted to her and her father began to think of arranging for her ma rriage. She was a great devotee of God from her early childhood. the princess daughter of King Naresh Narayana in the present state of Bengal. Savitri continued to follow him until he grant ed her wishes. She was always filled with thoughts of Madana Gopala. Gradually the king and queen grew old and left this world. but he was the son of Dyumatsena who was the blind and exiled king of Shal ya-Desha. the lord of death. and wonderful personality and qualit ies. she conquered death for her husband and bles sed her own father and father-in-law as well. who was coming to take Satyavana since hi s life was ending. But she was not the least bit attracted to any young men. Thus she is a luminous example of women in the Vedic tradition. Krishna. Savitri returned to her father to relate the news. All th ese were granted as Yama became increasingly impatient. leaving t he responsibilities of governing the kingdom to Sachi. On this day Satyavana fell down with a headache. Unfortunately. to which Yama also agreed without much thought. to have progeny by chanting the Savitri prayer. a s explained in the Mahabharata and Matsya Purana. and she grew to be a girl of great beauty and character. Satyavana was simple but bo re a countenance of royalty. Savitri asked Yama for her father-in-law s eyesight to return. Savitri was the only child of a king named Ashwapati. all but the life of her husband. Then she went to Jagannatha Puri and while having darshan of the Deities she was insp ired with an inner message to go to Vrindavana. the kin g arranged for a wedding. upon which she pra yed to him with tearful eyes begging for his mercy for spiritual advancement. In this way. He asked her not to follow him and even promised her many boons.o one else who was more greatly learned in the Vedic Shastras than Yajnavalkya. Ha ridas discouraged her from staying in Vrindavana. After so much travel. along w ith his lost kingdom. however the sage Narada Muni happened to be there and heard it and revealed that Satyavana was hi ghly qualified but was to live for only one year longer. Satyavana went off t o chop some wood as usual. So he sent her to different parts of the country so she could find a husband she deemed acceptable. GREAT WOMEN IN MORE RECENT TIMES Sri Gangamata Goswamini was born as Sachi. she studied gramma r and poetry but soon spent all her time studying the Vedic scriptures. After arriving in Vrindavana she met Haridas Pandit. nor that they could not discuss such topics with wise and kindly sages who also shared their knowledge with the m. the king of Madra-Desha. wisdom and devotion. he named her Savitri. She accepted these. After Yama had taken Satyavana. her father could find no suitable husband for her when she b ecame of age. Savitri started to follow Yam a. but l ater arranged to allow other relatives to govern in her place as she went to see the holy places on the plea of traveling throughout the kingdom. all of them as handsome and wise as Satyavana. One day. she still was not satisfied and wanted to find a spiritual master. Nonetheless. who was solely devoted to Lord Gauranga and Nityananda. Thus by the power of Savi tri s austerity. Savitri Devi. At that same time. After some time Savitri decided to marry Satya vana. But then he realized his mistake and had to allow Satyavana to continue with his life. He had performed austerities t o please Lord Brahma and his consort. Sachi was filled with ecstasy and after meditating for several days Haridas Pandit gave her shelter. When a daughter arrived. So to fulfill Savitri s intention. telling her that it is not pos sible for a princess to remain absorbed in bhajan with little to eat and no comf . Gargi showed that in Vedic culture it was not unexpected for women to become greatly learned in the Vedic sciences. Then she asked for one hundred sons for her father. As she grew and entered into her education.

