Dharma is this abiding quality and nature of a thing or phenomena human in relationships too, various appellations of an individual, for example, a wife, a husband, a daughter, son or father, have their unique meaning and dharma. These designations carry with them a set of values and responsibilities in the scheme of life. Here, we are talking about bhartru dharma –the duty of a husband, in this sense.
RITUAL OF HINDU MARRIAGE : At the end of the seven steps (sapta padi), the husband addresses his wife with a moving statement from the Vedas as summarized below:
“Dear Wife! By taking these seven steps, you have become my dearest friend. I pledge my unfailing loyalty to you. Let us stay together for the rest of our lives. Let us not separate from each other ever. Let us be of one mind in carrying out our responsibilities as householders (grihasthas). Let us love and cherish each other and enjoy nourishing food and good health. Let us discharge our prescribed Vedic duties to our elders, ancestors, rishis, creatures, and gods. Let our aspirations be united. I will be the Saaman and may you be the Rk (Saaman here refers to the music and Rk refers to the Vedic text that is being cast into music). Let me be the upper world and let you be the Bhumi or Mother Earth. I will be the Sukla or life force and may you be the bearer of that Sukla. Let me be the mind and let you be the speech. May you follow me to conceive children and gain worldly as well as spiritual wealth. May all auspiciousness come your way.”
What IS the DHARMA of the Husband?
“By their physical, mental and emotional differences, the man is suited to work in the world and the woman to bear and raise their children in the home. The husband is, first, an equal participant in the procreation and upbringing of the future generation.
Second, he is the generator of economic resources necessary for society and the immediate family. The husband has to be caring, understanding, masculine, loving, affectionate, and an unselfish provider, to the best of his ability and through honest means. He should himself be equipped physically and mentally for the stress and demands placed upon him. When he performs his dharma well, the family is materially and emotionally secure.
Still, he is not restricted from participation in household chores, remembering that the home is the wife’s domain and she is its mistress.
Vedas say : “Through this oblation, which invokes prosperity, may this bridegroom flourish anew; may he, with his manly energies, flourish the wife they have brought to him. May he excel in strength, excel in royalty! May this couple be inexhaustible in wealth that bestows luster a thousand fold!”
Manu Dharma Shastras 9.101-2. SD, 161:
“Let there be faithfulness to each other until death. This, in short, should be known as the highest duty of husband and wife. So let husband and wife ever strive, doing all their duties, that they may not, separated from each other, wander apart.”
Shukla Yajur Veda 5.17. TY, 44:
“O man and woman, having acquired knowledge from the learned, proclaim amongst the wise the fact of your intention of entering the married life. Attain to fame, observing the noble virtue of nonviolence, and uplift your soul. Shun crookedness. Converse together happily. Living in a peaceful home, spoil not your life. Spoil not your progeny. In this world, pass your life happily, on this wide Earth full of enjoyment.”
A father is one with a mind as pure as the sky and a mother , one speaking profound words (of wisdom). Like the sky which absorbs the hordes of dark clouds, a father who is a husband should be able to absorb shocks, ups and downs in life with equanimity.
Paraskara Griyha Sutra 1.8.8; 19. VE, 263-264:
“I hold your heart in serving fellowship; your mind follows my mind. In my word you rejoice with all your heart. You are joined to me by the Lord of all creatures. You are firm and I see you. Be firm with me, O flourishing one! Brihaspati has given you to me, so live with me a hundred years bearing children by me, your husband.”
There should be the quality of discrimination about what is right and wrong in life and one should live with a balanced mind. This is the meaning of ‘a mind as clear as the sky’.
The bond of husband and wife is to provide birth to noble children through their vigilant, pious and pure life. This type of life is possible only when we are guided by Dharma .