yady ayam kriyate bhaksyas
tarhi mam khada purvatah
na jivisye vina yena
ksanam ca mrtakam yatha
yadi—if; ayam—this brahmana; kriyate—is accepted; bhaksyah—as eatable; tarhi—then; mam—me; khada—eat; purvatah—before that; na—not; jivisye—I shall live; vina—without; yena—whom (my husband); ksanam ca—even for a moment; mrtakam—a dead body; yatha—like.
Without my husband, I cannot live for a moment. If you want to eat my husband, it would be better to eat me first, for without my husband I am as good as a dead body.
In the Vedic culture there is a system known as sati or saha-marana, in which a woman dies with her husband. According to this system, if the husband dies, the wife will voluntarily die by falling in the blazing funeral pyre of her husband. Here, in this verse, the feelings inherent in this culture are expressed by the wife of the brahmana. A woman without a husband is like a dead body. Therefore according to Vedic culture a girl must be married. This is the responsibility of her father. A girl may be given in charity, and a husband may have more than one wife, but a girl must be married. This is Vedic culture. A woman is supposed to be always dependent—in her childhood she is dependent on her father, in youth on her husband, and in old age on her elderly sons. According to Manu-samhita, she is never independent. Independence for a woman means miserable life. In this age, so many girls are unmarried and falsely imagining themselves free, but their life is miserable. Here is an instance in which a woman felt that without her husband she was nothing but a dead body.
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