Post No.7520

Date uploaded in London – 31 January 2020

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UDAYANA was a prince of lunar race/ Chandra kula. He was the son of Sahasraanika. He was the king of Vatsa and called Vatsaraja. He was the hero of a popular love story, probably the earliest love story in India, a real life story. Though we have Nala- Damayanti, Sathyavan- Savithri , Krishna – Rukmini, Arjuna – Chitrangada and other such love stories they all become part of religious literature. Udayana – Vasavadatta love affair is from the secular side and more historical.

One more interesting thing is that it has reached the Southern most of part of India and became a hero  in Tamil   kavyas.

Udayana’s capital was Kausambi. He was a great Veena player. Vaasavadataa , princess of Ujjaiyini , saw him in a dream and fell in love with him. She was the heroine of Subhandhu’s ‘Vasavadatta’.

Here is piece about her in the Great Women of India.

 Vasavadatta  the far famed queen of Udayana is the character where the recognised romantic ideal  (sachiva, sakhii, shishya) is brough to a highest level of execution. The features of sensitive pride and surrender to the cause of the husband are not clouded, but shine in her pre-eminently. There have been poets and dramatists who have brought her  character  into fine relief by presenting her  in comparison and contrast with other queens Padmaavatii,Saagarikaa and Priyadarshikaa .

In two the Bhasa plays,  we have Vasavadatta  as the figure round  which the whole course of events turns. Yaugandharayana’s policy succeeds  because of the force of the circumstances and of the self -effacement  of Vasavadatta , who offered him her ungrudging  aid.  She reconciles herself to her new position as the trusted and respected attendant maid , in which occupation, she has to weave the marriage garland of  Padmavati and do other unwonted and difficult things.  She accuses none for her ordeal of separation but relentless fate. The Samudragriha episode affords solace to her, proving, if any proof was necessary , that she was, as before, the king’s beloved par excellence.

Her recognition or appreciation of Padmavati as  her valued co-wife is a thing not uncommon in literature  and in history for Hindu  wives of high birth  and position.  The mutual respect and affection of the two queens, born of Vasavadatta’s majestic demeanour and Padmavati’s stately courtesy.

Classical Sanskrit literature is replete with examples of this type of adaptability, which is in keeping with the inner promptings of constancy that had their inspiration at least from the Epic Age. Episodes like those developed round  Manorama, Vinayavati, Sagariika are apt illustrations , in some of which the amiable  and accomplished rival claimant to the king’s affection is no less a favourite  with the reader than the main heroine.

Here is a piece from Wikipedia:-

Svapnavasavadattam (Sanskrit: स्वप्नवासवदत्तम्, Svapnavāsavadattam) (EnglishThe dream of Vasavadatta) is a Sanskrit play in six acts written by the ancient Indian poet Bhasa. It is probably the best known of Bhāsa‘s works.

(Bhasa lived in 3rd or 4th century BCE).

The plot of the drama is drawn from the romantic narratives about the Vatsa king Udayana and Vasavadatta, the daughter of Pradyota, the ruler of Avanti, which were current in the poet’s time and which seem to have captivated popular imagination. The main theme of the drama is the sorrow of Udayana for his queen Vasavadatta, believed by him to have perished in a fire, which was actually a rumour spread by Yaugandharayana, a minister of Udayana to compel his king to marry Padmavati, the daughter of the king of Magadha. It forms, in context, a continuation of his another drama, Pratijnayaugandharayana.

The complete text of the Svapnavasavadattam was long lost until it was discovered in Kerala in 1912.A tradition is recorded that when the critics subjected the plays of Bhasa to a severe test by throwing them into fire, only Svapnavasavadattam rose out unaffected, while other plays were all consummated by the flames. This play contains some of Bhasa’s greatest characters.


tamilandvedas.com › tag › udayanas-encounter-with-elephants 
Udayana’s encounter with elephants | Tamil and Vedas

29 Sep 2012 – Posts about Udayana’s encounter with elephants written by Tamil and … Interesting stories about elephants are found in Indian literature.

tamilandvedas.com › tag › svapnavasavadatta 
Svapnavasavadatta | Tamil and Vedas

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18 Apr 2014 – Here are some quotes from ‘Svapnavasavadatta’, his masterpiece and one of the best dramas available today:—. Ignorance 1.Even deities …

tamilandvedas.com › 2014/04/20 › beautiful-and-tranquil-hermitages-… 
Beautiful and Tranquil Hermitages of Ancient India | Tamil and …

