Wife of the sage Gautama Maharishi in Hinduism

Ahalya, often spelled Ahilya, is the name of the sage Gautama Maharishi's wife in Hinduism. According to several Hindu texts, she was seduced by Indra (the ruler of the gods), her husband cursed her for being unfaithful, and Rama freed her from the curse (7th avatar of the god Vishnu).[1]

Member of Panchakanya
A painting of a young fair woman clad in a white sari with a red border stands, leaning on a tree, as she moves her left hand through her long black hair and holds a flower basket in her outstretched right hand.
Ahalya by Raja Ravi Varma (1848–1906)
AffiliationRishi (sage), panchakanya
AbodeGautama's hermitage
Personal information
ConsortGautama Maharishi
ChildrenShatananda (according to Ramayana)

Ahalya was the most beautiful lady ever created by the deity Brahma, and she was wed to the much older Gautama. Ahalya recognizes Indra's disguise when he appears as her husband in the oldest complete story, but she nevertheless consents to his advances. She is frequently exonerated of all blame in later texts, which explains how she is duped by Indra. In every story, Gautama curses Ahalya and Indra.[2][3]

References change

  1. Bhattacharya & March–April 2004, pp. 4–7.
  2. Söhnen-Thieme 1996, pp. 40–1.
  3. Jhaveri 2001, pp. 149–52.

Sources change

  • Feldhaus, Anne (1998). Images of Women in Maharashtrian Society. SUNY Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-3659-2.
  • Feller, Danielle (2004). "Indra, the Lover of Ahalya". The Sanskrit Epics' Representation of Vedic Myths. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers. ISBN 978-81-208-2008-1.
  • Freeman, Rich (2001). "Thereupon Hangs a Tail: the Deification of Vali in the Teyyam Worship of Malabar". In Richman, Paula (ed.). Questioning Rāmāyaṇas: a South Asian Tradition. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-22074-4.
  • Ganguli, Kisari Mohan (1883–1896). The Mahabharata Book 3: Vana Parva.

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