In the Ramanandsagar TV serial Ramayana, a sage (Vashistha or Viswamitra?) defines duties of a wife i.e., She should provide prerana, chetana and utsaaham (roughly: inducing, motivation and excitement) for mutual progress.

Now do such recommendations echo in other puranas as requirement/expectation in married life as standard for dharma? i.e., apart from the customary domestic functions of caring and sharing in family life?


2 Answers 2


In the Vedic religion, wife is indispensable. Wife is one half and the husband the other half, and when conjoined through marriage, they make one whole unit.

A man, so long he does not take a wife, is but (a) half (incomplete) being. A half (thing) can not beget. A whole (thing) only can beget. This is the dictum of the S'ruti.

Vyasa Smriti 2.14

The same text also lists some duties to be followed/performed by an ideal wife as follows:

A wife is weightier than the world with its virtues, wealth, and enjoyment, since with the help 'of no other auxiliary than a wife can he bear it's burden. Hence, one should marry, and by constant practice and self control duly maintain her. (15)

Day and night, the wedded couple should be one in spirit in respect of all matters of piety, gain, and desire (enjoyment). They should be one in vows and practices. (18)

A woman has no separate existence from her lords in matters of piety, gain and desire. The S'astras have enjoined this dependency of love. (19)

A wife should quit her bed before her lord, cleanse (wash) her person, fold up the beds, and make her house clean and tidy. (20)

Then having entered the chamber of Homa (sacrificial fire) she should (first) wash and plaster its floor, and; then the yard of her house, and after that, wash with warm water the vessels of oils, clarified butter, etc., which are used in connection with Agnikaryayas, and keep them in their proper places. (21)

Thus having performed her morning (house-hold) duties, arrd pondered over the dishes of different {flavours (to be prepared, that day), and allotment of

work to different workers, and the daily expenditure of the household, she should make obeisance to her elders and superiors. (24)

Then she should decorate her person with the ornaments given to her by her father-in-law, husband, father, mother, maternal uncle, or relations. (25)

Pure in her thought, speech and action, and obedient to the dictates of her =lord, she should follow him (in life) like his own shadow, seek his good like a trusted friend, and minister /to his desires like a servant. 26 27)

Then having finished cooking, she should report of it to her husband saying, " the rice is cooked." The husband having made offerings therewith to the Vishvadevas, she should first feed the children, and ithen serve out the morning meal to her lord. (28)

Then, with the permission of her lord, she would ;partake of the residue of the boiled rice and cooked dishes (described above), and spend the closing portion of '.the day in contemplation of the family earnings and expenditure. (29)

Having again attended to the cleansings of the house, etc., at evening, she should cook the night meals (of the household) and provide her husband with a sumptuous repast. (30)

Then the cheerful lamps should be lighted, and she, having spread out a comfortable bed, attend to massage the body of her lord. (31)

After her husband had slept, she should lie down by her side, not entirely bereft of clothes, ...

She should not speak too loudly, nor harshly, or unpleasantly to her lord, avoiding all quarrels, lamentations, and perfidies. (33)

She should not be prodigal in her purse, nor hostile to the spirit of piety or gain. Carelessness, fickleness of mind, anger, envy, deception, vanity, rivalry, mischievousness, cruelty, inordinate pride, cunningness,. atheism, daringness, discontent, and dissimulation are the fifteen vices which a chaste wife should always try to renounce. (34,35)

A chaste wife, who thus worships her lord, acquires fame and blessings in this life, and lives in the same region with "him, after death. (36)

All verses from Vyasa Smriti's chapter 2.

  • Can you link an English version of the Vyasa Smriti?
    – Ikshvaku
    Dec 8, 2018 at 21:19
  • 1
    I hv to search.. I hv a PDF which hv this and other Smritis (downloaded long time back).. @Ikshvaku
    – Rickross
    Dec 9, 2018 at 6:18

From the day of marriage, wife becomes associate of her husband for performing all righteous deeds. A wife should be always devoted to her husband which is her merit, penance and Heaven. The bold parts below explains her duties other than caring.

The Mahabharata, book 13, section CXLVI, gives the conversation between Lord Shiva and Uma, in which He asks Her to describe the duties of a chaste wife and She answers as:

Uma said, 'I shall, according to the ordinance, discourse on the subject of women's duties as far as they are known to me. Do ye all listen with concentrated attention! The duties of women arise as created at the outset by kinsmen in the rites of wedding. Indeed, a woman becomes, in the presence of the nuptial fire, the associate of her lord in the performance of all righteous deeds. Possessed of a good disposition, endued with sweet speech, sweet conduct, and sweet features, and always looking at the face of her husband and deriving as much joy from it as she does from looking at the face of her child, that chaste woman who regulates her acts by observing the prescribed restraints, comes to be regarded as truly righteous in her conduct. Listening (with reverence) to the duties of wedded life (as expounded in the scriptures), and accomplishing all those auspicious, duties, that woman who regards righteousness as the foremost of all objects of pursuit, who observes the same vows as those that are observed by her husband, who adorned with chastity, looks upon her spouse as a god, who waits upon and serves him as if he is a god, who surrenders her own will completely to that of her lord, who is cheerful, who observes excellent vows, who is endued with good features, and whose heart is completely devoted to her husband so much that she never thinks even of any other man, is regarded as truly righteous in conduct. That woman who treats her husband with the affection which she shows towards her child, even when he (the husband) happens to be poor or diseased or weak or worn out with the toil of travelling, is regarded as truly righteous in her conduct. That woman who is endued with self-control, who has given birth to children, who serves her husband with devotion, and whose whole heart is devoted to him, is regarded as truly righteous in her conduct. That woman who waits upon and serves her lord with a cheerful heart, who is always cheerful of heart, and who is possessed of humility, is regarded as truly righteous in her conduct. That woman who always supports her kinsmen and relatives by giving them food, and whose relish in gratifying her desires or for articles of enjoyment, or for the affluence of which she is possessed, or for the happiness with which she is surrounded, falls short of her relish for her husband, is regarded as truly righteous in her conduct.

Also wife should perform household works, care her parents, parent-in-law, her children, relatives, supporting Brahmanas with food and offerings to deities.

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