20 Apr 2014 – The following passages from Svapnavasavadatta illustrate these points more clearly: Act 1. Yaugnadharayana: Self possessed dwellers of the …




Post No.7503

Date uploaded in London – 27 January 2020

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PADMINI, queen of Rana Rattan Sing of Mewar , and a  lady of exquisite beauty, has been deservedly given an exalted place in the epic of Rajput chivalry by col. Tod and also by Malik Mohammad Jayasi in his Padmavati, a classic work of Hindustani literature . The traditional belief is that the immediate cause of Alauddin Khilji’s invasion of Chitor was his infatuation of Padmini.  History records the chivalrous role of Padmini and a number of other women of Mewar at the time when the famous citadel of Chitor was besieged by Alauddin.

The valiant Rajputs offered a heroic resistance against his onslaught for eight months; but at last to give way in view of the superior numerical strength of the Delhi army.  Before the final surrender of the citadel , however of 26th august , 1303, hundreds of brave women , under the leadership of Padmini plunged themselves in to the fire of JAUHAR – self immolation – to escape pollution and captivity by the Muslim invaders.

The funeral pyre was lighted within the great sub terranean retreat in chambers impervious to the light of the day, and the defenders of Chitor beheld in procession the queens, their own wives, and daughters , to the number of several thousands.

This is the greatest sacrifice of women in the history of the world. This is the bravest act of women the world has never seen.  The fair Padmini closed the throng, which was augmented by whatever of female beauty or youth could be tainted Tartar lust. The women were conveyed to the cavern for security. They were saved from dishonour. Thus Padmini and several thousand Hindu women preferred heroic death  to a disgraced existence.


In the bardic traditions of Rajasthan there are thrilling references to the selfless patriotism and heroic exploits of her daughters. The bards’ folk songs are echoing in the walls of the mighty forts. Every stone and sand particle in the surrounding Thar desert are reverberating with the glorious sacrifices they made.

The first example in this category is Samyogita (RANI SAMYUKTA), daughter of Jjayachandra, the ruler of Kanauj. She married Prithiviraj in a swayamvara. When Mohammad of Ghor marched with reinforced troops for the second time to meet his adversary Prithiviraj on the Tarain near  Thanesar, she is said to have armed her lord for the encounter and exhorted him with the following words—

“To die is the destiny not only of man but of the gods; all desire to throw off the old garment; but to die well is to live for ever. Think not of self; but of immortality; let your sword divide your foe and I will be your arthaanga (other half) hereafter”

Prithiviraj fought with reckless valour, but was at last overpowered and killed by the Muslim invaders. True to her vow, the devoted spouse sacrificed her life by mounting his funeral pyre.

We praise Gargi Vachaknavi of Vedic lore as the oldest and most intelligent woman in the world. And in the same way we can praise Rani Samyukta as the most intelligent and bravest woman in the historic period. She and Rani Padmini will inspire Hindu women for generations to come.

Xxx subham xxx



Post No.7491

Date uploaded in London – 24 January 2020

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In the court of KIING ACHYUTARAYA (1529-1542 CE)of Vijayanagara there was a poetess of great merit and her name was  ODUVA TIRUMALAAMBAA. She was employed as a reader in the royal court whose duty was perhaps the reading of poetical  and other compositions to the ladies of the royal family as well as to the royal court. Tirumalamba was popularly known as Oduva (reader) Tirumalamba . Evidently she was a genius , since she was an excellent musician and grammarian, possessing in addition a good command of rhetoric and diction.  She was a scholar of Hindu epics , poetry, drama and philosophy. She had other accomplishments also; she was a linguist and could write in many scripts.

In addition to all these excellent qualities she must have possessed great beauty, for King Achyutaraya became so enamoured of her that he elevated her to the position of queen (Raja Mahishi).

