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GARGI VACHAKNAVI (VEDIC PERIOD)


Gargi was the daughter of the sage Vachaknu, and was one of the illustrious participants of the brahmayajna, a philosophic congress convened by King Janak of Videha, recorded in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. During the discourse on atma she challenged the sage Yajnavalkya with a series of questions, perturbing the great seer who had silenced many eminent scholars. She asked him ‘The layer that is above the sky and below the earth, which is described as being situated between the earth and the sky and which is indicated as the symbol of the past, present and future, where is that situated?”’

He replied, ‘The layer of air is situated in the ether.’
Gargi went on: ‘“Salutation unto Thee, O Yajnavalkya. Thou hast answered well my questions. Now prepare for the others. Where is that ether pervading?’
‘Gargi, it is in the region of the Gandharvas.’
She continued, ‘Where is that region located?’
And the sage said, ‘It is in the realm of the sun.’
‘Where again is that situated?’
‘Gargi, it is in the region of the moon.’
‘Where is that again?’
‘It is in the region of the stars.’
‘Where is that region located?’

‘Gargi, it is in the region of the Gods… Oh, Gargi, ask me not anymore; thou art asking that which is not to be asked. Cease thy queries, lest thy head drop down dead on the floor.’ Yajnavalkya added, ‘O Gargi, what you are asking, the Brahman designates as akshara…. The Sun and Moon are regulated by the order of Akshara Brahman; the Earth and Sky are transfixed by Him; the minutes and seconds, days and nights, half months and months, season and years are regulated by the layer of this Akshara…. Besides this Akshara, there is none that sees, none that hears, none that thinks, none that knows. It is imperishable Brahman who is pervading this sky.’

Gargi is also credited with the composition of several hymns in the Rig Veda.
 
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