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"A wife, O Maghavan, is home and dwelling..." (Rig Veda 3.53.4)

Brahmavaivarta Purana (4.17.68-107, 4.18.102-119, 4.24.33-42)
Visnu smriti on women (ch. 24-26)
Puranic Encyclopedia, entry Grhastha
Verse on a conflict of interests at wedding
Biblical quotes on a dharmic wife

Grhastha, or householder life (grha - household), is the second spiritual stage (asrama) in the varnasrama system. It lasts from 25th to 50th year of one's life and during this time the grhastha lives together with his wife and children in their house and leads a religious (dharma) and productive (artha) life which enables a certain amount of enjoyment (kama). He should also prepare for moksa. In this a woman can be also an obstacle, as sastras keep on warning. Among his traditional duties are five domestic sacrifices (panca-mahayajna) which include ancestor worship (sraddha).

Grhastha asrama is the only economically productive asrama and therefore the householders have to support other asramas by giving charity (dana), mostly in the form of food, in exchange for spiritual knowledge (vidyA), the best gift, together with devotional service:

vidyA dAnaM vizeSyante nAnyAni vipulAni ca

The gift of vidyA is the highest, other gifts however large are not so good. (Parama samhita 12.45)

zuzrUSApi paraM dAnaM muktasya ca mahAtmanaH
bhaktyA kevalayA kRtvA siddhir bhavati nAnyathA

The service of the great One mentioned above is in its nature a supreme gift. When rendered with unalloyed devotion the fruit will follow for certain, not otherwise. (Parama samhita 12.51-52

"The householder is of two kinds: udasina and sadhaka. The householder who endeavors to maintain the house is called sadhaka. "After repaying three debts (to sages, to gods and to the manes) and renouncing wife and wealth, he who seeks salvation alone, is called udasina." (Garuda Purana 1.49.9-10)

The purpose of grhastha life is to become gradually detached, renounce the material life and adopt the retired life of vanaprastha.

The scriptures distinguish between grhastha (one who lives a householder life according to the scriptures), and grhamedhi (attached, materialistic householder who misuses his material facilities for unlimited sensual enjoyment). The first one is praised because he follows the path of spiritual elevation but the other is condemned. For such a person the household is a trap:


The difference between grhasthas and grhamedhis is obvious.

"...I am sex life which is _not contrary to religious principles_ [dharma], O lord of the Bharatas [Arjuna]." (BG 7.11)

Gaudiya acaryas explain:
zrIdharaH - dharmeNAviruddhaH sva-dAreSu putrotpAdana-mAtropayogI kAmo’ham iti
"I am the lust that is not contrary to dharma and of which the sole purpose is the bestowal of progeny for one's wife."
vizvanAthaH - dharmAviruddhaH sva-bhAryAyAM putrotpatti-mAtropayogI
"Not contrary to dharma means in such a way that the birth of progeny from one's wife is the sole aim."
baladevaH - dharmAviruddhaH svapatnyAM putrotpatti-mAtra-hetuH
"Not contrary to dharma means for the sole cause of the birth of progeny from one's wife."

"He who discards scriptural injunctions and acts according to his own whims attains neither perfection, nor happiness, nor the supreme destination." (BG 16.23)

"The attached householder remains in his family life, which is full of diplomacy and politics. Always spreading miseries and controlled by acts of sense gratification, he acts just to counteract the reactions of all his miseries, and if he can successfully counteract such miseries, he thinks that he is happy." (SB 3.30.9)

"Pretentiously religious householder life, in which one is attracted to material happiness and thus also attracted to the superficial explanation of the Vedas, robs one of all intelligence and attaches one to fruitive activities as all in all." (SB 4.2.22)/p>

"Maharaja Prthu, who was very opulent due to the prosperity of his entire empire, remained at home as a householder. Since he was never inclined to utilize his opulences for the gratification of his senses, he remained unattached, exactly like the sun, which is unaffected in all circumstances." (SB 4.22.52)

"Those who are interested only in a so-called beautiful life--namely remaining as a householder entangled by sons and a wife and searching after wealth--think that such things are life's ultimate goal. Such people simply wander in different types of bodies throughout this material existence without finding out the ultimate goal of life." (SB 4.25.6)

"The woman continued: In this material world, a householder's life brings all kinds of happiness in religion, economic development, sense gratification and the begetting of children, sons and grandsons. After that, one may desire liberation as well as material reputation. The householder can appreciate the results of sacrifices, which enable him to gain promotion to superior planetary systems. All this material happiness is practically unknown to the transcendentalists. They cannot even imagine such happiness." (SB 4.25.39)

"The woman continued: According to authorities, the householder life is pleasing not only to oneself but to all the forefathers, demigods, great sages, saintly persons and everyone else. A householder life is thus beneficial." (SB 4.25.40)

"Even if he goes from forest to forest, one who is not self-controlled must always fear material bondage because he is living with six co-wives--the mind and knowledge-acquiring senses. Even householder life, however, cannot harm a self-satisfied, learned man who has conquered his senses." (SB 5.1.17)

"Those who are interested in reviving Krsna consciousness and increasing their love of Godhead do not like to do anything that is not related to Krsna. They are not interested in mingling with people who are busy maintaining their bodies, eating, sleeping, mating and defending. They are not attached to their homes, although they may be householders. Nor are they attached to wives, children, friends or wealth. At the same time, they are not indifferent to the execution of their duties. Such people are interested in collecting only enough money to keep the body and soul together." (SB 5.5.3)

"Every year the plowman plows over his grain field, completely uprooting all weeds. Nonetheless, the seeds lie there and, not being completely burned, again come up with the plants sown in the field. Even after being plowed under, the weeds come up densely. Similarly, the grhastha-asrama [family life] is a field of fruitive activity. Unless the desire to enjoy family life is completely burned out, it grows up again and again. Even though camphor may be removed from a pot, the pot nonetheless retains the aroma of camphor. As long as the seeds of desire are not destroyed, fruitive activities are not destroyed." (SB 5.14.4)

"In household life one is ordered to execute many yajnas and fruitive activities, especially the vivaha-yajna [the marriage ceremony for sons and daughters] and the sacred thread ceremony. These are all the duties of a grhastha, and they are very extensive and troublesome to execute. They are compared to a big hill over which one must cross when one is attached to material activities. A person desiring to cross over these ritualistic ceremonies certainly feels pains like the piercing of thorns and pebbles endured by one attempting to climb a hill. Thus the conditioned soul suffers unlimitedly." (SB 5.14.18)

"King Gaya gave full protection and security to the citizens so that their personal property would not be disturbed by undesirable elements. He also saw that there was sufficient food to feed all the citizens. [This is called posana.] He would sometimes distribute gifts to the citizens to satisfy them. [This is called prinana.] He would sometimes call meetings and satisfy the citizens with sweet words. [This is called upalalana.] He would also give them good instructions on how to become first-class citizens. [This is called anusasana.] Such were the characteristics of King Gaya's royal order. Besides all this, King Gaya was a householder who strictly observed the rules and regulations of household life. He performed sacrifices and was an unalloyed pure devotee of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. He was called Mahapurusa because as a king he gave the citizens all facilities, and as a householder he executed all his duties so that at the end he became a strict devotee of the Supreme Lord. As a devotee, he was always ready to give respect to other devotees and to engage in the devotional service of the Lord. This is the bhakti-yoga process. Due to all these transcendental activities, King Gaya was always free from the bodily conception. He was full in Brahman realization, and consequently he was always jubilant. He did not experience material lamentation. Although he was perfect in all respects, he was not proud, nor was he anxious to rule the kingdom." (SB 5.15.7)

