Woman And Four Serial Husbands
By Veeraswamy Krishnaraj, M.D
According to Sacred Texts of Hinduism, the earthly woman is
possessed by gods, passed on from one god to the next, and nurtured by Soma,
Visvavasu, Agni and her husband. Another variation of this theme is that the
woman is under the protection and control of the father, the husband and the
son. Fortunately, the woman from the time of birth is cared for by these
indwelling gods, which means that their endocrine system is under the care of
The Soma, Visvavasu and Agni are the gods of pubarche, thelarche and menarche. See the diagram below. These gods give the woman growth, form, shape, development of the mind and body, anatomical features and physiological functions. A woman from birth to old age goes through profound eye-catching physical changes, unseen in a man. That is the obvious gender difference. Man is not possessed by gods, but woman is. Gods love woman and watch over and nurture her. Men are left to their own devices.
Don't get it wrong; the woman comes out wholesome after they are benignly possessed by the gods and subjected to striking hormonal changes. She is ever the bride of some god or other and lastly man.
Sacred Verse: First Soma (the Moon god) had thee for his bride; the Gandharva obtained thee next; Agni was thy third husband; thy fourth husband am I, born of man.
These are the serial husbands of every woman, nurtured and loved by gods in a platonic sense, who hand her over to the man in her purest form. Indwelling god Soma gives her physical growth and develops her mind. This is what smṛti-s or ancient sacred text books on Hindu law in Sanskrit say. (smṛti = That which is remembered = oral-aural transmission.) Soma is responsible for the growth of her hair. The sacred texts say these gods enjoy (nurture) the woman in a platonic sense because after the god enjoys her, she comes out unmolested, wholesome and pure. Gods enjoying an earthly woman is akin to parents watching and enjoying their girl grow from infancy to girlhood and womanhood.
The girl develops pubic hair (pubarche) under Soma's watch. Soma exits her and Visvavasu takes residence in her. Visvavasu is a Gandharva (Celestial musician) who is an adept in social graces. He has an eye for beauty. Soma gave the woman plain growth in height and weight. Now it is his job to give a shape to the form. He makes the pelvis widen, and the breasts grow from buds to bosoms. Her voice changes and skin acquires a sheen. The baby face changes to that of a girl. The eyes "speak the language of love." She knows the difference between genders and develops a sense of shyness towards strangers. She proceeded from sprig to bud to flower to early green fruit (பிஞ்சு) to unripe fruit (காய்) and still later to a ripe fruit (பழம்). She develops breasts (Thelarche). Now, she is passed on to Agni the fire god. She is now under the influence of spring and summer of body changes. The flower that became the unripe fruit becomes a ripe fruit under Agni. That is why Agni is called a "Fructifier." Agni's hand in her development results in Menarche. She is now a wholesome woman with full maturity, and a beautiful form and shape. She is intensely aware of her gender and her potential relationship with the opposite sex. It is Agni who makes a girl average1, attractive2, handsome3, beautiful4, elegant5, gracious6, sinuous/curvaceous7, concupiscent8, luscious9and divine10... Agni is ready to hand her over to her earthly husband. The sacred texts say that the earthly husband is the fourth husband of a woman, so she can have children with him. Menarche is celebrated in South India: Ruthu Sadangu (ருது சடங்கு).
Here I call the woman Satvi and the 4th husband Sudama.
Satvi is a modern girl born and brought up in India. She went through all the three stages from infancy to adulthood like all women. In college, she took courses under the guidance of professor Sudama. They met by happenstance in a fare. Their love flowered, blossomed and ended in marriage with permission from parents on both sides.
Satvi Weds Sudama.
Once Satvi expressed her desire to marry Sudama to her mother and later to her father, they asked the family astrologer about the compatibility of their horoscopes. Satvi in advance obtained the horoscope of Sudama. The astrologer studied their horoscopes diligently and announced that a compatibility existed in their horoscopes. He prognosticated their lives together, wealth, travel, vocations, children, effects of their horoscopes on parents and in-laws. Vāgdānam (giving away the Bride to the Groom by word of mouth = Betrothal) ceremony took place. Sudama's parents approached Satvi's for approval, which was promptly given in the ceremony. It is also known as kany‚d‚nam (= bestowal of a daughter in marriage). Clothes, rice, flowers...were exchanged in the presence of the officiating family priest. The most important missing part of this ceremony was that Sudama's parents did not ask for a dowry, showing their modern attitude to marriage. Satvi's parents went to Sudama's home and offered fruits and clothes.
