Women in the Atharva-veda Samhita

by Pranab Jyoti Kalita | 2017 | 62,142 words

This page relates ‘6b. Hymn to Win the Love of a Husband’ of the study on women in the Vedic society reflecting the Atharva-veda Samhita in English. These pages discusses the social aspects of women, education, customs of marriage, practices of polyandry and polygamy, descriptions of female deities and various rites and rituals. It is shown how women earned much praise in ancient Indian society. Included are Sanskrit text and references of the Atharvaveda and commentary by Sayana-Acharya.

6b. Hymn to Win the Love of a Husband

[Full title: 6. Hymns Related to Love and Jealousy (b): Hymn to Win the Love of a Husband]

Thus, in the above hymns, it is observed that the love of a woman is dealt with as a subject of great importance in the days of the Atharvaveda. In some of the hymns of the Atharvaveda the love of a man also subjects to the woman.

One such hymn starts with the mantra, idaṃ khanāmi bheṣajaṃ[1] …, etc., where a woman, with the help of certain herb, intends to draw the attention of her husband and to prevent him from approaching other women.[2] The herb, though not mentioned in the text is Sauvarcala as understood by Sāyaṇācārya.[3] Another quality of the herb is that it can restore the love of a husband who is disinclined fromward his wife and rejoice him with her.[4]

With this herb, Indra was overcome by Śacī, the daughter of Puloma, or by certain demoniac illusion.[5] Hence, a wife also wants to overcome her husband with the same so that she may become a supriyā, i.e. the mostly beloved to her husband.[6] Wishing her husband to be gladdened, she also invokes Śaṅkhapuṣpī, the herb, which is capable in influencing all the deities.[7] After her exaltation to the herb, she, again, forbids her husband to speak before her according to his own will, but, asks him to do so as she wishes.[8] Even at her absence, she allows her husband to speak freely and spontaneously only in the scholarly gatherings, but, not anywhere[9] else. A wife, thus, establishes her mastership over her husband with the help of the herb Śaṅkhapuṣpī.[10] The wife also urges the same to bind her husband and to bring forth him before her if the husband goes beyond her sight or even if a river comes in between them.[11]

Here, it is interesting to note that though Sāyaṇācārya[12] regards the wife as patiprītikāminī, i.e. wishing her husband to be pleased, but, it does not appear as standing on her wishes where she desires herself to be pleased rather than her husband.

Footnotes and references:


Ibid., 7.38


idaṃ khanāmi bheṣajaṃ māṃ paśyamabhirorudam / Ibid., 7.38.1 māmeva nārīṃ paśyat mamai vānukūlam / yadvā māmeva asādhāraṇyena patye pradarśayat pativaśīkārakam abhirorudam patyuḥ anyanārīsaṃsargam abhitaḥ nirundhat / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


idaṃ vaśīkaraṇakāri bheṣajam sauvarcalākhyam / Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda, 7.38


parāyato nivartanamāyataḥ pratinandanam / Atharvaveda, 7.38.1 parāyataḥ svasmāt parāṅmukhaṃ gacchataḥ patyuḥ nivartanam niṣedhakaṃ punarāvartanakāraṇam āyataḥ māṃ prati āgacchataḥ patyuḥ pratinandanam ānandakāri / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


yenā nicakra āsurīndraṃ devebhyaspari / Atharvaveda, 7.38.2 āsurī asurasya māyā / devebhyaḥ pari / devān varjayitvā indraṃ yena bheṣajena nicakre yuddhe svādhīnaṃ kṛtavatī / yadvā asuraḥ asumān / balavān pulomākhyaḥ / tasyeyaṃ āsurī śacī / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


tenā ni kurve tvāmahaṃ yathā vesāni supriyā / Atharvaveda, 7.38.2 tena bheṣajena aham he pate tvāṃ ni kurve svādhīnaṃ kurve / yathā yena prakāreṇa te tava supriyā atyantaṃ priyā asādhāraṇyena prītijananī asāni bhavāni / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


anayā prakṛtā śaṅkhapuṣpākhyā oṣadhiḥ stūyate / … / tvāṃ sarvadevavaśīkaraṇasamarthāṃ tvā tvām acchāvadāmasi patirucikaraṇāya abhimukhaṃ stumaḥ / Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda, 7.38.3


ahaṃ vadāmi net tvaṃ … / Atharvaveda, 7.38.4 he pate ahaṃ vadāmi tvaṃ net naiva vadeḥ / … / he pate yadā matsamīpam āgacchasi tadā ahameva vadāmi tvaṃ tu maduktameva anuvada kadāpi pratikūlaṃ mā vādīḥ /Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


… tvaṃ sabhāyāmaha tvaṃ vada / Atharvaveda, 7.38.4 tvaṃ tu sabhāyāṃ vidvatsamāje vada / … / madvyatiriktasthānepi sabhāyāmeva yathecchaṃ vada mānyatreti / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


mamadesastvaṃ kevalo … / Atharvaveda, 7.38.4 he pate tvam / mamaiva kevalaḥ asādhāraṇaḥ asaḥ bhaveḥ / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.


yadi vāsi tirojanaṃ yadi vā nadyastiraḥ / iyaṃ ha mahyaṃ tvāmoṣadhirbaddhveva nyānayat // Atharvaveda, 7.38.5


mahyaṃ patiprītikāminyai / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.

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