Were there any Women Rishis in Hinduism? Can you please speak about them… To this question from a devotee in Art of Living Satsang, Sri Sri Ravishankar Guruji explaining in his own words…..
Yes, there are some women Rishis, and there is space for more to come. Very few women Rishis have been there, not many actually.
Meera was one such great devotee.
There was one lady in Tamil Nadu, she was called Avaiyar, and she is remembered as the mother of Tamil literature. Anybody who studies Tamil, cannot miss Avaiyar, isn’t? How many Tamils are here? (Some in the audience raise their hands.)
(A person in the audience makes a reference to ‘Athi Chudi’, a composition of Avaiyar.)
Athi Chudi, these are alphabets isn’t it?
Like how we have, ‘A for apple’, ‘B for ball’, ‘C for cat’; like that, she has made something philosophical for each alphabet. So from childhood, the alphabets are taught with values, and this is what the intelligent lady; the mother did.
Her story is very interesting. She was a very beautiful looking young woman, and her parents wanted to get her married, but she didn’t want to.
The King looked at her and liked her. You know in those days, the King always had the privilege of having the best, and she was so good. So the King wanted to get married to her. And when a King asks, nobody can say ‘No’.
Then the story goes that she prayed to Ganesha (Hindu deity with elephant’s head). She was a devotee of Ganesha.
In India, you can have your own specific form for God. Though God is only one, there is something called Ishta Devata (Desired, liked or cherished Divinity). Each one can have their own liking for a particular form of God.
See, there is one God, one Allah, one Paramatma, but for that God, you can choose one name, just for yourself. And then you feel a very personal connection with that name.
So she had Ganesha as her personal deity, and she prayed to him, ‘I should look old.’
And it is said that in no time all her hair became white, and she started looking old. When the King came and saw her he did not marry her. She was left to herself.
So this is the story.