7 Of The Most Powerful and Awe Inspiring Women From Hindu Mythology

Hindu mythology is choc-full of epic men.

They’re strong, wise, virtuous and other important-sounding adjectives. But there’s also a lot of epic ladies. They’re kicking ass and taking names. These women from Hindu mythology are strong, kind and sometimes deadly.

But we’re not looking at Goddesses or ones like Sita and Draupadi who have been celebrated throughout the years. Here are some brave, unsung women who very much mythic heroes in their own right.

#1 Gandhari, The Mother Of A Hundred Sons

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The female monarch of Hastinapura, Gandhari was married to a man blind from birth and chose to live without sight herself, tying a cloth so as to live with the same disability with her husband.

She was granted a boon by Veda Vyasa for being incredibly devoted to her husband, she was blessed to be the mother of a hundred sons. Her pregnancy went on for an incredibly long time and eventually, after hearing that Kunti has given birth to the Pandavas, she beat on her stomach to give birth to her children.

She is known to have taken off her blindfold once after all her sons were slain at Kurukshetra, a slip in her blindfold allowed her to glimpse Yudhishthira’s toe which was burnt black because of her rage.

#2 Tadaatagai, Incarnation Of Parvati

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Her parents performed a yagya, to ask for a son to succeed them, however, their efforts led to Tadaatagai’s birth.

The child was born already 3 years old and with three breasts. Shiva intervened on her behalf, telling her parents that she should be treated as well as a son.

Tadaatagai was raised with immense care and well versed in warfare and mastery over 64 Vidyas. Eventually, she was coronated and conquered Brahmaloka, Vaikuntha and Amaravathi. It was at Kailash that she met Shiva and recognized her true form as the goddess Meenakshi. 

#3 Mandodari, The Queen of Lanka

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Even though simplifications of the Ramayana often ignore Raavan’s family, Mandodari is an important figure in the best-known version by Valmiki.

Mandodari was a Panchakanya, idealized women who are valued for their chastity and virtue. Their names are also believed to chase away sin. Mandodari (after a long story involving her being turned into a frog) was the daughter of Mayasura, the King of the Asuras.

When Ravana visited his home, he fell in love with her and they were married. A woman of immense wisdom, she was known for trying to lead her husband on a righteous path. Tellings of the Ramayana talk about how she interceded often on Sita’s behalf. Going so far s to save her life when Ravana was angered by her refusal to marry him.

#4 Kannagi, The Bane Of Madurai

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Kannagi’s story is an interesting one.

She was married ot the son of a wealthy merchant. However, her husband – Kovalan later fell for a dancer and spent a great deal of money to please her. Eventually, after running out of funds, he returned ot his wife in penance.

To make ends meet, he tried to sell Kannagi’s anklet but the Pandya king Nedunj Cheliyan I believed the anklet to be stolen from his queen. So he beheaded Kannagi’s husband without trial.

Furious, Kannagi went ot the court, proved that the King had committed an injustice and then uttered a curse that would burn Madurai to the ground. Eventually, she was calmed down by the goddess Meenakshi, but a great deal of damage had already been done.

#5 Savitri, Cheater of Death

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Savitri and her husband Satyavan lived piously in the forest. As the son of a blind and impoverished King, Satyavan was not a man of great riches, but Savitri accepted him as her husband. He was also foreseen to die in one year.

On the day of his death, Savitri went with him into the woods and was approached by he God Yama to claim his life. But as Yama was leaving, Savitri followed him. Asking her to leave, the god granted her a boon but specified she couldn’t ask for her husband’s life back. She asked for her father-in-law’s eyesight and kingdom to be restored.

Then she began ot praise Yama and his wisdom and just rule, happy with her devotion, Yama offered another boon and Savitri asked for a hundred sons. Yama granted her wish, but soon realized she would need her husband to bear these children and gave him his life back.

Savitri is greatly praised for her devotion and wits in modern retellings.

#6 Satyabhama, Slayer Of Narksura

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Satyabhama was the second wife of the god Krishna.

At a point in time, Indra requested Krishna to slay Narakasura, a tyrant with very little regard for demi-gods and goddesses who had imprisoned 16,000 women. He had received a boon from Brahma that he would only die at the hands of his mother – Bhoomi Devi. Vishnu had further granted Bhoomi Devi a boon that her son would only die if she wished for it.

Krishna was going toe-to-toe with Markasura when he pretended to faint, seeing this, Satyabhama furiously hurled arrows at him and eventually defeated him with her husband.

Satyabhama turned out ot be an incarnation of Bhoomi Devi, thus fulfilling the conditions set by Brahma’s boon.

#7 Mohini, Avatar Of Vishnu

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The OG femme fatale of Hindu mythology, Mohini is the only female avatar of the God Vishnu.

She is best known for charming her way to victory with one of the most popular stories being her defeat of the ash-demon Bhasmasura. Shiva gave Bhasmasura a boon that he would be able to turn anyone to ash by touching their head. When Bhasmasura tried to use this power on Shiva, he ran terrified. But Mohini charmed the asura, claiming that she would marry him if he could copy her dance.

Then she simply put her hand on her head and Bhasmasura followed suit and was slain.

There are many instances of Mohini using her charm and wit to defeat evil, with minimal force.

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Mehernaz Patel

"Not as funny as she thinks she is..." -Facebook Comment Section

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