Hindu history is full of beautiful, faithful, and dutiful women. if one listens to their stories, they still inspire us to sacrifice our own interests for others. And the greatest thing, that they were not illiterate or came from a low families, rather they were all wise with wisdom and came from royal or good families, still they were dutiful. Their stories are many and long, but I will quote here only a few such names and their main life incidents for those who do not know our history.
Anasooyaa was the wife Maharshi Atri, and the daughter-in-law of Brahmaa Jee. She was very famous for her Paativrat Dharm (to be faithful to one's husband by heart, speech and action). Once all three Devtaa - Brahmaa, Vishnu and Shiv, thought to test her Dharm. So they assumed the form of Braahman and went to her when Atri Rishi was not there and asked her to give them Bhikshaa (alms). When she was going back to her hut to bring some food for them, they said - "We do not want food like this unless you take all your clothes off and then give us the food." Now this condition put by Braahman was very strange and Anasooyaa was in a flux "what to do", as she could not do so. How could she give them food without wearing any clothes? Neither she could feed them without clothes, nor she could send them back without food as they were hungry, and sending back hungry Braahman without food was a sin. The three Devtaa were also anxious to see how she dealt with such a situation.
She thought for a while and said to Braahman to wait till she comes out with food. She went inside, meditated upon her husband and prayed him "If I am faithful to you by heart, speech and action, then please turn these Braahman into newborn babies." After praying thus she took off her clothes, came out of her hut and saw three babies crying for milk. She took them one by one, breastfed them and satisfied them. She laid them on a mat after feeding, went inside and came out wearing her clothes. She saw three Braahman still standing at her door. They blessed her and asked her to ask for a boon. She said - "Be my children forever." All three were born to her as Dattaatreya (Vishnu), Durvaasaa Jee (Shiv) and Chandramaa (Brahmaa Jee). This is trhe story of Anasooyaa.
When Raam was in His exile period, he visited Atri Muni's Aashram. There Atri Muni introduced Anasooyaa to Him like this - "When it did not rain for 10 years and the whole world started burning in Sun's heat, only she produced fruits and flowers and brought Gangaa Jee here. Sha has performes penance for 10,000 years and with the effect of that penance Rishi got relieved from troubles.
Who doesn't know Saavitree? She is famous for bringing back her dead husband (Satyavaan) alive, , to get back the lost kingdom for her father-in-law and 100 sons for her father and for herself after defeating Yam Raaj (the god of Death). In northern India, even today, married woman keep fast on the day she brought back her husband alive, it is called Bad Maavas or Vat Amaavasyaa. It falls on Jyeshth Amaavasyaa day.
Damayantee and Raajaa Nal's story is also very famous. Damayantee did not leave her husband because her husband lost his everything in the Dice game. She was always with him, took care of her children, and later when Nal had left her sleeping in the forest, she sought him out from nowhere.
Gaargee was a very wise woman. She was so much knowledgeable that she was the leading wise woman in Raajaa Jaank's (Seetaa's father) court. Janak used to invite many wise people and listened to them and their arguments on various complex subjects. Once Yaagyavalkya Jee came to his court and dominated the court on a certain topic. During the conversation a naked woman entered the court and introduced herself as Gaargee. All men looked at her body and were astounded to see her walking like this. Then Gaargee asked Yaagyavalkya many questions. After a while Yaagyavalkya said to her - "Do not ask too many questions on which is difficult to comprehend lest your head falls off." Gaargee then declared Yaagyavalkya the wisest. She was such that she reached the height of scholarship in the debate in her time that she could stand against Yaagyavalkya - the greatest of the Vaidik scholars.
Draupadee who wanted to get married to Arjun, luckily was married to Arjun, still her mother-in-law married her to her five sons and she accepted that without speaking any word. Draupadee whom her husband Yudhishthir had lost in the Dice game unlawfully, still got everything back to him. Unfortunately he lost the game again and they had to go to forest again. She again had to live like a maid for one year in Viraat's kingdom and had to tolerate many atrocities in her life - molestation by Jayadrath, and Keechak, killing of her five innocent sons by Ashwatthaamaa in their sleep. She forgave Jayadrath because she did not want that her sister-in-law should weep over her husband, and Ashwatthaamaa too as first he was Braahman, second he was Paandav's Guru's son and third after killing him she would not get her sons back.
Gaandhaaree, Taaraa and Mandodaree
All three women were very intelligent. Gaandhaaree tied a strip of cloth on her eyes just because her husband could not see. She said - "I have no right to see that world which my husband cannot see." Taaraa was loved by two suitors, then Brahmaa Jee had to decide her husband. All of them tried their best to explain their husbands not to do what they were going to do, but nobody listened to them and all had to bear the consequences? Gaandhaaree lost her all sons, Taaraa and Mandodaree lost their husbands. But they never left their families.
There comes a story of Sandilee named woman in Mahaabhaarat. She was living an ascetic's life. One day Garud came there and wanted to take her away. When she came to know this she cut his wings and he fell down. he then assured her that he did not want to molest her, at this she restored his wings.
Ratnaavalee and Vidyuttamaa: who made the lives of their husbands
They were the wives of Tulasee Daas Jee and Kaali Daas. They made the lives of their husbands by rebuking them. Once Ratnaavalee went to her father's house. Tulasee could not live without her so he followed her to his in-law's house. On that day it was raining heavily. There was a river on the way to her house. it got dark also. Tulasee could not cross it just by walking and he could not see any boatman also who could take him across, so he started looking for something so that he could cross the river. he found a dead body floating in the water, he though that it was a wooden log and he crossed the river holding it. When he came to the house he did not want to use main door, so he tried to climb the roof of the house. now how to climb there? he found a dead snake. he thought it was a rope and he used it to climb the roof of the house. When Ratnaavalee came to know about all this, she told him - "if you had even 1/100th part of this love towards Raam, your life had been successful." Tulasee thought over it, left his wife then and there and went away leaving his home. Everybody knows what happened to Tulasee then.
Vidyuttamaa was a very wise and intelligent woman. She had declared that she would marry nly that manw who could defeat her in Shaastra discussions. Many suitors came and got defeated. This frustrated them and out of frustration, they decided to fool her. So they got hold a very foolish boy Kaali Daas and took him to her for Shaastra discussions. Since he was first class fool, they had convinced him that he would not speak at all and would talk only by signs. The condition was conveyed to Vidyuttamaa that the boy would not speak and would discuss only by signs. Vidyuttamaa felt very odd but agreed. The discussion began. Vidyuttamaa showed one finger ofr that God is one. Kaali Daas thought that she wants to pierce my one eye, so he showed her his two fingers. Vidyuttamaa could not undrstand this so she asked his friends what he meant by that. They gave several explanations and convinced her that she had lost and married her to Kaali Daas. The she came to know that she was cheated and married to a fool. She pushed him out of her house on the first night saying - "Do not show your face unless you make yourself able to talk to me."
Poor Kaali Daas left the house in the dark night. Then out of frustration of this insult he got educated and returned home to his wife. he knocked the door. On asking who it was, he replied in a very pure Sanskrit in a cultured way. Vidyuttamaa recognized her husband's voice, she opened the door and fell on his feet. This Kaali Daas is considered a very eminent poet of India today.
They all stood up against men and won. Thus our women are not weak, it is just that they have made themselves weak. But even after being wiser, stronger and more intelligent than their counterparts they did not leave their husbands and family and always considered their husband's house their own house.