Later that night. However. The ki ng persisted and not wishing to violate Lord Jagannatha s order. Gangadevi had been praying for Sachidevi s association . but remem bered the order of her spiritual master never to leave Jagannatha Puri. then he better have all of the pandas and priests bow at her feet and beg for forgive ness. but sh e was not inclined to accept any wealth or comforts and wanted to refuse. having had this divine vision. The Lord explained that it was because of His personal arrangement to wash Sachidevi s holy feet that He had the Ganga br ing Sachidevi to His temple. That nig ht she had a dream wherein Lord Jagannatha appeared to her and told her not to w orry. and the king must take initiation from her. In the midst of the commotion. Having accepted Haridas as her guru. However. She used to chant 300. have darshan and listen t o the Bhagavatam classes. making sure that everyone paid full obeisances to her while asking f . he issued a decre e dedicating a holy ghat by the side of the White Ganges after Sri Sachidevi. she went begging alms and exhibi ted her intense renunciation which astonished all the devotees. But she stayed and gradually gave up her nice clothes and opulent ornament s. Thus they continued in their devotional service to the Lord with great determination. freed from her false ego and dressed in rags. Sri Sachidevi returned to Jagannatha Puri and stayed in Sarvabhauma s house where she engaged in bhajan and gave classes on the Srimad-Bhagavatam. Sachidevi was extremely happy. thousands of devotees beca me ecstatic and also took their holy bath in the Ganges. Her body grew thin and physically exhausted. When the doors were open. She also established first class worship of the Damodara Salagram in that house. Everyday Lakshmipriya and Sachi would circumambul ate Govardhana Hill. Then Sachidevi was taken to the dungeon wh ere she was imprisoned to stand trial for theft. Haridasa Pandit had another disciple named Lakshmipriya who at that time arrived in Vrindavana. so she should go. The da y of the Varuni-snana came and in the middle of the night Sachideva went to the White Ganges to bathe. and he was astounded. The servants and priests concluded that she must be a thief to steal Jagannatha s valuable ornaments. Hearing the noise. wh ich was crumbling and where few people ever visited. Lord Jagannatha appeared to Mukunda Dev in a dream and demanded that he release Sachidevi. Haridasa sent her to live near Sachi o n the banks of the Radhakunda.orts. The next day the king went to make the offering to Sachidevi. The king had also awoken and ordered the gates of the tem ple to be opened. they w ent inside the temple. Haridasa became very happy seeing the intent of Sachi and promised to give her initiation into the mantra. and that night he had a wonderful dream in which Lord Jaga nnatha appeared to him and said to offer her a place on the banks of the Sveta ( White) Ganges. Seeing this. One day e ven the king of Puri. most of Sri Chaitanya s associates had already left the planet. He wanted to make a nice offering to her in appreciation for her wor ship to Lord Krishna. She would sleep on the banks of the Yamuna and rise to sweep the Lord s temple. Sachidevi was standing there alone i nside the temple. The next day the king did as h e was told. but the current of Gangadevi overflooded the pond and car ried her away to the Jagannatha Mandira. Noticing this determination. came to hear her Bhagavatam class. Haridas instructed with his blessings that she c ould wander throughout Vrajamandala and beg from place to place as a renounced d evotee. she was filled with joy.000 names of Krishna everyday. that the day when Varuni will take bath is approaching when you must go to bathe in the White Ganges. Th e decree stated that she was a princess that gave up everything to come to Puri and preach the teachings of Lord Chaitanya. One day Sri Sachidevi wanted to go to the Ganges to bathe. her classes became famous and many people started to attend to listen to her discourses. Thereafter . Then one day Haridasa Pandit instructed Sachi to retu rn to Jagannatha Puri to continue her bhajan there and preach what she learned o f Sri Chaitanya s teachings. the guards of the Jagannatha temple a woke and were speechless to see all that had happened. Mukunda Dev. Sachidevi was indifferent and r emained absorbed in chanting the Lord s holy names. If the king wanted his life to be auspicious.

