Even if there is some wrong
on the part of the husband
TRANSLATION: O Vidura, Devahuti served her husband with intimacy and great respect, with control of the senses, with love and with sweet words.
PURPORT: Here two words are very significant. Devahuti served her husband in two ways, visrambhena and gauravena. These are two important processes in serving the husband or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Visrambhena means "with intimacy," and gauravena means "with great reverence." The husband is a very intimate friend; therefore, the wife must render service just like an intimate friend, and at the same time she must understand that the husband is superior in position, and thus she must offer him all respect. A man's psychology and woman's psychology are different. As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife, and a woman, as bodily constituted, is naturally inferior to her husband. Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed. Even if there is some wrong on the part of the husband, the wife must tolerate it, and thus there will be no misunderstanding between husband and wife. Visrambhena means "with intimacy," but it must not be familiarity that breeds contempt. According to the Vedic civilization, a wife cannot call her husband by name. In the present civilization the wife calls her husband by name, but in Hindu civilization she does not. Thus the inferiority and superiority complexes are recognized. Damena ca: a wife has to learn to control herself even if there is a misunderstanding. Sauhrdena vaca madhuraya means always desiring good for the husband and speaking to him with sweet words. A person becomes agitated by so many material contacts in the outside world; therefore, in his home life he must be treated by his wife with sweet words.
TRANSLATION: Working sanely and diligently, she pleased her very powerful husband, giving up all lust, pride, envy, greed, sinful activities and vanity.
PURPORT: Here are some of the qualities of a great husband's great wife. Kardama Muni is great by spiritual qualification. Such a husband is called tejiyamsam, most powerful. Although a wife may be equal to her husband in advancement in spiritual consciousness, she should not be vainly proud. Sometimes it happens that the wife comes from a very rich family, as did Devahuti, the daughter of Emperor Svayambhuva Manu. She could have been very proud of her parentage, but that is forbidden. The wife should not be proud of her parental position. She must always be submissive to the husband and must give up all vanity. As soon as the wife becomes proud of her parentage, her pride creates great misunderstanding between the husband and wife, and their nuptial life is ruined. Devahuti was very careful about that, and therefore it is said here that she gave up pride completely. Devahuti was not unfaithful. The most sinful activity for a wife is to accept another husband or another lover. Canakya Pandita has described four kinds of enemies at home. If the father is in debt he is considered to be an enemy; if the mother has selected another husband in the presence of her grown-up children, she is considered to be an enemy; if a wife does not live well with her husband but deals very roughly, then she is an enemy; and if a son is a fool, he is also an enemy. In family life, father, mother, wife and children are assets, but if the wife or mother accepts another husband in the presence of her husband or son, then, according to Vedic civilization, she is considered an enemy. A chaste and faithful woman must not practice adultery--that is a greatly sinful act.
TRANSLATION: The daughter of Manu, who was fully devoted to her husband, looked upon him as greater even than providence. Thus she expected great blessings from him. Having served him for a long time, she grew weak and emaciated due to her religious observances. Seeing her condition, Kardama, the foremost of celestial sages, was overcome with compassion and spoke to her in a voice choked with great love.
PURPORT: The wife is expected to be of the same category as the husband. She must be prepared to follow the principles of the husband, and then there will be happy life. If the husband is a devotee and the wife is materialistic, there cannot be any peace in the home. The wife must see the tendencies of the husband and must be prepared to follow him. From Mahabharata we learn that when Gandhari understood that her would-be husband, Dhrtarastra, was blind, she immediately began to practice blindness herself. Thus she covered her eyes and played the part of a blind woman. She decided that since her husband was blind, she must also act like a blind woman, otherwise she would be proud of her eyes, and her husband would be seen as inferior. The word samanuvrata indicates that it is the duty of a wife to adopt the special circumstances in which the husband is situated. Of course, if the husband is as great as Kardama Muni, then a very good result accrues from following him. But even if the husband is not a great devotee like Kardama Muni, it is the wife's duty to adapt herself according to his mentality. That makes married life very happy. It is also mentioned herein that by following the strict vows of a chaste woman, Princess Devahuti became very skinny, and therefore her husband became compassionate. He knew that she was the daughter of a great king and yet was serving him just like an ordinary woman. She was reduced in health by such activities, and he became compassionate and addressed her as follows.
[Srimad Bhagavatam 3.23.2,3,4,5]
It is very important for peaceful householder life that a woman follow the vow of her husband. Any disagreement with the husband's vow will disrupt family life. In this regard, Canakya Pandita gives a very valuable instruction: dampatyoh kalaho nasti tatra srih svayam agatah. When there are no fights between husband and wife, the goddess of fortune automatically comes to the home. A woman's education should be conducted along the lines indicated in this verse. The basic principle for a chaste woman is to be always favorably disposed toward her husband.
[Srimad Bhagavatam 7.11.25]
Woman reporter: What happens when women are not subordinate to men?
Prabhupada: Then there is disruption. There is disruption, social disruption. If the woman does not become subordinate to man, then there is social disruption. Therefore, in the western countries there are so many divorce cases because the woman does not agree to become subordinate to man. That is the cause.
Woman reporter: What advice do you have to women who do not want to be subordinate to men?
Prabhupada: It is not my advice, but it is the advice of the Vedic knowledge that woman should be chaste and faithful to man.
Woman reporter: Is the social unrest in this country caused because...
Prabhupada: Because of these things. They do not know that.
Woman reporter: And if women were subordinate to men, it would solve all of our problems?
Prabhupada: Yes. Man wants that woman should be subordinate, faithful to him. Then he is ready to take charge. The man's mentality, woman's mentality different. So if the woman agrees to remain faithful and subordinate to man, then the family life will be peaceful.
[S.P. Television Interview, July 9, 1975, Chicago]