By Swami Harshananda
Women had a freedom to lead a monastic life from ancient era. This is illustrated by the story of Sulabhā as narrated by Bhīṣma to Yudhiṣṭhira. Sulabhā was the daughter of the king Pradhāna. She had taken to monastic life and was moving about at will after attaining spiritual illumination. Once she heard that the king Dharmadhvaja Janaka of Mithilā had knowledge about Brahman. She went to him out of curiosity to test him and entered into his mind through her mind. A long conversation ensued between them about spiritual and philosophical topics. This has been described in details in the Mahābhārata as mentioned above.
- Mahābhārata, Śāntiparva Chapter 320
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore