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Srila Prabhupada often states that the main reason that a marriage ends is because of an interruption in sense gratification.
When the home and children are in good order, then the husband need not worry about them at all. If he is forced to worry about them, then his anxiety causes his responsibilities suffer.
has been a lot of talk lately on the topics of healthy relationships in
Krishna Consciousness, and that focus on Krishna should be the center and
most important aspect of a relationship. I would be honored to submit
another kind of relationship that doesn't get much support; the
old-fashioned idea of the men in our lives should be the head of the
household. Perhaps it is not the most popular idea. Yet, it seems that if
we are willing to embrace KC as the ultimate goal, we can encourage women
and men in this kind of relationship as well, even though it might not
sound right to everyone.
Prabhupada often states that the main reason that a marriage ends is
because of an interruption in sense gratification. If devotees can find a
partner, with the intention of making Krishna Consciousness the center of
their relationship, then they will be guaranteed a successful marriage.
seems appropriate for devotees who are already in a Krishna Conscious
marriage to offer encouragement and support to those seeking the same. In
the future, I am hopeful that I can offer some perspective on the role of
the husband, especially on his role as protector. It is the responsibility
of the husband to give his wife fearlessness, among his other
this time I would like to focus on the role of the wife, simply because I
have more experience in that area.
should always encourage our devotee women to seek marriage. A soul in a
woman's body requires protection. She ideally gets this protection through
every stage in her life; from her father when she is young, from her
husband when she is grown, and from her sons when her husband leaves home
to pursue spiritual enlightenment. If a woman is young and unmarried,
without a devotee father, then we grhastas should help her find a Krishna
Conscious spouse, so he can protect and encourage her in her pursuit of
a woman ends up without a man to protect her. That is hard for her, and
causes many difficulties. Those who are able to should do their best in
helping these women take shelter of Krishna. We should offer emotional
support, even financial support, to help them maintain their Krishna
the last few decades, western society has portrayed the woman who is
"only" a wife and mother as unsatisfied and oppressed. Today's
woman should pursue a career if she wants fulfillment, because family life
is not enough. This is frequently called "women's liberation".
Men can no longer expect to be considered "head of the
household". That is old-fashioned, chauvinistic, and doesn't empower
women. This fails to acknowledge that a woman achieves more than just
temporary material power by faithfully serving her husband. Not only does
a woman gain spiritual power by serving her husband, but it is pleasing to
Krishna as well.
are some powerful examples of this in the sastras.
addition, the majority of working women will admit that even though they
work the same amount of hours as their husbands, they still shoulder much
of the domestic responsibility. Many men are not experienced in household
duties, because it is not their natural position. Ultimately, the husband
ends up disturbed if household affairs get neglected, and then his duties
suffer because of his anxiety. The woman does not really get
"liberation" in this circumstance. She merely gets more
responsibility, and less time for her family. When the husband is the
supporter and authority figure, and the wife is expert at managing every
aspect of the household, then family life is peaceful and conducive to
Krishna Consciousness. This system deserves a closer look.
Bhagavatam 4.27.2 purport
is the duty of the wife to dress herself up very nicely so that when her
husband returns home he becomes attracted by her dress and cleanliness and
thus becomes satisfied. In other words, the wife is the inspiration of all
good intelligence. Upon seeing one's wife dressed nicely, one can think
very soberly about family business. When a person is too anxious about
family affairs, he cannot discharge his family duties nicely. A wife is
therefore supposed to be an inspiration and should keep the husband's
intelligence in good order so that they can combinedly prosecute the
affairs of family life without impediment."
purport explains the most vital part a woman plays in her marriage. When
the home and children are in good order, then the husband need not worry
about them at all. If he is forced to worry about them, then his anxiety
causes his responsibilities suffer. This makes the whole family suffer.
