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Sadhika – Saintly Woman In Hinduism

Sadhika is a saintly woman in Hinduism who follows the path of meditation and devotion. In Hindu tradition, a sadhika is a holy woman who gives up the humdrum marital life and the family obligations it entails, and chooses the ascetic way of life. She is not different from her male counterpart, the sadhu or sadhaka, in the matter of sadhana (rigorous religious discipline involving worship and meditation).

A Sadhika may take the vow of total renunciation and become sannyasini. She may choose to remain seclusion and withdraw herself from all worldly activity. She may specialize in some scriptural studies and give the benefit of her knowledge to the people at large through books and/or discourses. She may also remain an inmate of an ashrama (hermitage) like that of the Ramakrishna Mission or join some women’s religious group which has special monasteries for women.

Sadhikas are respected like male saints in Hindu society. Mirabai of Rajasthan, Lalla of Kashmir and Andal of Tamil Nadu have been historically famous holy women in Hindu religious history. Bhairavi Brahmani is well known since she was Ramakrishna Paramahansa’s female guru, who initiated him into many tantric ritual practices.

Anandamayi Ma was a Bengali sadhika known for her ecstatic states, who traveled widely throughout India and gained a large number of devotees. Outstanding among the modern women saints is Amma (Amritanandamayi Devi), hailing from Kerala. She is known or her ecstatic states and through the popular mode of bhajana (singing of devotional songs), and has drawn to her devotees from India and the world at large. The poems of sadhikas of various Hindu sects are thrilling and inspiring, as seen in the vast religious literature of Indian languages, beginning from ancient Pali to modern Bengali, Hindi and other languages.