This passage from Padma Purāṇa recommends a wife beat her husband to discipline him. Assuming this is not a mistranslation, do any other scriptures support this view?

The brāhmaṇa’s wife said:

47-65. O dear one, today you have understood the virtues and the vices of (our) daughter. She has now been spoiled because of your affection and love for her. One should fondle one’s son till he is five years old. O dear one, one should always nourish him with the idea of training him (even) through affection also, by giving him bath, coverings, food, (other) eatables, drinks. There is no doubt about this. O dear one, one should urge the son in (i.e. to acquire) virtues and true learning. A father is always free from affection for the sake of teaching virtues (to his son). O dear one, affections take place (i.e. should be shown) in the protection and nourishment (of the son). (A father) should never describe his son as virtuous. Everyday he should censure him. He should always talk to him (with) sternness, and should afflict him with (harsh) words, so that the son, intent upon (acquiring) learning, will pursue true knowledge. Even through a device used to correct his pride, he leaves his sin far away. Perfection in learning and virtues is produced (in him). A mother should beat her daughter, and a mother-in-law should beat her daughter-in-law. A preceptor should beat his pupil. Thus they acquire perfection, not otherwise. A wife should flog her husband, a king should punish his minister. A soldier should beat his horse, and the elephant’s driver should beat him. O lord, by means of being beaten and being protected, they are prepared with a thought for training. O lord, along with the good brāhmaṇa Śivaśarman, you yourself have foreover spoilt her. In the house she was made undisciplined (i.e. was not checked); therefore, O you highly intelligent one, she is spoilt. O dear one, listen to my words: The father should keep his daughter in his house till she becomes eight years old. He should not keep a strong (i.e. grown up) one. Both the parents get the (fruit of the) sin which a daughter, living in her father’s house, commits. Therefore an able (i.e. a grown up) daughter is not kept in his house (by the father). She should get nourishment in the house of him to whom she is given. She, living there, should devoutly win over her virtuous husband. The family becomes famous; the father lives happily. The husband suffers due to the sin which she, living there (i.e. in the husband’s house) commits. Living there, she always prospers with sons and grandsons. O dear one, the father obtains fame due to the good qualities of his daughter. Therefore, O dear one, one should not keep in one’s house one’s daughter with her husband (i.e. a married daughter). O dear one, in this context there is an account that is so heard: O brāhmaṇa, I shall tell you the account of the hero Ugrasena, the eldest Yadu, as it took place, when the great twenty-eighth Dvāpara yuga arrived. Listen to it with a concentrated mind.

  • 2
    This is interesting :D. Is the story of Ugrasena related to Kamsa's birth?
    – Surya
    Apr 30, 2021 at 3:47

1 Answer 1


This is an oversight error on part of translator N.A. Deshpande ji. It should read husband can flog/span wife, not the other way around.

The verse in question is

गुरुश्च ताडयेच्छिष्यं ततः सिध्यंति नान्यथा ।

भार्यां च ताडयेत्कांत अमात्यं नृपतिस्तथा ॥ ५४ ॥

guruśca tāḍayecchiṣyaṃ tataḥ sidhyaṃti nānyathā |

bhāryāṃ ca tāḍayetkāṃta amātyaṃ nṛpatistathā || 54 ||

If you look at the first word, it has two operative words "gurus" and "shishyam". The first is prathama vibhakti and the second is dvitiya vibhakti. It translates to "Guru [can flog] the disciple". So the subject and object are coded in these vibhaktis. If it was written the other way say, "shishyas gurum" then the meaning is opposite.

In the second line if it was not "bhāryāṃ" (which is dvitiya vibhakti), but was "bhāryā" (without a 'm', which then becomes prathama vibhakti), then the translation would have been correct. So, here translation has missed that "m" at the end. "bhāryāṃ" refers to wife.

Sidenote. The above verse is also be consistent with Manusmriti 8.299

bhāryā putraśca dāsaśca preṣyo bhrātrā ca saudaraḥ |

prāptāparādhāstāḍyāḥ syū rajjvā veṇudalena vā || 299 ||

The wife, the son, the slave, the servant and the uterine brother shall be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo, when they have committed a fault.—(299)

  • 1
    Good answer. Not just Manusmriti other scriptures also permit husbands to beat their wives like Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana, Brihadaranyak Upanishad, Ramcharitmanas, Garuda Purana. Even semi-sacred scriptures like other smritis & Dharma-sutras permit it.
    – R. Kaushik
    Oct 5, 2021 at 22:40

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