Brahmavadinis: The Pillars of the Indian System of Knowledge

Riddhi Agarwal

Ph.D. Scholar,

Department of Yoga, Central University of Haryana

Dr. Ajay Pal

Ph.D. Supervisor,

Department of Yoga, Central University of Haryana



This article attempts to make the world aware of the most rich and feministic culture in the world, that is, the Sanatana Dharma, the Vedic Culture. In it, we explore the life of some of the great female Rishikas of the Vedic Period, their awesome contribution to Vedic Knowledge. With having a brief insight into the lives and their contribution, it attempts to develop an interest in the mind of students to see the Sanatana Dharma in a new light and also encourage them to learn more about it.

Keywords – Brahmavadini, Romasha, Lopamudra

Research Article

India, though known as mother India does not has anyone titled as Mother of the Nation. This fact can be interpreted in two ways. One is that Indians in general think that nobody is great enough to be interpreted as the Mother of the Nation and secondly that due to the patriarchal influences with time, Indians consider that the greatest title given to an enlightened freedom fighter can be the ‘Father of the Nation’ only.

India, or ‘Bhatavarsha’, has given the ultimate knowledge to the world in the form of Vedas. Divine Word (‘Vac’) is considered a Devi. In later Hinduism, Saraswati is the patron of deity of Vedas, music, arts and all learning. Vac Sukta (Rigveda 10.125) dealing with the revelation of Vedas to Rishika Vagambhrina. Even Vedic texts are often referred to as feminine, for example – Shrimati Rigveda Samhita.

Sarasvati River, the earthly manifestation of Devi Sarasvati gave rise to the Vedic Harappan Culture.

The Gayatri Mantra, the holiest prayer of Hindus in the Vedas, is often represented symbolically as a Devi in classical Hinduism.

But if asked to name 5 Risikas of India, how many are people able to answer? How is it that Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is nowadays portrayed as a patriarchal or male – dominated culture? The reason is – Misinterpretation of and misinformation about the religious texts, especially the Vedas.

Though there have been more than 36 rishikas, name of some of them who have been the Mantradrishta of Some of the Suktas of Rigveda are as follows –



  • Indrasnusha Vasukrapatni

Rigveda Samhita (10.28.1)

  • Agastya Svasa

Rigveda Samhita (10.60.6)

  • Lopamudra

Rigveda Samhita (1.179.1-2)

  • Shachi Polomi

Rigveda Samhita (10.159)

  • Savitri

Rigveda Samhita (10.85)

  • Sarma Devshuni

Rigveda Samhita (10.108.2,4,6,8,10,11)

  • Apala Aatreyi

Rigveda Samhita (8.91.1-7)

  • Indrani

Rigveda Samhita (10.145)

  • Dakshina Prajapatya

Rigveda Samhita (10.107)

  • Shikhandini

Rigveda Samhita (10.104)

  • Sarparagyi

Rigveda Samhita (10.189)

  • Ghosha Kakshivati

Rigveda Samhita (10.39.40)

  • Aditi Dakshayani

Rigveda Samhita (10.72)

  • Juhu ‘Brahmajaya’ Brahm

Rigveda Samhita (10.109)

  • Urvasi

Rigveda Samhita (10. 95.2,4,5,7,11,13,15,16,18)

  • Aditi

Rigveda Samhita (4.18.7)

  • Visvara Aatreyi

Rigveda Samhita (5.28)

  • Romasha

Rigveda Samhita (1.126.7)

  • Godha

Rigveda Samhita (10.134.6Ut., 7)

  • Yami Vaivasvati

Rigveda Samhita (10.154; 10.10.1,3,5-7,11,13)

  • Shradha Kamayini

Rigveda Samhita (10.151)

  • Indra Mataye

Rigveda Samhita (10.156)

  • Vagambhrini

Rigveda Samhita (10.125)

  • Shashvati Aangirasi

Rigveda Samhita (8.1.34)

  • Nady (Nadi Rishika)

Rigveda Samhita (3.33.4 ,6.8.10)

Hence, in this article we are trying to look into the brief life sketch and contribution of some of the Female rishikas of the First Written Book on the Earth – the RigVeda.

  1. Romasha

प्रादात्सुतां रोमशां नाम नाम्ना वृहस्पतिर्भावयव्याय राज्ञे (बृह० ३.१५६ )

Rishika Romasha was the daughter of God Brihaspati and wife of King Bhavyavya.

The literal meaning of ‘Romasha’ is ‘the lady with hairs’ (Pt. S. R. Sharma; B. Devi, 2022.) She was a learned woman.

आदितः पञ्चानां कक्षीवानृषिः षष्ठ्याः भावयव्यः सप्तम्याः रोमशा नाम ब्रह्मवादिनी (ऋ० ११२६ सा० भा०)।

She has also been attributed the title of ‘Brahmavadini’. Since her whole body was covered with hairs her husband didn’t love her. Her name is being reiterated in many suktas in Samveda. She is the Rishika of the last Mantra of 126th Sukta of the 1st Mandala of Rigveda. It is –

उपोप में परा मृश मा मे दभ्राणि मन्यथाः ।

सर्वाहमस्मि रोमशा गन्धारीणामिवाविका ॥७ ॥Rigveda Samhita (1.126.6)

Meaning – O Husband! You come to me and touch me again and again (get inspired, test it, try it), don’t take my actions otherwise. As the sheep of Gandhara is full of hair, in the same way I am a lady full of virtues.