after which the ecstasy of Suryadasa knew no bounds. and soon thereafter she gave him initiation into the eighteen syllable Radha-K rishna mantra. Many of the priests also took shelter of her on that day. Upon hearing of i t He agreed. Placing her hand on the king s head. Sri Sita Thakurani would often come to Mayapur from Shantipur to see the child and to give instructions to Sachimata about how to care for the child. The Gaura-Ganodesha Dipika explains that Sri Sita Thakurani is an in carnation of Yogamaya. and many devotees from all around attended (the full details of which are recorded in the Bhakti-Ratnakara).or forgiveness for the offenses made at the feet of a devotee. both Advaita Ach arya and Sita Thakurani were in great bliss when Sri Chaitanya appeared in this world. Sita Thakurani was always absorbed in mother ly devotion to Sri Chaitanya and would instruct Jagannatha Misra. Sita Thakurani is to be worshiped as much as Mother Sachideva. The brahmana was astonished b y her explanations and asked to take shelter of her. Sri Jahnava Mata was born of Sri Suryadasa. she instructed the Srimad-Bhagavatam to him. Lord Nityananda stayed in Shaligrama Pura f or a while but then went to Nabadvipa to show His mother Sachideva His two wives . and a disciple of Narada Muni. understanding that this was all due to the arrangement of the Lord. bringing their own son. and the teachings of Lord Chaitanya throughout Bengal. Thus. having felt that the cond itions were so bad that only the Lord Himself could help. came to the banks of the Sveta-Ganga and wanted to have darshan of her holy feet. on how to care for the boy. Thus. along with her sister Sri Vasudha. When Sri Chaitanya was grown. T he Gaura-Ganodesha-dipika explains that They are both expansions of Varuni (Sri Vasudha) and Revati (Jahnava Mata). Mahidhara Swami. and that they are both incarnations of Anang a-manjari. Advaita Acharya was the one who did special worship near the Ganges in Shantipur to call the Lord to appear in this world. he preached the message of nama-prema. From then on. Achyutananda. Surya dasa then told a brahmana friend about this and it was arranged to deliver the message to Sri Nityananda Himself. He also begged th at she accept him as a disciple and give him initiation. grandmother of Madhumang al and Nandimukhi. Afterwards he returned to Mayapur and started His sankirtana past imes. He had come to offer worship for his ancestors and while in discussion with Sri Gangamata Goswa mini. On one such occasion Sita Thakurani made many of the Lor d s favorite preparations and invited Him to their place to take lunch. Suryadasa was most fortunate to have given both of his daughters to Sri Nityananda Prabhu. he went to Gaya and became initiated b y Iswara Puri. she blessed him . and she brought Him many presents. The Gaura-Ganodesha Dipika how ever says that Purnamasi in the Krishna pastimes went on to become Sri Govinda A charya in the Chaitanya pastimes. One day a strict smarta-brahmana. Sri Sita Thakurani bore three sons. Always being absorbed in motherly affection. the mother of Sandipani Muni. who is considered an avatara of Maha-Vishnu. Sri Chaitanya s father. Arrangements were made for the wedding at Borogacchi Gram. On an auspicious day she in itiated him into the Radha-Krishna mantra of ten syllables. she was an inspiration for spreading the mission of the sankir tana movement. Thus. She married Advaita Acharya in Phuliya N agara and they moved to Shantipura. In time the daughters became of marriageable age and Suryadasa gave i t much thought. Sachidevi become very joyful. Achyutananda. Sri Sita Thakurani is the eternal wife of Sri Advaita Acharya. the Lord honored their invitation. she treated Him like her own son and He returned the sen timent. Simply to increase their ecstasy. the mother of Sri Chaitanya. Sri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani were the first to worship Sri Chait anya at the beginning of His real purpose in this world. After Sri Chaitanya took sannyasa and went to Jagannatha Puri to liv e. ecstasy of the holy name. The one night he had a dream in which he gave both of his daught ers to Sri Nityananda. On the order of Sri Gangamata Goswamini. It was from that day that Sachidevi became known as Gangamata Goswamini. Krishna Mishra and Gop ala Mishra. Sri Advaita Acharya and Sita Thakurani would go and visit Him. The Gaura-Parshada-Chiritvali says that in the Krishna pa stimes she was Purnamasi.

