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 …, 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. The herb, though not mentioned in the text is Sauvarcala as understood by Sāyaṇācārya. 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.
With this herb, Indra was overcome by Śacī, the daughter of Puloma, or by certain demoniac illusion. 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. Wishing her husband to be gladdened, she also invokes Śaṅkhapuṣpī, the herb, which is capable in influencing all the deities. 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. Even at her absence, she allows her husband to speak freely and spontaneously only in the scholarly gatherings, but, not anywhere else. A wife, thus, establishes her mastership over her husband with the help of the herb Śaṅkhapuṣpī. 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.
Here, it is interesting to note that though Sāyaṇācārya 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:
idaṃ vaśīkaraṇakāri bheṣajam sauvarcalākhyam / Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda, 7.38
anayā prakṛtā śaṅkhapuṣpākhyā oṣadhiḥ stūyate / … / tvāṃ sarvadevavaśīkaraṇasamarthāṃ tvā tvām acchāvadāmasi patirucikaraṇāya abhimukhaṃ stumaḥ / Sāyaṇa on Atharvaveda, 7.38.3
… 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.
mahyaṃ patiprītikāminyai / Sāyaṇa, Ibid.