How to Treat Women

Śrīmad Bhāgavatam recounts how King Pṛthu was glorified during his coronation ceremony. In Canto Four, Chapter 16, Text 17, we hear this:

मातृभक्तिः परस्त्रीषु पत्न्यामर्ध इवात्मनः

mātṛ-bhaktiḥ para-strīṣu, patnyām ardha ivātmanaḥ

He will treat his wife
as if she were half of his own self,
and treat all other women
with the same devotion he shows his mother.

This verse illustrates the ideal behavior of men towards women.

The most important important woman is one’s own wife. How should she be treated? As if she were one’s own self. Whatever the husband enjoys, the wife must enjoy. He may not enjoy anything separate from her or displeasing to her. Whatever the wife suffers, the husband takes as his own suffering, and dedicates himself to relieving that suffering.

He should have no concept of a life separate from her, for she is ardha-ātma – half of his very self. He should make no plans that do not benefit her. He should strive for nothing that is not in her interest.

How should a man treat women other than his wife?

“Matṛ-bhakti – He should have bhakti for them – he should be devoted to them.

In what manner? What type of devotion?

Matṛ-bhakti” – He should show them the respect, courtesy, deference and service that he would show his own mother.

– Vraja Kishor dās

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