"What person too attached to household life due to being unable to control his senses can liberate himself? An attached householder is bound very strongly by ropes of affection for his family [wife, children and other relatives]." (SB 7.6.9)

"How can a person who is most affectionate to his family, the core of his heart being always filled with their pictures, give up their association? Specifically, a wife is always very kind and sympathetic and always pleases her husband in a solitary place. Who could give up the association of such a dear and affectionate wife? Small children talk in broken language, very pleasing to hear, and their affectionate father always thinks of their sweet words. How could he give up their association? One's elderly parents and one's sons and daughters are also very dear. A daughter is especially dear to her father, and while living at her husband's house she is always in his mind. Who could give up that association? Aside from this, in household affairs there are many decorated items of household furniture, and there are also animals and servants. Who could give up such comforts? The attached householder is like a silkworm, which weaves a cocoon in which it becomes imprisoned, unable to get out. Simply for the satisfaction of two important senses - the genitals and the tongue--one is bound by material conditions. How can one escape?" (SB 7.6.11-13)

"Sex life is compared to the rubbing of two hands to relieve an itch. Grhamedhis, so-called grhasthas who have no spiritual knowledge, think that this itching is the greatest platform of happiness, although actually it is a source of distress. The krpanas, the fools who are just the opposite of brahmanas, are not satisfied by repeated sensuous enjoyment. Those who are dhira, however, who are sober and who tolerate this itching, are not subjected to the sufferings of fools and rascals." (SB 7.9.45)

"All the rules and regulations apply equally to the householder and the sannyasi, the member of the renounced order of life. The grhastha, however, is given permission by the spiritual master to indulge in sex during the period favorable for procreation." (SB 7.12.11)

"Narada Muni replied: My dear King, those who stay at home as householders must act to earn their livelihood, and instead of trying to enjoy the results of their work themselves, they should offer these results to Krsna, Vasudeva. How to satisfy Vasudeva in this life can be perfectly understood through the association of great devotees of the Lord." (SB 7.14.2)

"A grhastha must associate again and again with saintly persons, and with great respect he must hear the nectar of the activities of the Supreme Lord and His incarnations as these activities are described in Srimad-Bhagavatam and other Puranas. Thus one should gradually become detached from affection for his wife and children, exactly like a man awakening from a dream." (SB 7.14.3-4)

"Even if one is a householder rather than a brahmacari, a sannyasi or a vanaprastha, one should not endeavor very hard for religiosity, economic development or satisfaction of the senses. Even in householder life, one should be satisfied to maintain body and soul together with whatever is available with minimum endeavor, according to place and time, by the grace of the Lord. One should not engage oneself in ugra-karma." (SB 7.14.10)

"The process of chanting the holy name of the Lord is so powerful that by this chanting even householders [grhasthas] can very easily gain the ultimate result achieved by persons in the renounced order. Maharaja Yudhisthira, I have now explained to you that process of religion." (SB 7.15.74)

"Lord Ramacandra took a vow to accept only one wife and have no connection with any other women. He was a saintly king, and everything in His character was good, untinged by qualities like anger. He taught good behavior for everyone, especially for householders, in terms of varnasrama-dharma. Thus He taught the general public by His personal activities." (SB 9.10.54)

"This is the most auspicious path for a religious householder of the twice-born orders - to selflessly worship the Personality of Godhead with wealth honestly obtained." (SB 10.84.37)

"An intelligent person should learn to renounce his desire for wealth by performing sacrifices and acts of charity. He should learn to renounce his desire for wife and children by experiencing family life. And he should learn to renounce his desire for promotion to a higher planet in his next life, O saintly Vasudeva, by studying the effects of time. Self-controlled sages who have thus renounced their attachment to household life go to the forest to perform austerities." (SB 10.84.38)

"...Religious sex life is also permitted, but only in marriage for begetting children, and not for sensuous exploitation of the body. ..." (SB 11.5.13)

"A householder may approach his wife for sex only at the time prescribed for begetting children. Otherwise, the householder should practice celibacy, austerity, cleanliness of mind and body, satisfaction in his natural position, and friendship toward all living entities. Worship of Me is to be practiced by all human beings, regardless of social or occupational divisions." (SB 11.18.43)

"The householder who approaches his devoted wife for intercourse in the period suitable for fertilization is known to always be a brahmachari."
"Thus, the intelligent person will approach his wife in the fertile period. That is said to be free of faults even if done to satisfy one's desires." (Padma Purana 5.9.44-47 cited in HBV 11.156,173)

Brahmavaivarta PurANa (4.17.68-107)

Text 68

zrI-kalAvaty uvAca
yadi muktiM nRpendrAya
dadAsi kamalodbhava
aho 'balayA me brahman
kA gatir bhavitA vada

zrI-kalAvaty uvAca-zrI KalAvatI said; yadi-if; muktim-liberation; nRpendrAya-to the king; dadAsi-you give; kamalodbhava-O BrahmA; ahaH-Oh; abalAyAH-weak woman; me-of me; brahman-O BrahmA; kA-what; gatiH-destination; bhavitA-will be; vada-please tell.

zrI KalAvatI said: O BrahmA born from a lotus flower, if you give liberation to this king, then what will be the fate of me, a weak woman?

Text 69

vinA kAntena kAntAyAH
kA zobhA caturAnana
vrataM pati-vratAyAz ca
patir eva zrutau zrutam

vinA-without; kAntena-the beloved husband; kAntAyAH-of the beloved wife; kA-what?; zobhA-happiness; caturAnanA-O four-faced BrahmA; vratam-vow; pati-vratAyAH-of a woman vowed to be faithful to her husband; ca-and; patiH-the husband; eva-indeed; zrutau-in the Vedas; zrutam-heard.

O four-faced one, how can a wife be happy without her beloved husband? The Vedas proclaim that a wife's duty is to serve her husband.

Text 70

guruz cAbhiSTa-devaz ca
tapo-dharmamayaH patiH
sarveSAM ca priyatamo
na bandhuH svAminaH paraH

guruH-guru; ca-and; abhiSTa-devaH-worshipable deity; ca-and; tapo-dharmamayaH-auterity and religion; patiH-master; sarveSAm-of all; ca-and; priyatamaH-most dear; na-na; bandhuH-friend; svAminaH-than the husband; paraH-more dear.

For a chaste wife her husband is her guru, deity, austerity, religion, and master. No friend is more dear than her husband.

Text 71

sarva-dharmAt paro brahman
pati-sevA su-durlabhA
sarvaM tan niSphalaM bhavet

sarva-dharmAt-than all religion; paraH-better; brahman-O BrahmA; pati-sevA-service to the husband; su-durlabhA-very rare; svAmi-seva-service to the husband; vihInAyAH-of one who is devoid; sarvam-all; tat-that; niSphalam-fruitless; bhavet-becomes.

O BrahmA, service to the husband is the best of all religious principles. A woman that will not serve her husband is thwarted at every step.

Text 72

vrataM dAnaM tapaH pUjA
japa-homAdhikaM ca yat
snAnaM ca sarva-tIrtheSu
pRthivyAz ca pradakSiNam

vratam-vows; dAnam-charity; tapaH-austerity; pUjA-worship; japa-homAdhikam-beginning with chanting mantras and offering yajJa; ca-and; yat-which; snAnam-bathing; ca-and; sarva-tIrtheSu-in all holy places; pRthivyAH-of the earth; ca-and; pradakSiNam-circumambulation.

Following vows, giving charity, performing austerities, worshiping the demigods, chanting mantras, performing yajJas, bathing in all holy rivers, circumambulating the earth, . . .