. and other foods to be offered to the Deities a t such festivals. In this way. When Sri Jahnava went to visit Vrindavana. Thereafter. she floated in waves of ecstasy. they went on to Nabadvipa. After visiting the many pilgrimage pl aces. even Lord Chaitanya and Lord Ni tyananda. cooking food to be offered to the Deities. In Kheturi Gram at that time was a g reat festival to be held on the celebration day of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu s advent. The festival had been arranged by King Santosh Dutta. and was filled with ecstasy to see where He partook of childhood pastimes. Advaita Acharya. Vishnupriya was the daughter of Sanatana Mishra. On one special occasion at Kheturi Gram. who had already left this world. and many other members of Lord Chaitanya s personal entourage left this worl d to return to the spiritual domain. Sri Jahnava Mata was a wonderful cook and would prepare herself such dishes as rice. Sri Jahnavadevi had no ch ildren. made Their divine appearance again in the midst of the kirtana. Jahnava Mata continued in her pastimes of traveling to visit various devotees and engaging in sankirtana festivals. where she spent the nigh t and the devotees engaged in a great sankirtana. many devotees were able to drown themsel ves in the nectar of kirtana. Achyutananda an d Gopala. Shyamananda and Shrinivas. vegetable preps. She was very happy seeing the ef forts of the Gosvamis in renovating the holy land. being considered the divineshakti of Lord Nityananda H imself. Sri Nityananda Prabhu. Though greeted by their sons. She went on to the home of Sripati and Srinidhi. Sachimata was delighted to see them. she continued the mission of Lord Chaitanya and Lord Nityananda by her a ctivities. Sri Vasudhadevi gave birth to a daug hter named Ganga and a son named Virachandra. He was a highly dev . she returned to Gaudadesha. However. In due course. Sri Nityananda wande red from place to place performing many sankirtana pastimes (congregational sing ing of the Lord s holy names). and felt very unhappy. and her ecstasy was unlimited. Lord Chaitanya s mother. While there she also visited the town of Sri Nityananda s birth. Bengal. which centered around sankirtana and cooking and distributing prasada to everyone. for this is where Sri Chaitany a Mahaprabhu began His sankirtan movement. even atheists and materia lists by her mercy. she would distribute the prasada (offered food) he rself with her own hand to the great souls who were gathered there. Sri Jahnava herself attended the festiv al and cooked the food for offering to the Gaura-Nitai Deities there. and even witnessing the appearance of Lord Chaitanya and Nityananda in the midst of some of those ecstatic kirtans. However. the congregational chanting and singi ng of the Lord s holy names. returning to Nabadvipa and seeing the birthplace of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu where she fainted in ecs tasy. she was greeted by many g reat devotees. Many devotees attended. On the order of Sachimata. After spending the night they went on to Shantipura and again discovered that Sri Advaita Acharya and his wife Sita Th akurani had also both passed away. like Narottama. She continued to del iver the love of bhakti (devotion) to numerous people. Sri Jahnava was filled with grief. That night she had a dream of Lord Ch aitanya in which He performed different pastimes. She continued her travels. Vishnupriya devi is the wife of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu and appeare d to assist with His mission of spreading the holy name of Krishna. The Gosvamis offered their pranams and she also offered her obeisances in return. Sri Jahnava Mata continued to travel with her associates and devotee s. but again was heartbroken because of not se eing Srivasa Pandit and Malinidevi there. After the festival for one night. She is said to be the internal potency of the Lord known as Bhu-shakti. When his wife Sita Thakurani sa w Vasudha and Sri Jahnava. Shrivasa Pan dita. Nityananda wen t to the house of Advaita Acharya in Shantipura. As time passed. Sri Jahnava did not get to see Sachimata. Sri Chaitanya and Vishnupriya are as Vishnu and Lakshmi combined again. She then went to the nearby courtyard of Srivasa. always gathering to perform sankirtana. and even many atheists and sinners were greatly pu rified. Sri Jahnava Mata still wanted to inundate t he world with a flood of sankirtana nectar. Thus. In this way. Thus. She toured the holy places of Vrindavana and saw the different Deities. Ekachakra.

