I have been under the impression that the Vedas and the Epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata are very strict about the chastity of women.
There is also a view that women were suppressed and that there was no sexual intransigence during this period.
And in such cases the punishment was severe by a Male dominated Vedic society.
I searched the texts , both the Sruthi and Smriti.
I have not been able to find a clear-cut definition of chastity of women relating to Physical interaction in the Vedas.
Corrections, inputs are welcome.
Smritis, especially the Manu Smriti is eloquent in describing the Adultery by men and the punishment to be meted out to them, the need to protect women
and how society will disintegrate because of a woman being not Chaste.
However I have not been able to locate the definition of Adultery by women specifically.
One finds the instance of Jamadagni, father of Parashurama, asking Parasuram to cut off his mother Renuka’s head.
That a part of her became to be worshiped as Mariamman is a different story.
There is also the instance of Lord Rama asking Sita to prove her chastity by Fire.
Compare this with the Panchakanyas, Five Virgins who are worshiped as the embodiment of Virtue and chastity in Hinduism.
अहल्य द्रौपदी सीता तारा मन्दोदरी तथा
पञ्चकन्या स्मरेन नित्यं महा पातक नाशनं
ahalyā draupadī sītā tārā mandodarī tathā ।
pañcakanyāḥ smarennityaṃ mahāpātakanāśinīḥ ॥
Ahalya, Draupadi, Sita, Tara and Mandodari
One should forever remember the panchakanya who are the destroyers of great sins
A variant replaces Sita with Kunti:
ahalyā draupadī kuṃtī tārā mandodarī tathā ।
pañcakanyāḥ smarennityaṃ mahāpātakanāśinīm ॥
Differences are underlined.
Orthodox Hindus, especially Hindu wives, remember the Panchakanya in this daily morning prayer. Their names are extolled and the prayer is pratah smaraniya, prescribed to be recited in the early hours of the morning.
The panchakanya literally means five kanyas. Kanya may be translated as girl, daughter, maiden or virgin.
Though all being married, the choice of the word kanya, not nari(woman) or sati (chaste wife), seems interesting to scholar Pradip Bhattacharya”
Of these five,
Ahalya was violated by Indra,
Draupadi had five Husbands,
Tara lived with her husband Vaali’s Brother , Sugreeva.
Mandodai married Vibhishana, Ravanas’ brother, after Ravana’s death?
Only Sita fits the concept of Chastity and loayalty to the core!
That’s why She is treated as Moher by all, Thayar in Tamil.
I am confounded!