Text 73

dIkSA ca sarva-yajJeSu
mahA-dAnAni yAni ca
paThanaM sarva-vedAnAM
sarvANi ca tapAMsi ca

dIkSA-initiation; ca-and; sarva-yajJeSu-in all yajJas; mahA-dAnAni-giving great charity; yAni-which; ca-and; paThanam-study; sarva-vedAnAm-of all the Vedas; sarvANi-all; ca-and; tapAMsi-austerities; ca-and.

. . . being initiated into the performance all yajJas, giving very great charity, studying all the Vedas, performing all austerities, . . .

Text 74

veda-jJAnaM brAhmaNAnAM
bhojanaM deva-sevanam
etAni svAmi-sevAyAH
kalAM nArhanti SoDazIm

veda-jJAnAm-learned in all the Vedas; brAhmaNAnAm-of brAhmaNas; bhojanam-feeding; deva-sevanam-serving the demigods; etAni-these; svAmi-sevAyAH-to service to the husband; kalAm-part; na-not; arhanti-are worthy; SoDazIm-a sixteenth.

. . . feeding many brAhmaNas learned in the Vedas, and serving the demigods, are not equal to even a sixteenth part of a chaste woman's service to her husband.

Text 75

svAmi-sevA-vihInA yA
vadanti svAmine kaTum
pacanti kAlasUtre tA
yAvac candra-divAkarau

svAmi-sevA-vihInA-without service to the husband; yA-who; vadanti-says; svAmine-to her husband; kaTum-harsh words; pacanti-is cooked; kAlasUtre-in the hell called Kalasutra; tA-they; yAvac-as long as; candra-divAkarau-the sun and the moon.

A woman that will not serve her husband and then speaks harshly to him burns in hell for as long as the sun and moon shine in the sky.

Text 76

sarpa-pramANAH kRmayo
dazanti ca divA-nizam
santataM viparItaM ca
kurvanti zabdam ulbaNam

sarpa-of snakes; pramANAH-the size; kRmayaH-worms; dazanti-bite; ca-and; divA-nizam-day and night; santatam-always; viparItam-the opposite; ca-and; kurvanti-do; zabdam-sound; ulbaNam-great.

Worms big as snakes bite them day and night. Again and again they scream.

Text 77

mUtra-zleSma-purISaM ca
kurvanti bhakSaNaM sadA
mukhe tAsAM dadAty evaM
ulkaM ca yama-kiGkaraH

mUtra-urine; zleSma-phlegm; purISam-stool; ca-and; kurvanti-do; bhakSaNam-food; sadA-always; mukhe-in the mouth; tAsAm-of them; dadAti-gives; evam-thus; ulkam-fire; ca-and; yama-kiGkaraH-a servant of YamarAja.

Again and again they eat stool, urine, and phlegm. Again and again the servants of YamarAja push flaming torches into their mouths.

Text 78

bhuktvA bhogyaM ca narake
kRmi-yoNiM prayAnti tAH
bhakSanti janma-zatakaM

bhuktvA-after experiencing; bhogyam-the experience; ca-and; narake-in hell; kRmi-yoNim-to birth as a worm; prayAnti-they go; tAH-they; bhakSanti-eat; janma-zatakam-for a hundred bireths; rakta-mAMsa-purISakam-stool and flesh.

After suffering in hell they take birth as worms. For a hundred births they eat stool and flesh.

Text 79

zrutvAhaM viduSAM vaktrAd
veda-vAkyaM su-nizcitam
jAnAmi kiJcid abalA
tvaM veda-janako vibhuH

zrutvA-having heard; aham-I; viduSAm-of the wise; vaktrAt-from the mouth; veda-vAkyam-the statement of the Vedas; su-nizcitam-concluded; jAnAmi-I know; kiJcit-something; abalA-a weak woman; tvam-you; veda-janakaH-the father of the Vedas; vibhuH-powerful.

I am only a weak woman that has heard a little of the Vedas teachings from the mouths of the wise. You are powerful BrahmA, the father of the Vedas.

Text 80

guror guruz ca viduSAM
yoginAM jJAninAM tathA
sarva-jJam evam-bhUtaM tvaM
bodhayAmi kim acyuta

guroH-of the gurus; guruH-the guru; ca-and; viduSAm-of the wise; yoginAm-of the yogis; jJAninAm-of the philosophers; tathA-so; sarva-all; jJam-knowing; evam-bhUtam-so; tvam-you; bodhayAmi-I teach; kim-how?; acyuta-O infallible one.

You are the guru of the gurus, the guru of the yogIs and philosophers. You know everything. How can I teach you, O faultless one?

Text 81

prANAdhiko 'yaM kAnto me
yadi mukto babhUva ha
mama ko rakSitA brahman
dharmasya yauvanasya ca

prANAdhikaH-more dear than life; ayam-he; kAntaH-the beloved husband; me-of me; yadi-if; muktaH-liberated; babhUva-becomes; ha-indeed; mama-of me; kaH-who?; rakSitA-the protector; brahman-O BrahmA; dharmasya-of religion; yauvanasya-of youthfulness; ca-and.

O BrahmA, if my beloved husband becomes liberated, then who will be the protector of my virtue and my youth?

Text 82

kaumAre rakSitA tato
dattvA pAtrAya sat-kRtI
sarvadA rakSitA kAntas
tad-abhAve ca tat-sutaH

kaumAre-in childhood; rakSitA-the protector; tataH-then; dattvA-giving; pAtrAya-to a suitable receiver; sat-kRtI-saintly; sarvadA-always; rakSitA-protector; kAntaH-the beloved husband; tad-abhAve-in his absence; ca-and; tat-sutaH-his son.

In a woman's childhood, the father is her protector. She is given to a suitable husband and he becomes her protector. In his absence the son is her protector.

putra-bandhu-vihInAnAM pAlanaM ca svayoSitAM
para-strI-varjanaM caiva paraM nirvANa-kAraNam
anAtha-bhaginI-kanyA-vadhUnAM paripAlanam 46
kevalaM mokSa-bIjaM ca tat tyAge narakaM dhruvam
zizUnAm api putrANAM bhrAtRNAM ca tathaiva ca 47

To nourish and maintain one's own women relatives void of sons and friends and to quit other's wives leads to Moksa.
To maintain sisters, daughters, and wives without their husbands brings moksa and to quit them in an helpless state leads certainly to hell.
To quit infants and infant brothers is the cause of hell. To maintain them brings Moksa. (Narada Pancaratra 2.7.45-47)

Text 83

triSv avasthAsu nArINaM
rakSitAras trayaH sadA
yAH sva-tantrAz ca tA naSTAH

triSu-in the three; avasthAsu-states; nArINam-of women; rakSitAraH-protectors; trayaH-three; sadA-always; yAH-who; sva-tantrAH-independent; ca-and; tA-they; naSTAH-destroyed; sarva-dharma-bahiS-kRtAH-abandoned all religious principles.

These are the three protectors in the three stages of a woman's life. Independent women that protect themselves, and thus reject the principles of religion, perish.

Text 84

asat-kula-prasUtAs tAH
kulaTA duSTa-mAnasAH
zata-janma-kRtaM puNyaM
tAsAM nazyati padmaja

asat-impious; kula-families; prasUtAH-born; tAH-them; kulaTA-prostitutes; duSTa-mAnasAH-with sinful hearts; zata-janma-a hundred births; kRtam-done; puNyam-piety; tAsAm-pf them; nazyati-is destroyed; padmaja-O BrahmA.