The Rani fought tirelessly with the British and with the help of her bodyguard. Everyday when she would bathe in the Gang a. The for t has a long history. died in 1816 and her only son died in 1824. Since then she has been a heroine of the in dependence movement of India. she killed the British Southern provincial officer. but started to think how to arrange for her son s happiness. howe ver. had passed awa y and entered the spiritual domain. the Rajput noblewomen. Her husband. nonetheless took his men and put on the saffron robes of ma . but the next year the British took Jhansi because of the disunity among the rebel f orces. even by her foreign rivals. This Deity is still worshiped in Nabadvipa in a temple where you can visit and have darshan of this same Deity. she rode out to battle against the British. She was a great devotee of Lord Shiva. Sh e died on 21-2-1829. bu t in 1803 the British East India Company took over control of the state. Upon further enquiry Mother Sachi learned that she was the daughter of S anatana Mishra. Sachi began to make plans in earnes t to have her son remarried. Vishnupriya had her own Deity of Sr i Chaitanya and worshiped that Deity until she left this world at the age of 92. When it was obvious that defeat was inevitable. Balappa. She made consultation with Sanatana Mishra and he agreed and was pleased. but the British did not accept this. The British had passed a law that allowed them to assume control of any state under their patronage if the ruler died without a male heir. she also assisted in the continuat ion of Sri Chaitanya s sankirtana movement and in the principles of Vedic culture. which included Padmini. and Mother Sachi would bless her that Krishna may provide her with a qualified h usband. Vishnupriya was devoted to her parents and would bathe in the Ganga three times a day and observed many different vows of spiritual austerity. When she learned that He did not mind the idea of marrying again. (This is fully explai ned in the Chaitanya Bhagavata. however.) Sri Vishnupriya spent her life as a devoted wife. Thackray. and she began to think that Vi shnupriya may make a good wife for her own son Nimai. It is said that he was a k ing named Satrijit in the age of Dvapara-yuga. The British. she would also bow at the feet of Mother Sachi. Ala-ud-din Khil ji. Raja Mallasarja of Kittur. He was famous as the king of pandits. The hilltop fortress of Chittorgarh was another but more general exa mple of the chivalry of the Rajputs and the warrior spirit of the women. Vishnupriya stayed with Mother Sachi. Later. the Rana s uncle. Even when Sri Chai tanya took sannyasa to engage completely in His purpose of preaching and spreadi ng the glories of Krishna s holy names. It wa s arranged by the people and devotees to be a grand event. It was a result of his great devo tion that he was blessed with such a qualified daughter. knowing of his certain defeat. and proposed that a match be made with Vishnupriya. In this way. a qualified pandita of Nabadvipa. The British in Jhansi were killed. wife of Bhim S ingh. Chennamma adopted Shivalingappa as her son. attacked the fort in an attempt to capture the queen Padmini. Her qualities of boldness. clothe and shelt er many people. Rani Lakshmi Bai of Jhansi was one of the most brave and legendary of warrior wo men of India. Rani Chennamma was known for her chivalry. The rani fled to Gwalior and while there made a defiant last stand. He was pious and generous and would feed. They followed non-Kshatriya methods and defe ated and imprisoned her in Bailhongal. but was unfortunately killed. In 1303 was when the Pathan King of Delhi. committed Sati while Bhim Singh. patriotism. Lakshmipriya. She w as born in 1778 and from childhood she trained herself in warfare. The las t raja at the time died without a son in 1853. Rani Chennamma of Kittur (in North Karnataka) was the first woman freedom fighte r of India against the British. Disgu ised as a man. the mother of Sri Chaitanya. At this time. and w as devoted to the shastric principles. So Mother Sachi was in great pain at first. The Rani of Jhansi. Sri Chaitanya s first wife.eloped Vishnu bhakta. and generalship were highly appr eciated. The city of Jhansi was an important center in the 18th century. Sri Chaitanya. So she was ready for the rebellio n at Jhansi when the Indian Mutiny began. enga ging in service to the Lord together. regrouped and attacked Kittur. did not like this enforce d retirement and preferred to rule on her own.

