Monday, August 25, 2008

Definition of wife - de la Vatsyayana

Vatsyayana draws a picture of the good wife and may be taken as to be a faithful reflection of real life. The picture exhibits those qualities of service and self-restraint as well as sound household management, which have remained the hallmark of Hindu, wives down to the present day. The wife is supposed to devote herself to her husband as though to a deity. She should personally look after the comforts of her husband. She shares her husband’s fasts and vows, not brooking into refusal. She attends festivities, social gatherings, sacrifices, and religious processions, only with his permission. She engages sports approved by him. She avoids company of disreputable women, shows him no signs of displeasure, and does not loiter about at the doorstep, or in solitary places for a long time. She is not puffed up with prosperity, and she does not give charity to anyone without informing her husband. She honors her husband’s friends, as is their due, with gifts of garlands, unguents, and toilet. She serves her father-in-law and mother-in-law and abides by their commands. When in their presence, she makes no replies, speaks few but sweet words, and does not laugh aloud. She engages servants in their proper work and honors them on festive occasions. Above all, when her husband is gone abroad she lives a life of ascetic restraint: she gives up wearing all ornaments excepting the marks of her married state: she engages in religious rites and fasts: she acts as bidden by her superiors: she does not go out to visit her relations except on occasions of calamities or festivities: when she visits them, she does so only for a short while and in the company of her husband’s people. When her husband returns home, she goes forth immediately to meet him in her sober dress, and then she worships the gods and makes gifts.

Apart from attending to her husband and his parents, relations, as well as his friends, the wife has complete and comprehensive charge of the household. She keeps the household absolutely clean, adorns it with festoons of flowers, and polishes the floor completely smooth. She looks after the worship of the gods at the household shrine and the offering of bali oblations three times a day. In the garden attached to the house she plants beds of various vegetables, herbs, plants, and trees. She keeps a store of various provisions in the house. She knows how to spin and weave, how to look after agriculture, cattle-breeding, and draught animals, how to take care of her husband’s domestic pets and so forth. She frames an annual budget and makes her expenses accordingly. She keeps daily accounts and makes up the total at the end of the day. During her husband’s absence she exerts herself in order that his affairs may not suffer. She increases the income and diminishes the expenditure to the best of her power. In case the woman has a co-wife she looks upon the later as a younger sister when she is older in age, and as a mother when she herself is younger.

I just have one thing to say - I was definitely a husband in my last incarnation ( to be more specific, in the Gupta age).

1 comment:

K.K.Padmanabhan said...

The principle is "Tujmhe Rab Dikta Hai", "In you God is visible" like in Shahrukh Khan's Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi. Applies equally to both Husband and Wife.

Once viewed in this way the Universal literally expresses itself through the Individual.