Vedic Training:
How To Become  A Krishna Conscious Wife
For ISKCON Brahmacarinis

"Qualities & Duties Of Chaste Wife" chapter of the Brahmacarini Training Manual.  >Contents Page

Qualities Of A Chaste Woman 
& Duties Of The Wife:

For the wife in Vedic culture her duty is to create and maintain a very peaceful and happy family and home environment.

Letter 75-02-06 6th February, 1975

My dear Sri Govinda das,
…Concerning the woman’s duty, if she gets married, that does not necessarily mean that she must give up any of her service in the temple or on sankirtana, but she must also see to it that her household duties are not neglected.

When a girl gets married it doesn't necessarily mean she must give up her temple service. But she must see to it her household duties are not neglected. Srila Prabhupad seems to be implying that when the girl marries she doesn’t automatically have to give up her temple service of sankirtan, but may if it becomes necessary to do so. But she must see to it that her household duties are not neglected. It appears that Prabhupad is placing the stress on a wife’s household duties, but he makes it clear she shouldn’t automatically give up her temple service and sankirtan, if she can do both, that is very nice. But, if it comes to having to choose one over the other, it is her household duties that must take precedence.

Room Conversation Vrindaban, June 28, 1977

...Man’s business is to earn money, go to the market, the necessities. Woman’s business is take care of household affairs, children, and they have got engagement. And in the presence of father or elder brother or husband, a woman has to earn livelihood—that’s a great insult.

Woman’s business is household affairs. And they should not have to work outside to earn a livelihood. The duty of the man is to provide all necessities for his wife and family. This is his duty. The wife or daughter should not have to work outside, for others, for them to have to do so is an insult to these women. Elsewhere Srila Prabhupad (as confirmed by the Manu Samhita) says that a wife can be engaged in assisting her husband with his work. That is acceptable and desired. Husband must maintain her nicely. Nice home, sari, food, children, etc. Within the means of his varna. It is a balance based on practicality. The wife shouldn’t nag for more money and should accept what ever Krishna gives, but the husband must make honest endeavor to provide for her and his family nicely. To earn money for the necessities of life.

Letter 72-02-16 16th February, 1972

My dear Chaya dasi,
...A woman’s real business is to look after household affairs...

In the Srimad Bhagavatam, Canto 7, Chapter 11, Verses 25 through 29 Narad Muni instructs Maharaj Yudisthira about the qualities of a chaste woman as well as her duties in Vedic culture.

Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 7: Chapter 11: Verses 25

"To render service to the husband, to be always favorably disposed toward the husband, to be equally well disposed toward the husband’s relatives and friends, and to follow the vows of the husband—these are the four principles to be followed by women described as chaste.

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

It is very important for peaceful householder life that a woman follow the vow of her husband. Any disagreement with the husband’s vow will disrupt family life. In this regard, Canakya Pandita gives a very valuable instruction: dampatyoh kalaho nasti tatra srih svayam agatah. When there are no fights between husband and wife, the goddess of fortune automatically comes to the home. A woman’s education should be conducted along the lines indicated in this verse. The basic principle for a chaste woman is to be always favorably disposed toward her husband. ... ...For peace and happiness in the material world, the varnasrama institution must be introduced. The symptoms of one’s activities must be defined, and one must be educated accordingly. Then spiritual advancement will automatically be possible.

This verse states the four principle qualities and duties of a chaste woman. Srila Prabhupad’s purport is most important to note. He instructs that the education of our girls (women in general) must be conducted along these lines. For peace and happiness in the material world the varnasram system must be followed. The symptoms of one’s activities are to be defined, and for husband and wife, that is easy to determine, then one is to be educated and trained accordingly. Then spiritual advancement will automatically become possible. To render service to the husband, be always in a favorable disposition toward the husband, to be nicely disposed to his family and friends and to follow the vows that he takes. These are the duties of chaste women. Following the vow means to support his decisions, his desires, in all endeavors. Never to disagree or argue.

If there is some dispute, some disagreement, it is the wife who must take the submissive role, even if she is convinced she is right, even if in the end she seems to be right, she must always support her husband's position with a favorable attitude. In other words she must assure that no unpleasant fight ensues. This is her duty. To back down when a disagreement arises so that the peace of family life is not disturbed. What is the use of fighting and arguing like anything to win over some small insignificant point at the cost of loosing the marriage all together? If the girls can be trained nicely in this way, their future homes will be peaceful. When there is no fight, automatically the Goddess of Fortune, Laksmi Devi, will come and live in that home. Then household life will be peaceful.

Mother Gandhari, the chaste wife of King Dhrtarastra, set the example. Her husband was blind from birth. When Gandhari was a small child she learned that she would be his wife. Therefore she blind-folded herself, and remained blind-folded, voluntary self-imposed blindness, for the rest of her life. She did this so that she would truly be always subordinate to her husband. Not in any way did she want to risk feeling superior to him. Gandhari has shown all women the meaning of submissiveness. Unlike modern day women who think artificial equality is the most important thing, and there by fight like cats and dogs with their husband’s to the bitter end. Which will come quick and sure to such a mis-guided marriage.

As Srila Prabhupad says, "For peace and happiness in the material world, the varnasrama institution must be introduced. The symptoms of one’s activities must be defined, and one must be educated accordingly". This is varnashram. To define the symptoms of one’s activities and to be trained accordingly. Such varnasram must be introduced. Clearly the Vedas enjoin completely distinct roles for the male and female embodied souls. This will make family life peaceful and spiritually successful as well as materially.

SB 7.11.26-27

"A chaste woman must dress nicely and decorate herself with golden ornaments for the pleasure of her husband. Always wearing clean and attractive garments, she should sweep and clean the household with water and other liquids so that the entire house is always pure and clean. She should collect the household paraphernalia and keep the house always aromatic with incense and flowers and must be ready to execute the desires of her husband. Being modest and truthful, controlling her senses, and speaking in sweet words, a chaste woman should engage in the service of her husband with love, according to time and circumstances."

The wife must dress herself very nicely, putting on her golden ornaments, wearing clean attractive sari and clothes. She may also do this at other times, such as going to the temple or out to the market, visiting family and friends, etc. But what is specifically mentioned in this verse is that she must dress this way at home, even while doing the housework. The object being that she must dress nicely not so that others will be attracted to her, but simply for the pleasure of her husband. So that her husband will remain always attracted to her. Srila Prabhupad has instructed that it is the duty of the wife to keep her husband attracted to family life. This way he will not fall down from his grahsta duties.

Narad Muni also instructs that the wife's duty is to keep the house pure and clean by daily sweeping and washing. And to keep the house always aromatic with incense and inviting with fresh flowers. She must always be in a submissive and good natured mood, ready to execute the desires of her husband.

She must be always modest. Never too aggressive or forward, she must be truthful and control her senses. And she must always speak to her husband with sweet words. And serve him faithfully.

These instructions by Narad Muni are the keys to creating a home-life situation that no man will ever want to leave. The idea presented here is that it is the duty of the wife to make the home and her self as attractive to her husband as she can. From study of Indian lady’s we see that she should touch her husband’s feet and greet him with folded hands. If a man’s dealings with his wife is that he always sees her smiling face and always hears sweet soothing words, she is always nicely dressed, and the home is always clean, his mind will become peaceful and he will feel happy with his wife. She should always be supportive of his decisions, always attentive to him when he speaks. And with a pleasing attitude she waits on him hand and foot, eager carry out his desire.

What man would ever reject such a wonderful and loving wife and such a pleasing home life? What man would ever treat such a surrendered wife unkindly? That is why this behavior of the wife is the key to a truly happy and peaceful family life. This is the way in which she can conquer the man's heart. A wife wants her husband to feel affection for her, and this is how she can do so. She should never give the husband any reason to be angry with her. That is an ideal wife. One whose home will always be peaceful.

Text 28

"A chaste woman should not be greedy, but satisfied in all circumstances. She must be very expert in handling household affairs and should be fully conversant with religious principles. She should speak pleasingly and truthfully and should be very careful and always clean and pure. Thus a chaste woman should engage with affection in the service of a husband who is not fallen."

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

...In Bhagavad-Gita, however, the Lord says, ... ..."Those miscreants who do not surrender unto Me are the lowest of mankind." The word naradhama means "nondevotee." Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu also said, yei bhaje sei bada, abhakta—hina, chara. Anyone who is a devotee is sinless. One who is not a devotee, however, is the most fallen and condemned. It is recommended, therefore, that a chaste wife not associate with a fallen husband. A fallen husband is one who is addicted to the four principles of sinful activity—namely illicit sex, meat-eating, gambling and intoxication. Specifically, if one is not a soul surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is understood to be contaminated. Thus a chaste woman is advised not to agree to serve such a husband. It is not that a chaste woman should be like a slave while her husband is naradhama, the lowest of men. Although the duties of a woman are different from those of a man, a chaste woman is not meant to serve a fallen husband. If her husband is fallen, it is recommended that she give up his association. Giving up the association of her husband does not mean, however, that a woman should marry again and thus indulge in prostitution. If a chaste woman unfortunately marries a husband who is fallen, she should live separately from him. Similarly, a husband can separate himself from a woman who is not chaste according to the description of the sastra. The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaisnava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Krsna consciousness.

A chaste woman must be satisfied in all circumstances. Even if the husband becomes poor and cannot provide so nicely, she should remain satisfied and modest. She should not simply complain and fault her husband. She must be expert in household affairs. She must be conversant in religious principles, especially in regards to knowing the qualities and duties of a good wife. And always she must speak pleasingly and truthfully. She must be careful, thoughtful, in her dealings with her husband and be always clean and pure in body, mind and heart. This way the chaste woman serves her husband with great affection.