O BrahmA, they take birth in the families of demons and become wicked-hearted prostitutes. A hundred births of their past pious deeds perish.

Text 85

putra-sneho yathA bAlye
tathA yauvana-vardhake
pativratAnAM kAnte ca
sarva-kAle sama-spRhA

putra-for a child; snehaH-love; yathA-as; bAlye-in childhood; tathA-so; yauvana-in youth; vardhake-and age; pativratAnAm-of chaste women; kAnte-for the beloved husband; ca-and; sarva-kAle-at all times; sama-spRhA-the same desire.

As she always loves her small children, so a chaste woman always loves her dear husband, whether he be young or old.

Text 86

sute stanan-dhaye sneho
mAtRNAM cAti-zobhite
pati-snehasya sAdhvInAM
kalAM nArhanti SoDazIm

sute-for the child; stanan-dhaye-drinking at the breast; snehaH-love; mAtRNAm-of the mothers; ca-and; ati-zobhite-very beautiful; pati-snehasya-of love of the husband; sAdhvInAm-of chaste women; kalAm-a part; na-not; arhanti-are worthy; SoDazIm-sixteenth.

The love a mother bears for her beautiful infant child is not equal to one sixteenth of the love a chaste wife bears for her husband.

Text 87

stanandhe stana-dAnaM taM
miSTAnne bhojanAvadhi
kAnte cittaM satInAM ca
svapne jJAne ca santatam

stanandhe-to the infant; stana-dAnam-giving the breast; tam-to him; miSTAnne-delicious food; bhojanAvadhi-to eating; kAnte-to the dear husband; cittam-the heart; satInAm-of chaste women; ca-and; svapne-in dream; jJAne-in wakefulness; ca-and; santatam-always.

A mother thinks of her infant when she gives him her breast or when she feeds him nice foods, but a chaste wife thinks of her husband always, awake or asleep.

Text 88

duHkhArto bandhu-vicchedaH
putrANAM ca tato 'dhikaH
su-dAruNAH svAminaz ca
duHkhaM nAtaH paraM striyaH

duHkhArtaH-distressed; bandhu-vicchedaH-by separation from friend; putrANAm-of children; ca-and; tataH-than that; adhikaH-more; su-dAruNAH-very terrible; svAminaH-from a husband; ca-and; duHkham-suffering; na-not; ataH-than that; param-more; striyaH-of a wife.

When separated from her relatives, a woman suffers greatly. When separated from her children, she suffers more. When separated from her husband, she suffers very terribly. For a woman no suffering is worse than that.

Text 89

avidagdhA yathA dagdhA
jvalad-agnau viSAdane
tathA vidagdhA dagdhA syAd

avidagdhA-a woman; yathA-as; dagdhA-burned; jvalad-agnau-in a blazing fire; viSAdane-in poison; tathA-so; vidagdhA-a wise woman; dagdhA-birned; syAt-is; vidagdha-virahAnale-in separation from her husband.

A wise woman burns in separation from her husband, as is she were in a blazing fire or a flood of poison.

Text 90

nAnne tRSNA jale tRSNA
sAdhvInAM svAminA vinA
virahAgnau mano dagdhaM
vahnau zuSka-tRNaM yathA

na-not; anne-for food; tRSNA-hunder; jale-for water; tRSNA-thirst; sAdhvInAm-of chaste women; svAminA-hubsand; vinA-without; virahAgnau-in the fire of separation; manaH-the mind; dagdham-burned; vahnau-in fire; zuSka-tRNam-dry grass; yathA-as.

Separated from her husband, a chaste wife has no appetite for food or drink. Her mind and heart are like a bundle of straw thrust into the flames of separation.

Text 91

na hi kAntAt paro bandhur
na hi kAntAt paraH priyaH
na hi kAntAt paro devo
na hi kAntAt paro guruH

na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; paraH-better; bandhuH-friend; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; paraH-better; priyaH-beloved; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; paraH-better; devaH-object of worship; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the hubsand; paraH-better; guruH-guru.

No one is a better friend than her husband. No one is more dear than her husband. No one is more like a god than her husband. No one is more of a teacher and master than her husband.

Text 92

na hi kAntAt paro dharmo
na hi kAntAt paraM dhanaM
na hi kAntAt parAH prANaH
na hi kAntAt parAH striyaH

na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-that her husband; paraH-better; dharmaH-religion; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; param-better; dhanaM -charity; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; parAH-better; prANaH-life; na-not; hi-indeed; kAntAt-than the husband; parAH-better; striyaH-of the wife.

No pious deeds are more important than her husband. Giving charity is not more important than her husband. Her own life breath is not more important than her husband. For a chaste wife nothing is more important than her husband.

Text 93

nimagnaM kRSNa-pAdAbje
vaiSNavAnAM yathA manaH
yathaika-putre mAtuz ca
yathA strISu ca kAminAm

nimagnam-plunged; kRSNa-of Lord KRSNa; pAdAbje-in the lotus feet; vaiSNavAnAm-of the devotees; yathA-as; manaH-the mind; yathA-so; eka-one; putre-to the child; mAtuH-of the mother; ca-ans; yathA-as; strISu-for women; ca-and; kAminAm-of debauchees.

As the devotees plunge their minds in the thought of Lord KRSNa's lotus feet, as a mother plunges her mind in the thought of her only son, as a rake plunges his mind in the thought of women, . . .

Text 94

dhaneSu kRpaNAnAM ca
cira-kAlArjiteSu ca
yathA bhayeSu bhItAnAM
zAstreSu viduSAM yathA

dhaneSu-in wealth; kRpaNAnAm-of misers; ca-and; cira-kAlArjiteSu-earned after a long time; ca-and; yathA-as; bhayeSu-in fears; bhItAnAm-of the frightened; zAstreSu-in the scriptures; viduSAm-of the learned; yathA-as.

. . . as misers plunge their minds in the thought of their long-accumulated wealth, as frightened persons plunge their minds in the thought of their fears, as scholars plunge their minds in the thought of the holy scriptures, . . .

Text 95

stanandhAnAM yathAmbAsu
zilpeSu zilpinAM yathA
yathA jAre puMzcalInAM
sAdhvInAM ca tathA priye

stanandhAnAm-of infants; yathA-as; ambAsu-for mothers; zilpeSu-in crafts; zilpinAm-of craftsmen; yathA-as; yathA-as; jAre-for paramour; puMzcalInAm-of prostitutes; sAdhvInAm-of chaste wom,en; ca-and; tathA-so; priye-for their dear husband.

. . . as infants plunge their minds in the thought of their mothers, as craftsmen plunge their minds in the thought of the crafts, and as wanton women plunge their minds in the thought of their lovers, so chaste wives plunge their minds in the thought of their beloved husbands.

Text 96

maraNaM jIvanaM tAsAM
jIvanaM maraNAdhikam
sad-bhartR-rahitAnAM ca
zokena hata-cetAsAm

maraNam-death; jIvanam-life; tAsAm-of them; jIvanam-life; maraNAdhikam-worse than death; sad-bhartR-saintly husband; rahitAnAm-without; ca-and; zokena-with grief; hata-destroyed; cetAsAm-hearts and minds.

When a woman is separated from her saintly husband, her heart and mind are destroyed by grief. Her life becomes death. For her death is better than life.

Text 97

zokaM nimagnam anyeSAM
kAlena pAna-bhojanAt
viparItaH kAnta-zoko
vardhate bhakSaNAd aho

zokam-grief; nimagnam-plunged; anyeSAm-of others; kAlena-by time; pAna-bhojanAt-from eating and drinking; viparItaH-opposite; kAnta-of the beloved husband; zokaH-grief; vardhate-increases; bhakSaNAt-from eating; ahaH-oh.