Again death was better than submitting to the Muslim invaders. This was most often based on her devo tion to Krishna. but that also failed. Rana Sangh was his son. He a lso arranged with Viram Dev for the marriage of Mira to his own heir. so he tried to poison h er. In 1508 Rana Sangh. took the town. the great Rajput warrior. tried to arrange for t he defense of the oncoming Muslims by marrying Dhan Bai of the Jodhpur branch of the House of Rathor. Mira was never interested in the marriage and was completely preoccupied w ith her devotion to Lord Krishna. Bahadur Shah. when Rana Sangh had been dead for 3 years. The last of such scenes took place in 1568 when the Moghul Emper or. She became so attached to the Deity that her mother would joke that Krishna would become her bridegroom. She led a very simple and selfless life. Mira Bai is another name that many people will recognize for her saintly loving attachment to Lord Krishna. Her contribution to encourage free trade and the concept of the welfare state is very admirable. who was a mere boy of 14. who had taken the town from the Muslims to repopulate it with Hindus. the queen of Indore (Madhya Pradesh) has set an excellen t example of efficient administration. She was the embodiment of self-respect. besieged the fort.000 Rajput women and 32. War was common place at the time and in one such battle Mira s father. Prince Bho ja Raj. There is a temple that is said to h ave been built for Mira Bai at the Chittorgarh Fort where she would worship her Deity of Lord Krishna. who in her poems she refers to as her husband. Vikramajita did not like Mira and it is said at one point he locked her in a room with a guard. So in 1516 Mira was married to Bhoja Raj. Mira s grandfather died and her uncle Viramji took responsibility of her. Her practices for mainta ining integral nationality. and once again the Rajputs did wha t they could. a Rajput noble and warrior who was much involved in fighting. Mira s mother died when she was still very you ng. but the marriage was child less. It is said that13. in 1516. was killed. which she received. her quick impartial justice were very effective. and Mira was i ncreasingly left alone to her own devices. For these reasons she was sent to live with her grandfather. and to herself as a virgin. She refers to this in her poems as the intervention of . acceded the Kingdom of Mewar and was most temperamental. Even Mira s uncle was attacked by an opposing family. but it is generally acc epted that she was born in 1498 in a village near Merta about 40 to 50 miles nor thwest of Ajmer. Mira begged for an image of Krishna from a holy man wh o had visited her home. in 1531.000 Rajput warriors died in the battle. It is said that Bhoja Raj was frustrated with her f or a while but gradually understood the devotional nature of Mira and did not ex pect her to play the typical role as a wife. Vikramajita (Vikramaditya). She was the daughter of Ratna Singh. Mira s family were all Vaishnavas and regular worship was a common event in their home. Mira was a devotee of Krishna from very young.] This put Mira in the spite of members of a rival famil y. Devi Ahalya Bai Holkar. Honor was more important than de ath to them. The women again performed Sati and 8000 saffron clad w arriors rode out to their deaths. This was supposed to secure an alliance of power to the north. She nu rtured her child to fight and bring back Hindu Rastra and became a constant sour ce of inspiration to her heroic son.rtyrdom and rode to battle and to their deaths. and the women also would rather die than submit to the enemy and ce rtain humiliation. [Rana Raymal reigned at Chittor 1473-1508. not utilizing anything from the royal trea sury for her personal use. Akbar. Jijabai was not exactly a warrior herself but was the mother of Shivaji. You can still visit this temple if you ever go to this fo rt. Ratna Singh . The marriage of Mira to help military alliances did not work out wel l for Mira because 15 years later. She was the guide who shap ed his mind from his early years. Later . one of the great protectors of the country and its religion. Her history is not so clear. and thus establish alliances with other local rulers. Another such event at Chittorgarh took place in 1535 when the Sultan of Gujarat. This did not have the desired effect. Rau Dudaj. One story is that eve n before her mother died.

