1.6.4 in agni purana says

wife who does not obey her husband shall be torn to death by dogs. A woman who does not obey her husband or brahmanas may also have her nose, ears or arms chopped off. She will when be set astride a cow and banished from the kingdom.


  • 4
    You should read from valid sources. The verse goes like, "अर्ह शुकश्च पैलाद्या गत्वा बदरिकाश्रमम् । व्यासं नत्वा पृष्टवन्तः सोऽस्मान्सारमधाऽब्रवीत् ॥ ६ ॥" Which roughly means, "I, Shree Shukra and Paila etc Rishis went to Badrikshrama and greeted Vyaasa and ask to discuss on saarvastu. Then he imparted the knowledge of saarvastu to us."
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 7:48
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    Not sure how this question can be answered. If the scripture says it, that's just what it says, not sure what you mean by why? Maybe you need to elaborate. Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 15:39
  • I couldn't find this verse in the chapter on Duties of King and the ones that follow. Do you know the Sanskrit verse for this? Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 15:57
  • it also says similar things about men - those who chant vedas incorrectly go to hell, those who disobey his guru go to hell etc. Every person has to obey someone, whether man or woman.
    – ram
    Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 22:57
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    Then you should change the title to: "Does a wife who disobeys her husband be really torn to death by dogs? What is the context in which this verse is stated?" Commented Jun 16, 2020 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


Here's what the Motilal Banarsidass translation reads for the same:


The code of criminal laws

41-42. A king should kill those who cause the death of cattle by magic spells. One should not converse with another's wife and should never copulate with a forbidden (woman). A girl choosing her husband herself should not be punished by the king. A man of the lower caste holding incest with a woman of the higher caste deserves to be killed. The woman who breaks her faith in the husband, should be made to be bitten by dogs. A woman defiled by a man of her own caste should be made to live on a morsel of food (a day).


60-64. A fine of kṛṣṇala (should be collected) from a brahmin or a śūdra who eats the forbidden food. One who makes false balance and weight and those who make use of these should be levied the uttama (kind) of fine. The woman who administers poison to her husband or preceptor, or a brahmin and children or sets fire to the house should be banished (from the country) with cows after having cut her ears, hands and nose. Those men who damage a land or house or village or forest and one who seduces the wife of the king should be burnt with the fire from the cremation ground. One who copies the royal edict omitting or adding (some sentences) and one who sets free an adulterer and a thief should be punished with the uttama (sāhasa) fine. The punishment for one who ascends the vehicle or the seat of the king is the uttama sāhasa.

The first punishment ('bitten/devoured by dogs') is inline with Manusmṛti 8.371, however, as Medhātithi explains it's not for simply disobeying the husband, it's much more than that. It's listed under the section titled Adultery.

If a woman, proud of relations and her qualities, passes over her husband, the king shall have her devoured by dogs in a place frequented by many.—(8.371)

Medhātithi's commentary (manubhāṣya):

'Passing over' means neglecting the husband and going over to another man; if a woman does this through 'pride,'—the pride consisting in the idea,—'I have several relations who are powerful and wealthy, and I myself am possessed of all the excellent qualities of a woman, such as beauty and love,—why then should I mind my character?'

Such women the king shall get devoured, till they die.

'Place'—spot; where many people congregate, such as road-crossings, market-squares and so forth.—(8.371)

The punishment for adultery for men is equally harsh as the very next verse says:

The offending male he should make to lie down upon a redhot iron bed; they shall put wooden-logs over him, so that the sinner may be burnt.—(8.372)

Medhātithi's commentary (manubhāṣya):

The paramour of the woman spoken of in the preceding verse shall be burnt to death on an iron-bed made hot like fire.

Over him thus lying on the bed the executioners shall throw logs of wood, till he dies by the heat and by the strokes of the logs.—(8.372)

Another verse prescribes similar punishment:

Those men who are addicted to intercourse with the wives of other men, the king shall banish after having branded them with terror-inspiring punishments.—(8.352)

Medhātithi's commentary (manubhāṣya):

The meaning thus comes to be this:—When the king finds that a certain man is addicted to having intercourse with the wife of another person,—he should 'brand' him,—by cutting off his nose, for instance,—by means of 'terror-inspiring'—sharp-edged weapons,—and then 'banish' him.

As to whether these capital punishments for adultery were really carried out by any king is debatable. See Were the harsher punishments laid out in smṛtis actually carried out or they merely served as a deterrent?

The second punishment you quoted appears to be a mistranslation as it has to do with poisoning the husband, setting fire to the house, etc.

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