A day was fixed for the wedding.
Satvi's marriage to Sudama followed Hindu manners and customs. Satvi and her husband had a general idea of what was expected of them during the wedding ceremony. On the morning of the marriage, she (both) had a refreshing bath with water consecrated with hymns and mantras. She looked happy and bright and smiled like a newly blossomed lotus flower. Womenfolk held a yoke over her bamboo-like shoulders and began dressing her in finery as they chanted hymns. She left the dressing room accompanied by her sisters, aunts and mother. The priests, family members and close friends clustered around the sacrificial platform with the fire burning in the makeshift fire pit. Satvi stood on a slab of stone, which represented the firmness and strength in her conjugal fidelity to her husband. Think of the expression, "You are my rock." Sudama repeated Sanskrit verses after the priest, took hold of the hand of Satvi and made an oath to cherish her.
Sudama presented Satvi clothes and jewelry on his and his family's behalf; she returned to the wedding platform with the new clothes and jewelry. Sudama's face shone like the rising sun and he showered her with effusive words of praise. Yes, she looked like Mahalaksmi. He was Vishnu. The couple uttered verses to beat back evil forces and demons and went in a procession. The priest chanted verses first giving away the bride to Soma, then to Gandharva, and then to Agni, who gave away the bride to Sudama. The procession came to the Groom's house and the uttered mantras evicted the demons from the house. Satvi was led into the house of Sudama and sat with him. The Garhapatya fire (Household fire) in a covered wrapper was brought to her. She sat on a mat sprinkled with Bālbaja Grass (Eleusine indica (Indian goosegrass, Wiregrass, Crowfootgrass BAlbaja grass). Agni was the object of worship for her and her husband. Where there is no fire, there is no life.
The priest blessed her as follows, "Let many children come forth from the lap (womb) of this woman. As the auspicious omen smiles on you, sit thou by this fire, with your husband; be thou of service to the gods. The auspicious omens, shining on you, are propitious to your husband, of great weal to your father-in-law, pleasing to your mother-in-law, your husband, the house and to the entire clan. Be thou their property ("You remain their loyal friend," in modern parlance). This bride brings excellent omens. Come and see her. All with evil in the hearts, both young and old, bring luster to her; otherwise, go away to your homes."
Prayers were offered to Lord Ganesa, the Lord of New Beginnings. On the wedding platform, garlands were exchanged by Sudama and Satvi. Sudama tied the sacred auspicious thread around the neck of Satvi, uttering the sacred Mantra of mutual friendship and long life. They applied kum kum on the foreheads of each other. Sudama applied the toe ring on Satvi. Knots were applied to the end of Satvi's sari and Sudama's aṅka-vastiram (Upper Cloth). They went around the fire with Sudama leading Satvi. Where there is no fire, there is no ritual. Then they took the ceremonial seven steps and Sudama said, One for sap (energy), two for juice (strength), three for wealth, four for comfort, five for cattle (property), six for seasons, seven for devotion and union with me.
Consummation that night followed the wedding ceremony. A priest conducted a consummation ceremony near their nuptial room, which was decorated with festoons of flowers; the bed had strewn rose petals; sweets in rainbow colors were placed on the table; the room with attached bathroom abounded with fragrance. The ceiling was a make-believe moon-lit night sky with neon and LED stars. There was a small refrigerator in the corner. (Here is a wedding with tradition and modern amenities.)
The four married female relatives, two from each side led her to the bridal chamber and made her sit on the bridal couch. Sudama and Satvi applied kumkum to each other. Garments were exchanged. The celestial Visvavasu the Gandharva chief of maidens was resident in maiden Satvi; he was requested to exit from Satvi's body, so Sudama can perform Garbhadhana on Satvi. Agni or Fire-god was supplicated to yield Sudama and Satvi ten sons. Author: Why was Agni not supplicated to yield them some girls?