Here Narad Muni and Srila Prabhupad point out, she must serve only a husband who is not fallen. This is a crucial concept: At what point should a wife give up the service of a rascal husband? At what point is one deemed fallen enough to be rejected? Srila Prabhupad says a man is known to be fallen if he is addicted to the four principles of sinful activity. Srila Prabhupad said, the 4 principles of sinful life, not just 1 or 2 or 3. And I might add, not even if her unwillingly breaks all four, or temporarily breaks the principles, but here Srila Prabhupad says he is considered fallen if he is addicted to the four principles of sinful life.

If the husband has broken one or more of the principles, but he remains devoted to God, Krishna, Allah, Ram, Yaweh, then he is not to be rejected by his wife. Her duty is still to serve him submissively.

Srila Prabhupad further defines that if the man is a non-devotee, then he is fallen. Krishna says that those who refuse to surrender unto Him are naradhama, the lowest of mankind. She must not be like a slave to a husband who is the lowest of mankind, a non-devotee. This does not refer to a devotee who is simply having some temporary difficulty following one or two of the principles. If the husband is not a perfect devotee, but has some faults, that is not grounds for the wife to reject him or become disrespectful toward him. In this age, surrounded by a culture of non-devotees it is easy to have some difficulty from time to time. The level of fallen described by Srila Prabhupad here is if one has fallen to become the lowest of mankind. A complete non-devotee of Krishna. Up to that point she should remain his faithful servant. As Prabhuapd has said, we must accept whatever Krishna has given us.

Srila Prabhupad says, "Specifically, if one is not a soul surrendered to the Supreme Personality of Godhead, he is understood to be contaminated" Specifically, if he is not a devotee, surrendered to God, then the wife should not serve him. Otherwise she must carry out her duty and serve him.

Manu Samhita in this regard states: (MS 5.154) "Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure elsewhere, or devoid of good qualities, a husband must be constantly worshipped as good as God by a faithful wife." Men must not take advantage of these statements. A man should not become a husband, a father, a teacher, or a king if he is not able to lead those who have taken shelter of him out of the clutches of maya.

Man’s duties are another thing, we are discussing the woman’s position and her duty. Manu says even if the man has no good qualities, even if he is seeking pleasure with other women, still the wife should worship him as good as God. That is a law of dharma. The duty of a good wife.

Srila Prabhupad told the story of his sister. He said that soon after her marriage her husband led a life of debauchery. He stayed out late at night woman-hunting, drinking (attached to at least 2 or 3 of the 4 sinful principles). He was verbally abusive toward Prabhupad’s sister. When he came home at odd hours he would demand dinner be ready. Prabhupad said his sister continued to serve him. She tolerated all non-sense and didn’t fight with him. (Although he was verbally abusive, if the wife tolerates and does not argue back, even such a low class man will not become physically abusive. Such men, will however, become physically abusive if the wife argues and fights back or acts unsubmissive). Prabhupad’s sister remained chaste and faithful and tolerated all non-sense. Prabhupad says one day Prabhupad’s brother-in-law realized what a special jewel his wife actually was. He immediately realized how horrible he had been treating her. He turned his life around, and Prabhupad said he actually became surrendered to his wife after this. This is not just Indian culture It is human psychology, human nature. Such behavior is the same in any culture.

In the West they would think it would be risky to live with such a person. It is risky in the West because the women are not properly trained. If she does not remain fully submissive, then a man who is verbally abusive can become physically abusive. If a man becomes so, than the wife will have to leave (at least temporarily) But as long as the wife doesn’t argue and fight back she should be all right. Manu advises a wife is to always remain faithful, and Narad Muni says as long as the husband is not fallen. Prabhupad defined fallen to be naradhama, the lowest of mankind, a non-devotee of Krishna.

When a wife does leave a fallen husband, Prabhupad points out that she must know that her married life will now be over for life. According to Vedic injunctions she is strictly forbidden to remarry. To do so, Srila Prabhupad says here, she will be indulging in prostitution, in illicit sex-life.

Text 29

The woman who engages in the service of her husband, following strictly in the footsteps of the goddess of fortune, surely returns home, back to Godhead, with her devotee husband, and lives very happily in the Vaikuntha planets

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

The faithfulness of the goddess of fortune is the ideal for a chaste woman. The Brahma-samhita (5.29) says, laksmi-sahasra-sata-sambhrama-sevyamanam. In the Vaikuntha planets, Lord Visnu is worshiped by many, many thousands of goddesses of fortune, and in Goloka Vrndavana, Lord Krsna is worshiped by many, many thousands of gopis, all of whom are goddesses of fortune. A woman should serve her husband as faithfully as the goddess of fortune. A man should be an ideal servant of the Lord, and a woman should be an ideal wife like the goddess of fortune. Then both husband and wife will be so faithful and strong that by acting together they will return home, back to Godhead, without a doubt. In this regard, Srila Madhvacarya gives this opinion:
"A woman should think of her husband as the Supreme Lord. Similarly, a disciple should think of the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a sudra should think of a brahmana as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, and a servant should think of his master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. In this way, all of them will automatically become devotees of the Lord. In other words, by thinking this way, all of them will become Krsna conscious."

Women must understand this point of Narad Muni. The wife must serve her husband as faithfully as the Goddess of Fortune serves Narayan. Prabhupad says the faithfulness of Laxmi is the ideal role-model to be followed by women who want to be chaste. How does Laxmi Devi serve Narayan? She thinks of herself as His lowly maidservant. She serves His feet with all love and sincerity. She bows down to Him and offers Him prayers with folded hands. With folded hands she approaches Him with all submission, with great awe and reverence. The wife must be trained to have this mentality and to actually behave in this manner toward her all-worshipful husband.
This is not a joke. It is part of the process to achieve a peaceful home. Our daughters and the unwed girls must be trained and educated in this way. It is in full accordance with Srila Prabhupad’s instructions and his desires. Not just Prabhupad, Narad Muni is instructing this way, Madhvacharya, Chanakya Pandit, VyasDev. All realized souls, great saints, they instruct the same thing.

If a woman who desires marriage or is married and claims to be a follower of Srila Prabhupad, then let her follow these instructions. Girls must be trained to see her husband as the Supreme Lord.

How would you act if Narayan, Krishna, was living in your house? How would you deal with Him? (would you argue and fight with Him?) How would you approach Him? How would you speak to Him? With folded hands, with great respect and humble submission. And always eager to carry out his every order and desire. The wife must serve her husband exactly the same way. Constantly she must have this attitude and mood. Then household life will become so peaceful. Then Laxmi Devi herself will automatically come to that home.

The husband is the Siksha Guru of the wife. He is her instructing spiritual master. Srila Prabhupad instructed that the wives in Krishna Consciousness are to call their husband’s "Prabhu". Prabhu means "Master". In many parts of India the wives call their husband "Swami", same thing, Master. Not just in name only, but in attitude. How does a disciple properly deal with his guru, his master? Does he call him, "Hey, Master, come here"? "Master, do this for me". "Master, why haven’t you done this like I told you". "Master, the problem with you is you never listen to me". "The problem with you, Prabhu, master, is that you never do what I ask (tell) you to do". These are NOT the way a disciple is to approach or deal with his guru. But, it is the way many wives deal with their guru. The husband is the instructing spiritual master, the Prabhu of the wife. The Lord and Master of the wife. The Supreme Lord of the wife. For her to raise her voice in anger, for her to be in any way disrespectful toward her husband is a spiritual offense.

Of course, there is always the argument many wives fall into. "Well, if my husband acted like Narayan, then I would respect him like Narayan". "If my husband were qualified to be my guru, then I would respect him like my guru". For as good as these arguments may sound, they are full of holes. As we just described, a woman’s duty is to submissively serve a husband who is not fallen. Being a devotee, but not a perfect devotee, is not grounds for a wife to become disrespectful. Her duty in life, in mundane and spiritual life, is to serve her husband. Even if he is not perfect. If she has to make great sacrifices to do this, then she will make that much more advancement. Krishna will see her sincerity to follow His instruction by her sincerity to carry out her social duties and remain a chaste and faithful and submissive wife.

There is another very important point as to why a wife must properly respect her husband. Her children. The mother is one’s first guru in life. After birth and for 5 + years the mother is our fist teacher, our first guru. These are the very fertile and formative years. We learn by seeing, we teach by example. If the mother has very little respect for her Prabhu, for her husband, this influences the children. If the husband asks the wife something and she fires back without proper respect, or she commands her husband around, if she argues with him over all sorts of matters large and small, all of this the children learn. They learn that this is totally normal and acceptable behavior as to how to deal with authority. When the mother or father asks the child to please pick up his/her mess, it is to be expected the child will fire back with, "No, you can’t make me". Or, "Why should I", or even "Don’t tell me what to do, you stupid". If that is the attitude the mother has toward her Prabhu, this will be what the children will learn how to deal with authority. They learn by the example of their first guru in life, their mother.

On the other hand, if mother only approaches her Prabhu with folded hands, always in a humble and submissive mood. If she only ever speaks softly and sweetly with her Master, if she bows her head down and touches his feet to her head each day, if she worships her husband with great respect, and deals with him always with high respect, Then, the children will learn to deal the same with their authorities, first being mother and father. When you ask a child whose mother has this sort of respect for her husband to do something, this child will answer with folded hands and in all humility, "Yes mataji, whatever you ask I will do". This is only a little over-simplified for sake of argument. That is, children will always be children, especially under the age of 5. But, the effect is not over stated. Children learn by the example their first guru, their mother, sets. Therefore, it is the duty of all wives to properly respect their husbands. Not just for their own sake, but for the proper training of their children.

When a man is served in this way he will become peaceful in his advancement of Krishna Consciousness. As he makes progress in his spiritual advancement, she will also share. The wife who is submissive will automatically follow. This is Narad Muni's recommended process for chaste women.

A man who has such a surrendered faithful wife, who worships him, what will become his attitude toward such a wife? His heart will melt. He will feel indebted. He will feel compassion for his wife. This is what the wife wants. She wants to win the heart of the husband. She wants her husband to feel affection for her. This is the science on how she can achieve that. This is how to conquer any man’s heart, through submissive humility.

