Women Disciples of Lord Mahavira
Lord Mahavira had many women disciples, Chandana being the first woman disciple and spiritual mother of the rest. There are references of women from Mahaviras family who were all well educated and religiously devoted and included Trishala (mother), Yashoda (wife), Priyadarshini (daughter), Sudarshana (sister), Jyestha (elder brothers wife) and Sesavati (grand-daughter). Yashoda sacrificed all her happiness and pleasures for her husband who could march on the path of renunciation instantly.
During this period, the women disciples of Lord Mahavira are as follows:
Dharini: The modest mother of Chandanbala, who preferred death instead of fulfilling the sex urge of a common military man. He tried to rape Dharini when she cut her tongue and invited death.
Mrugavati: She had denied proposal of remarriage and became a nun. She is well known for female chastity, political sagacity and heroism.
Shivadevi: A fire that was not getting extinguished by any means was put off by her, a chaste and virtuous woman by sprinkling water on it.
Bhadra: A great Sravika. She was Shalibhadras widowed mother who led her husbands business in a full-fledged way. She also permitted her only son to become a monk and after that she led a religious life following the 12 vows of a Sravika.
Revati: A right hand Sravika of Lord Mahavira, possessed detailed knowledge of diseases and practicing medicine saved him from diarrhoea.
Jayanti: She used to attend discourses of Mahavira and discuss with him theological and metaphysical problems and became a devout nun.
Guna Sadhvi: She prepared the first copy of the allegorical work of Siddharshi, who called her the Goddess of learning.
Thus, during Mahavira period, women were respected, cajoled and cared for. Women were said to be blessed ones, virtuous, worthy of reverence and absolutely auspicious. Therefore, these nuns were on equal footing as monks and were granted full status of mendicancy.
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