Posted: 30 October 2008 at 5:13am | IP Logged
Originally posted by Chandraketu
There aren't that many pativratas - from what I recall reading (unfortunately, I can't find the source at the moment), there were only 11 of them, so it's not worth trying to bloat that number to 100. 'Pativrata' was a definition applied to women who worshipped their husbands and husbands alone, and didn't recognize any other gods. Although there were a lot of women in ancient times who were very devoted to their husbands, this 'pativrata' status was given to a very few. They included Sita, Savitri, Anushuya, Rohini (Chandrama's wife), Sulochana, Tara (Brihaspati's wife) and a few other less well known names.
Although Mandodari was loyal to Ravan, she also recognized the divine nature of Rama - a pativrata wasn't supposed to recognize anybody's divinity other than her own husband (as was the case with Sulochana). Mandodari is definitely on the Pativrata list, because the Gods recognized her as a Pativrata, and to worship God is not going against a woman's duty. She recognized Rama's divinity because she was a Pativrata, or else, she would not have been able to. Arundhati-devi (she is said to have turned her back to Vaishishta after having sons - this was mentioned in a Mahabharat story during the destruction of Khandavprasta) was not in the list. Neither was Ahalya - I think that her failure to recognize Indra as not her husband would have disqualified her - justified or not. Muni Gautama told Ahalya that she would be purified by the touch of Rama's feet, so that's why she was a Pativrata. Before her curse, she had served her husband with utmost devotion, and after her curse, she was purified by the touch of Shri Ram's feet, so her chastity returned. She is definitely on thel list. I also have never heard of Tara - Harishchandra's wife - being one. Nether have I never heard of Sukanya or Kannagi in the first place. Like you said, some of the Pativratas were not well known.
I don't recall whether Lopamudra - Agastya's wife, was pativrata or not, but she may not have been, since one of the things she asked for after their marriage was wealth (albeit for him), which took him to several rulers, and included his encounter with Ilvala and Vatapi. As for Aditi, I don't recall her being in any list, and if she'd be there, so would her sister Diti? Many of the Pativratas are mentioned in lots of puranas other than Ramayana and Mahabharata. There's Devi Bhagavatham, Bhagavatham, etc.
As for the Mahabharat/dwapar yuga, Draupadi did regard Krishna as her god - nothing wrong with that, but that's why she isn't included in the pativrata definition: nothing otherwise 'wrong' with her. She was, however, included in the panch-kanya. Also, Kunti, who had sons from 4 devas, wasn't in the pativrata list - in fact, despite the fact that she had 4 great sons (I'm not including Nakul and Sahadev here), her character itself is with blemish, as she could have saved the family from anhilation by telling her sons before time that Karna was their brother. Radha was actually married to someone else, even though Krishna seranaded her - she's as far from pativrata as one can imagine. I also don't think any of Krishna's wives were pativrata, and Rukmini was not even his favorite - Satyabhama was. In fact, if Krishna had any pativrata wives, he'd have done what Rama did, and stayed monogamous with her alone. Damayanti may have been in the list - I don't remember. Again, praying to God does not make someone unpure. Some people say Draupadi was a Panch-Kanya, and somewhere, I read that she was even included in the Panch-Sati. She's one of the most virtuous and chaste women in our pouranic history. Draupadi's regarded as equal to Sitaji in her chastity. And Kunti devi is included in the Panch-Kanya. I'll give you all the sources later. Radha Devi also was a Pativrata. I don't have time to write in such detail right now, as I have to teach a class in a few minutes, so I will give longer explanations later. I don't know about any of Shri Krishna's wives for sure, but in Sri Krishna Tulabharam episode, Rukmini proved herself to be a Pativrata. And Shri Krishna had no favorites, as he was the omniscent Supreme Lord and all wives were incarnations of Lakshmi Devi.
From the Ramayan, only Sita & Sulochana are on that list - virtuous as Kaushalya, Sumitra and Urmila were, none of them were on it. Mandodari also