But, many women fall into the trap of thinking (maybe it is not by thinking at all, but by their actions with little thought to what they are doing) that they must conquer their husband’s heart by fighting. By arguing. They want to ‘win’ each and every conflict, they want to have the last word in each argument. They want to be right, to the very bitter end of each disagreement. The result is that for the man, such a wife appears like a barking dog. All he hears, day after day, is her barking, her arguing, disagreeing, commanding. All of which work wonders at totally turning off the very last drop of affection he may have held for his dear wife. The more he turns cold toward her, the more frustrated the unsubmissive wife becomes. The more frustrated she becomes, the more she argues and fights. The more she is determined to WIN over her husband, to prove that she is Right. But, conversely, she is trying to defeat him. Thus, the more she tries to save the situation by not giving in, by insisting on ‘winning’ over her husband, the more alienated the husband becomes. The more she looses. The husband will also feel totally frustrated because this is not the submissive wife he needs or wanted, and thus they both fight and argue over anything large and small until it become too unbearable and they divorce. Or before divorce, one or both may start looking outside the marriage for a more friendly and understanding relationship. Either way, the marriage becomes doomed to failure.

The wife cannot win her husband’s heart by arguing and fighting with him, by insisting on having the last word, by insisting on being right in any disagreement. She will win his heart by being submissive. It is a simple science.

It is also important to note that even the wife of a pure devotee does not automatically go back to Godhead with her husband. Only the wife who submissively serves her pure devotee husband following in the footsteps of Laxmi devi, only such a submissive wife follows her husband back home, back to Godhead.

To support these views there are numerous references in Srila Prabhupad's teachings:

Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.3.13 LA, September 18, 1972

So dealing with woman... Especially instruction are given to men. All literatures, all Vedic literatures, they are especially meant for instruction to the men. Woman is to follow the husband. That’s all. The husband will give instruction to the wife. There is no such thing as the girl should go to school to take brahmacari asrama or go to spiritual master to take instruction. That is not Vedic system. Vedic system is a man is fully instructed, and woman, girl, must be married to a man. Even the man may have many wives, polygamy, still, every woman should be married. And she would get instruction from the husband. This is Vedic system. Woman is not allowed to go to school, college, or to the spiritual master. But husband and wife, they can be initiated. That is Vedic system.

Women do not approach their initiator guru directly or for instructions. The husband becomes the wife's instructing guru. For instructions she must only approach him. For women, they may take initiation from an initiator guru, but their husband’s become their practical instructing guru. Girls are not allowed to go to school. Not just that they shouldn't, here Srila Prabhupad says they are not allowed to go. They need to learn the instructions given by Narad Muni about how to be a chaste wife. They are supposed to learn this from the parents at home (or in the brahmacarini ashram). And they are to learn how to cook nicely, how to serve their husband. That's all. That doesn’t require formal school. Then society will become peaceful. Then there will be no divorce. And after being so trained, they must get themselves married to a boy who has been trained in the instructions of his guru. That is the system Prabhupad taught. Prabhupad stresses that every woman must be married to a man. To show the stress on this point he says even if the man has many wives, at least every woman must be married.

Letter 16th February, 1972 My dear Chaya dasi,

All the children should learn to read and write very nicely, and a little mathematics, so that they will be able to read our books. Cooking, sewing, things like that do not require schooling, they are learned simply by association..
...You ask about marriage, yes, actually I want that every woman in the Society should be married. But what is this training to become wives and mothers? No school is required for that, simply association... ...A woman’s real business is to look after household affairs, keep everything neat and clean, and if there is sufficient milk supply available, she should always be engaged in churning butter, making yogurt, curd, so many nice varieties, simply from milk. The woman should be cleaning, sewing, like that. So if you simply practice these things yourselves and show examples, they will learn automatically, one doesn’t have to give formal instruction in these matters.

Mother Chaya dasi was a gurukula teacher at Dallas at the time. This letter was instructing how the girls were to be educated. A women's real business is the household affairs. Simple home life. Not to go to school for 12-13 years, then college another 4 years. Then all she has learned is how to be fully independent. A sophisticated prostitute. A slave of the work-force of the industrial wheels of civilization. She will have no peace at home, no peace at work, too busy to give any time to Krishna, and too worked up to be happy. Nor should we try to settle for some self-made life-style in-between, but we should train our daughters and women in the way that Srila Prabhupad instructed. He says it doesn’t require formal instruction to become a wife and mother. It does not require ‘formal’ training because as he has instructed here, these things girls will learn automatically by seeing the examples set of the their authorities. At other times he said that these things a girl learns at home, from her mother, so there is no need to learn these things in a formal and graded school setting.

However, for Brahcarinis who come to the movement with no previous training in these matters, and who have not got a teacher or mother to show them by example, they may require some separate training. Of course, how to cook, how to clean, to sew can all be learned very nicely in being trained in Deity service. Cooking and cleaning and sewing for the Deities in the temple. But, how to serve a husband nicely, how to be submissive, that requires self-study and some training, which is the intended purpose of this book to help in that study and training.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.28.43

The daughter of King Vidarbha accepted her husband all in all as the Supreme. She gave up all sensual enjoyment and in complete renunciation followed the principles of her husband, who was so advanced. Thus she remained engaged in his service.

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

Figuratively, King Malayadhvaja is the spiritual master, and his wife, Vaidarbhi, is the disciple. The disciple accepts the spiritual master as the Supreme Personality of Godhead. ...
If a woman is fortunate enough to be the wife of a pure devotee, she can serve her husband without any desire for sense gratification. If she remains engaged in the service of her exalted husband, she will automatically attain the spiritual perfections of her husband. If a disciple gets a bona fide spiritual master, simply by satisfying him, he can attain a similar opportunity to serve the Supreme personality of Godhead.

The wife should present herself to her guru-husband just as the disciple presents himself to his spiritual master. That is, bowing down at his feet, approaching him with folded hands, never arguing, being full of veneration and respect, etc. And if she is fortunate enough that Krishna gives her a husband who is a pure devotee, than she will automatically attain to the perfection of her husband.

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.18.33-34

A husband is the supreme demigod for a woman. The Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Vasudeva, the husband of the goddess of fortune, is situated in everyone’s heart and is worshiped through the various names and forms of the demigods by fruitive workers. Similarly, a husband represents the Lord as the object of worship for a woman.

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

... If women, who are usually very much attached to their husbands, worship their husbands as representatives of Vasudeva, the women benefit,...
... In India a husband is still called pati-guru, the husband spiritual master. If husband and wife are attached to one another for advancement in Krsna consciousness, their relationship of cooperation is very effective for such advancement.

Text 35

My dear wife, whose body is so beautiful, your waist being thin, a conscientious wife should be chaste and should abide by the orders of her husband. She should very devoutly worship her husband as a representative of Vasudeva.

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.19.17

Accepting her husband as the representative of the Supreme Person, a wife should worship him with unalloyed devotion by offering him prasada. The husband, being very pleased with his wife, should engage himself in the affairs of his family

Srimad Bhagavatam 6.19.19-20

One should accept this visnu-vrata, which is a vow in devotional service, and should not deviate from its execution to engage in anything else. By offering the remnants of prasada, flower garlands, sandalwood pulp and ornaments, one should daily worship the brahmanas and worship women who peacefully live with their husbands and children. Every day the wife must continue following the regulative principles to worship Lord Visnu with great devotion. Thereafter, Lord Visnu should be laid in His bed, and then one should take prasada. In this way, husband and wife will be purified and will have all their desires fulfilled

It is interesting to note that in these verses it is indicated that women who live peacefully with their husbands and children are to be worshipped. Such women are truly advanced. This is how one can see how advanced one is. The disciple who properly worships his guru and faithfully carries out his orders and tries to satisfy his desires, and the wife who similarly serves her devotee husband. The wife should be engaged in daily worship of the family Deities, Vishnu or Krishna.

Letter 67-10-08 8th October, 1967 My dear Nandarani,

...Regarding your personal question in the matter of relationship with your husband. Your relationship with your husband is all right. You must be faithful & devoted to your husband, Dayananda. Vedic system advises women to become very chaste & accept the husband as master. Your husband is especially good because he is progressing in Krishna Consciousness. I am very glad that you two are very good combination & your devotion for your husband & your husband’s love for you are considered great achievements so I have also advised Krishna Devi for her husband, Subala. I feel very happy when I see my spiritual boys and girls especially those who have been married by my personal presence are very happy in their conjugal relationship. Even if there is some misunderstanding between husband & wife that should be completely neglected & you should always remain rigid in service of Krishna as you have written to say, it is pleasing to be in the service of Krishna. Discharge of Krishna Consciousness is our primary objective & all other relationships should be faithful to this principle. Follow this principle.
Your ever well-wisher A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

The wife must accept the husband as master. We forget when we say, "prabhu", but it means master. Prabhupad instructed the women to only call their husband’s Prabhu, Master, and not to call them by name. The purpose is to create this atmosphere of veneration and respect the wife must have for her worshipful husband. Once in a while it may be good, when referring to the husband, to use the English word ‘Master’ or ‘Lord’. Prabhu means ‘Lord’ or ‘Master’, but, American’s use the term so loosely, without any veneration, that it looses it’s intended meaning.

Here Srila Prabhupad tells how he feels very happy when his spiritual children are happy in their conjugal relationships. (I’ve never heard a sannyasi, or anyone, repeat that one.) It gladdens him when the wife has devotion for her husband and he shows love toward the wife. Srila Prabhupad did not say that we should deny or reject these feelings of devotion and love for one another. Rather, seeing his disciples developing these sentiments made Srila Prabhupad happy. He considered this a great achievement. For many years many ISKCON's leaders would have called such affairs and feelings between husband and wife complete maya. Here Srila Prabhupad says they make him very happy.

Peaceful household life is needed in order to raise nice Krishna Conscious children. Why wouldn't this please him? If a householder wants to please Srila Prabhupad, here is the simple method. Executing their prescribed duties, the wife can develop devotion toward her husband and the husband can develop love for his wife.