We learn most of these details from the epilogue to one of her works entitled ‘Varadaambikaa – parinaya – champu’, a romance in Sanskrit celebrating the wedding of King Achyutaraya  and his senior queen Varadambika . it is lerant from epigraphic and other sources  that Varadambika was the principal queen ( Patta mahishi) of King Achyutaraya . it is interesting to note that a junior queen  should have  celebrated in song  the marriage of her rival without any jealousy. Possibly she must have been a good natured woman and wrote the prose – verse – champu – romance only out of regard and affection for Varadambika .  We also learn from the epilogue to the ‘champu’ that she was a patroness of learned priests, scholars and poets and that she made liberal gifts and endowments to temples and religious institutions.  This poem also describes the birth of Prince Venkatadri , the first born of Varadambika .

There are two types of opinion regarding the literary merits of her work. One is highly laudatory, and the other is rather lukewarm.  But it cannot be denied that the work shows that Tirumalamba was a highly educated woman, who wrote for the cultured. 

She composed two Sanskrit verses on the occasion of one of a ‘ daana’ ceremony called ‘Anandanidhi’ and had them engraved in many places.

She composed another verse commemorating the king’s gift of Swarnameru – heap of gold – to brahmins  at Hampi in 1533 CE. It is also surmised that the three verses recording the king’s Tulabhaara of pearls at Kanchipuram in the same year were composed by her.

(Tulabhara is weighing oneself in big balance against whatever one wants to donate. Kings used to give gold equal to their body weight. It is one of the Sixteen Danas (gifts) . We come to know that Cheran Senguttuvan gave gold equivalent to his body weight  to a brahmin called Matalan according to Tamil epic Silappadikaram. Mula varman of Borneo (Indonesia), King Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara also gave gold through Tulabhara.

–subham —



Post No.7464

Date uploaded in London – 17 January 2020

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One of the famous mathematical works of Bhaskara is Liilaavati. There is a tradition that this work was actually composed by the widowed daughter of Bhaskara whose name was Lilavati. We have also a story how Bhaskara failed to determine the auspicious moment for the celebration of his daughter’s marriage owing to a defect in the ‘ghati-yantra’ — an instrument for measuring time -Caused by a small stone that had fallen into it from the ornament of LilavatI.

Though there is no written proof for this story we believe that Bhaskara  was the author of the Lilavati  and he has honoured her by naming it after her. All the mathematical problems in the book are addressed to a girl, often expressions by like  ‘aye bale Lilavati-

 — o young Lilavati , although Bhaskara may have actually written the book Lilavati for teaching the subject to his own daughter.



In Bengal there are a large number of popular sayings that are attributed to a female astronomer named Khanaa or probably Kshanaavatii . These sayings are in old Bengali and relate to astronomy and astrology, often with special reference to agriculture.

Tradition has it that Khana was the wife of an astronomer named

Mihira , who was the son of another famous astronomer named

Varaha . This tradition has been apparently fabricated on the basis of the celebrated ancient Indian astronomer Varahamihira, who flourished in the sixth century CE, but had hardly anything to do with Bengal. But Khana may have lived in Bengal and she may be renowned female astronomer.



In the traditions that have grown around the illustrious name of

Shankaracharya , there is a story about a great woman philosopher of Mithila – probably named Ubhayabharati. It is said that in the course of his ‘dig-vijaya’ – visiting various institutions for scholarly debates resulting in victory – Shankara reached Mithila . There he was engaged in a debate with another famous philosopher named Mandana Mishra.  According to tradition Shankara defeated Mishra and Mishra’s wife Ubhayabharati was the mediator in the debate. When her husband was defeated by Shnakara, she challenged shankara with some questions about family life. Being a Brahmachari (celibate) he didn’t have any experience in Kama shastra. He asked for some time to answer her questions and then entered another king’s body who had  just expired. He was able to with his supernatural powers. After gaining some knowledge in family matters Shankara defeated Ubhayabharati also and both Mishras had become followers of Shankara.

People who has faith in tradition believe in these stories though we have no written records from that period. Even three Semitic religions of Christianity, Islam and Judaism believe in Moses though there is no historical proof for Moses until today. So there is no wonder Hindus also believe in their tradition.

–Source book – Great Women of India , Advaita Asrama, mayavati, 1953

tags – Lilavati, Ubhayabharati, Khana, Kshanavati

Bridegroom ran away on Wedding Day! Bride became a Saint! (Post No.7452)

Bridegroom ran away on Wedding Day! Bride became a Saint! (Post No.7452)


Post No.7452

Date uploaded in London – 13 January 2020

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Jainism has beautiful stories highlighting Ahimsa (non violence) and  sacrifice. They have women with exemplary character and one of them was Rajimati.

