Seeking “Qualities of a Good Husband” from Scriptures: Clues, Anyone?

In my past, I had not only read of, but also heard of, essentail qualities of a good wife:

Karyeshu Daasi;Karaneshu mantri;     [A servant at tasks, a minister at work,

Rupecha lakshmi; Kshamaya dharitri; Money-goddess (Laxmi) at looks, like earth when forgiving,

Bhojyeshu mata; Sayaneshu rambha; Mother at cooking, a nymph in bed,

Shat dharmayukta kuladharmapatni”   That’s one’s wife, the one capable of six roles]

When enchanting stories and the scriptures of the religious faith in which you grow up, tell you that these are the characteristics of a “Shata Dharma Yukta” Dharma Patni – wife -, one’s natural inclination is to take it seriously. So the next step is to try to BE that, and better – try to BE ALL of that.

While it takes a lifetime of hard work to accomplish all that is contained in this rather misleadingly small verse, it is interesting to note that this preoccupation might not even leave a small window when one pauses and wonders, “What are the essential qualities of a good husband?”

Well, I did. So what if I am already middle aged by the time it occurred to me that asking this question is relevant. As long as I do not ask it, and seek those qualities, I might not even get them and then there is no blaming someone else.

And, more interestingly, how would I orient my sons to be good husbands?

I believed I knew our scriptures reasonably well – well, well enough so that once I need to look up something, I would know where to look up.

But this?

My attempt to find a list of qualities of a good husband is, as of now, a search still on.

Help, anyone?

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4 thoughts on “Seeking “Qualities of a Good Husband” from Scriptures: Clues, Anyone?

  1. Abhiram says:

    Margie, My wife and I have two children, the older is a 5 year old boy and the younger is a 2 year old girl. For the past year, I have been thinking exactly along the lines as raised by your question namely, “what is the goal to set for my boy and girl”. And here is the conclusion I came to a few days back (and hence my googling around to your blog a few minutes ago!):
    =======
    To the boy: May he follow the path as enshrined by the subhashitam:

    Vidya dadaati Vinayam; Vinayat yati Patrataam; Paatratwaat Dhanam aapnoti; Dhanat-Dharmam tatah Sukham.

    To the girl: May she embody the qualities outlined by Bhartrihari:

    Kaaryeshu Daasi; Karneshu Mantri; Rupeshu Lakshmi; Kshamaya Dharitri; Bhojyeshu Maata, Shayaneshu Rambha; Shatkarma Yukta; Kula Dharma Patni.
    =======
    I wish to point out immediately two items. Firstly, these two ancient aphorisms enumerate exactly SIX milestones to achieve by both genders. Secondly, both paths require the acquiring of several skills (vidya requires formal education, so does a mantri; to be a sa-patra, one must be industrious, humble, forgiving and mature – which is exactly what are conveyed by the industry, maternal and forgiving nature of the female; and both are encouraged to aquire creature comforts through wealth and sensuality)

    Thus, these seemingly very different paths are in fact celebrating the gender equivalence (not equality, which would be anti-nature) in us.

    Your thoughts?
    -Abhiram

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    • Abhiram, the “Dhanat Dharmam Tatah: Sukham” part is important – it points out the element of Vivek – discretion – and understanding of what is the right thing to do. My thoughts have not crystallized on this issue. Drawing from the idea of androgyny – that every one has male and female qualities in him/her, I believe that a good husband in coming time would have more female quality (appropriate to the change that allows greater male qualities in women). So while a wife could do Shayaneshu– and all other roles, i believe that a good husband would also be more flexible across his roles. The image of Ardhanareshwar comes to mind, where the whole is made only by the two pars, both are halves. Also, the “32 Lakshanas” and “64 Kalas” come to mind. As the boys and girl both are Praveen, a good husband would not interfere and out-down his wife when she exercises a combination of the Kalas that she chooses.

      What do you say?

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  2. Good question. When a wife’s qualities are expected to be the ones specified in scriptures, the husband’s qualities shall appropriately weigh in tandem with the wife’s to strike the balance in the life of an ideal couple.

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