Eating and drinking, in the course of time a person plunged into grief is pacified. A woman grieving for her husband finds the opposite. As she eats her grief grows.

Text 98

karma-cchAyA-satInAM ca
saGginInAM satI varA
itare bhoga-dehAnte
sAdhvI janmani janmani

karma-work; chAyA-shadow; satInAm-and a chaste wife; ca-amd; saGginInAm-of the companions; satI-a chaste wife; varA-the best; itare-the others; bhoga-dehAnte-after the body is ended; sAdhvi-the chaste wife; janmani-birth; janmani-after birth.

A man's work, shadow, and chaste wife are his constant companions, but of the three, the chaste wife is the best. A man's work and shadow end when he leaves his body, but a chaste wife follows him birth after birth.

Text 99

karoSi cej jagad-dhAtar
imaM muktaM mayA vinA
tvAM zaptvAhaM tvayi vibho
pazya dAsyAmi strI-vadham

karoSi-you do; cej-if; jagad-dhAtaH-O creator of the universe; imam-this; muktam-liberation; mayA-me; vinA-without; tvAm-you; zaptvA-having cursed; aham-I; tvayi-in you; vibhaH-O lord; pazya-look; dAsyAmi-I give; strI-vadham-the death of a woman.

O BrahmA, O creator of the universe, if you give liberation to him and not to me also, then I will curse you. I will accuse you of killing a woman.

Text 100

zrutvA kalAvatI-vAkyaM
uvAca vismito vidhiH
hitaM pIyUSa-sAdRzaM

zrutvA-hearing; kalAvatI-vAkyam-KalAvatI's words; uvAca-spoke; vismitaH-surprised; vidhiH-BrahmA; hitam-auspicious; pIyUSa-sAdRzam-like nectar; bhaya-samvigna-mAnasaH-frightened at heart.

Both frightened and surprised to hear KalAvatI's words, BrahmA spoke to her auspicious words sweet like nectar.

Text 101

vatse muktiM na dAsyAmi
svAmine te tvayA vinA
muktaM kartuM tvayA sArdhaM
sAmprataM nAham IzvaraH

zrI-brahmA uvAca-zrI BrahmA said; vatse-O child; muktim-liberation; na-not; dAsyAmi-I will give; svAmine-to your husband; te-you; tvayA-without; vinA-you; muktam-liberated; kartum-to do; tvayA-you; sArdham-with; sAmpratam-now; na-not; aham-I; IzvaraH-am able.

zrI BrahmA said: Child, I will not give liberation to your husband without giving it also to you. However, at this time I do not have the power to give liberation to both him and you.

Text 102

mAtar muktir vinA bhogAd
durlabhA sarva-sammatA
nirvANatAM samApnoti
bhogI bhoga-nikRntane

mAtaH-O mother; muktiH-liberation; vinA-without; bhogAt-experience; durlabhA-difficult to attain; sarva-sammatA-considered by all; nirvANatAm-liberation; samApnoti-attains; bhogI-experienced; bhoga-nikRntane-in the end of experience.

O mother, all saintly persons agree that one cannot attain liberation until all his past karma is used up.

Text 103

kati varSaM svarga-bhogaM
kuruSva svAminA saha
tatas tu yUvayor janma
bhArate bhavitA sati

kati-for some; varSam-years; svarga-bhogam-enjoying in Svargaloka; kuruSva-do; svAminA-husband; saha-with; tataH-then; tu-indeed; yUvayoH-of you both; janma-birth; bhArate-on earth; bhavitA-will be; sati-O saintly one.

O saintly one, enjoy with your husband for some years in the world of Svargaloka. Then you will both take birth on the earth.

Text 104

yadA bhaviSyati satI
kanyA te rAdhikA svayam
jIvan-muktau tayA sArdhaM
golokaM ca gamiSyathaH

yadA-when; bhaviSyati-will be; satI-saintly; kanyA-daughter; te-of you; rAdhikA-RAdhA; svayam-Herself; jIvan-muktau-liberated in this life; tayA-Her; sArdham-with; golokam-to Goloka; ca-and; gamiSyathaH-you will go.

Saintly RAdhA will be your daughter. In that life you will both become liberated. Along with RAdhA, you two will go to the world of Goloka.

Text 105

kati kAlaM nRpa-zreSTha
bhuGkSva bhogaM striyA saha
sAdhvi vai sattva-yukte ca
mA mAM zaptuM tvam arhasi

kati kAlam-for some time; nRpa-zreSTha-O bets of kings; bhuGkSva-enjoy; bhogam-enjoyment; striyA-wife; saha-with; sAdhvi-saintly one; vai-indeed; sattva-yukte-in the mode of goodness; ca-and; mA-don't; mAm-me; zaptum-to curse; tvam-you; arhasi-are worthy.

O best of kings, please enjoy for some time with your wife. O saintly woman in the mode of goodness, there is no need for you to curse me.

Text 106

jIvan-muktAH„ samAH santaH
vAJchanti hari-dAsyaM ca
durlabhaM ca na nirvRtim

jIvan-muktAH-liberated in this life; samAH-equiposied; santaH-saintly devotees; kRSNa-pAdAbja-mAnasAH-their hearts fixed on Lord KRSNa's lotus feet; vAJchanti-desire; hari-dAsyam-service to Lord KRSNa; ca-and; durlabham-rare; ca-and; na-not; nirvRtim-liberation.

Saintly devotees are already liberated even as they live in the material world. Their hearts placed at Lord KRSNa's lotus feet, they wish only to serve Him. They do not wish for liberation.

Text 107

ity uktvA tau varaM datvA
santasthau puratas tayoH
yayatus tau taM praNamya
jagAma svAlayaM vidhiH

iti-thus; uktvA-speaking; tau-to them both; varam-boon; datvA-giving; santasthau-stood; purataH-before; tayoH-them; yayatuH-engaged; tau-them; tam-to him; praNamya-bowing; jagAma-went; svAlayam-to his own abode; vidhiH-BrahmA.

After speaking these words, BrahmA stood up. The king and his wife bowed down before him and left, and then BrahmA returned to his own abode.

Brahmavaivarta PurANa 4.18.102-119:

Text 102

zrI-aGgirA uvAca
yUyaM zRNuta vakSyAmi
vacanaM satyam eva ca
sva-karma-bhoginAM bhogaM
AkarmAntaM zrutau zrutam

zrI-aGgirAH uvAca-zrI AGgirA said; yUyam-you; zRNuta-please hear; vakSyAmi-I will tell; vacanam-words; satyam-truthful; eva-indeed; ca-and; sva-karma-bhoginAm-experiencing one's own karma; bhogam-experience; AkarmAntam-the edn of karma; zrutau-in the Vedas; zrutam-heard.

zrI AGgirA said: Please listen, and I will speak the truth. The Vedas say that one must experience what one's karma ordains.

Text 103

gato bhogaz ca yuSmAkaM
asmAbhiH saha nizcitam
gate bhoge punar bhogo
na hi vede nirUpitaH

gataH-gone; bhogaH-experience; ca-and; yuSmAkam-of you; asmAbhiH-us; saha-with; nizcitam-destermined; gate-gone; bhoge-experience; punaH-again; bhogaH-experience; na-not; hi-indeed; vede-in the Vedas; nirUpitaH-described.

Now your destined association with us is ended. The Vedas say that when the fruits of karma are exhausted they cannot be regained.

