The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, 'In one of the branches of that tree, a pigeon with beautiful feathers, O king, lived for many years with his family. That morning his wife had gone out in search of food but had not yet returned. Seeing the night had come and his wife still unreturned, the bird began to indulge in lamentations: 'Oh, great has been the storm and painful the shower that came today! Alas, thou has not yet returned, O dear wife! Woe is on me, what can be the cause that she has not yet comeback to us? Is every thing right with that dear spouse of mine in the forest? Separated from her, this my home appears to me empty! A house-holder's home, even if filled with sons and grandsons and daughters-in-law and servants, is regarded empty if destitute of the housewife. One's house is not one's home; one's wife only is one's home. A house without the wife is as desolate as the wilderness. If that dear wife of mine, of eyes fringed with red, of variegated plumes, and of sweet voice, does not come back today, my life itself will cease to be of any value. Of excellent vows, she never eats before I eat, and never bathes before I bathe. She never sits before I sit down, and never lies before I lie down. She rejoices if I rejoice, and becomes sorry when I am sorry. When I am away she becomes cheerless, and when I am angry she ceases not to speak sweetly. Ever devoted to her lord and ever relying upon her lord, she was ever employed in doing what was agreeable to
and beneficial for her lord. Worthy of praise is that person on earth who own such a spouse. That amiable creature knows that I am fatigued and hungry. Devoted to me and constant in her love, my famous spouse is exceedingly sweet-tempered and worships me devoutly. Even the foot of a tree is one's home if one lives there with one's spouse as a companion. Without one's spouse, a very palace is truly a desolate wilderness. One's spouse is one's associate in all one's acts of Virtue, Profit and Pleasure. When one sets out for a strange land one's wife is one's trusted companion. It is said that the wife is the richest possession of her lord. In this world the wife is the only associate of her lord in all the concerns of life. 1 The wife is ever the best of medicines that one can have in sickness and woe. There is no friend like unto the wife. There is no refuge better than the wife. There is no better ally in the world than the wife in acts undertaken for the acquisition of religious merit. He that has not in his house a wife that is chaste and of agreeable speech, should go to the woods. For such a man there is no difference between home and wilderness.'"
325:1 The idea that man comes alone into the world and goes out of it alone. Only the wife is his true associate for she alone is a sharer of his merits, and without her no merit can be won. The Hindu idea of marriage is a complete union. From the day of marriage the two persons become one individual for the performance of all religious and other acts.
Next: Section CXLV