Duties of a wife in a grihastha ashram:
From the viewpoint of religious duties, a husband and wife are considered one entity, one identity in body and mind and they should serve God as one being. The woman in a grihastha ashram is called ‘ardhangini’, which means half the body of the husband. According to Veda, the wife is accepted as the better half of the man because she is responsible for discharging half the responsibilities of the husband in all religious rituals. The husband is incomplete without the wife. Being one with her husband and being protected, guided by him, she can be happy. Tt will be hard to find independent women happy all the times.
A wife makes grihastha ashram safe:
Though the husband protects the wife, wife also protects him in a very important way. This is nicely illustrated in the story of King Puranjana described in the ‘Shrimad Bhagwatam’. It is said that the body is like a fort, the senses are like plunderers and the wife is the commander of the fort. In other words, when one’s consciousness is attacked by the senses, then the wife, commander of the fort , comes to one’s rescue. She is the protection of the husband who would otherwise go for irreligious activities. She controls her husband not by harsh words, not by challenging him, not by arrogance but by her affection with her serving spirit. This way, she makes the grihastha ashram safest among the other ashramas.
The wife can advise her husband when he is going on a wrong track. Mandodari, who gave good advice to ‘Ravanna’ who did not listened her good advice. Similarly, Dhretrashtra received good counsel from Gandhari. Vali’s wife, Tara, knew there was danger for Vali when Sugriva challenged him but the arrogant and proud Vali disregarded wife’s advice and was killed.
The wife should give good counsel to her husband in a humble and sweet way without damaging his feelings. If he stubbornly disregards her good advice, then he alone has to suffer the results of his karma.