Vindhyavali’s Wifehood vs the Consumer Culture of Marriages

24 Mar , 2015  

Instead of seeing marriage as a committed partnership where spouses help one another in their advancement, marriages have been reduced to mundane material partnerships.In the consumer culture of marriage,one’s commitment of wife-hood or husband-hood lasts as long as the spouse is meeting one’s emotional and monetary needs. People want it out as soon as they see their needs not be met.

It is fascinating to contrast the current measurement of success in marriages with Vindhyawalli’s view of her husband Bali Maharaja losing everything and becoming completely poverty stricken. In one of the hindu scrioptures the Srimad Bhagavatam, the story of BaliMaharaja and Lord Vamana Deva is described. Bali Maharaja was the grandson of Prahlada Maharaja and the king of the daityas and he had also conquered the heavenly planets. However he had given all his wealth and possessions in charity to Lord Vamana Deva and he was held captive by Him.Having nothing and no one he had just surrendered his head to the lotus feet of Lord Vamana.

In the eighth canto 22nd chapter of the srimad bhagavatam it is described, Vindhyawalli afraid and aggrieved at seeing her husband arrested,  immediately offered obeisances to Lord Vamana dev. She was very agitated and afraid and she folded her hands and spoke as follows: “O my Lord, you have created the entire universe for the enjoyment of your personal pastimes. But foolish unintelligent men have claimed proprietorship for material enjoyment.  Certainly they are shameless agnostics, falsely claiming proprietorship where they think they can give in charity and joy. In such a condition what good can they do for you, who is the independent creator, maintainer and annihilator of this universe?”.
 She was a very good wife. 
  1. She supported the arrest of her husband and accused him of  being in darkness of ignorance although he just surrendered everything. This was because she was so wise and intelligent that she understood that her husband had nothing to surrender for everything was already Krishna’s.
  2. She was really thinking in terms of her husband’s welfare. She was thinking that right now I have nothing, my husband is imprisoned, he is arrested. But he is getting the special mercy of Krishna. He’s going to go back to Godhead. This is the success of our marriage.
It is said that a husband is meant to protect the wife but the wife is also meant to protect the husband. A good loving wife will never be content with her husband if he does anything that’s detrimental to his spiritual progress and she will see the only real success in his life is how he is developing love of God and serving His devotees.
How would we react to such a situation ? Would we give proper spiritual counsel to our husband for their real welfare or would we cover up for their outstandingly bad and sinful behavior? If we would cover up for them , would it be because we are vulnerable to our own needs of prestige and sense objects that are satisfied through that sinful behavior. Would that be a real relationship of helping each other go closer to Krishna or would that be a mundane relationship based on how well we satisfy each other’s sense gratification.
Vindhyawalli did not give up her wifehood in a difficult situation. Bali Maharaja  surrendered all his wealth, his position, all of his power, all of his followers, he even surrendered his own body to the Lord and the the wife was so proud. Do we want our wifehood to follow her powerful example or whether we desire it to remain at the mundane level is a question each one of us needs to answer.

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