Text 104

zubhAzubhaM ca yat karma
bhArate kRtibhiH kRtam
nAbhuktaM kSiyate kAntA
janma-koTi-zatair api

zubhAzubham-good and bad; ca-and; yat-what; karma-karma; bhArate-on the earth; kRtibhiH-by the pious; kRtam-done; na-not; abhuktam-not experienced; kSiyate-destroyed; kAnta-O beloveds; janma-koTi-zataiH-by a billion births; api-even.

O beloveds, the results of good and bad karma in this world must be experienced. If they are not experienced, they do not perish even after a billion births.

Text 105

para-bhuktAM ca kAntAM ca
yo bhuGkte sa narAdhAmaH
sa pacyate kAlasUtre
yAvac candra-divAkarau

para-bhuktAm-enjoyed by another; ca-and; kAntAm-wife; ca-and; yaH-who; bhuGkte-enjoys; sa-he; narAdhAmaH-the lowest of men; sa-he; pacyate-is cooked; kAlasUtre-in hell; yAvat-as long as; candra-divAkarau-the sun and moon.

He who again enjoys with a wife that has been enjoyed by another is the lowest of men. He burns in hell for as long as the sun and moon shine in the sky.

Text 106

na sA daive nA sA paitrye
pAkArhA pApa-samyutA
tasyAz cAliGgane bhartA
bhraSTa-zrIs tejasA hatAH

na-not; sA-she; daive-for the demigods; nA-not; sA-she; paitrye-for the pitAs; pAkArhA-worthy to burn in hell; pApa-samyutA-sinful; tasyAH-of her; ca-and; AliGgane-in the embrace; bhartA-the husband; bhraSTa-destroyed; zrIH-glory and wealth; tejasA-by power; hatAH-destroyed.

A woman enjoyed by another is not worthy to assist in yajJas for the demigods and pitAs. Such a sinful woman is worthy only to burn in hell. If her husband embraces her, his power, glory, and wealth are at once destroyed.

Text 107

devatAH pitaras tasya
havya-dAnena tarpaNe
sukhino na bhavanty evaM
ity Aha kamalodbhavaH

devatAH-the demigods; pitaraH-the pitAs; tasya-of him; havya-dAnena-in the offering of yajJa; tarpaNe-in satisfaction; sukhinaH-happy; na-not; bhavanti-become; evam-thus; iti-thus; Aha-said; kamalodbhavaH-BrahmA.

Lord BrahmA says that the demigods and pitAs are not pleased with the yajJas offered by such a husband.

Text 108

tasmAt prayatnair bhAryAM ca
rakSaNaM kurute sudhIH
anyathA pApa-bhAg bhUtvA
nizcitaM narakaM vrajet

tasmAt-therefore; prayatnaiH-carefully; bhAryAm-wife; ca-and; rakSaNam-protection; kurute-does; sudhIH-intelligent; anyathA-otherwise; pApa-bhAk-sinful; bhUtvA-becoming; nizcitam-concluded; narakam-to hell; vrajet-goes.

For this reason an intelligent man carefully protects his wife. Otherwise he becomes a sinner and goes to hell.

Text 109

pade pade sAvadhAnaH
kAntAM rakSati paNDitaH
pratIti-sthalI yoSA
doSANAM ca karaNDikA

pade pade-at every step; sAvadhAnaH-carefully; kAntAm-wife; rakSati-protects; paNDitaH-wise; pratIti-of trust; sthalI-the place; yoSA-a woman; doSANAm-of faults; ca-and; karaNDikA-a box.

A wise man protects his wife at every step. A wife trusted by her husband is a box of faults.

Text 110

kalatraM pAka-pAtraM ca
sadA rakSitum arhati
para-sparzAd azuddhaM ca
zuddhaM sva-sparzane sadA

kalatram-wife; pAka-pAtram-a cooking pot; ca-and; sadA-always; rakSitum-to protect; arhati-is worthy; para-sparzAt-by the out of another; azuddham-impure; ca-and; zuddham-pure; sva-sparzane-in one's own touch; sadA-always.

One should always protect a cooking pot and a wife. If others touch them, they become impure. If only the owner touches them, they remain pure.

Text 111

sva-kAntaM vaJcanaM kRtvA
paraM gacchati yAdhamA
kumbhIpAkaM sA prayAti
yAvac candra-divAkarau

sva-kAntam-own husband; vaJcanam-cheating; kRtvA-doing; param-to another; gacchati-goes; yA-who; adhamA-the lowest of women; kumbhIpAkam-to hell; sA-she; prayAti-goes; yAvac-as long as; candra-divAkarau-the sun and moon.

She who cheats her husband and goes to another is the lowest of woman. She goes to hell for as long as the sun and moon shine in the sky.

Text 112

tAm eva yamadutAz ca
saMsthApya narakAntare
uttiSThantIM viklavaM ca
kurvanti daNDa-tADanam

tAm-her; eva-indeed; yamadutAH-the Yamadutas; ca-and; saMsthApya-placing; narakAntare-in hell; uttiSThantIm-standing up; viklavam-terror; ca-and; kurvanti-do; daNDa-tADanam-beating with sticks.

The YamadUtas take her to hell. If she tries to flee their tortures, they beat her with sticks.

Text 113

sarpa-pramANAH kITAz ca
tIkSna-dantAH su-dAruNAH
dazanti puMzcalIM tatra
santataM tAM divA-nizam

sarpa-of snakes; pramANAH-the size; kITAH-worms; ca-and; tIkSna-dantAH-with sharp teeth; su-dAruNAH-fearsome; dazanti-bite; puMzcalIm-an unfaithful woman; tatra-there; santatam-always; tAm-her; divA-nizam-day and night.

Big as snakes, fearsome sharp-fanged worms bite an unchaste woman day and night, again and again.

Text 114

vikRtAkAra-zabdaM ca
karoti zAzvataM bhiyA
na mamAra prahAreNa

vikRtAkAra-zabdam-terrible sounds; ca-and; karoti-does; zAzvatam-always; bhiyA-with fear; na-not; mamAra-died; prahAreNa-by the torture; sUkSma-deha-vidhAriNI-in a subtle body.

Again and again she screams terribly, but she does not die because she has only a subtle body of mind and intelligence.

Text 115

muhUrtArdhaM sukhaM bhuktvA
loke 'tra yazasA hatA
patitA para-loke ca
gatim etAdRzIM labhet

muhUrtArdham-half a muhurta; sukham-happiness; bhuktvA-enjoying; loke-in this world; atra-here; yazasA-with fame; hatA-destroyed; patitA-fallen; para-loke-in the next world; ca-and; gatim-destination; etAdRzIm-like this; labhet-attains.

After enjoying a few moments of pleasure she becomes infamous in this world, and after death she attains a life of torture.

Text 116

para-spRSTA ca yA nArI
yA spRhaM kurute param
sApi duSTA parityajyA
cety Aha kamalodbhavaH

para-spRSTA-touched by another; ca-and; yA-who; nArI-;woman yA-who; spRham-desire; kurute-does; param-another; sA-she; api-also; duSTA-polluted; parityajyA-to be abandoned; ca-and; iti-thus; Aha-says; kamalodbhavaH-BrahmA.

Lord BrahmA says that a woman who desires another man or who is touched by another man is a sinner and should be rejected.

Text 117

tasmAn nArI parair yatnAd
adRSTA kRtibhiH kRtA
asUryam-pazyA ye dArAH
zuddhAs te ca pati-vratAH

tasmAt-therefore; nArI-a woman; paraiH-by others; yatnAt-carefully; adRSTA-not seen; kRtibhiH-by the pious; kRtA-done; asUryam-not by the sun; pazyA-to be seen; ye-who; dArAH-wives; zuddhAH-pure; te-they; ca-and; pati-vratAH-devoted to their husbands.