Hinduism appealed to Vedic believers.

Buddhism appealed to Kshatria warriors; and

Jainism appealed to Vaisya business community.

Here is a story of Saint Neminatha who was cousin of Lord Krishna, and lived probably around 3200 BCE. He was the 22nd Tirthankara and so must have lived before 6th century BCE. Mahavira, the 24th Tirthankara of Jainism was a contemporary of Buddha (sixth century BCE).

Chastity amongst women and faithfulness on the part of a wife towards her husband, even when the marriage rite has not taken place and she is only a ‘vaag dattaa’ – betrothed—is the highest ideal of Indian womanhood and Jainism made no exceptions.

An ideal woman of this type was Raajiimatii, the wife of the twenty second tirthankara Neminaatha, a cousin of Lord Krishna. When his marriage procession was on its way towards the marriage pavilion, Neminatha, the bridegroom saw a number of animals caged in a pen situated on the way. Upon enquiry he learnt that they were to be killed for serving the groom’s party with meat. Alarmed at the thought of impending large scale animal slaughter on his account, Neminatha immediately stopped it and turned his mind  away from this world, which involved such sins of killing and entered the life of a monk.

Rajimati followed the footsteps of her husband  and joined the ascetic order. Once while Neminatha and his brother Rathanemi and Rajimati were practising penance on the same mountain – Girnar – Rathanemi lost self- control and was attracted towards his sister in law. But Rajimati  boldly resisted and baffled his attempts by telling him  that he was preparing to drink from the vomit of another.

The theme of Rathanemi and Rajimati   also forms the subject of a very old and beautiful ballad in the Jaina canonical text – Uttaraadhyayana Sutra– which shows from very early times she was held an ideal of chastity.

(Neminatha is revered and worshipped by the Jains  along with Mahavira and Parswanatha through out India. Neminatha has shrines in many places. In ancient Tamil Nadu the tallest statue was Neminatha in a village called Tirumalai. It is 52 feet tall)

WE must include such stories in School syllabus and encourage students to do more research into the historicity of all religious personalities.

Let us salute  the great Saints Neminatha and Rajimati!

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, 1953

Tags – Neminatha, Rajimati, Jain woman, Ahimsa



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Post No.7445

Date uploaded in London – 11 January 2020

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Art and literature in South India attained fulness and freedom of expression in the Vijayanagara epoch.

Gangadevi was the queen of Kumara Kampanna who conquered Shambuvaraya and Sultan of Madurai in 1361 CE, and brought thereby the whole of Tamil country as far as Rameswaram under Vijayanagar Empire.

Gangadevi was well educated and a talented woman and she accompanied her husband Kumara Kampanna to the South during his expeditions. She wrote a fine Sanskrit epic called the Mathura Vijayam describing the heroic deeds of her husband. In the eulogy on poets at the beginning of the book, she gives considerable prominence to the Sanskrit poets of the Telugu country such as Agastya, Gangadhara and Viswanatha, and the last of whom was her Guru/preceptor. Special interest is attached to the poet Tikkaya “whose poetry resembles the moonlight, drunk with avidity by thirsty poets like chakora birds”.  This Tikkaya is none other than the famous Tikkana Somayaji, the author of fifteen out of the eighteen parvans/books of the Telugu Mahabharata . it is obvious that Gangadevi, the pupil of Viswanatha and an admirer of Tikkana Somayaji’s poetry is a Telugu princess.

The Mathura Vijayam is a historical epic , which describes Kampannas’s victories in the Tamil country. Its value as a source book of early history Vijayanagara history cannot easily be overestimated.  As a poetess Gangadevi takes a high rank; she is perhaps the greatest of women writers of South India who chose Sanskrit as the vehicle of expression. The appraisement of her work by editors may be quoted here with advantage –

“The work is in the form of a classical Kavya , conforming to the rules laid down in the treatises on poetics and containing the usual lengthy of the seasons , the twilight, the rising of the moon and other necessary topics. The authoress writes in the Vaidharbi style , and her thoughts which  flow with ease and simplicity , are clothed in diction at once beautiful and charming. Her similes are grand and drawn direct from nature, with none of the conventional pedantry of grammar or rhetoric which so largely spoils the productions of later-day poets. she has adopted certain scenes and descriptions which are favourite with Kalidasa, but they are transformed at the mint of her imagination and invested with new significance.



