Accordingly, she was given the choicest gift of knowledge by her husband in
a most illuminating discourse on the unity of the self.
Women in Grammatical Literature
The age of Panini (fifth century BC) continued the Vedic tradition of culture
and education. Those brahmavadinis who themselves taught were
reverentially called upadhyaya or upadhyayi and acharya, while the
sadyovadhus who were wives of teachers were called upadhyayani and
acharyani. Both Panini and Patanjali refer to the high Vedic knowledge
acquired by the brahmavadinis during the Vedic age necessitating special
names for them. Thus, women scholars of the Katha School were called
‘Kathi’; of the Rig Veda, ‘Bahavircha’. Brahmin women scholars of the
Grammar of Apisali were called ‘Apisali’, and of the Mimamsa School of
Kasakritsna, ‘Kasakritsna’ (Patanjali). Pupils of the woman scholar and
teacher Audamedhya were called ‘Audamedha’.
Women in Epics and Puranas
In the Ramayana and the Mahabharata too, we find many instances of the
above two types of Indian women, ascetic and domestic. A magnificent
example of a brahmavadini in the Ramayana is Anasuya, wife of the Sage
Atri. Another celebrated woman ascetic of the Ramayana is Sramani Sabari,
a lowcaste woman. She was the disciple of the great sage Matanga and had
her hermitage on the bank of the lake Pampa. On the other hand, the highest
manifestation of domestic perfection in the Ramayana, is found in the
inimitable personality of Sita, the idol of Indian womanhood.
    The Mahabharata too is resplendent with a galaxy of great women
fulfilling their destinies for instance Sulbha who was a great scholar. For
want of a suitable bridegroom, she became an ascetic for life, and roamed
about alone from place to place in search of knowledge. Other celebrated
brahmavadinis of the Mahabharata are the daughter of Sandilya described as
a Brahmani and Siva who has mastered the Vedas. Far more numerous are
the instances of women who led dedicated lives at home. Mention need be
made only of Gandhari, Kunti, and Draupadi.
    One of the most celebrated       women of the Puranas is Madalasa, the