The Mahabharata Home
"Bhishma said, They that are conversant with ancient history recite the following verse of Daksha, the son of Prachetas: That maiden, in respect of whom nothing is taken by her kinsmen in the form of dowry cannot be said to be sold. 1 Respect, kind treatment, and everything else that is agreeable, should all be given unto the maiden whose hand is taken in marriage. Her sire and brothers and father-in-law and husband's brothers should show her every respect and adorn her with ornaments, if they be desirous of reaping benefits, for such conduct on their part always leads to considerable happiness and advantage. If the wife does not like her husband or fails to gladden him, from such dislike and absence of joy, the husband can never have issue for increasing his race. Women, O king, should always be worshipped and treated with affection. There where women are treated with respect, the very deities are said to be filled with joy. There where women are not worshipped, all acts become fruitless. If the women of a family, in consequence of the treatment they receive, grieve and shed tears, that family soon becomes extinct. Those houses that are cursed by women meet with destruction and ruin as if scorched by some Atharvan rite. Such houses lose their splendour. Their growth and prosperity cease. O king, Mann, on the eve of his departure for Heaven, made over women to the care and protection of men, saying that they are weak, that they fall an easy prey to the seductive wiles of men, 2 disposed to accept the love that is offered them, and devoted to truth. There are others among them that are full of malice, covetous of honours, fierce in disposition, unlovable, and impervious to reason. Women, however, deserve to be honoured. Do ye men show them honour. The righteousness of men depends upon women. All pleasures and enjoyments also completely depend upon them. Do ye serve them and worship them. Do ye bend your wills before them. The begetting of offspring, the nursing of children already born, and the accomplishment of all acts necessary for the needs of society, behold, all these have women for their cause. By honouring women, ye are sure to attain to the fruition of all objects. In this connection a princess of the house of Janaka the ruler of the Videhas, sang a verse. It is this: Women have no sacrifices ordained for them. There are no Sraddhas which they are called upon to perform. They are not required to observe any facts. To serve their husbands with reverence and willing obedience is their only duty. Through the discharge of that duty they succeed in conquering heaven. In childhood, the sire protects her. The husband protects her in youth. When she becomes old, her sons, protect her. At no period of her life does woman deserve to be free. Deities of prosperity are women. The person that desire affluence and prosperity
should honour them. By cherishing women, O Bharata, one cherishes the goddess of prosperity herself, and by afflicting her, one is said to afflict the goddess of prosperity.'"
25:1 The maiden may herself accept ornaments. That would not convert the transaction into a sale.
25:2 Swalpa-kaupinah literally is covered with a small piece of cloth, hence, capable of being easily seduced.
Next: Section XLVII