Growing up, there was a very familiar Sanskrit sloka which was mentioned often in my household by the elderly, the Sanskrit sloka goes as follows:-
Karyeshu dasi, Karaneshu manthri;
Bhojeshu mata, Shayaneshu rambha;
Kshamayeshu dharithri, Roopeshu lakshmi;
Satkarma yukta, Kuladharma pathni.
Being a small boy with minimal knowledge of Sanskrit and women, I did not understand the sloka or its meaning and was just awestruck by the expectations the society has for a woman.
The verse is a praise of women but is it possible to be all of these in real life, let us explore the meaning of the sloka first like the proper interpretation of a sloka is necessary to understand its meaning and correlate it with the present scenario
The sloka says that: A homemaker (wife) must be a good loyal worker just like a maid; a good adviser like a minister of King’s court; a caretaker like a mother; Romantic like Apsara Rambha in the bedroom; a pardoner just like a goddess of earth; beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and wife of Lord Vishnu; and perfect duty minded one.
Karyeshu dasi does not mean someone who toils like a maid. The quality we look for in this verse is the dedication to work, loyalty as well as time management.
Karaneshu Mantri means one who advises during the critical times if you look at history, Chanakya played such an important role in Chandragupta’s life. The quality we are looking for here is intelligence, smartness, and wisdom as and when needed.
Bhojeshu Mata, while feeding food who thinks like mom. A hotel owner will not give you food unless you pay money; but a mother no matter what time it is, if you tell her that you are hungry she cooks and feeds food to your heart’s content. The quality we are looking for here is unconditional love and selflessness. The mother always puts her children before any of her priorities.
Shayaneshu Rambha: In Hindu mythology, Rambha, who is an apsara, is pictured as a very beautiful dancer damsel in Lord Indra’s (king of god’s) court. Rambha is known for her beauty and she pleases gods with her talent in music, dance, and seduction. The quality expected here is not just music and dance but to be a person who tries to cheer up, encourage, and comfort the family. (not neglecting the duties of a wife in bed as well).
Roopeshu Lakshmi. Goddess Lakshmi signifies an abundance of wealth.
Even though it is mentioned that the ideal wife must be like a goddess in looks, the hidden meaning is that of budget management, household management with dedication, and humility.
Goddess Lakshmi is known not only for showering wealth but also for prosperity and sustaining a level of quality in life. Lakshmi is also known for her devotion towards her husband, Lord Vishnu as well.
Kshamayeshu Dharitri. While forgiving one should be like mother earth. Boundless compassion and forgiveness along with empathy for fellow beings are highlighted in this part.
The author here is saying a kula dharma Patni (perfect housewife) should possess the qualities like loyalty, intelligence, unconditional love, dedication, humility and boundless compassion along with empathy and forgiveness
The most wonderful thing about our ancient literature is everything said is not time-bound… it holds true even after centuries. This verse still holds the key to a happy family.
The author here is saying these are the qualities an ideal wife should possess.
The same literature says that where females are worshipped, there resides the god. Worshipping here does not mean, by devotion or by doing any pooja or chanting mantras, but being respectful and understanding of the feelings and act accordingly.
Indian Mythology has always given utmost importance to the feminine power in the form of Shakti.
सर्वमङ्गलमाङ्गल्ये शिवे सर्वार्थसाधिके ।
शरण्ये त्र्यम्बके गौरि नारायणि नमोऽस्तु ते ॥
Sarva-Manggala-Maanggalye Shive Sarvaartha-Saadhike |
Sharannye Trya[i-A]mbake Gauri Naaraayanni Namo[ah-A]stu Te ||