Letter 69-01-24 24th January, 1969

My Dear Himavati,
...Regarding your question about the husband becoming the Spiritual Master of the wife, anyone who can give instructing in spiritual life is treated as Spiritual Master. There are two kinds of Spiritual Master, initiator and instructor. So the husband can help the wife as instructor.

Husband is instructor Spiritual Master. He should be honored by the wife as Spiritual Master.

Letter 23rd October, 1972 My dear Soucharya devi,

...Another item is, you are married wife, so in that position you should serve your husband nicely, always being attentive to his needs, and in this way, because he is always absorbed in serving Krishna, by serving your husband you will also get Krishna, through him. He is your spiritual master, but he must be responsible for giving you all spiritual help, teaching you as he advances his own knowledge and realization. That is the vedic system: The wife becomes a devotee of her husband, the husband becomes a devotee of Krishna; the wife serves her husband faithfully, the husband protects his wife by giving her spiritual guidance. So you should simply do whatever your husband instructs you to do, however he may require your assistance. Of course, the nature of woman is to be attached to her husband and family, so our system is to minimize this attachment by making the ultimate goal of our activity the pleasure of Krishna. Just try to please Krishna always, and no material circumstances will be able to cause you any discomfort.

Hoping this meets you in good health. Your ever well-wisher, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

Srila Prabhupad says the wife will get Krishna through her husband. He is her spiritual master. The wife becomes the devotee of the husband. The wife should do whatever the husband instructs her to do. This is why some training is needed. Men actually expect this attitude in a wife. Every man wants a good natured and submissive wife. Without proper training the women do not know this is actually expected of them, or to what degree they must do this. They have the Western mentality that the man and wife should treat one another equally. Thus, the man becomes frustrated with his unsubmissive wife, and the wife becomes fed up with what she sees as an over-demanding husband. We must fully understand the system Srila Prabhupad taught. The wife is to become the devotee of her husband. Just as the husband serves Krishna, bowing down and worshipping Him, the wife is to serve and respect the husband. He is her (instructing) spiritual master.

This book is stressing the duty of the wife, but, in this letter Srila Prabhupad mentions that as the wife’s duty is to respect and follow her husband as her spiritual master, the husband’s duty is to give spiritual guidance and to teach his wife as he becomes self-realized.

We often here that the wife is to be protected by the husband, and here we see what is meant by that protection, as Srila Prabhupad says, "the wife serves her husband faithfully, the husband protects his wife by giving her spiritual guidance". The husband protects the wife by his spiritual instructions and guidance. (This is only a side note, but those who know me know I am fully convinced of the need for polygamy to be accepted and practiced among the devotee community. The intended purpose of polygamy is to provide a system by which all girls can be properly protected. Thus, those men who are more able to protect by way of giving proper spiritual guidance are the men who are most qualified to give such spiritual protection to more than one wife.)

Srimad Bhagavatam 9:3:10

Cyavana Muni was very irritable, but since Sukanya had gotten him as her husband, she dealt with him carefully, according to his mood. Knowing his mind, she performed service to him without being bewildered.

Purport (by Srila Prabhupad)

This is an indication of the relationship between husband and wife. A great personality like Cyavana Muni has the temperament of always wanting to be in a superior position. Such a person cannot submit to anyone. Therefore, Cyavana Muni had an irritable temperament. His wife, Sukanya, could understand his attitude, and under the circumstances she treated him accordingly. If any wife wants to be happy with her husband, she must try to understand her husband’s temperament and please him. This is victory for a woman. Even in the dealings of Lord Krsna with His different queens, it has been seen that although the queens were the daughters of great kings, they placed themselves before Lord Krsna as His maidservants. However great a woman may be, she must place herself before her husband in this way; that is to say, she must be ready to carry out her husband’s orders and please him in all circumstances. Then her life will be successful. When the wife becomes as irritable as the husband, their life at home is sure to be disturbed or ultimately completely broken. In the modern day, the wife is never submissive, and therefore home life is broken even by slight incidents.... ...a woman must be trained to be submissive to the will of her husband. Westerners contend that this is a slave mentality for the wife, but factually it is not; it is the tactic by which a woman can conquer the heart of her husband, however irritable or cruel he may be. In this case we clearly see that although Cyavana Muni was not young but indeed old enough to be Sukanya’s grandfather and was also very irritable, Sukanya, the beautiful young daughter of a king, submitted herself to her old husband and tried to please him in all respects. Thus she was a faithful and chaste wife

This story in the Bhagavatam is very instructive to the women and very important. It shows how well behaved and trained were the girls in Vedic times. Cyavan Muni was an old, old man, well over 90 or more. And he had an irritable temperament. Sukanya was the young daughter of a king, maybe 12 or 14 years old. The granddaughter of Manu. She was from such an exalted family. She was just at puberty, just at marriageable age. Young, attractive, wealthy, well trained. Any king or prince would have been honored to accepted her as a wife. And, being raised with hundreds of maid servants surrounded by the greatest luxury in the palace of her father, she must have envisioned herself becoming the wife of a great prince or king. But, her father hands over this wonderful crest jewel of a girl to a man old enough to be her greatgrandfather (As Srila Prabhupad said once). His skin was slack and wrinkled. He couldn't even move around to bath himself without help. On top of that he had an irritable disposition. Because he was a great personality, Prabhupad says, he demanded to be in the superior position and cannot submit himself to anyone. To such an old man, young Sukanya was given.

Her glory is that she did not reject him. She did not leave him. Her training was that she accepted this ‘graciously’. To have accepted this it is obvious that she knew very well the temporary nature of the body and the eternal nature of the soul. She was in no illusion that this was her one and only life and therefore she was not in so much mundane anxiety. She accepted that although her marriage in this life was not perfect, life is eternal. Why lament if one life is not so perfect?

She also understood the mood of her husband. He had an irritable temperament and she treated him accordingly, always being sweet and nice to him and never crossing him. This is to her glory. All women must follow in her footsteps and understand from her example how to become a chaste wife.

Srila Prabhupad instructs that the wife must place herself before her husband as his maidservant, just as the gopis presented themselves to Krishna. Then her life and family life will become successful.

Room Conversation Los Angeles June 23, 1975

Prabhupada: Woman is not trained up now to become a chaste wife. That is the defect of the civilization. Formerly, woman was trained up only to become, remain faithful to his [her] husband, that’s all. Nari-rupam pati-vratah: "Woman’s beauty is how she is faithful to her husband." That’s all. ... .... If a woman is trained up not to talk with any other man except her husband, that is her beauty. That enhances the beauty and prestige. This is Vedic knowledge

Jayatirtha: In today’s society that standard is unimaginable.

Prabhupada: Yes, therefore there is no adjustment. Everyone is suffering in spite of so-called education. Nobody is happy.

Formerly a woman was trained up only to become and remain faithful to her husband. Srila Prabhupad wants such training for the women. How to become chaste wives. Women must have this training.

The defect of today’s civilization is that women are not trained. Woman’s beauty is how faithful she is to her husband. She must be trained not to casually talk with any other man except her husband. Then her beauty and prestige is enhanced. That is Vedic knowledge.

This point that women must be trained not to talk with other men is extremely important. I have been very fortunate in that Krishna has given me a very chaste wife. This free talking with boys and men before and after marriage is most dangerous. A young girl is to be trained to be shy. For her to become accustomed to talk to boys she must shed her shyness. She becomes unchaste by Vedic standards. Srila Prabhupad has said that from the mixing of boys and girls, everything will become lost.

When a girl becomes accustomed to speaking freely with boys prior to marriage, she will continue to do so after she is married. She will freely speak with other women’s husbands and other unwed men. In every marriage there will be some time of hardship. Some disagreement may arise and she may become temporarily dissatisfied with her husband. In such a state if she follows her bad habit and speaks freely with other men, she will become attracted. It will be easy for her to start thinking that she has made a mistake, that her husband is the cause of her problems and that this other man is so easy to speak to. She may easily leave her husband for someone else. Thus, her children will suffer a broken family life and society degrades further as a result. It is important that women be trained to understand the standards of chastity.

This was strictly regulated by Srila Prabhupad. In Srila Prabhupad’s presence, under his direct guidance, during the 70’s in ISKCON there was no misunderstanding about this one point. Brahmacaris and brahmacarinis did not speak to one another unless there was a need for doing service. There was no free or loose talk between unwed girls and boys allowed or tolerated at the ISKCON temples. It is so sad, today, to witness the youth, not just ISKCON’s second generation, but even the newer brahmacaris and brahmacarinis in America, in many temples and communities they do not follow this standard. I have seen brahmacaris and brahmacarinis holding long talks together, unsupervised, right at the temples, and the teenagers freely mixing and talking, even right outside the temple doors in Alachua during Bhavagatam class. This is very sad, and I know that Srila Prabhupad is very displeased by it.

It goes far beyond this, but, for example, I saw about 5 or 6 marriageable girls, 13-16 years of age, sitting in a group eating, One boy, maybe 15 or 16 walks over and sits down in the center and begins laughing and joking. All the girls laugh and they talk freely. The parents of the girls do nothing. The parents of the boy do nothing. Teachers do nothing. Temple authorities do nothing.

What should be done in such a circumstance if we were serious about following Srila Prabhupad’s instructions? What would be done if we were serious about following brahminical standards? The father (or mother) of any and all the girls should have gone over to the boy himself and told him in no uncertain terms that it was socially forbidden in ISKCON for a boy or a man to speak with any mother, especially an unwed marriageable girl. If he were found to do so again at the temple, then he should be banned from visiting the temple property unless and until he can control himself.

