TEXT 22
reto-dhāḥ putro nayati
naradeva yama-kṣayāt
tvaṁ cāsya dhātā garbhasya
satyam āha śakuntalā
SYNONYMS
retaḥ-dhāḥ—a person who discharges semen; putraḥ—the son; nayati—saves; nara-deva—O King (Mahārāja Duṣmanta); yama-kṣayāt—from punishment by Yamarāja, or from the custody of Yamarāja; tvam—your good self; ca—and; asya—of this child; dhātā—the creator; garbhasya—of the embryo; satyam—truthfully; āha—said; śakuntalā—your wife, Śakuntalā.
TRANSLATION
O King Duṣmanta, he who discharges semen is the actual father, and his son saves him from the custody of Yamarāja. You are the actual procreator of this child. Indeed, Śakuntalā is speaking the truth.
PURPORT
Upon hearing the omen, Mahārāja Duṣmanta accepted his wife and child. According to Vedic smṛti:
Because a son delivers his father from punishment in the hell called put, the son is called putra. According to this principle, when there is a disagreement between the father and mother, it is the father, not the mother, who is delivered by the son. But if the wife is faithful and firmly adherent to her husband, when the father is delivered the mother is also delivered. Consequently, there is no such thing as divorce in the Vedic literature. A wife is always trained to be chaste and faithful to her husband, for this helps her achieve deliverance from any abominable material condition. This verse clearly says, putro nayati naradeva yama-kṣayāt: “The son saves his father from the custody of Yamarāja.” It never says, putro nayati mātaram: “The son saves his mother.” The seed-giving father is delivered, not the storekeeper mother. Consequently, husband and wife should not separate under any condition, for if they have a child whom they raise to be a Vaiṣṇava, he can save both the father and mother from the custody of Yamarāja and punishment in hellish life.

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