The Book, “Women in the Puranas” is about the legendary women as depicted in some of the Puranas-their social status and conditions; their quite high and respectful position in the socity and home. The highlights that the women were the very embodiment of virtues and that they enjoyed all powers centered in them and they were divinities.
The book has biographies of some special women like Sukala, Sumana, Sukanya, Devahuti and the like. The book highlights the extra-ordinary qualities the women possessed. The divine mother Goddesses as Sakti in all worldly matters have added extra charm to the matter of the stories about women in the book.
Dr. Sharda Arya, M.A. Ph.D., retired as Reader in Sanskrit Department of Daulat Ram Sanskrit Department of Daulat Ram College for Women, University of Delhi, Delhi. She has over 35 years of experience of teaching Graduate and Post-Graduate students both at the College and at the University of Delhi. She has guided a number of M. Phil and Ph. D. Students as well.
Dr. Arya has published her book “Religion and Philosophy of the Padma Purana” and also a number of articles published in various Journals.
Dr. Arya was also awarded Sanskrit Seva Samman from Delhi Sanskrit Academt, Delhi.
The Puranas are encyclopaedia of ancient culture, where the legends of gods, men and women are interwoven with each other. My research project was on one of the eighteen Puranas; some legends cultivated my interest in writing the biographies of some great women of some of the Puranas. The Vedic women like Gargi, Maitreyi, Apala, Ghosa and the women of the Ramayana and Mahabharata like Sita, Savitri, Damayanti got great distinction in the society. That inspired me to do justice to some prominent women of the Puranas also to some extent at least. The legends which are scattered in the eighteen Puranas are running about in several chapters with lengthy dialogues. They are culled and knit together. So these are presented here in brief only with their chief characteristics and there I have avoided the critical study of the legends. Their capacity to do the multiplicity of jobs is commendable and is noteworthy. These legends have left a rich spiritual and moral legacy for cultivating moral qualities like truthfulness, sincerity, simplicity, justice, compassion, love and the like but chastity is ingrained in the heart and soul of the woman who is the cause of life, breath and vitality. The present Indian women are empowered equally with men with several tasks in all matters. What to speak of other jobs, they are entitled to fly the fighter planes also. It is-a matter of great pride.
I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to such works as Puranic Encyclopaedia by Vettain Mani and Ancient Indian Tradition and Mythology series by N.A. Deshpande and G.P. Bhatt for great help. My loving thanks to Dr. Asha Rani Singal, Dr. Shashi Prabha Arya and Dr. Anushree for their constant encouragement. My love and blessings to my little grand-children Advika and Avik for their joyful full coperation. This work of mine would not have seen the light of day without being rejuvenated by the enthusiasm of my loving husband.
This Book is divided into two parts. The first part deals with the social conditions of the women in brief as depicted in the legends whereas the second part deals with the life- sketch of some women of the Puranas alphabetically.
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