In Hinduism, man and woman represent the two halves of the divine body. There is no question of superiority or inferiority between them. However, it is a scientific fact that the emotional side is more developed in women. This does not mean that intellectually, women are inferior. Hindu history is witness to the super-women, like Gargi, Maitreyi and Sulabha, whose faculty of reasoning was far superior to that of ordinary mortals. But owing to organic differences in their physical and emotional constitutions, women are temperamentally more emotional than men.
Duties of a Hindu WomanHaving recognized this fact, Hindu scriptures or the shastras have allotted certain specific duties to Hindu women. These duties include maintaining domestic peace, adjustment of social relations and attainment of spiritual perfection.
The Idea of Marriage
The idea behind the institution of marriage in Hinduism is to foster, not self-interest, but love for the entire family. Practice of self-restraint is the ideal of marriage in Hinduism. It is the love and duty cultivated for the entire family that prevents the break-ups.
Men by nature are less capable of self-restraint than women. That is why, after marriage the Hindu women lead the men by keeping the lustful propensities under control. While married, thought of any other man does not enter the mind of a Hindu lady until she loses her faith in her husband due to his consistent misbehavior and 'don't care' attitude.
The Sanctity of Marriage
The present-day Hindu husbands fail to recognize the sacrifices and lofty ideals of Hindu wives, and thus compel them to follow the worst of the West. During the nuptial ceremony in a Vedic marriage, both the bride and the bridegroom take oath for the practice of self-restraint, to work together for the welfare of the family and to help each other to attain spiritual peace. This lofty ideal of sanctity is a great gift of Hinduism to the world at large.
Protecting the InstitutionIt should be a matter of great concern that we have begun to ignore the ancient and lofty ideals of Hindu marriage and are anxious to follow in the footsteps of cultures that do not value these ideals. Although Indians are among the most married societies in the world and there are laws governing marriage among Hindus, the number of divorce suits filed by Hindu couples is on the rise. Instead of strengthening the traditional ideals, which for thousands of years have helped us prevent marriage and family break-ups, we are misdirecting our energies towards promoting the ideal of sense-enjoyment and self-interest. In my opinion it is still not too late to be proactive to protect the sanctity of Hindu marriage.