gauraveṇa damena ca
vācā madhurayā ca bhoḥ
viśrambheṇa—with intimacy; ātma-śaucena—with purity of mind and body; gauraveṇa—with great respect; damena—with control of the senses; ca—and; śuśrūṣayā—with service; sauhṛdena—with love; vācā—with words; madhurayā—sweet; ca—and; bhoḥ—O Vidura.
O Vidura, Devahūti served her husband with intimacy and great respect, with control of the senses, with love and with sweet words.
Here two words are very significant. Devahūti served her husband in two ways, viśrambheṇa and gauraveṇa. These are two important processes in serving the husband or the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Viśrambheṇa means “with intimacy,” and gauraveṇa means “with great reverence.” The husband is a very intimate friend; therefore, the wife must render service just like an intimate friend, and at the same time she must understand that the husband is superior in position, and thus she must offer him all respect. A man’s psychology and woman’s psychology are different. As constituted by bodily frame, a man always wants to be superior to his wife, and a woman, as bodily constituted, is naturally inferior to her husband. Thus the natural instinct is that the husband wants to post himself as superior to the wife, and this must be observed. Even if there is some wrong on the part of the husband, the wife must tolerate it, and thus there will be no misunderstanding between husband and wife. Viśrambheṇa means “with intimacy,” but it must not be familiarity that breeds contempt. According to the Vedic civilization, a wife cannot call her husband by name. In the present civilization the wife calls her husband by name, but in Hindu civilization she does not. Thus the inferiority and superiority complexes are recognized. Damena ca: a wife has to learn to control herself even if there is a misunderstanding. Sauhṛdena vācā madhurayā means always desiring good for the husband and speaking to him with sweet words. A person becomes agitated by so many material contacts in the outside world; therefore, in his home life he must be treated by his wife with sweet words.
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