What should the temple authorities do? Support that parent 100%, and if the father doesn’t do this, the temple authorities should do so. It MUST BE the strict ISKCON temple policy to enforce the rules and strict standards that Srila Prabhupad instructed his followers, the members of ISKCON, to follow. Any temple authority who thinks they can change the standards that Srila Prabhupad instructed us to follow should be removed. Any members of an ISKCON community who are unwilling to follow Srila Prabhupad’s standards should not encouraged to practice their concocted life-style on their own, and not on ISKCON temple grounds. They are welcome to come to the temple programs, but only if they agree to follow the rules Srila Prabhupad gave us at least while they are on the temple grounds.

Quite frankly, I am tired of seeing such loose standards and tired of seeng no one in authority doing anything about it.

During my stay in 1995-96 at the LA temple during the Srimad Bhagavatam class I mentioned that it was not proper for brhamcarinis and brahmacaris to associate at all. I remarked that under Srila Prabhupad’s direction this was not allowed or tolerated. That day one mataji told me that the brahmacarinis didn’t like me for what I said. One girl said that if she couldn’t talk and associate with the brahmaris she might as well leave the temple. Under Prabhupad’s direction, than I am afraid that is what she would have done, because Prabhupad would not have compromised. I am going on about this one topic, because at least in America, from what I have seen in some temples and communities, this is a major problem that has to be corrected. Otherwise, as Srila Prabhupad has said, everything will be lost.

Morning Walk Mayapur March 19, 1976

...our Vedic civilization says, nari-rupam pati-vratam: "The woman is beautiful when she remains as a slave to the husband." That is the beauty, not the personal beauty. How much she has learned to remain as a slave to the husband, that is Vedic civilization.... ....nari-rupam pati-vratam. And the beauty of woman is how much she is devoted and obedient to the husband. So it is very difficult

Here the real beauty of a woman is described. Nari-rupam means the beauty of a woman, pati-vratam means to be faithful, devoted, or as Prabhupad says here, the slave of the husband. Chastity. This is the woman's true beauty.

It is a fact. If the wife is completely surrendered to her husband and becomes his maidservant, then regardless of her physical body, she becomes attractive to the mind of the husband. Her service attitude and devotion to him will be so attractive to him that he will not mind what she looks like and he will keep his family together. Similarly, even if a woman has a very beautiful and attractive form and face, if she is not surrendered, household life becomes hellish for the man. Regardless of her physical looks he will loose his attraction for her and will eventually look elsewhere for his happiness. The family life will break.

Room Conversation Baltimore July 7, 1976

Woman should be expert in cooking. That is their natural tendency. They should be educated how to cook nicely, how to please the husband, how to take care of the children. This is Vedic civilization. In the beginning a woman, childhood, she’s trained up by the mother. Then as soon as she is married, formerly, child-marriage, so she’s transferred to the care of mother-in-law. There she is trained up. Then she becomes very good housewife, takes care of household affairs, husband, children, and home becomes happy. What is this nonsense, divorce? There is no such thing in the Vedic civilization, divorce. You must accept whatever God has given you as husband or wife, you must. They had no thinking even, idea of divorce. One may not agree with the husband. That is natural. Sometimes we do not agree. But there is no question of divorce.

Again, Prabhupad says women should be educated how to cook nicely. How to please the husband. How to take care of children. She must be trained to become very good housewife, taking care of the household affairs, husband, children. Then the home becomes happy. An interesting point here is that when a girl is married prior to puberty she is turned over to the care of her mother-in-law and further trained by her. The mother of the girl’s husband knows best the likes and dislikes of the future husband to be. So the girl is given final training by her mother-in-law how to become best servant of her husband-to-be. In place of mother-in-law for the brahmacarinis would be the mother in charge of the brahmacarini ashram.

A most important instruction is, what ever husband God gives you, the wife must accept. What ever wife God gives you, the husband must accept. Must. No question of rejection. What Krishna has given you, you simply accept it. Even if he is not so perfect, not as advanced, what ever, as long as he remains devotee of Krishna, despite his other weaknesses, the wife has to accept him and remain faithful. And the husband must remain responsible. Life is eternal, this is only one short life out of unlimited lives. If we get a bad bargain in this life, then as Srila Prabhupad is famous for saying, simply make the best use of the bad bargain and get out. Tolerate the weaknesses of the husband and remain submissive, then there will be no fights. In the overall scheme, your life will be happier than divorce and remarriage again and again. Birth and re-birth.

Room Conversation Chicago July 9, 1975

Nowadays may be different, but I am speaking of the Vedic ideas, that woman in all circumstances, unless the husband is crazy or something like that, mad, or..., in every case the instance is that wife is faithful and subservient to the husband. That is the Vedic culture

Unless the husband is mad, crazy, she must remain faithful and subservient to the husband that Krishna has given. Sometimes men may go into a rage while fighting with the wife. But, stop and think, they would not be fighting with the wife if they had been subservient and submissive. Their husband would not have gotten angry or fought with them, if they don’t fight and only speak sweetly, even when it is hard to do so.

Bhagavatam 3:21:15 Purport

... Kardama Muni wanted to have a wife of like disposition because a wife is necessary to assist in spiritual and material advancement. It is said that a wife yields the fulfillment of all desires in religion, economic development and sense gratification. If one has a nice wife, he is to be considered a most fortunate man. In astrology, a man is considered fortunate who has great wealth, very good sons or a very good wife. Of these three, one who has a very good wife is considered the most fortunate. Before marrying, one should select a wife of like disposition and not be enamored by so-called beauty or other attractive features for sense gratification

The wife is necessary for most men as she helps him subdue his desire for sense gratification and assists him in his spiritual and material advancement. A man who gets a wife like Devahuti or one that worships and serves her husband as Laxmi does Narayan, such a man is the most fortunate, most fortunate, without any doubt.

As we see, virtually all of the instructions dealing with the qualities and duties of women in a Vedic society found in the Bhagavatam and Prabhupad's teachings center around the concept that the women must be, at all times, dependent upon the protection of a man, subservient. By worshipping her husband as Laxmi worships Narayan this will create a truly peaceful home-life thus providing a situation where elevated souls will take birth. In such a peaceful setting the children can become elevated. This will create a situation in which the world can again become peaceful due to the presence of so many elevated souls.

Room Conversation Vrndaban 6 28 77

You see here that all young girls are carrying water, collecting. In the morning collecting water, cleansing the house, utensils, clothes, taking bath, then cooking, those girls. Their first business. Man’s business is to earn money, go to the market, the necessities. Woman’s business is take care of household affairs, children, and they have got engagement. And in the presence of father or elder brother or husband, a woman has to earn livelihood—that’s a great insult... As soon as they allow young girl to mix with young boys—finished
....And if nice children are there in the society, they will become responsible men. Then there will be no disturbance in the society. Everything will go on smoothly.
...So I have studied practically. Vedic way of simple life is the best. And unless you adopt the Vedic way of simple life, you’ll be implicated, material desires. There is no end..
...Just to live. Just like sleeping—we require bedding. And why shall I be dissatisfied if there is no good bedstead and no silk, silver and, or, and this, that, so...? Within my means, whatever comforts are available, I make satisfaction. Why shall I make competition?

Simple Vedic village life. It is the best way of life. Girls and boys must be kept separate. Women's business is household affairs, raising children and some engagement, husband's business is to earn living at the market. Simple village life is wanted. Then everything mentioned here will work smoothly.

We can't try to implement one or two things, it won't work. We won't get the actual result. We must strive for taking up Vedic culture and living it. Make life simple. For the wife, the household affairs. The husband working. Then happiness will come.

Be satisfied with what ever Krishna supplies. Brahmana Vaishnav’s shouldn’t be so concerned with too many material comforts. Be satisfied even if there is no bedstead, so silk or silver plates. What ever is in the easy means of the husband, the husband and wife should accept as Krishna’s mercy and make do. That is simple living - high thinking.

The point I made earlier, that when boys and girls mix freely, everything will be finished. That has to be stopped.

Room Conversation Detroit June 14, 1976

Pusta Krsna: Prabhupada was explaining how in India even the poorest people, they live, husband, wife, family, like this, in very...

Prabhupada: Happy.

Pusta Krsna: ...simple quarters.

Prabhupada: Happily they live. As soon as there is no quarrel between the husband and wife, the home will be happy. And as soon as there is misunderstanding between husband, wife, it will be hell. So the principle is the husband honestly tries to earn livelihood, and at home the wife should be so intelligent that whatever money the husband has earned, she’ll manage. She’ll not demand, "Bring money, bring money, bring money. Otherwise it cannot be..." Then the home will be happy. So where is that training?

That is what I am asking as well, "Where is that training?"

As soon as there is fight, misunderstanding, married life becomes hell.

Wife should be satisfied with what ever the husband can honestly provide. As soon as there is no quarrel between husband and wife, then the home will be happy. Happiness in family life is not dependent on money. Some money is needed to live, but money is not the key to happiness.

It is the duty of the husband to make an honest attempt at maintaining the family. And the wife must be intelligent and get by and be satisfied with what ever Krishna and her husband gives. This is the key to happiness. The wife should not demand the husband, bring more money, more money. We require plate for eating, why bother if it isn't silver? We need a bed, so why bother if it isn’t an expensive bedstead? This is the nature of brahmanas.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4.3.24 Purport

For a woman, both the husband and the father are equally worshipable. The husband is the protector of a woman during her youthful life, whereas the father is her protector during her childhood. Thus both are worshipable, but especially the father because he is the giver of the body

Srimad Bhagavatam 9.6.53 PURPORT

As stated in Bhagavad-Gita (9.32), striyo vaisyas tatha sudras te ‘pi yanti param gatim. Women are not considered very powerful in following spiritual principles, but if a woman is fortunate enough to get a suitable husband who is spiritually advanced and if she always engages in his service, she also gets the same benefit as her husband. Here it is clearly said that the wives of Saubhari Muni also entered the spiritual world by the influence of their husband. They were unfit, but because they were faithful followers of their husband, they also entered the spiritual world with him. Thus a woman should be a faithful servant of her husband, and if the husband is spiritually advanced, the woman will automatically get the opportunity to enter the spiritual world

The key points here, again the same as pointed out before, is that not just any wife shares in the spiritual advancement of her husband, but it is only the wife who always engages in his service. The wife who is faithful and submissive, she shares in her husband’s advancement. Not an argumentative and non-submissive wife. Such a wife may take birth again and again in this world, while her husband of this life may never return, residing in the Vaikunthas.

