Women according to our Sanatana Dharma are not only regarded for their pious nature, but also seen as the representation of great virtues which help women empower themselves in life. The Pancha Kanyas mentioned in the epics of Ramayan and Mahabharat are the perfect example for this. The Panch Kanyas are so called as they were born in the same constellation of Virgo, which represents a virgin.
Mata Sita – The reflection of Shri Ram, Mata Sita was the epitome of beauty and virtues. While she follows the footsteps of Shri Ram in the forest, she teaches a great lesson that although life is unpredictable one needs to walk the journey with faith and patience. She teaches patience to deal with life in the hardships of forest, courage to face life when separated from Shri Ram and self- respect to regard life when asked to face the trial of fire, the three qualities necessary for a woman to walk miles ahead in life.
Ahalya – What one learns from Ahalya is being beautiful from the inside. Ahalya’s beauty bought her many troubles when she was cursed by her husband Rishi Gautam to become a stone. But it is at that time that her inner beauty as a stone shone while she waited patiently for the one who would revive her from the curse. Ahalya’s innocence cost her lot, yet she waited for Shri Ram, who understood her purity and relieved her of her curse. Ahalya is a lesson that being beautiful is one thing, and upholding it from within is another.
Tara – When intellect combines beauty, it takes all the traits of Tara, the wife of the Vanar king Bali. Being an apsara gifted to Bali, Tara was not only the beautiful queen of Bali, but was the wise one too. She realises that Dharma is not on their side and advises Bali not to fight Shri Ram. After Sugriv becomes king, Tara again comes to the rescue of the kingdom while calming down the anger of Lakshman. Tara convinces Lakshman that Sugriv was indeed truthful and had already sent troops to meet for the quest of Mata Sita with which she averts a great danger on Kishkinda. Tara proves that a woman is not just known for her beauty and charm, but also for her intellect and wisdom
Mandodari – The chaste wife of Ravan, Mandodari was the daughter of Mayasur, the architect of the demons. Although Ravan was known for his ego and arrogance, Mandodari bore with him patiently and never went against her husband’s wishes. Mandodari revolted for the first time when Ravan abducts Mata Sita as she knew that Ravan had invited his own doom by this action. She advises Ravan and her sons against harming Dharma and proves that when dharma is hindered, it needs to be opposed even though when they are their own kith and kin.
Draupadi – The one born from the sacrificial fire, Draupadi shone like fire with her trait of self- respect and dignity. Although being married to five powerful brothers, she suffers humiliation during her Vastraharan, but does not go back in questioning the injustice of the Kauravas. Although she saw the destruction of her entire clan, she stood by her word that a woman’s self-respect should always be protected. The Pancha Kanyas are the five women who by their conduct and sacrifice gave new meaning to women and proved that they were not only the epitome of beauty but also a symbol of strength.