I will be mainly using this A to Z challenge, to renew my acquaintance with a few minor characters from the Indian epics.
Arundhati is an important character in Indian mythology. She was the revered wife of the sage Vashistha, who was the principle sage in the court of King Dasaratha. we are told that she was a learned woman and known for her chastity and her devotion to her husband.
This is the grim story that the wise Arundhati chooses to tell the young and impressionable child bride Sita as she enters the home of her husband. A precursor of things to come in the life of Sita herself.
Once not long ago, there were seven beautiful and learned women in the forest married to the seven sages. Arundhati herself was one of them. One day, as was the custom, the women bathed, finished their household chores hurriedly, and rushed off to the temple to pray to Agni, the Fire God.
Arundhati dressed herself properly as a married woman should (according to Hindu scriptures). She wore her Mangalsutra, her bangles and vermilion in the parting of her hair. The other six ladies forgot to do so and stepped into the temple without the signs that denoted their married state.
Agni on seeing the six women free of any marriage signs, rapes them them while Arundhati herself armed to her teeth with her marriage symbols is left untouched. The six sages immediately abandon their now tainted wives and exile them, where no one will have anything to do with them. As for Arundhati, she alone continues to be revered amongst all mankind and even has a star named after her in the Saptarishi constellation alongside her illustrious husband and the other sages. She can be seen in the sky even today, a dim star called Arundhati (Alkor) next to the bright star named after her husband Vashistha (Mizar).
On the flip side, these wronged and abandoned women are accepted by Shiva and his wife Parvati as wet nurses to their son Kartika and they have their own merry constellation in the sky called the Krittika.