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In the Ramayana composed in the second half of 1st millennium BCE, Sita is respected, honored and seen as inseparable beloved but presented as a homemaker, the ideal wife and partner to Rama.In the Hindu tradition, a majority of women's oral retellings of the Ramayana depict autonomy as the rule rather than the exception, but states Sugirtharajah, these versions are of recent origins.Ancient texts of Hinduism expound a reverence for the feminine.The 10th chapter of the Rigveda, for example, asserts the feminine to be the supreme principle behind all of cosmos, in the following hymn called as Devi Sukta, I am the Queen, the gatherer-up of treasures, most thoughtful, first of those who merit worship.Ancient and medieval era Hindu texts present a diverse picture of duties and rights of women in Hinduism.The texts recognize eight kinds of marriage, ranging from father finding a marriage partner for his daughter and seeking her consent (Brahma marriage), to the bride and groom finding each other without parental participation (Gandharva marriage).I rouse and order battle for the people, I created Earth and Heaven and reside as their inner controller.On the world's summit I bring forth the Father: my home is in the waters, in the ocean.
The Devi Sukta hymn of Rigveda, a scripture of Hinduism, declares the feminine energy as the essence of the universe, the one who creates all matter and consciousness, the eternal and infinite, the metaphysical and empirical reality (Brahman), the soul (supreme self) of everything.
It is when and if their husbands die, that a woman may lose her status in society.
However, scholars have questioned the authenticity and corruption of the text over time, given the numerous inconsistent version of the Smriti manuscripts that have been discovered.
And if a man wishes that a learned son should be born to him, and that he should live his full age, then after having prepared boiled rice with meat and butter, they should both eat, being fit to have offspring. The 8th century poet, Bhavabhuti describes in his play, Uttararamacharita (verse 2 - 3), how the character, Atreyi, travelled to southern India where she studied the Vedas and Indian philosophy.
In Madhava's Shankaradigvijaya, Shankara debates with the female philosopher, Ubhaya Bharati and in verses 9 - 63 it is mentioned that she was well versed in the Vedas.