Unlike Gangadevi,  Molla (1440-1530 CE) was not a lady of royal rank. She was of humble origin, being the daughter of Keshava Shetti, a potter of Gopavaram , a few miles to the north of Nellore on the bank of river Pennai. Molla is the earliest and perhaps the greatest of the Telugu poetesses. Though her date is not definitely known, it is not at all unlikely she flourished in the palmy days of Emperor Krishnadevaraya  or a little earlier. In the eulogy on poets of her Ramayanam she refers to the famous poet Shrinatha , who lived in the closing years of fourteenth century or later. Nothing is known about her personal life except that she wrote Ramayanam.

Molla’s Ramayanam, though small in size , is a poem of considerable poetic excellence and literary merit. Until recently it used to be studied as a text book in village schools, where boys were taught to learn it by heart. Molla is a vigorous writer. Though simple, her style is dignified and her verse easy flowing and forcible. She is at her best in Sundara Kandam; the brief pen picture of Ravana , Hanuman ads Sita are unsurpassed in the whole range of Telugu literature. It is not known whether Molla wrote any other work; but her Ramayanam is enough to secure for her an abiding place in the galaxy of the immortals who enriched the Telugu language and literature.

(Note- Wikipedia has latest information from research scholars)

Source book

Great women of India, Advaita Ashrama,

Mayavati, Almora , Himalayas , 1953



Compiled  by London Swaminathan

Uploaded in London on  – 7 JANUARY 2020

Post No.7430

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A lampoon by a contemporary writer Chnna Venkanna, throws some light on Mangamma’s life. According to his account, she was the daughter of  Tupaakula Lingama Nayaka of Chandragiri and a courtesan of  Tiruvellore near  Chennai. Her name was Kanakaa. Beautiful and accomplished young Kanaka  migrated probably in search of a career to the court of Vijararaghava of Thanjavur, where talented women had the opportunity of  rising to prominence. Vijayaraghava was said to have intended to take her in to his harem, but she left Thanjavur for some reason or other and married Chokkanatha Nayaka of  Madurai, whose heart she captured by blandishments. The account, perhaps, distorted one, may contain a kernel of truth.

Mangamma alias Kanaka survived her husband and her son Rangakrishna Muthuveerappa Nayaka, and after the demise of the later in 1689 ruled the kingdom till 1707 as the regent during the minority of her grandson Vijayaranga  Chokkanatha  Nayaka.

The regency of Mangamma was a critical period in the history of  the Nayaka Kingdom of Madurai, which was threatened on one side by the Mughal forces of Aurangzeb and on the other side by the rulers of   Mysore, Thanjavur , Ramanathapuram and Travancore. Mangamma shrewdly decided that the only way of survival was to approve the supremacy of Mughal emperor. She agreed to pay him an annual tribute, and secured the goodwill of his officers and generals by suitable presents and bribes.


Towards her other enemies she adopted a policy of firmness and waged war upon them, on the whole successfully. Occasionally she had to buy off some of them with bribes, but that was only a temporary expedient. Later, when she felt she was strong enough, she overpowered the enemy and exacted compensation.   She had for her counsellor Narasappiah , great in strategy and administration and in private life a skilful player on the Veena (lute).

Mangamma’s name is almost a household name in south Tamil Nadu. There are still in existence numerous avenues  and cholutries, Dharmasalas built by her as well as the lofty piles like those that remain of the Nayaka Palaces within the fort area of Tiruchy.

Mangammal Choultry opposite Madurai railway station served thousands of pilgrims to Madurai and Rameswaram. All these are monuments to the greatness of her rule. Her benefactions to temples and gifts of Agraharams (Brahmin streets) to learned brahmins  were numerous, but she was equally liberal in her endowments to Christian churches and Muslim darghas. The dargah of Baba Nattar Auliya in Thiruchy was specially favoured and received grants of villages.

Manucci has paid a handsome tribute to her benevolence and large hearted tolerance .

Niccalao Manucci (1638- 1717) was an Italian traveller and writer, who spent his life in India during the Mughal period.


