yady ayaṁ kriyate bhakṣyas
tarhi māṁ khāda pūrvataḥ
na jīviṣye vinā yena
kṣaṇaṁ ca mṛtakaṁ yathā
yadi—if; ayam—this brāhmaṇa; kriyate—is accepted; bhakṣyaḥ—as eatable; tarhi—then; mām—me; khāda—eat; pūrvataḥ—before that; na—not; jīviṣye—I shall live; vinā—without; yena—whom (my husband); kṣaṇam ca—even for a moment; mṛtakam—a dead body; yathā—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 satī or saha-maraṇa, 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 brāhmaṇa. 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-saṁhitā, 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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