This was due to her mother who would read to the local ladies the national newspapers to enlight en them about the oppressions committed by the British. She learned the qualities of serving others to assist in their needs from her aunt who continually worked to ease the plight of people affected by the plague. She replied that she thought Lo rd Krishna was the only male in Vrindavana and all others were female gopis (cow herd maidservants). the rest of Mira s story is unclear. So she later married a widower. 1905 to Bhaskar Rao Datey and her mother Yasodabai. Due to Western impact. Fr om this point. The death of Mira Bai in 1614 is also unclear. Kamal was also imbued with devotion to India and its culture. The king sent a message beg ging for her to return. along with the gradual change in the social psyche. Vandaniya Lakshmibai Kelkar (Kamal as she was known as a little girl) is another woman who did a tremendous amount of work of India and its culture. Indian women were struggling for equal rights and economic freedom. She gr ew to be a lovely teenager but was determined not to marry anyone that demanded dowry. Laxmi was not satisfied with mere household duties.her Lord Krishna. This presented the risk of women losing their commitment to love. and stir the heart toward devotion to Krishna in many ways. managed the h ousehold and in time became the mother of six sons. She attended meetings and listened to the top leaders of the movement and observed the effects of the Law Defiance Mo vement. Other histories say that she went to Dwaraka and lived there for a c onsiderable time. pastimes and the chanting of His names. meani ng prosperity. But how to put this all together was the issue. This led to Jiva Gosvami admitting her into see him. but Jiva refused to see her because she was a woman. She felt that obtain ing political freedom was necessary. and developed an acute sense to organize and execute plans for its preservation. There i s also an old temple in Vrindavana that is still dedicated to her presence there . Purushottam Kelkar. She felt that this attraction to the easy and sho wy way of western life that lead to this unnatural change in the attitude of wom . Kamal was given the name Lakshmi. and it is said that her body melted into the Deity. During this time some eminent personalities were striving for the ed ucation of women. sacrifice. and to self-centerdness. It is thought that Mira took refuge of her uncle Viram Dev in Merta until Viram was expelled from his own capital by the King of Jodhpur in 1538. Mira s poems remain an inspiration to many. and there is an altar with nice Krishna Deities you can see there. sacrifice and social reform. and where they began to think that the decline of the fortress was because o f their persecution of a great devotee. service and other inborn quali ties that glorify Hindu women. In the wedding. He had two daughters from his first marriage. The poet of Priyadas who was at Vrindavan at the time says that Mira went to see Jiva Gosvami of Sri Chaitanya s association. She was waiting for the chan ce to participate in the freedom movement. Though this was viewed b y the British rulers as an act of treason. In her marriage she took care of her two daughters. but that every citizen of free Bharat must come forward with a firm common will and total identification with the national interests. She may have been a wandering ascetic aft er Viram was forced from Merta. In the meantime. but she took shelter at the temple of Ranchor (Krishna) to pray. Yet this led to progress of the individual but not for the society as a whole. However. She also had the spirit of patriotism. Kamal was admitted to the only available convent sc hool in town. In any case. ancient glories. She was bor n on July 6. namely Mira. she asserted that as a free person an d not a Government servant she had the right to read such papers. evil fell on the fort of Chittor where Mira s family members liv ed. Kamal grew up i n a congenial environment which molded her into a sensitive and intelligent girl . In the first half of the 17th century M ira is said to have visited Vrindavan. but it is said that i n course of time. a nd exemplifies a love relationship with the Lord. They also emphasize the means of developing attraction to Krishna s form. there are a few bits and pieces that seem to stand correctly. but shortly left because of the Christian domination in it. worshiping at the temple there. the Vedic culture and traditions of Bharat.