When the wife is expert in maintaining the home Krishna has given her,
then her husband can spend his time doing his duty, which is maintaining
his family and supporting them nicely. He is happy to do so.
can be argued that a woman might have a different interest than what her
husband would prefer her to do. If a woman has not been instructed in the
importance of serving her husband, then it is likely that she will
consider our own likes and dislikes to be much more important that those
of her husband. If we sincerely want to follow in the footsteps of great
chaste women such as Gandhari, Draupadi, and Devahuti, then we should
seriously consider the value of pleasing our husbands. In serving the
husband in this way, we also learn how to serve the spiritual master, and
doesn't mean that a devotee woman can only stay at home! What it means is
a devotee woman should follow the instruction of her husband, as sastra
dictates again and again. He might feel that her service is needed at
home, at the temple, or in preaching activities. A devotee husband, as
head of the household, will engage his good wife in service that he feels
is best for the spiritual advancement of their family. Following the
instruction of her husband is the religious duty of a Krishna Conscious
wife, and it is for her ultimate benefit to do this as best as she is
is a vivid example in the following verse of the power a woman can achieve
through being chaste and faithful to her husband:
wife of a brahmana suffering from leprosy manifested herself as the
topmost of all chaste women by serving a prostitute to satisfy her
husband. She thus stopped the movement of the sun, brought her dead
husband back to life and satisfied the three principal demigods [Brahma,
Visnu and Mahesvara]."
Aditya Purana, Markandeya Purana and Padma Purana tell about a brahmana
who was suffering from leprosy but had a very chaste and faithful wife. He
desired to enjoy the company of a prostitute, and therefore his wife went
to her and became her maidservant, just to draw her attention for his
service. When the prostitute agreed to associate with him, the wife
brought her the leprotic husband. When that leper, the sinful son of a
brahmana, saw the chastity of his wife, he finally abandoned his sinful
intentions. While coming home, however, he touched the body of Markandeya
Rsi, who thus cursed him to die at sunrise. Because of her chastity, the
woman was very powerful. Therefore when she heard about the curse, she
vowed to stop the sunrise. Because of her strong determination to serve
her husband, the three deities -- namely Brahma, Visnu and Mahesvara --
were very happy, and they gave her the benediction that her husband would
be cured and brought back to life. This example is given herein to
emphasize that a devotee should engage himself exclusively for the
satisfaction of Krishna, without personal motives. That will make his life
story emphasizes that this woman's first desire was to satisfy her husband
for the satisfaction of Krishna. Even though he had sinful desires, she
still remained faithful and relied on Krishna's mercy to guide him in the
right path. Ultimately, her undying faithfulness and chastity destroyed
his lusty desires for sense gratification. If she attained such power
serving a sinful husband, imagine the power in following a husband who has
no such desires! It is important that we, as women, realize this power in
regards to serving our husbands. This power will destroy the husband's
desire for sense gratification, and turn it into desire to serve Krishna.
This is for his ultimate benefit as well as ours. This is but one example
that emphasizes the immense power that lies in chastity, and in faithfully
serving the husband.
is not easy for those of us who grew up in the west to relinquish our
newfound "freedom", when we have lived at the height of the
women's liberation movement. It is not easy to give the authority to our
husbands, when it is pounded into us from birth that men do not deserve
any authority, because it is old-fashioned, and anything a man can do, a
woman can do better. We are told we simply do not even need men, except
maybe to fix cars and mow the lawn. Yet, sastra dictates that a woman does
require the protection of a man and that we should follow our husband's
should not deny either of those facts simply because of our material
conditioning. The freedom and liberation promised to us by so-called
independence from men is false, and is not in accordance with sastra.
woman has nothing to lose by serving her husband faithfully, giving him
authority in the family, and following his instructions. It is entirely
possible for us to attempt just a touch of the faithful behavior of the
chaste women throughout our history; Draupadi, Devahuti, Mandodari, and
under difficult circumstances, they still served their husbands
faithfully. If a wife serves her husband, without duplicity, she will gain
all power. By following her husband cent percent, she will attain real
liberation that is pleasing to Krishna, and pleasing Krishna is the
ultimate transcendental goal of a devotee.
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