Therefore the pious carefully keep their wives from the gaze of others. Not seen even by the sun, their wives remain pure, chaste, and devoted to their husbands.

Text 118

svacchanda-gAminI yA ca
svatantrA zUkarI-samA
antar dRSTA sadA saiva
nizcitaM para-gAminI

svacchanda-gAminI-going where she wishes; yA-who; ca-and; svatantrA-independent; zUkarI-samA-like a sow; antaH-within; dRSTA-seen; sadA-always; sA-she; eva-indeed; nizcitam-concluded; para-gAminI-chasing after men.

An independent woman that goes where she likes, is seen by all, and chases after men, is like a sow.

Text 119

svAmi-sAdhyA ca yA nArI
kula-dharma-bhiyA sthitA
kAntena sArdhaM sA kAntA
vaikuNThaM yAti nizcitam

svAmi-sAdhyA-faithful to her husband; ca-and; yA-who; nArI-woman; kula-dharma-bhiyA-afraid of breaking the religious principle of chastity; sthitA-staying; kAntena-husband; sArdham-with; sA-she; kAntA-the wife; vaikuNTham-to VaikuNTha; yAti-goes; nizcitam-indeed.

A wife who, afraid to break the religious principle of chastity, is faithful to her husband, goes with him to VaikuNTha.

Brahmavaivarta PurANa 4.24.33-42:

Aurva said- O daughter, I am explaining to you the inaccessible tattva of politics which would be beneficial, truthful and is provided by the Vedas and would result in pleasure. (33)

In this universe, as well as in future life the husband happens to be the best of relatives. For the ladies of high families there could be none else dearer to them than the husband. The husband is the best of teacher for them. (34)

The adoration, performing of vrata, charities, fasting, japam, bathing at the holy places, performing of all the yajias, going round the universe, serving the Brahmanas and the guests do not compare even one sixteenth part of serving the husband. (35-36)

In the land of Bharata, the one, who is devoted to the husband and the one who is otherwise, all are of no consequence when at the beginning of the pleasure the husband feels painful. All the sastras spell out that serving the husband is extremely religious. One should treat according to one's wisdom her husband as even greater than Lord Narayana. (37)

One should always serve at his lotus-like feet, O sage, one should not speak harsh words to the husband even in joke as by mistake. In the land of Bharata, a lady who utters harsh words to her husband or follows an evil path, no remedy has been provided in the Vedas for her purification. She has to remain in the hell up to the life of Brahma. A woman getting all the religious ceremonies performed, who but speaks harsh words to her husband, all the good deeds performed in her hundred births are destroyed. Thus Aurva best of the sages after rendering good advice to his daughter left the place. The sage Durvasa thereafter started living in his asrama delightfully. At the developing of the desire for conjugal pleasures, the sage got a damsel. (38-42)

Visnu smriti on women (ch. 24-26)

(based on the translation by Julius Jolly, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1880, slightly updated)

Now a Brahmana may take four wives in the direct order of the (four) castes; [1]
A Kshatriya, three; [2]
A Vaisya, two; [3]
A Sudra, one only. [4]
Among these (wives), if a man marries one of his own caste, their hands shall be joined. [5]
In marriages with women of a different class, a Kshatriya bride must hold an arrow in her hand; [6]
A Vaisya bride,. a whip; [7]
A Sudra bride, the skirt of a mantle. [8]
No one should marry a woman belonging to the same Gotra, or descended from the same Rishi ancestors, or from the same Pravaras. [9]
Nor (should he marry) one descended from his maternal ancestors within the fifth, or from his paternal ancestors within the seventh degree; [10]
Nor one of a low family (such as an agriculturer's, or an attendant of the king's family); [11]
Nor one diseased; [12]
Nor one with a limb too much (as e. g. having six fingers); [13]
Nor one with a limb too little; [14]
Nor one whose hair is decidedly red; [15]
Nor one talking idly. [16]
There are eight forms of marriage [17]
The Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Gandharva, Asura, Rakshasa, and Paisaca forms. [18]
The gift of a damsel to a fit bridegroom, who has been invited, is called a Brahma marriage. [19]
If she is given to a Ritvik (priest), while he is officiating at a sacrifice, it is called a Daiva marriage. [20]
If (the giver of the bride) receives a pair of kine in return, a is called an Arsha marriage. [21]
(If she is given to a suitor) by his demand, it is called a Prajapatya marriage. [22]
A union between two lovers, without the consent of mother and father, is called a Gandharva marriage. [23]
If the damsel is sold (to the bridegroom), it is called an Asura marriage. [24]
If he seizes her forcibly, it is called a Rakshasa marriage. [25]
If he embraces her in her sleep, or while she is unconscious, it is called a Paisaca marriage. [26]
Among those (eight forms of marriage), the four first forms are legitimate (for a Brahmana); [27]
And so is the Gandharva form for a Kshatriya. [28]
A son procreated in a Brahma marriage redeems (or sends into the heavenly abodes hereafter mentioned) twenty-one men (viz. ten ancestors, ten descendants, and him who gave the damsel in marriage). [29]
A son procreated in a Daiva marriage, fourteen; [30]
A son procreated in an Arsha marriage, seven; [31]
A son procreated in a Prajapatya marriage, four. [32]
He who gives a damsel in marriage according to the Brahma rite, brings her into the world of Brahman (after her death, and enters that world himself). [33]
(He who gives her in marriage) according to the Daiva rite, (brings her) into Svarga (or heaven, and enters Svarga himself). [34]
(He who gives her in marriage) according to the Arsha rite, (brings her) into the world of Vishnu (and enters that world himself). [35]
(He who gives her in marriage) according to the Prajapatya rite, (brings her) into the world of the gods (and enters that world himself). [36]
(He who gives her in marriage) according to the Gandharva rite, will go to the world of Gandharvas. [37]
A father, a paternal grandfather, a brother, a kinsman, a maternal grandfather, and the mother (are the persons) by whom a girl may be given in marriage. [38]
On failure of the preceding one (it devolves on) the next in order (to give her in marriage), in case he is able. [39]
When she has allowed three monthly periods to pass (without being married), let her choose a husband for herself; three monthly periods having passed, she has in every case full power to dispose of herself (as she thinks best). [40]
A damsel whose menses begin to appear (while she is living) at her father's house, before she has been betrothed to a man, has to be considered as a degraded woman: by taking her (without the consent of her kinsmen) a man commits no wrong. [41]

Now the duties of a woman (are as follows): [1]
To live in harmony with her husband; [2]
To show reverence (by embracing their feet and such-like attentions) to her mother-in-law, father-in-law, to Gurus (such as elders), to divinities, and to guests; [3]
To keep household articles (such as the winnowing basket and the rest) in good array; [4]
To maintain saving habits; [5]
To be careful with her (pestle and mortar and other) domestic utensils; [6]
Not to practise incantations with roots (or other kinds of witchcraft); [7]
To observe auspicious customs; [8]
Not to decorate herself with ornaments (or to partake of amusements) while her husband is absent from home; [9]
Not to resort to the houses of strangers (during the absence of her husband); [10]
Not to stand near the doorway or by the windows (of her house); [11]
Not to act by herself in any matter; [12]
To remain subject, in her infancy, to her father; in her youth, to her husband; and in her old age, to her sons. [13]
After the death of her husband, to preserve her chastity, or to ascend the pile after him. [14]
No sacrifice, no penance, and no fasting is allowed to women apart from their husbands; to pay obedience to her lord is the only means for a woman to obtain bliss in heaven. [15]
A woman who keeps a fast or performs a penance in the lifetime of her lord, deprives her husband of his life, and will go to hell. [16]
A good wife, who perseveres in a chaste life after the death of her lord, will go to heaven like (perpetual) students, even though she has no son. [17]

