Six Virtues Of A Good Wife? Really? Time To Re-Interpret These

Posted: April 5, 2017

The virtues of a good wife as they are supposed to be set by ancient scriptures need some serious reinterpretation. Here’s why.

While scrolling through the facebook news feed, I just came across this post that explains the meaning of a Sanskrit poem (shlok) that lists 6 virtues of a good wife. And you really should appreciate me for stopping myself from posting a comment then and there. I think just a small “I don’t agree” comment will not serve the purpose. Why I don’t agree is more important here.

So, here is what was written in the post:

Meaning of ‘Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri; Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha, Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri, Shat dharmayukta, Kuladharma Pathni’.
1) Karyeshu Dasi: works like a servant
2) Karaneshu Mantri : advises like a minister
3) Bhojeshu Mata: feeds like a mother
4) Shayaneshu Ramba : Pleases in bed like the heavenly beauty Rambha
5) Roopeshu Lakshmi : Beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi
6) Kshmayeshu Dharitri : Having patience like Earth
7) Shat dharma yuktah: woman who has this six virtues
8) Kula dharma Patni : good housewife (a married woman who is not employed outside the home)

When I started reading, it really felt good. A ‘How a woman has it all in her’ feeling soothed me. But as I read along, the last line made me sit up. I mean really? Kuldharma patni means good HOUSEwife – just wife isn’t enough? And to make it even worse, the writer of the post clarified it in parenthesis – a married woman who is not employed outside the home.

Isn’t this unfair to all those poor women who are for some reason employed outside the home?

Misinterpreting the shloka

I disagree with this post – that much is clear. But I really want to make a point that this is not what the shloka really means. Indian culture does not say this. Indian shlokas are often misinterpreted and mis-published through posts like this.

What kind of equation is this that says a wife has to be a housewife to be good? There are hundreds of examples where women employed outside the home are also good wives. Just like a man helping in kitchen does not make him a bad husband, similarly a woman having a career also does not make her a bad wife. Whether you are a house wife or a working wife should be solely dependent on your choices and/or circumstances. But being on either side does not make you any less of a GOOD wife.

It is very important to get out of these typical definitions or mis-definition to be precise.

There are so many women who aspire to have a career but cannot work because of societal or family traditions. At the same time, there are so many women, who want to take a break and spend some more quality time with family, kids but they cannot due to economical or other issues. There is also a part of our society where women are free to make a choice because their family and economic condition allows them to continue work or take a break after marriage or having kids, as also women who work for following their passion.

So we have all types of wives around us, and each of them is undoubtedly a GOOD WIFE a Shatdharma Yukta, Kuldharma Patni indeed. The only thing needed is to revisit these 6 virtues of a good wife that society has been traditionally looking for in us WOMEN.

Karyeshu Dasi

One who takes up any work without weighing it as good or bad, high or low standard, as all honest work dignifies the worker.

Karaneshu Mantri

One who is a confident person who can differentiate between good and bad for herself as well as for her loved ones, and is smart in worldly matters.

Bhojeshu Mata

One who is capable of taking care of her family’s basic needs like food. She does not necessarily have to be a good cook or a bread earner to qualify here. She can do it whichever way she is comfortable.

Shayaneshu Ramba

One who is not passive about her intimate needs as well as strengths. She is bold enough to agree that she too has desires, and she is capable enough to drive you crazy!

Roopeshu Lakshmi

One who loves herself the way she is. Who does not require to fit herself in any stereotype to be feel beautiful, to look beautiful. One who believes that being woman in itself is being beautiful.

Kshmayeshu Dharitri

One who has patience like this earth in the true sense. Who can deal with all the negativity around her and still stay positive. Who is unmoved by the evils of this society, and one who will never give up standing strong, come what may.

Shat dharma yuktah

Every woman has these six virtues of a good wife, and thus …

Kula dharma Patni

Every woman is capable of being a good wife. No matter if she is employed or not employed (outside home), she is a WOMAN and that is really more than ENOUGH. And even if she is capable of being a very good wife, it is in no way mandatory for every woman to prove it by actually being a wife, it should be again – her choice.

I guess, we, as women should start respecting each other without pointing fingers or comparing how one is better than other. Only when we stand strong together, will we get the desired equality and respect in this society.

Image source: pexels

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5 Comments


  1. Nice interpretation of the Subhashita!
    Loved it.

  2. LOL Sheetal this is the very myth I am tackling in my next workshop for a women’s self help group.

  3. Thanks Sheetal the workshop went, as predicted when I ask the women to put the most important person in their life it is kids/husband/parents in that order. Having to shift the focus of nutrition from food eaten to social well being was a challenge but the response has been amazing.

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