womenhood in Manu-Smriti

The Laws Concerning women in Manu-Smriti:

13.1 Always dependent

By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. [5.147.]

In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent. [5.148.]

She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible. [5.149.]

She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure. [5.150.]

Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory). [5.151.]

For the sake of procuring good fortune to (brides), the recitation of benedictory texts (svastyayana), and the sacrifice to the Lord of creatures (Pragapati) are used at weddings; (but) the betrothal (by the father or guardian) is the cause of (the husband’s) dominion (over his wife). [5.152.]

The husband who wedded her with sacred texts, always gives happiness to his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world and in the next. [5.153.]

13.2 Worships and obeys husband

Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife. [5.154.]

No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven. [5.155.]

A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead. [5.156.]

13.3 Faithful to her deceased husband

At her pleasure let her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died. [5.157.]

Until death let her be patient (of hardships), self-controlled, and chaste, and strive (to fulfil) that most excellent duty which (is prescribed) for wives who have one husband only. [5.158.]

Many thousands of Brahmanas who were chaste from their youth, have gone to heaven without continuing their race. [5.159.]

A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men. [5.160.]

But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband, brings on herself disgrace in this world, and loses her place with her husband (in heaven). [5.161.]

13.4 Non-virtuous behaviour

Offspring begotten by another man is here not (considered lawful), nor (does offspring begotten) on another man’s wife (belong to the begetter), nor is a second husband anywhere prescribed for virtuous women. [5.162.]

She who cohabits with a man of higher caste, forsaking her own husband who belongs to a lower one, will become contemptible in this world, and is called a remarried woman (parapurva). [5.163.]

By violating her duty towards her husband, a wife is disgraced in this world, (after death) she enters the womb of a jackal, and is tormented by diseases (the punishment of) her sin. [5.164.]

She who, controlling her thoughts, words, and deeds, never slights her lord, resides (after death) with her husband (in heaven), and is called a virtuous (wife). [5.165.]

In reward of such conduct, a female who controls her thoughts, speech, and actions, gains in this (life) highest renown, and in the next (world) a place near her husband. [5.166.]

A twice-born man, versed in the sacred law, shall burn a wife of equal caste who conducts herself thus and dies before him, with (the sacred fires used for) the Agnihotra, and with the sacrificial implements. [5.167.]

Having thus, at the funeral, given the sacred fires to his wife who dies before him, he may marry again, and again kindle (the fires). [5.168.]

(Living) according to the (preceding) rules, he must never neglect the five (great) sacrifices, and, having taken a wife, he must dwell in (his own) house during the second period of his life. [5.169.]

Honour of women according to Manu-Smriti:

No father who knows (the law) must take even the smallest gratuity for his daughter; for a man who, through avarice, takes a gratuity, is a seller of his offspring. [3.51.]

But those (male) relations who, in their folly, live on the separate property of women, (e.g. appropriate) the beasts of burden, carriages, and clothes of women, commit sin and will sink into hell. [3.52.]

Some call the cow and the bull (given) at an Arsha wedding ‘a gratuity;’ (but) that is wrong, since (the acceptance of) a fee, be it small or great, is a sale (of the daughter). [3.53.]

When the relatives do not appropriate (for their use) the gratuity (given), it is not a sale; (in that case) the (gift) is only a token of respect and of kindness towards the maidens. [3.54.]

Women must be honoured and adorned by their fathers, brothers, husbands, and brothers-in-law, who desire (their own) welfare. [3.55.]

Where women are honoured, there the gods are pleased; but where they are not honoured, no sacred rite yields rewards. [3.56.]

Where the female relations live in grief, the family soon wholly perishes; but that family where they are not unhappy ever prospers. [3.57.]

The houses on which female relations, not being duly honoured, pronounce a curse, perish completely, as if destroyed by magic. [3.58.]

Hence men who seek (their own) welfare, should always honour women on holidays and festivals with (gifts of) ornaments, clothes, and (dainty) food. [3.59.]

In that family, where the husband is pleased with his wife and the wife with her husband, happiness will assuredly be lasting. [3.60.]

If the wife is radiant with beauty, the whole house is bright; but if she is destitute of beauty, all will appear dismal. [3.62.]





You need to be a member of ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT to add comments!

Join ISKCON Desire Tree | IDT

Email me when people reply –