Here, you can see that the rishika is in no way ushamed of asking for the husband’s attention which points towards the freedom of expression of sexual feelings of the woman in Vedic times. ‘She made the society aware to the concept of Women Education and Women’s right.’ (Pt. Shri Ram Sharma ‘Acharya’, 2020).

  1. Lopamudra – Lopamudra occupies a very honourable place among the women who saw Vedas during the Vedic Period.

अत्र त्रयाणां व चानां लोपामुद्रागस्त्य तच्छिष्यैर्दृष्टत्वात्त एवर्षयः (ऋ. १.१७९ सा० भा० ) ।

Acharya Sayan also considers Lopamudra as a Rishika

The word Lopamudra literally means -“One who is completely absorbed in oneself” and this is what is the ultimate aim of every Yogic practice. ‘The eyes of a deer, the smile of a peacock, the smile of a jasmine, the waist of a lion, the neck of a cuckoo…Thus, by combining the distinctive partsof various animals, the sage Agastya created Lopamudra. This made her the most beautiful woman on the Earth.’ (Mahabalabhatta, November 2022)

She grew up under the protection of the kings of Daksha and Vidarbha. She learned all the scriptures. When she was almost awake (with the knowledge of Brahman) did Vasishtha asked her to be his wife. Though the king of Vidarbha forbidded this union, Lopamudra at once took off all her ornaments and prepared to leave with Sage Agastya.

This act shows the Freedom to choose the life partner of the Vedic women.

Also, at many places it is written that a woman could be called as ‘the learned one only if they remain celibate for their whole life but the Rati Sukta of Rigveda, composed by the ascetic couple Rishi Agastya and Rishika Lopamudra – the need and limitations of generating good progeny have been mentioned. The dialogue between the sage couple is the basis of this. The sages have instructed the couples to produce children according to the need only after physical and mental maturity has been achieved by both the wife and the husband.

The Garbadhaan Sanskaar was performed only after the physical-mental condtion of husband and wife has been thoroughly examined –

पूर्वीरहं शरदः शश्रमाणा दोषा वस्तोरुषसो जरयन्तीः ।

मिनाति श्रियं जरिमा तनूनामप्यू नु पत्नीर्वृषणो जगम्युः ॥१ ॥Rigveda Samhita (1.179.1)

Meaning – We have labored day and night including Usha Kaal for many years in our past lives. Old age weakens the capabilities of the bodies. (Therefore, from the point of view of getting the best child) only capable men should go near the wife.

Note – Here, it prohibits to go near the wife only for the addiction of physical pleasure.

ये चिद्धि पूर्व ऋतसाप आसन्त्साकं देवेभिरवदन्नृतानि ।

चिदवासुर्नह्यन्तमापुः समू नु पत्नीर्वृषभिर्जगम्युः ॥ २ ॥ Rigveda Samhita (1.179.2)

Meaning – In the past, those who used to speak the truth with the gods (their equals), who were engaged in the practice of truth. He also, (at the appropriate time) did the work of progeny, did not stay in the Brahmacharya Ashram till the end. (With the view of getting the best child) those best-capable men were made available with good wives.

Note – Here, it is noteworthy that the Vedic religion regards the propagation of human race in equal regards with that of living a celibate life and unlike some other philosophies of Buddhism, Jainism, Mormonism or even Catholicism which force a monk or nun to lead a celibate life.

Lopamudra along with Rishi Agastya is accredited with the propagation of the text ‘LalitaSahastranaam’ which the text containing 1000 names of Goddess Dugra.

Discussion – Though there were many Rishikas who were ought to be mentioned and studied in detail but even the life history of these two can make people aware as to what was the Freedom, level and position of Women in society in general in the Vedic Period. The evil practices which lead to deterioration of women in society like – Sati pratha, Child Marriage, Female infanticide, Dowry, Purdah System etcetera crept in the society due to multiple foreign invasions like that of the Mughals and the Britishers. The People of new India in general and women of new India in particular, need to know and then revive the lost culture and heritage of the beacon this civilisation.          

Why interested – One of the main reason of estrangement of people in general and women in particular from the Sanatana Dharma is its depiction as a patriarchal culture but Sanatana dharma’s existence is due to Vedas and the Vedic literature could be treated as the most feministic literature in the world with equal status of men and women as Seers of the immemorial knowledge. Hence, I tried to research and shed some light into this glorious and incredible past which if emulated in the present would be extraordinary.


I would like to thanks my parents for boosting my confidence whenever necessary during the period of writing this article. Also, I would like to extend a big thanks to Dr. Yatindra Dutt Amoli, Assistant Professor, Dev Sanskriti Vishwavidyalaya for helping me with various ancient textual literary sources which helped in making this article more factual and relevant.


  1. Mahabalabhatta, G. (November 2022). Streeratnamala ( Sanatanbharatasya Striratnanam charitani). Corlim, Goa: Samskrita Bharati Konkan Prant, Shristhal, Canacona, Goa.
  2. Pt. Shri Raam Sharma, B. d. (2020). Rigveda Samhita (Vols. 2,3,4). Mathura, Uttar Pardesh: Yug Nirman Yojana Vistaar Trust.
  3. Pt. Shri Ram Sharma ‘Acharya’, B. D. (2020). Rigved Samhita Bhaag 1 (Vol. 1). Mathura, U.P.: Yug Nirman Yojana Vistaar Trust.

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