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.23.2

O Vidura, Devahuti served her husband with intimacy and great respect, with control of the senses, with love and with sweet words.


Here two words are very significant. Devahuti served her husband in two ways, visrambhena and gauravena. These are two important processes in serving the husband or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visrambhena means "with intimacy," and gauravena means "with great reverence." The husband is a very intimate friend; therefore, the wife must render service just like an intimate friend, and at the same time she must understand that the husband is superior in position, and thus she must offer him all respect. A man’s psychology and woman’s psychology are different. As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife, and a woman, as bodily constituted, is naturally inferior to her husband. Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed. Even if there is some wrong on the part of the husband, the wife must tolerate it, and thus there will be no misunderstanding between husband and wife. Visrambhena means "with intimacy," but it must not be familiarity that breeds contempt. According to the Vedic civilization, a wife cannot call her husband by name. In the present civilization the wife calls her husband by name, but in Hindu civilization she does not. Thus the inferiority and superiority complexes are recognized. Damena ca: a wife has to learn to control herself even if there is a misunderstanding. Sauhrdena vaca madhuraya means always desiring good for the husband and speaking to him with sweet words. A person becomes agitated by so many material contacts in the outside world; therefore, in his home life he must be treated by his wife with sweet words.

Srila Prabhupad said, "As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife … Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed "

This is a most important concept that all women must properly understand. This is the key to understanding why women must take the submissive position. It is man’s natural tendency, his natural instinct. It comes along with the material male body. He wants to post himself as superior to the wife.

In this modern world this is considered male chauvinism. It is considered socially wrong. However, the Vedas teach that this is the natural material tendency of souls conditioned in male material bodies, and, therefore, it organizes society around these natural tendencies. Vedic culture deals honestly and harmoniously with reality. Modern society tries to put it’s head in the sand, it attempts to deny reality. It attempts to artificially create a make-believe false-reality.

Interesting to note is that on one of the TV news-documentary shows (maybe it was Prime-Time-Live) several years back they interviewed an 8 year old boy and his mother. The boy was being raised without a father. The mother complained that when she asked or told her son to do something, he kept putting it off, even if she screamed, begged, pleaded, threatened, he just ignored her. But, when her brother came over, he only asked once, and the boy would jump into action. They asked the boy why he ignores his mother, yet obeys his uncle. The 8 year old replied because his uncle is a man, but his mother is a woman. He said that he just can’t stand being told what to do by a woman, even his own mother. But a man telling him, that is different. Even at such a young age, the male instinct is to want to post himself in the superior position.

On the same show they reviewed scientific evidence that showed that by nature men are more aggressive and domineering, and women are more subordinate and meek. They said the differences can often be seen even in new born babies who have had no exposure to social conditioning. Their conclusion was, it came along with the body. 3 year olds whose parents tried to raise boys and girls the same, the differences were measurable and obvious. Put these 3 year old boys and girls in the same room with the same toys, boys will tend to want to play by themselves and will go for the trucks and machines, tools, guns, etc. Girls tend to want to play house together and go for dolls, play houses, etc. As Prabhupad says, man’s duty is to work outside and earn the livelihood - tools, machines, trucks. And woman’s duty is household affairs, raising the children - the dolls, playing house, doll houses, etc. Actually, 3 year olds do not have to be taught this, it is the natural tendency that comes with the material bodies. Rather, modern society and modern schooling works to confuse children as they grow up by trying to artificially teach not to follow our natural tendencies. Modern society teaches that these natural tendencies are socially wrong. This simply creates social and psychological disharmony and confusion. It was a relief to see that now at least some scientific research is showing that, as the modern scientists would say, it’s in the genes. As Srila Prabhupad says, it is constituted by the bodily frame.

What happens in marriages in the West today is that women are artificially encouraged to demand more and more equal rights and equal treatment. (No woman today is going to bow her head down to any man’s feet or take a ‘subordinate’ position. That is considered degrading for women.). The men are taught that to be demanding to be seen as superior is chauvinistic, socially wrong, primitive and backwards thinking. He is taught that to see woman as his equal in all respects is a better or higher and more just way to live.
Then these people marry. But, it is there in the genes. It is there in the bodily constitution in the male. Without any effort on the man’s part, slowly, or even suddenly, it raises out of natural instinct and manifests itself, to the surprise of both parties. He may say something almost insignificant. The woman may disagree and start arguing. Something triggers inside. The man just can’t take it. He demands that she ‘gives-in’ and accepts his view. No way, she isn’t going to take no submissive position with him, after all, has he gone mad or something? Doesn’t he remember they are at least equal? You ask the man at that point if what he wants is a submissive wife, and he will probably say no. Most men don’t sit down and think about it, but, in reality, that is what he wants. Something inside just makes it unacceptable about the way his wife is dealing with him. He gets angry, she gets angry back. Soon all hell breaks loose as the two go at it. An insignificant argument turns into all out war. Each has to win, neither can or will take the submissive position and ‘give-in’. They will argue and fight and risk everything, children, family, home, happiness, just to be the one who comes out on top. In their all out fight to win, they both loose everything.

Another point that can be made here is that someone in the household has to be designated as the boss. You cannot run a company without a boss. You cannot run a country without a boss. You cannot run a family, even if it is only a family of 2, the man and wife, it will not function normally without a clearly defined ‘boss’ or head.

Vedic science recognizes that men are more domineering and aggressive by nature. (Modern scientific research confirms this). Therefore, Vedic social science teaches that men must be given the role of leader or boss. The husband is the guru of the wife, the head of the house.

Imagine a company where the boss decides he wants to spend some company earnings on more advertising. Well, his secretary doesn’t agree with him, and she tells him she isn’t going to let him. The boss says, "Hey, look, I am the boss and what I say goes". The secretary says, "Oh yeah, well I work as many hours as you do, mister, and I say no way. Over my dead body." Soon they start yelling and screaming and calling each other names. The boss writes out the check for the ad, the secretary rips it up. They start physically fighting.

Sounds real bizarre. Obviously, if the boss owns or manages the company, he would have full authority to make the decision and it would be totally out of place for a worker to raise their voice and demand he not make that decision.

Marriage is the same. The wife is meant to take the subordinate position.

Not that a worker or secretary cannot voice their opinions and make useful contributions to the decision process. A good manager would encourage this. But, there are proper and improper ways for that to be done. It is totally out of place and counter productive (and job threatening) for the worker to fight and argue. Marriage is the same way.

I realize I am writing a lot on this one point, but it is a very important point that has to be understood. Woman must understand why they must be trained (or train themselves) to take the submissive position. Because men have the nature to post themselves in the superior position. If the wife disregards this point, and she does not train herself to become and remain submissive, to take the subordinate position, then her marriage may end (sooner then expected) in hell.

Before I go on to another quote by Srila Prabhupad, I have a story to tell in this regard.

From time to time I have spoke with different matajis who were having problems or had divorced. Srila Prabhupad has instructed that in general divorce is caused by the wife not taking to the submissive position. However, time after time when hearing from matajis it seemed to always sound like the men were the rascals. Time after time I kept thinking, "Oh, another exception, it wasn’t the woman who was at fault this time. This time it was the man, he was acting like a rascal".

So, one day I was speaking with another mataji who had just gone through a divorce. Again, when we first spoke she claimed that she had to ‘get out’ of the marriage because her husband started beating her and always arguing and fighting for no reason. She told of simply walking in the door and he would shove her around, yell at her. She said he carried on like this with no cause or reason. I doubted that he would fight for absolutely no reason, but still, it did appear to be ‘another exception’. Srila Prabhupad said that the cause of most all divorce is womanly weakness, that she does not take or remain submissive. Yet, this mataji claimed she was very submissive, that she never fought. She never argued. She was always submissive. It was only him who provoked the fights.

She sounded sincere and I wanted to believe her, and I did for a while, but I also fully accept that Srila Prabhupad is self-realized and that his knowledge of things is far broader than any of us can imagine. Things were not adding up. How could it be that Srila Prabhupad says that most all divorce is the woman’s fault for not being submissive, but time after time it appears to be the man is at fault? I finally told my mind to stop misleading me, I finally said, no, not this time. Srila Prabhupad is right, I and this mataji are simply not understanding things right.

I assumed the premise that in this case, even though it didn’t appear that way to me at first, I assumed that Srila Prabhupad was right and that this mataji, despite the fact that she thought and felt in her heart that she had been so submissive, was in reality not, and therefor was the ultimate cause of the problem.

After assuming this to be true or at least to be, as Srila Prabhupad said, the most likely cause, I asked her what happened, when did the fighting start? She said it started almost immediately, a day or two after the wedding. I asked, "Well, what happened, what were the fights about?" She said the first fights were because the day or so after the wedding, in the evening when they were together all he wanted to do was sit and watch non-sense non-devotee shows on TV. She wanted to sit and read and discuss Srimad Bhagavatam. Okay, so the devotee was in a bit of maya, especially compared to what she was wanting. But, how did the fighting start? Now, as she told me what took place in those first few days, a different story emerged.

Originally she had told me that she had always been so submissive, that she never started a fight and that he fought with her for no reason. Now, she says that what actually happened is that she would get furious with him because she considered he was so fallen. She would tell him off, tell him that he was in maya. She would yell at him to try to get him to stop watching TV. Every time he would turn on the TV she would make a scene with him. She demanded that he turn it off and that he read scripture with her.

What happened over the months and several years after this is that he would fight back and the fights simply became more and more intense and they would fight over any thing. They would fight over nothing.