When Sudama and Satvi were in bed for the first
time, they had a stick between them. That stick was the god Visvavasu, the god
of Thelarche (Explanation in the table). Sudama uttered the following, "O
Visvavasu, thank you very much for nurturing Satvi until she had her thelarche.
I want you to rise from the bed, leave us alone, seek and nurture another girl
tender in years, needing your assistance. Now that Satvi is my wife, leave her
unto me. I prostrate to thee and beg of you this favor." Once this was uttered
the staff was discarded, symbolizing the dismissal of god Visvavasu. Though
Sudama dismissed Visvavasu, he did not dismiss Agni, the third husband of Satvi.
Where there is no fire (heat), there is no life. That was the reason why Sudama
did not dismiss the Fire-God from his wife.
Author's opinion: Staff in many culture means phallus. The earliest use of Maypole in America was in 1628. There was drinking, dancing, debauching and frisking galore going on in a never-ending Bacchanalia. The west is fascinated with the phallic symbolism of Linga (and Visvavasu as a staff) of Hindus. Look at the pole and the pole dancer; its prurient symbolism is unmistakable. So is the case with innocent-looking Maypole, its hidden prurience and a flash mob reveling around the pole. This is another instance of a pole or a stick representing sexual organs. Consider the Aranis (two tinder sticks). In Vedic times, they were compared to husband and wife. The upper stick grinds on the lower stick to create sparks (= life, children).
( Gods of Pubarche, Thelarche, and Menarche. Pubarche = development of pubic hair; Thelarche = Development of breasts; Menarche = First periods. I named the gods Soma, Vivavasu and Agni as Gods of Pubarche, Thelarche, and Menarche. In Hindu tradition, the celestials enjoy (nurture) the girls before the husbands do. The sacred texts mention the following: Gods Soma, Visvavasu and Agni enjoy (nurture) the woman from birth till marriage before the husband does. Every woman has four husbands: Soma = Moon god, god of plants and god in charge of mind; Visvavasu = Gandharva or the atmospheric deity (godling), protector of virgins; Agni = the God of Fire; and the Earthly Husband. The women are not tainted because of these "serial marriages or polyandry." The indwelling moon god watches over the physical growth, presides over the mind and nurtures woman until she develops pubic hair. Visvavasu protects, makes the body beautiful with good skin tone and nurtures the woman until her breasts become round and mature, her eyes speak the language of love, and her skin glows with rich complexion. The God of Fire (Agni) brings on menstruation, so she is ready to bear children. Soma, Visvavasu and Agni inhabit, cohabit with and nurture the woman from birth, Soma leaving the woman at Pubarche, Visvasu leaving at Thelarche, and Agni leaving at Pubarche. Agni actually never leaves, because there is no life without Agni (fire and heat). It appears to me that Soma, Visvavasu and Agni are gods of pubarche, Thelarche, and Menarche.)
The family presented the officiating priest a silk
garment, with which the demons would leave the house. The couple received
benedictions from the priest and the family.
At last, Sudama welcomed his newly-minted wife in the nuptial chamber and said, "I am your man; you are my woman. I am Sama Veda, thou the Rg Veda. I am heaven, thou the earth. We will dwell together, with children in the offing."
Sudama and Satvi did not observe Tri-ratra-Vrata (Vow of Three-Night-Abstinence = a sign of self-control), following marriage.
Garbhadhana = Insemination, Fertilization, Impregnation, Ceremony performed before conception or after menstruation to ensure conception.
Hindu Saṃskāras = Sacraments, Purification rites. Garbhadhana is a rite by which a man deposits his seeds in a woman. In western parlance, it is mere copulation or coitus; in Hindu Vedic households, it is a sacred rite. It also goes by the name Garbhalambhanam. Laugh if you must. Everything a Hindu does is a Samskara. Yes, sexual intercourse is Samskara. Talk to a strict adherent to Garbhadhana ritual. He may hesitate or feel reticent to reveal his secrets. There are days a Hindu can have (ritual) intercourse and days he cannot. Before the man deposits his seeds, he had to utter Vedic hymns, worship Puranic gods, his mother (Mātṛpūja) with joyous sincerity and faith (Nāndśiraddha), and Ganesa, the Lord new beginnings. The ritual act is performed according to Rtu on the fourth to sixteenth night after her periods. The 4th night is accepted as the earliest ceremonially pure night for conception. Any scattering of seeds in days (nights) other than from 4th to 16th was tantamount to an abortion because seeds were wasted. Daytime intercourse is prohibited, because the vital airs of the man in the daytime "leap out'' and the children born (of daytime conception) were weak and unlucky with a short lifespan.