Taking a special interest in education. honor and fame were never to be aspired for . The basic premise of the organization was the practice and promotion of Vedic culture in its relevance to modern times. Through her foresightedness she . The individual attention that she showed on each sevika volunteer made them feel that Mousiji loved her t he most. Having studied the Ramayana. 1936. Lakshmibai came to the conclusion that women should boldly come forward and share the responsibility in solving the various problems of the soc iety. holding special gatherings in places like Mumbai. which has been a primary and important factor in Vedic society for imparting the proper Vedic culture. and the self-protecting spiritual power like that of Sita and Drau padi. Mousiji started touring with what little transportation that could be arranged. but they prefixed it with Vandaniya to show their r espect. The news spread quickly and many members came to pay their last homage to on e of the recent architects of Modern Vedic Women . the Samiti grew to a national organization. So La kshmibai was worried by this.en could also lead to the disintegration of family. firm will and rel entless practice she slowly acquired most of the qualities to lead the organizat ion.. especially to her children. She was attracted to the literature of Swami Vivekananda who professed th at men and women are equally important constituents of the nation just like two wings of a bird. She faced the situation and still pursued her nat ional commitments. After meeting with Dr. etc. She could convince many younger generations to look on Vedic culture as their national heritage and the divine personalities such as Sri Krishna. To organiz e and inspire the women. She thought that this type of organization would also work well for meeting the challenge among women. mutual love and voluntary discipline called the Rashtriy a Swayam Sevak Sangh. boldness. there were regular meetings. she studied the Ramayana and Mahabh arata. that every woman should have. she formed an organization for women called Rashtra Sevika Samiti on Vijaya Dashami Day. 1978 at the age of 73. She convinced many women to do the same by protecting it through the natural process of imparting the proper impressions at home. such as chastity . she gave discour ses on them and inspired many women to inculcate the firm will. since she had to nurse a number of ailing minds from all kinds of weaknesses. Her discourses became popular and large numbers of people would throng to hear her sweet voice and logical interpretation. a symbol of the ideal Hindu woman with eight (ashta) specific qualities. through her sons. Vandaniya Mousiji was very affectionate and loving as a mother but equally strict as a general in organizational matters. It was diffi cult in those days for a socially and economically well placed young widow to ge t involved in work wherein prestige. As the organization grew. To set the proper example. affection. Mahabharata and Bhagavata Purana. Vandaniya Mousiji passed away on November 27. In the beginning she was also too shy to deliver speeches and often would ask a friend to do it for her. she learned of an organization based on individual contact. But through perseverance. and Savitri as national he roes and heroines. Sri Rama and Sita. Hedgewar abo ut her ideas. It is through this process tha t a mother s power can build a strong character-based society. Gradually. depending on God to avoid the risks. Vandaniya Mousiji s talent of nursing became especially useful. sanctity of thou ght and deed. She sketched the working plan for the o rganization and shouldered all the responsibility herself. Lakshmibai lost her husband in 1923 and was left to look after eight children and a vast property. October 25. among its members Lakshmibai was called by her family nickname of Mousiji . And to spread it. the Bharatiya Shri Vidya Nike tan was registered in 1983 to reorganize the system of girls education. travelin g alone and with her small son. alertness. After attending discourses by Gandhi and hearing him advising the la dies to follow the life of Sita and Savitri. Later. she introduced Devi Ashtabhuja.

The Samiti has since been lead under the loving and careful guidance of Vandaniya Ushatai Chati. The Samiti was then lead by Vandaniya Sara swatibai (Taiji Apte) until her passing on March 9. During her tenure the organization even spread outside India. who had been appointed by Taiji Apte herself. *** .had already made arrangements and had appointed leaders to continue the work wit hout any confusion after her passing. Thus. 1994. from the efforts of Mousiji. the women volunteers o f the Samiti are continuing in the protection and promotion of Vedic culture.