If a man has several wives of his own caste, he shall perform his religious duties together with the eldest (or first-married) wife. [1]
(If he has several) wives of divers castes (he shall perform them) even with the youngest wife if she is of the same caste as himself. [2]
On failure of a wife of his own caste (he shall perform them) with one belonging to the caste next below his own; so also in cases of distress (i.e. when the wife who is equal in caste to him happens to be absent, or when she has met with a calamity); [3]
But no twice-born man ever with a Sudra wife. [4]
A union of a twice-born man with a Sudra wife can never produce religious merit; it is from carnal desire only that he marries her, being blinded by lust. [5]
Men of the three first castes, who through folly marry a woman of the lowest caste, quickly degrade their families and progeny to the state of Sudras. [6]
If his oblations to the gods and manes and (his hospitable attentions) to guests are offered principally through her hands, the gods and manes (and the guests) will not eat such offerings, and he will not go to heaven. [7]

Nitisastras list six qualities of a wife and six qualities of a husband.

Puranic Encyclopedia, entry Grhastha

GRHASTHA. In ancient India the life of a male person was divided into four stages, namely, Brahmacarya, Garhasthya, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. He who is in the second stage of life is called a Grhastha.

When a person marries, he becomes a Grhastha. The bride should have certain qualities to be an ideal wife. The girl should be only a third of the age of the male. She should not have hair either too much or too little. She should not be black or of a pingala hue. She should not have any of her organs extra at the time of birth. The following types of girls are to be avoided for marriage. (1) Girls bred up by low-caste people (2) girls with hair over the body(3) not born of a good family (4) sick ones (5) ill-natured ones (6) girls ... (7) with hereditary diseases the face) (9) girls with the sound of males (11) lean ones (12) with the voice of a crow (13), with thick eyelashes (14) round eyes. Again avoid girls having hair on their legs, raised heels and those with small depressions on their cheeks when they laugh. Girls whose bodies are too bright, with white nails, red eyes and fat hands and legs are not good for marriage. Girls too tall or too short, with eyelashes touching each other, with broad and raised teeth are to be avoided. A true Grhastha is one who marries a girl who is separated from him by five generations on the maternal side and seven generations on the paterna1 side.

A true Grhastha should daily worship devas, cows, brahmins, scholars, old men and preceptors. He should worship sandhya (dawn and dusk) daily and also fire. He should wear on his body leaves of Visnukranti, Karuka (couch grass), Tulasi (holy basil plant). He should appear neat and smart wearing good dress, with white flowers on his well combed head. He should never steal, speak unpleasant words to anybody nor speak an untruth even if it be pleasant. He should not openly speak about the sins of others. He should not covet another man's wife. He should not travel in a damaged vehicle nor should he sit under the shade of a tree on the banks of a river. A Grhastha should not mingle with such persons as (1) men hated by the people (2) outcastes from society (3) insane men (4) those having a great number of enemies (5) those who torment others (6) prostitutes (7) husbands of prostitutes (8) those who use abusive language (9) those who tell lies ( 10) spendthrifts ( 11) scandalmongers and (12) rogues. Never travel alone. He should not bathe against the flow in a river. Never enter a house on fire nor climb to the extreme top of trees. He should not grind his teeth, squeeze out his nose, yawn without covering the mouth, breathe or spit with the face covered, laugh noisily, breathe out with a sound, bite the teeth, pinch grasses or write or draw on the ground (Amsa 3, Visnu Purana).

Verse on a conflict of interests at wedding

varaM varayate kanyA mAtA vittaM pitA zrutam
bAndhavAH kulam icchanti miSTAnnam itare janAH
(PaJcatantra 3.210)

variation 1 (same meaning):
kanyA varayate rUpaM mAtA vittaM pitA zrutam
bAndhavAH kulam icchanti miSTAnnam itare janAH
(SubhASita Ratna BhandAgara 401, MahAsubhASita sangraha 8595 [naiSadhIya 10.1?])

[Who wants what from a bridegroom:] A bride cherishes charming mien, mother wishes money through him, father wants him to be wise, relatives require of him a good pedigree. Other people just wish a good feast.

The bride looks for appearance, the mother for money, father looks out for knowledge and the relatives look out for caste. Rest all look out for food. (

variation 2:
kanyA varayate rUpaM mAtA vittaM pitA zrutam
bAndhavAH zIlam icchanti sUpa annam itare janAH

A bride cherishes a prince-charming, mother wishes to have money through him, bridegroom's father wants him to be a wise one in dealings with his new wife and old parents and bridegroom's relatives require of him good demeanour. Other people wish to have dough of cooked pulse-gram at marriage feasts.

This seems related to this verse:

Adau kulaM parIkSeta tato vidyAM tato vayaH
zIlaM vanaM tato rUpam pazcAd eva vivAhayet

First the [nobility of the] family should be examined, then the learning, then age. Then character, dwelling, and appearance, and then only should the marriage alliance be made. (Mahasubhasita sangraha 4743)

Biblical quotes on a dharmic wife

To the woman also he said: I will multiply thy sorrows, and thy conceptions: in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, and thou shalt be under thy husband's power, and he shall have dominion over thee. (Genesis 3:16, DRC)

Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord: for the grace of her modesty is above gold. (Ecclesiasticus 7:21, DRC)

Happy is the husband of a good wife: for the number of his years is double.
A virtuous woman rejoiceth her husband, and shall fulfil the years of his life in peace.
A good wife is a good portion, she shall be given in the portion of them that fear God, to a man for his good deeds. (Ecclesiasticus 26:1-3, DRC)

As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house. (Ecclesiasticus 26:21, DRC)

He that possesseth a good wife, beginneth a possession: she is a help like to himself, and a pillar of rest. (Ecclesiasticus 36:26, DRC)

Further information: Manu-samhita (esp. ch. 3,4,9,10) etc. Manu Smriti and Women - compilation

Brahmacari, grhastha and varnasrama - articles, seminars, discussions
ISKCON matrimony and related websites
Polygamy references
Divorce: a compilation of references
Indradyumna Swami - lecture on vivaha
Significance of wearing sari
Sigalovada sutta (advice for Buddhist grhasthas)
Sati (with a secular dating of sastras)
Mehandi: henna art, tradition and service, By Rosana Araújo
Just a Mother: Celebrate Your Title
A Mother's Worth
Toothless Grin

adharmic agenda vs. family:
a comment on feminism
F. Carolyn Graglia - Domestic Tranquility (abridged)
Z bývalé feministky se stala tradiční žena v domácnosti, která teď bojuje proti progresivismu a wokeismu Fatherless homes linked to mental illness and mass shootings
Domovy bez otců souvisejí s duševními poruchami a masovou střelbou, říká autor knihy Chlapecká krize
The Red Pill Movie (a good documentary on feminism, esp. in USA)
Meghan Trainor - Dear Future Husband - videoklip, text, lyrics a překlad (on a modern Western style relationship in a nutshell)
Ranganayaki dd - Urmila and the 3rd Ellipsis
Top 10: Signs She's A Gold Digger
How to Spot a Gold Digger
Unraveling The Modern Day Gold Digger: How To Spot Her Before She Drains Your Bank Account

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