Now, it appeared that what Srila Prabhupad said actually did apply in this case. I told her she was at fault, that she was the cause of her marriage breaking up, that she was the cause of the fighting and misery. That surprised her. But, she had already changed her original story. Originally she fully believed that she had always been a very submissive wife and that she never started any fights. But, now she told me that she started the first fights, and the attitude she described was far from being that of a submissive wife.

Far from feeling herself subordinate to her husband, far from respecting him as her ‘Prabhu’, Master, and guru, instead she considered him to be ‘fallen’. According to her, he was in complete maya. She considered herself to be ‘superior’. Because of this, she saw nothing wrong for her to chastise her husband-guru. She saw nothing wrong for her to tell off her master. She saw nothing wrong for her to shout at him, to get raging mad and angry with him. That is exactly what Srila Prabhupad means when he says that nearly all divorces are because the women are not submissive to their husbands.

But, wait, you say (as she was saying), aren’t I forgetting that this man was in a bit of maya? After all, he wanted only to sit down and watch non-devotee TV shows while she wanted to sit down and discuss philosophy and scripture. Isn’t she much more advanced than he? Should she have to ‘lower’ herself down to his level? (And she used that sort of terminology herself in describing the situation).

First of all, she was taking very reckless steps in assuming that she was, in fact, more advanced than her husband. Second of all, even if she were, was all of this of such importance to have cost them the marriage?

Lets look at some other facets of this incident. At the time I spoke with her she had been divorced some time, I think at least 6 months or more. He had been steadily engaged in service for many years, and he remained fixed in his service. She, on the other hand, although continuing to remain somewhat engaged, was having a real hard time of it. She was engaged at least 3 days a week on Sankirtan, book distribution, well, maybe 6 days a week, but most days only for an hour or two. She was psychologically a mess. She very much needed a husband, a guide, someone to ‘help’ her, lead her, show her the way, tell her what to do. She also knew that very well. Now, without her husband, she was really struggling to stay engaged, and mentally she was practically a lost cause. Is that the result of her being more fixed and advanced in her development of Krishna Consciousness?

Her husband, on the other hand, was remarrying, singing kirtans in the temple and remained steadily engaged.

Overall, who is more or less advanced? Sure, she was distributing Prabhupad’s books, and yes, he likes watching a little non-sense TV. But, he also was steadily engaged in service, and she was not without her own imperfections. But, she saw his largest faults and she turned a blind eye to his good virtues. She closed her eyes to her own faults and only saw her good virtues, therefore she really believed that she was superior, more advanced, and that he was fallen down in maya. That was wrong, and ultimately the results show this not to be the fact.

But, what about his watching TV causing her to fall down, or bringing her Krishna Consciousness down? (That was her argument). Unimportant. He own fall down, her own fault is that she did not tolerate his imperfection. She allowed a small inconvenience to ruin her (and partially his) entire life. It was not so great a fault to have cost her her happiness and marriage.

It is true, no man should become a husband or father if he can’t lead his dependents out of the cycle of birth and death. And, it is true that a woman should not marry a man who is less advanced than herself. A brahman can marry a girl from the ksatriya or vaishya, even sudra class (Manu states that his first wife must be brahman, and if he wants a sudra as a wife, she must be his 4th wife). But, it is strongly recommended that a brahman girl not marry anyone less than a brahman. Then the marriage will be mismatched. The man is to be the guru, the authority for the girl. If he is of an equal or higher class, then automatically he is spiritually her authority, but if she is from a higher class, then the marriage is out of balance. Therefore those who arrange marriages must be sure to allow for this in choosing proper mates.

But, it is also taught that we must simply accept what Krishna gives us. Once the marriage is made, it is past the point of no return. Then husband and wife must make the best use of a bad bargain, as in the eyes of the scripture there is no such thing as divorce. As long as the man remains a devotee, even if he has fall downs and has faults, even if he is not perfect, it remains the duty of the wife to remain submissive and to serve him as his devotee.

What should a submissive and Krishna Conscious wife have done in that circumstance? Tolerate her husband, and not loose respect. Remain humble, but use her intelligence properly. Yes, she realized watching TV would bring her down. So, she should have used her intelligence in how to pacify her husband, not antagonize him, which is what she did.

If he insists on watching TV, an ideal wife would have approached her husband with a concerned smile, with folded hands, with soothing and sweet, but compelling words, and explained her point of view, that it was non-sense, then, doing something she knows would please him, like bringing him a cup of his favorite juice, or rubbing his feet, or something that pleases him, explain nicely that for the protection of her own Krishna Consciousness she would like no part of watching the TV, then ask his permission to read in the other room when the TV is on.

If she comes on so sweetly, so surrendered and submissive, then at least there would have been no fight, no agitation. At least his heart would have melted a bit, he would be thinking, "Wow, what a wonderful and Krishna Conscious wife I’ve got". However, he may also think, "Oh no, I wanted a wife who would enjoy sitting and watching TV with me, what have I got, some kind of angel from heaven?" He would have probably done one of 3 things. Either he would have immediately realized she was right, he was in a bit of maya, and would have worked to improve himself spiritually, or he would have sort of realized she was right, but didn’t want to give up his maya, but, would make a compromise and not insist that she also join his maya. Or he would not only not want to give up his maya, but continue to insist that she join him, but with one major difference than if she were not submissive. He would not be angry at this point and there would be only a peaceful atmosphere so far.

Now, if he choose one of the first 2 alternatives, the marriage would have been off to a wonderful start and she would have been far ahead of where she was by not being submissive. If he chose the 3rd alternative, well, at least peace would still prevail. At that point, a submissive wife would have to weigh the fact that he has this fault, but he is still a devotee, therefore she still must remain submissive and have to join him in watching TV. Manu Samhita says a wife must remain submissive and faithful even if the husband is void of all good qualities. Even if he is having affairs outside the house, what to speak of simply in a little maya. Srila Prabhupad says the wife must submissively serve the husband as long as the husband is not addicted to the four principles of sinful life and is no longer a devotee.

For the sake of argument, lets say that the husband still insists that his wife watch TV with him. Then she has to remain submissive and agree, without anger. She can still, from time to time, with respect, with folded hands, with humility, keep reminding him it is maya and tell him that she prefer he stop. Lets say he never stops. Well, what is worse 3 years latter? He is still engaged in his devotional service, she is still engaged, and by being fully submissive there would have been not one fight, not one argument in the house. Despite having to have had to watch TV for a few years, she would be happy in her marriage, and after 3 years of her sweet persuasion, it would be most unlikely they would still be watching non-devotee shows for that long.

If she had remained fully submissive, the Goddess of Fortune would have come to their home.

Simply watching a few TV shows is not sufficient cause for being disrespectful, for fighting with one’s guru / husband and for ultimately breaking up the marriage. This couple did not have children. However, most couples do by the time their marriage broke up. That would have been a much greater tragedy.

It is my humble opinion that the wife should tolerate the faults of the husband, remain faithful, sweetly disposed and submissive, then family life will become happy and peaceful. From the position of being sweet, of being subservient, of being the best possible wife any man could want, from that position she can win his heart and has the greatest control or influence over her husband. From that position she will be helping him the best to deal with whatever faults he may have. But, it is not the wife’s position to try and rectify the husband. By her sweet and wonderful attitude a truly submissive wife can be a great spiritual boon for the devotee husband.

By arguing, demanding, commanding, fighting to the end to ‘win’, by trying to ‘defeat’, by trying to ‘make him listen, make him understand’, which are all actions that put the wife in the superior position over her husband, all of this not only turns a man’s heart off, not only turns off his compassion and affection, not only looses any influence she could have over him, but it is the surest way to bring out the natural male instinct of wanting and having to post himself as being superior. The more the wife commands, demands and fights and argues, the more intensely and forcefully the man angrily fights back in an attempt to post himself in his superior position. The more intensely he fights back, the more frustrated the wife becomes. The more the wife is unsubmissive, the more and more frustrated the husband becomes. Soon the level of frustration with each other flows into all aspects of their relationship. Each come to a position of 0 degree tolerance of each other’s never noticed before faults and small imperfections. Soon fighting, even violent fighting, may erupt over seemingly insignificant causes, fueled by shear frustration of the souring relationship. Such a marriage winds up in hell, then divorce appears to be the only way out of such a hell.

However, even at such a late stage, it is salvageable ONLY if the wife understands this science and immediately and fully takes up her dutiful position in society and fully submits herself to her husband and totally controls her anger and puts on only a sweet and pleasing personality around her husband in order to win back his heart. Such marriages can be saved. But, it is entirely up to the wife to save it.

These are my conclusions based on my realizations of Srila Prabhupad’s teachings in this matter.

I spent a lot of time on this point because it is very important for women to understand. Finally, lets move on to another quote by Srila Prabhupad.

Room Conversation Vrndaban Sept. 9, 1976

Hari-sauri: Once a woman was married, then that was finished. No connection with another man

Prabhupada: No, no. That one marriage is sufficient. She must remain very faithful to her husband, chaste. That is wanted. Not that "I do not like this husband. I’ll change." That is not wanted.

Hari-sauri: That’s Western mentality.

Prabhupada: Whatever your father and mother has chosen, that’s all. He’s your worshipable husband. ...But that old man, not less than sixty-five, and this young woman, utmost twenty to twenty-five. She was serving the husband like anything. We have seen it. There is no question of changing or being dissatisfied. ...It is a question of culture. Culture. She was king’s daughter, royal, and married her with a muni, old, rotten. Older than me. All the skin has become slackened. But still she was serving him just like worshipable lord. The age difference is great-grandfather and great-granddaughter.

It is a question of culture. And to establish culture it means training. Cultural training start from birth. Every young boy and girl should know their Vedic duties in life. They should be well trained. The girl at home by her parents and the boy at the home/ashram of his guru.

Another very important point Srila Prabhupad makes here. For a woman to remain life-long faithful to her one husband, it is a question of Culture. And to establish culture it requires training. Training from birth. Every young boy and girl must know their Vedic duties as man and wife and they must be well trained.