Conception on nights farther away from
impurity of periods results in purer and meritorious children.
The child conceived on a night following the
beginning of periods has following attributes.
RTU (Ritually optimal) nights are the ideal nights for conception.
|A Son conceived on the 4th night||has a short lifespan and poverty.|
|A girl conceived on the 5th night||will give birth to female children.|
|A Son conceived on the 6th night||attains mediocrity.|
|A girl conceived on the 7th night||becomes barren.|
|A son conceived on the 8th night||becomes a Lord or prosperous.|
|A girl conceived on the 9th night||grows to be an auspicious woman.|
|A Son conceived on the 10th night||becomes wise.|
|A girl conceived on the 11th night||becomes women with irreligion.|
|A Son conceived on the 12th night||becomes the best among man.|
|A girl conceived on the 13th night||becomes an adulterous woman.|
|A Son conceived on the 14th night||becomes a religious, grateful, self-realized and firm of vow.|
|A girl conceived on the 15th night||becomes a prolific mother of sons, devoted to her husband.|
|Conception at 16th night||results in a protector, learned, auspicious, truthful, and self-controlled.|
The coital rituals are as important as foreplay.
The man invokes Vishnu, Tvastar, Prajapati, and Dhatar before he deposits the
seeds. The purpose is for the man and the woman bear a son. The woman should
climb on the bed happy in mind, prepared in body and soul and ready to take in
the seed to produce a son. The actual intercourse is not described in the sacred
texts, but we have to assume it is natural and conventional.
The husband disrobed, rubbed his body making assurances to the gods and the woman, he is virile, uttered hymns and Mantras, prayed to god Pusan for conception, "embraced" (had intercourse with) his partner, and "scattered" (deposited) the seeds. Then the husband leaning on her right shoulder says, "O thou whose hair is well parted. Thy heart that dwells in heaven, in the moon that I know; may it know me. May we see a hundred autumns" (The modern woman has a zigzag midline partition of hair (or lateral to midline) as a fashion statement; it is not approved.)
Pusan is a Vedic deity, keeper of flocks and herds and bringer of prosperity; being a sun-god, he surveys all things and acts as a conductor on journeys and on the way to the next world.
Satvi belonged to a traditional family, which believed in Hindu customs and manners. Garbhadhana Samskara or Ksetra Samskara was performed to purify the field, Ksetra, or the womb, so it received the seeds auspiciously to produce auspicious children. Satvi became pregnant some time after her marriage to her husband following the injunctions of Garbhadhana. Satvi won't have it any other way. He practiced his dry-run rituals assiduously many times lest he forgets the procedural elements, before he actually scattered his seeds in Satvi. Clever as Sudama was, he performed the family-imposed rituals before he let loose his foreplay. Once he scattered his seeds, he, by injunctions, took a bath; his wife was exempted and still pure. After they get up from the bed after congress (intercourse), the man is impure and the woman is conversely unpolluted. (There might be a fear, that a postcoital bath by the woman may accidentally drain and wash off the seeds, thereby defeating the elaborate procedures, hymns, Mantras...)
Ritual purification for Sudama in his mind was to
make sure Satvi was immune to Measles, Mumps and Rubella. She was protected and
fortified with Tdap and Flu vaccine, so the newborn was healthy.
A full term baby boy was born right on time, which happened to be the same birthday as his. They named him Satvan (much later in another Samskara.) He was a beautiful baby, hale and healthy, with ten toes and ten fingers in place. The mother-in-law declared he had all the Lakshanas (attributes) of good baby. Every time a close relative walked in the private maternity room, he or she saw the reflection of his or her face in the baby. He was born in a "Private Nursing Home" (Private Maternity Hospital Rated High). The delivery went well. Satvi had an easy delivery because her pelvis was wide. Satvan just dropped out just in time for the OB could catch him. Tamasi, the youngest among sisters, on account of a narrow pelvis and slow progress had to have a cesarean section and had an almost invisible linear scar in the lower abdomen.