the husband can never have issue for increasing his
race. Women, O king, should always be worshipped
and treated with affection. There where women
are treated with respect, the very deities are said
to be filled with joy. There where women are
not worshipped, all acts become fruitless. If
the women of a family, in consequence of the treatment
they receive, grieve and shed tears, that family soon
becomes extinct. Those houses that are cursed
by women meet with destruction and ruin as if scorched
by some Atharvan rite. Such houses lose their
splendour. Their growth and prosperity cease.
O king, Mann, on the eve of his departure for Heaven,
made over women to the care and protection of men,
saying that they are weak, that they fall an easy
prey to the seductive wiles of men, disposed
to accept the love that is offered them, and devoted
to truth. There are others among them that are
full of malice, covetous of honours, fierce in disposition,
unlovable, and impervious to reason. Women, however,
deserve to be honoured. Do ye men show them honour.
The righteousness of men depends upon women.
All pleasures and enjoyments also completely depend
upon them. Do ye serve them and worship them.
Do ye bend your wills before them. The begetting
of offspring, the nursing of children already born,
and the accomplishment of all acts necessary for the
needs of society, behold, all these have women for
their cause. By honouring women, ye are sure
to attain to the fruition of all objects. In
this connection a princess of the house of Janaka the
ruler of the Videhas, sang a verse. It is this:
Women have no sacrifices ordained for them. There
are no Sraddhas which they are called upon to perform.
They are not required to observe any facts. To
serve their husbands with reverence and willing obedience
is their only duty. Through the discharge of
that duty they succeed in conquering heaven. In
childhood, the sire protects her. The husband
protects her in youth. When she becomes old,
her sons, protect her. At no period of her life
does woman deserve to be free. Deities of prosperity
are women. The person that desire affluence and
prosperity should honour them. By cherishing women,
O Bharata, one cherishes the goddess of prosperity
herself, and by afflicting her, one is said to afflict
the goddess of prosperity.’”
“Yudhishthira said, ’Thou art fully conversant
with the ordinances of all the scriptures. Thou
art the foremost of those that are acquainted with
the duties of kings. Thou art celebrated over
the whole world as a great dispeller of doubts.
I have a doubt, do thou explain it to me, O grandsire!
As regards this doubt that has arisen in my mind, I
shall not ask any other person for its solution.
It behoveth thee, O thou of mighty arms, to expound
as to how a man should conduct himself who is desirous
of treading along the path of duty and righteousness.