This training must start at birth. It must be there all one’s life. My mother-in-law told us that she was trained how important it was to remain always submissive to her (future) husband from birth. She was trained by her father, mother, grand father and other family members. Not just mentioned, but trained, actually trained from birth.

To establish this higher standard in our society can be done, it is a question of culture and culture requires training.

The incident he was referring to about was regarding a friend of his father’s. When Srila Prabhupad was a young man his father had one friend who when he was around 65 his first wife died. His sister insisted that he take another wife, so she let it be known her brother would except another wife. The father of one girl gave over his daughter. Srila Prabhupad was same as, maybe even older than the girl, yet he said he used to call her Didi. Didi is an address for an elder sister or elder aunt.

Srimad Bhagavatam 3.24.5 Purport

This is the process of spiritual realization; one has to receive instruction from a bona fide spiritual master. Kardama Muni was Devahuti’s husband, but because he instructed her on how to achieve spiritual perfection, he naturally became her spiritual master also. There are many instances wherein the husband becomes the spiritual master. Lord Siva also is the spiritual master of his consort, Parvati. A husband should be so enlightened that he should become the spiritual master of his wife in order to enlighten her in the advancement of Krsna consciousness. Generally stri, or woman, is less intelligent than man; therefore, if the husband is intelligent enough, the woman gets a great opportunity for spiritual enlightenment.

This is the spiritual qualification for the husband. He must be spiritually enlightened and intelligent enough that he can lead his dependents out of this material world and bring them to Krishna's eternal abode. Another thing is that the wife must accept the guidance and spiritual instructions the husband gives her. A woman must qualify herself by training herself to be an ideal wife and Krishna will arrange for her a qualified husband. If the woman is not so qualified, why would Krishna put her with such an advanced devotee?

Srimad Bhagavatam 4:27:1 Purport

... If a husband and wife combine together in Krsna consciousness and live together peacefully, that is very nice. However, if a husband becomes too much attracted by his wife and forgets his duty in life, the implications of materialistic life will again resume. Srila Rupa Gosvami has therefore recommended, anasaktasya visayan (Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu 1.2.255). Without being attached by sex, the husband and wife may live together for the advancement of spiritual life. The husband should engage in devotional service, and the wife should be faithful and religious according to the Vedic injunctions. Such a combination is very good. However, if the husband becomes too much attracted to the wife due to sex, the position becomes very dangerous. Women in general are very much sexually inclined. Indeed, it is said that a woman’s sex desire is nine times stronger than a man’s. It is therefore a man’s duty to keep a woman under his control by satisfying her, giving her ornaments, nice food and clothes, and engaging her in religious activities. Of course, a woman should have a few children and in this way not be disturbing to the man. Unfortunately, if the man becomes attracted to the woman simply for sex enjoyment, then family life becomes abominable.

The great politician Canakya Pandita has said: bharya rupavati satruh—a beautiful wife is an enemy. Of course every woman in the eyes of her husband is very beautiful. Others may see her as not very beautiful, but the husband, being very much attracted to her, sees her always as very beautiful. If the husband sees the wife as very beautiful, it is to be assumed that he is too much attracted to her. This attraction is the attraction of sex. The whole world is captivated by the two modes of material nature rajo-guna and tamo-guna, passion and ignorance. Generally women are very much passionate and are less intelligent; therefore somehow or other a man should not be under the control of their passion and ignorance. By performing bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, a man can be raised to the platform of goodness. If a husband situated in the mode of goodness can control his wife, who is in passion and ignorance, the woman is benefited. Forgetting her natural inclination for passion and ignorance, the woman becomes obedient and faithful to her husband, who is situated in goodness. Such a life becomes very welcome. The intelligence of the man and woman may then work very nicely together, and they can make a progressive march toward spiritual realization. Otherwise, the husband, coming under the control of the wife, sacrifices his quality of goodness and becomes subservient to the qualities of passion and ignorance. In this way the whole situation becomes polluted.

The conclusion is that a household life is better than a sinful life devoid of responsibility, but if in the household life the husband becomes subordinate to the wife, involvement in materialistic life again becomes prominent. In this way a man’s material bondage becomes enhanced. Because of this, according to the Vedic system, after a certain age a man is recommended to abandon his family life for the stages of vanaprastha and sannyasa.

Even if the man is a little fallen, and obviously not up to the standards described here, a wife should not put such a husband in a position of being subordinate to him. Then all becomes lost. Ideally the man should be in the mode of goodness, and his wife, even though a woman’s tendency is passion and ignorance, becomes elevated by serving him. But, if the man is more or less fallen (but still a devotee), this is not ideal for the wife, but she must not become slack in her duty. Prabhupad says that if the woman (who is more in the modes of passion and ignorance) becomes strong and the man takes the subordinate position there is no further hope for either to become uplifted.

Earlier we were discussing in Narad Muni’s instructions to Maharaj Yudisthira that a wife must try to keep her husband attracted to her by dressing and decorating herself nicely at the home when he is there. And that is wanted. The husband has to have some attraction toward his wife or he may become attracted to some other woman. But, it is also required that the man be spiritually strong and not spiritually weak. He must be somewhat attracted to his wife, but he should not simply be attracted to sex-life, simply wanting to use his wife as a machine for having unrestricted sex.

This is why it is essential that previous to marriage the man has had many years of training as a staunch brahmacari and he becomes practiced in control of the mind and senses. However, even if the husband is fallen in this way, a wife should not consider herself more advanced and use this as an excuse to be disrespectful and leave her husband. Marriage is a sacred institution that should not be broken if at all possible.

The ideal situation is as Srila Prabhupad describes here, where the husband is firmly situated in the mode of goodness and becomes the strong spiritual guide for his wife, and the wife remains his faithful servant.

Room Conversation 7/13/75

Canakya Pandita says, mata yasya grhe nasti bharya capriya-vadini. If there is no mother at home and the wife is not very suitable, does not speak very nicely with husband, disrespectful, then he is recommended to leave home and go to the forest. Aranyam tena gantavyam yatharanyam tatha grham. Such person should immediately leave home and live in the forest because for him the forest and home is the same. Mata yasya grhe nasti bharya capriya-vadini.

So women should be trained up to be very faithful and chaste. Then the life will be very happy. That is the only education for woman. And man should be educated how to become first-class man, a brahmana. Then the whole atmosphere will be very happy. The man, first-class man, brahmana, samo damah titiksa, and woman, very faithful to such husband and chaste. Then the home is happy. And Canakya Pandita says another place, dampatyoh kalaho nasti tatra srih svayam agatah. "If there is no fight and disagreement between husband and wife, in that home the goddess of fortune automatically comes." They haven’t got to search out where is goddess of fortune. She will come automatically. So that is now lacking. In most cases the husband and wife does not agree.

When the wife looses all respect, or has no proper respect for the husband, then family life is hell. To live in the forest alone is very difficult. But to live with a wife who is disrespectful is no better. Again, Srila Prabhupad says that the women need to be trained to be submissive and faithful. This is the only education a woman needs. A man is trained to become first-class brahmana, responsible. Then the home will be happy.

Press Conference, Chicago, July 9th, 1975.

Now, woman is supposed to be assistant of man. If woman is faithful wife of the first-class man, then she also becomes first-class. If she is assistant of the second-class man then she is also second-class. If she is assistant of the third-class man, then she is also third-class. Because she is assistant, so, according to her husband, or protector, she becomes first, second, third, fourth.

Manu Samhita 9.22 states: Whatever qualities the husband has, the wife will attain as the river unites with the sea.

Therefore it is ill advised in shastra for a woman of a higher class to marry a man of a lower class. She then must come down to his level. It is important that the girl be given a husband who is at least as advanced or more advanced than she. If she marries someone less advanced, then she must go down to his level. But, there is no question of divorce and remarriage. The training must be to accept what Krishna has given. There have been marriages that appeared mismatched. Srila Prabhupad never advised the couple divorce and try to find a better arrangement. Rather, he abhorred such actions.

Letter to Sudevi 72-09-15 Sept. 15th, 1972

My dear Sudevi Dasi
...Marriage between husband and wife means that the husband must forever be responsible for the wife’s well-being and protection in all cases. That does not mean that now there is agreement between us, therefore I am responsible, but as soon as there is some disagreement then I immediately flee the scene and become so-called renounced. Whether your husband likes to take responsibility as your spiritual guide or not, that does not matter. He must do it. It is his duty because he has taken you as his wife. Therefore he must take full responsibility for you the rest of his life. And you also must agree to serve him under all circumstances and assist him in every way so that he may make advancement in Krsna Consciousness. By his making advancement in Krsna Consciousness, automatically the wife will make advancement in the husband’s footsteps. But if you do not assist him and be very obedient to his welfare, then he may become disgusted and go away.

The husband must take up his responsibility to be the wife’s spiritual guide. And the wife must serve him under all circu1nd and serve him very obediently, he may become disgusted and go away.

This is a confirmation of what Srila Prabhupad said regarding divorce, that in general divorce is due to womanly weakness. If the wife does not remain obedient then the husband may become disgusted (especially disgusted by a wife who fights with him) and leave.

Normally, in today’s culture, when a man leaves the house and family the society looks down on him as the culprit and the wife as the victim. Since he walked out, he is looked at as being irresponsible. He is given all blame.

But, looking at this from the Vedic viewpoint, looking with the eye of shastra, from Srila Prabhupad’s teachings, we see that the actual culprit was the wife. Because she was not properly submissive she created a situation that became intolerable for the man, so he left, therefore, she is ultimately to blame for she did not execute her proper duties as a wife and submissive servant to her husband.

Although Chanakya Pandit says that if the wife is not pleasant to the husband, she has no sweet words for him, does not serve him submissively for his welfare, desiring to satisfy his desires, then the man should leave that home and go live in the forest, but, the problem today is that rather than go live in the forest, men go to another woman, then another.