There is an interesting account of a social enactment  in her reign. The Saurashtra weavers of Madurai claimed the privilege of observing some ceremonies peculiar to Brahmins (wearing sacred thread etc). Mangamma first opposed the claim, but later sanctioned it.

There are conflicting reports about the end of her reign. According to one account, power was forcibly wrested from her hands and transferred to her grandson, on his coming of age, and the queen perished in prison. Whatever may be the truth Mangamma’s place in history  as a capable, enlightened  and beneficent ruler is unchallengeable

Source – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Mayavati, Almora, Himalayas, year 1953


Vakataka Queen Prabhavati Gupta (Post No.7411)

Gupta Coins
Vakataka Queen Prabhavati Gupta (Post  No.7411)  

Written by London Swaminathan Uploaded in London on  – 2 JANUARY 2020 Post No.7411 contact – swami_48@yahoo.com pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.     Prabhavati Gupta was the daughter of the Gupta emperor Chanragupta II Vikramaditya 376-414 CE and the Agra Makishi or Chief Queen of King Rudrasena II of the Vakataka Dynasty ruling over wide regions of the Deccan.   Rudrasena seems to have died before the close of the fourth century. He probably left three sons Divakarasena Damodarasena and Pravarasena .   Divakarasena remained the Yuvaraja or Crown Prince while his mother ruled the country at least for thirteen years. It is believed that the sons of Rudrasena were minors at the time of their father’s death. Prabhavati Devi ruled the kingdom  as regent on behalf of the minor Yuvaraja Divakarasena.   There is no evidence to show that Divakarasena ever ascended the throne as Maharaja. In a later inscription dated the nineteenth regnal year of her son Pravarasena, she is called the mother of Maharajah Damodarasena and Pravarasena and is said to have been more than hundred years old. Prabhavati’s death does not appear to have taken place long before 455 CE, which is the date of the death of her brother Emperor Kumara Gupta I.   A charter of Prabhavati Gupta was issued from the feet of the god Ramagiriswamin, identified with the deity at Ramtek near Nagpur, probably on the occasion of her visit to the holy temple on pilgrimage. In it she has been described as a devotee of Lord Vishnu and is credited with the gotra or lineage Dharana and the family designation Gupta of her father. Her husband is known to have belonged to Vishnu vridda gotra. Thus Prabhavati’ s marriage didn’t apparently involve  the usual change of gotra. There is evidence to show that this was not essential  in a popular form of ancient marriage, possibly owing to the want of sampradana ( ceremonial offering).   —subham—       Sent



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Uploaded in London on  – 31 December 2019

Post No.7404

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Gandhari made Sri Krishna responsible for the  Kurukshetra War  and uttered a fearful curse on the

Yadavas, of which he was the most distinguished representative. She prophesied that a cruel calamity would overtake the house of the Yadavas, inasmuch as Shri Krishna ignored or failed to prevent the ruinous war between the Pandavas and the Kauravas. on the strength of her chastity and ascetism, she even said that Shri Krishna himself in no distant future would fall a prey to a foul death. It is important to bear in this mind that in this connection that Shri Krishna smilingly  accepted this curse and recognised her truthfulness, piety and penance.

After the Kurushetra war, Dhritarastra and Gandhari lived for sixteen years  at Hastinapura under the protection of Pandavas. They forgot to a great extent their grief at the loss of their sons on account of the wonderful care and sympathy bestowed upon them by Yudhisthira . At the end of the sixteenth year, however, they decided to go on a mission of pilgrimage to the Himalayas. In this mission they were accompanied by d Dhritarastra’s half brother Vidura, his minister Sanjaya and Kunti, the mother of the Pandavas .


 On the eve of their departure,  Dhritarastra addressed a big assembly of the citizens of Hastinapura and men from the countryside. In this meeting Gandhari appeared by the side of her husband with her eyes bandaged, and made a request to the assembled multitude through her husband asking their forgiveness of the sins of her sons.

The final departure scene of the old sorrowful King Dhritarastra  was pathetic. Kunti came forward to lead the journey, Gandhari  put her hands on the shoulders of Kunti and Dhritarastra  followed Gandhari , placing his hands on her shoulders. Vidura and Sanjaya were on either side of the procession. The citizens of Hastinapura wept like orphans as the procession came out of the main gate of the city, but Dhritarastra and Gandhari and others walked on unmoved.


