What Is the True Dharma for Men and Women?


According to Vedic Scriptures, dharma is explained for both males and females. So what is dharma of female? What is the responsibility as a female, i.e what is "nari dharma"?

—Radhika , India


Dear Radhika,

Thank you for your question. The Vedic term nari dharma for women refers to married women and the qualities of an ideal wife are perceived as “being in observance toward the husband, always with devotion, always obedient, never angry, a friend companion, always a comfort and a helper.” This is a beautiful way the scriptures describe the manner of being a wife. Although scriptures give us wonderful directions and guidelines, our goal is to understand them on a deeper level. How do we make it real in our lives?

The best way to understand the meaning is to go within and to find how the directives have meaning for each of us as individual souls. Our own personal experience of a truth is necessary. Meditate on the idea of true dharma and hold the thought up to the spiritual eye and listen in your heart. The words of scripture given here can be considered accurate as a definition to adopt for any true devotee in his or her search for God.

The responsibilities of man and woman are, in a sense, the same, as the soul is neither male nor female but striving for balance of both. The true dharma in life is to develop that connection of balance within our own souls. The duality of male and female is manifestation of two great energies in play in the universe. Duality is expressed as negative/positive, reason/feeling, outward/inward, day/night, man/woman, and so on: different sides of the same coin, simply two ways of being. In some lifetimes we are male and sometimes female to help the soul to identify with both. Each soul also has an essential intrinsic feminine or masculine tendency, learning to come into balance.

In a yogic sense the soul is beyond gender and beyond all polar differences. Saints have mastered this balance and are complete within themselves. They have balanced their personal nature. Individual dharma should best be led by inner guidance and what will help us toward completeness within ourselves and closer union with the Indwelling Spirit.

There is a natural balance that comes from a healthy relationship between husband and wife, the harmonizing of reason and feeling. In the ideal relationship there is an equal offering of service, loyalty, kindness, courtesy, obedience, love, devotion, companionship and respect between both when given unconditionally.

Swami Kriyananda shares insight with his book, Self-Expansion through Marriage: “The deeper truth in this supportive self-offering of the wife to the husband helps the heart energy move upward. At the same time, the husband in self-offering to the wife helps that awakened heart energy focus to the center of will and spiritual vision in the forehead. Both help other to achieve its own fulfillment.”

Consider reading this book for more insight to the complex topic of Divine responsibility of male and female energies.

Many blessings in your efforts.
Nayaswami Hassi