Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/84

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influence on society. We cherish the picture of the cultured lady Visvavara, which has been handed down to us through thousands of years—a pious woman who composed hymns, performed sacrifices, and with true fervency invoked the god Agni to regulate and keep within virtuous bounds the mutual relations of married couples. We meet with the names of other women also who were Rishis of the Rig-Veda.

In Vedic times, the relations of life were determined by the needs and requirements of individuals rather than by cast-iron rules, as in later days, and there was no religious obligation, therefore, that every girl must be married. On the contrary, we find allusions to unmarried women who remained in the homes of their fathers and naturally claimed and obtained a share of the paternal property. On the other hand, we have frequent references to careful and industrious wives who superintended the arrangements of the house and who possessed those domestic virtues for which Hindu wives have always been noted from the earliest to the present times. Occasionally we have allusions to women who went astray, to maidens who had no brothers to watch over their morals, and to wives who were faithless to their husbands, while elsewhere we are told of the wife of a ruined gambler who becomes the object of other men's lust.

It would seem that girls had some voice in the selection of their husbands. Their selection was not always happy, for "many a woman is attracted by the wealth of him who seeks her. But the woman who is