VISHWAVARA (Vedic Period)
In the Vedic hymns written by women, we sometimes find unrestrained expressions of the intimate joys and sorrows of the homely life led by the poets. This not only shows the high position occupied by them, in that such ‘common’ subjects could be celebrated in verse, but also gives a glimpse into the inner heart of the women of the times. A hymn of six verses is ascribed to Vishwavara of the Atri family. Vishwavara is apparently a married woman; she approaches the blazing sacrificial fire at dawn with her face towards the East, offers oblations to the gods and prays for love and happiness in wedded life. As she sings in the hymn:
The fully kindled Fire, bright against the firmament,
Facing the dawn, shines far and wide;
Vishwavara proceeds towards the East with obeisance,
Praising the gods, with oblation and ladle full of butter…
From this devotional hymn we may gather that women in Vishwavara’s time were allowed to make independent offerings to the gods, a right they no longer enjoyed in later times.