Vedic Training: How To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife For ISKCON Brahmacarinis
"Qualities & Duties Of Chaste Wife" chapter of the
Brahmacarini Training Manual. >Contents
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
Letter 75-02-06 6th February, 1975
My dear Sri Govinda das,
Concerning the womans 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 doesnt
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 wifes household duties, but he
makes it clear she shouldnt 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
...Mans business is to earn money, go to the market, the
necessities. Womans 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 livelihoodthats a great insult.
Womans 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 shouldnt 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
Letter 72-02-16 16th February, 1972
My dear Chaya dasi,
...A womans real business is to look after household
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 husbands
relatives and friends, and to follow the vows of the husbandthese
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 husbands 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 womans 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
ones 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 Prabhupads 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 ones activities are to be defined, and for husband and
wife, that is easy to determine, then one is to be educated and trained accordingly.
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 husbands 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 ones
activities must be defined, and one must be educated accordingly". This is
varnashram. To define the symptoms of ones 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.
"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 ladys we see that she should touch her husbands
feet and greet him with folded hands. If a mans 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
"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."
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, abhaktahina, 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 activitynamely 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.
Mans duties are another thing, we are discussing the
womans 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 Prabhupads 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 didnt 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). Prabhupads sister remained chaste and
faithful and tolerated all non-sense. Prabhupad says one day Prabhupads
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
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 doesnt 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.
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 Prabhupads 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
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 husbands "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 havent 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 womans 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
There is another very important point as to why a wife must
properly respect her husband. Her children. The mother is ones 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 cant make me". Or, "Why should I", or even
"Dont 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
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 mans heart, through
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 husbands 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 husbands 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
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. Thats 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
husbands 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
doesnt 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
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
...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
womans 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 doesnt have to give formal instruction in these
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
in-between, but we should train our daughters and women in the way that Srila
Prabhupad instructed. He says it doesnt 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
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 everyones 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.
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.
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 husbands 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 husbands 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, Americans use the term so loosely, without any veneration,
that it looses its intended meaning.
Here Srila Prabhupad tells how he feels very happy when his
spiritual children are happy in their conjugal relationships. (Ive
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
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 wifes duty is to respect and follow her husband
as her spiritual master, the husbands 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 husbands 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
husbands 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
Sukanyas 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, thats all. Nari-rupam pati-vratah:
"Womans beauty is how she is faithful to her husband." Thats
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 todays society that standard
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 todays civilization is that women are not
trained. Womans 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 womens 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
This was strictly regulated by Srila Prabhupad. In Srila
Prabhupads presence, under his direct guidance, during the 70s 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 ISKCONs 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 Prabhupads 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 doesnt 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
Prabhupads 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 Prabhupads direction this was not
allowed or tolerated. That day one mataji told me that the brahmacarinis didnt like
me for what I said. One girl said that if she couldnt talk and associate with the
brahmaris she might as well leave the temple. Under Prabhupads 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, shes trained up by the mother. Then as soon as she is married, formerly,
child-marriage, so shes 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 girls 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 dont 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,
clothes, taking bath, then cooking, those girls. Their first business.
Mans business is to
earn money, go to the market, the necessities. Womans 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 livelihoodthats
a great insult... As soon as they allow young girl to mix with young boysfinished
....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, youll be
implicated, material desires. There is no end..
...Just to live. Just like sleepingwe 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
Be satisfied with what ever Krishna supplies. Brahmana
Vaishnavs shouldnt 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 Krishnas
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...
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, shell manage. Shell 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
As soon as there is fight, misunderstanding, married life
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 isnt
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 husbands 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
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 mans psychology
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
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
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 mans 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,
society around these natural tendencies. Vedic culture deals honestly and
harmoniously with reality. Modern society tries to put its 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 cant 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, mans duty is to work outside and earn the livelihood - tools,
machines, trucks. And womans 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, its 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 mans 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,
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 mans 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 cant take it. He demands that
she gives-in and accepts his view. No way, she isnt going to take no
submissive position with him, after all, has he gone mad or something? Doesnt 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 dont 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
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
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 doesnt agree with him, and
she tells him she isnt 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
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 wasnt 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 womans
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
I assumed the premise that in this case, even though it
didnt 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
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), arent 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.
Isnt 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
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 Prabhupads 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
cant 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
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
Ive 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
didnt 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 ones 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 wifes 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 mans 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 others
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
Prabhupads 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. Ill change." That is not wanted.
Hari-sauri: Thats Western mentality.
Prabhupada: Whatever your father and mother has
chosen, thats all. Hes 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 kings
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
ones 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 fathers. 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
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 Devahutis
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
womans sex desire is nine times stronger than a mans. It is therefore a
mans 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
The great politician Canakya Pandita has said:
bharya rupavati satruha 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 mans 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 womans 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
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 Munis 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
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
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
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 havent 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
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,
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
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 wifes 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 husbands
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
wifes 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 todays 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 Prabhupads 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.