In the Himalayas, they spent a few more years till they were burnt alive by a conflagration which had enveloped that part of the forest in which they lived. . confronted by it they showed remarkable courage and fortitude. They refused to escape from the fire; on the other hand, they sat down on the ground with calmness and in a spirit of resignation welcoming the approach of the fire.

On the day of her passing away from the earth, Gandhari’s eyes were still bandaged, and she made the supreme sacrifice  with unflinching loyalty to her ideals. She exemplifies the best ideals of Indian womanhood through the ages from the days of Mababharata , and remains immortal  in the minds of millions of Indians  who derive their inspiration from the Great Epic.

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Almora, Himalayas, 1953


Malayalee Heroine who chopped the Heads of Muslim Molesters (Post No.7400)

Compiled  by london Swaminathan

Date – 30 th December 2019

Post No.7400

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The old ballads of North Malabar – Vadakkil paattungal – contain a tale of a brave girl (early seventeenth century ) who saved the women of her village from being forcibly kidnapped, and in the end brough about communal harmony.

Mulsims used to molest beautiful Hindu girls in North Malabar. No one dared to challenge the rapists.

Unniyarcha , sister of Aaromal Chevakar, a doughty warrior, was married to a coward named Kunnirhaman. One day she wanted to visit a temple of Ayyappan , a few miles from her village, but her mother in law refused to permit her to leave the house even in the company of her husband.  She new what would happen to her from the Muslim Chonakas.

Nothing daunted, the girl took her favourite sword, and with her husband proceeded in the direction of the temple .The headman of the Chonakas (Muslims) – who happened to see her on the way, was enamoured of her beauty and sent his men to carry her away by force. Unniyarcha drew her sword and killed some of them. Their chopped heads rolled on the ground like foot ball. The rest fled and brought their headman himself to the scene, who soon realised that she was the sister of his fencing master. He appealed to both sister and brother to pardon him, but Unniyarcha was inexorable and challenged him and his men to a fight. The chief of the place persuaded the girl to sheath her sword, which she did on headman promising that no woman in the place will be molested in future . Then Muslim rapes stopped in Malabar. One heroic Hindu heroine saved the honour of millions of Hindu women.

Films and TV serials on her were made but with distorted stories.

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Almora, Himalayas, 1953



In the list of the famous heroines and administrators of Karnataka  the name of Akkadevi 1010-1064 CE, stands very high. She was a Chalukyan princess who ruled over various divisions of the Chalukyan dominions such as Banavasi , Kisukadu, and Masavadi for nearly half a century.

A few days ago I wrote about Rudramba who ruled for 33 years and her sister Ganapamba who ruled for 40 years. But Rudramba was a full fledged queen where as others are not. Here is a Kannada woman who ruled for half a century. Unlike European rubber stamp queens, Hindu queens and princesses were real rulers and fighters.

Akkadevi  was the daughter of Dashavarman and Bhaagaladevi and was the sister of vikramaditya v and Jayasimha ii, both Chalukyan emperors of Kalyana.  She is described in inscriptions as fierce in battle  and as having subjugated a large number of enemies. She laid a siege to Gokhaje, probably to quell some insurrection.

She is also described as a marvel of virtual qualities and unswerving in her promises.  The seat of her government was VIkramapura ,modern Arashibidi near Bijapur .

She married the Kadamba prince Mayuravarman, who along with her ruled Banavasi in 1037 CE. They had a son named Toyimadeva , who ruled the Banavasi region as a feudatory of the Chalukyan emperor Someshwara in 1064 CE.



Her name is associated with the foundation of a number of temples.  She also evinced great interest in promoting education.  An inscription of 1021 CE says that she made a large gift of land to feed and clothe 500 students and provided them with free quarters. The fact that she reigned not only in conjunction with her husband but also independently in an indication that she was a personage of considerable reputation and importance in her time  and no less than three Chalukyan emperors had confidence in her administrative ability.

All Indian girls must study the history of Hindu queens and princesses. This must be made a compulsory subject in schools.

Source book – Great Women of India, Advaita Ashrama, Almora, Himalayas, 1953

(Akka Mahadevi, Kannada devotional poetess of 12th century  is different from this Akkadevi)

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