The Meaning of Dharmapatni

The Meaning of Dharmapatni

Before our marriage, DN and I would imagine what life would be like as a married couple. In one of our sappy discussions (over Facebook’s calling feature, no less) I called him पति जी or Pati Ji. Pati meaning husband, and Ji is a title given out of respect. Normally, it’s a bit out of place to call your husband by “husband”, but I was practicing my Hindi at the time, and he didn’t seem to mind. I asked him how to say “wife” in Hindi.

“Patni.” he said. “My Dharmapatni.

So husband is “Pati” and wife is “Patni”… But what is dharmapatni? When I asked him the same question, at first, he couldn’t summon a proper translation.

the meaning of wife in Hindi
Photo by Tejal Patel via Flickr.com

To break it down, dharmapatni consists of two words: Dharma and patni (which we already know means wife). The word dharma has many meanings in Hinduism, and even outside of Hinduism.

A few possible meanings, include:

  • Duty
  • Virtue
  • Righteous
  • Order
  • Law

To simplify this, think of dharma as what you have to do in life, and karma as the consequences in result of what you do. That being said, it’s safe to say that dharmapatni could have several meanings.

Such as:

  • Dutiful wife
  • Virtuous wife
  • Righteous wife
  • Lawful wife
  • Devoted wife

wife in Hindi
Photo by Raj Boora via Flickr.com

Or all of the above. After some time, DN took the time to explain that a dharmapatni is a wife that would equally share the duties in life. Social duties, religious duties, and so on. Because a man and woman become one after marriage, in a way, think of them as Yin and Yang. Balance, duality, serving, and completing one another. He goes on to say that a dharmapatni has full devotion to her husband first, and then to her sense of duty.

If you, my insightful readers, have anything to add to this, please leave a comment! I would love to learn more from you.

Featured photo by Shashank Mhasawade via Flickr.com

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3 thoughts on “The Meaning of Dharmapatni

  1. Dharampatni is a very old term more like “legally wedded wife”. More often used as a fun term. In the same way wives in oldern times never took the names of the husbands and addressed them as “Sunatao ho jee” (here listen) or (name of the child + Papa) like “Pappu ke Papa jare sunnaa” (Papu’s papa just listen to me). In those days the relationship was more formal between couples at least for the outside world. Quiet an absurd situation.

    There are qualities defined for good Indian wife in the religious scriptures not quiet flattering

    http://anamikas.hubpages.com/hub/6-Noble-Virtues-of-anr-Ideal-good-houseWife-Qualities

    In Hinduism wife is called half the body of husband. Lord Shiva is often shown as “Ardhanarishwar” (half man and half women).

    According to scriputures, Shiva without Parvati is not Shiva but Shava (dead body). Shiva is the body and Pavati is the soul. Together they represent the male and female forces in the universe. They are also the perfect couple more like the first power couple of the world. Shiva the all powerful god of destruction and Parvati the primodial female energy which is the orgin of the universe. They are not two but one. Like normal couples they are described as having disagreements, looking after their children and also looking after the universe. Like any other busy modern couple. It is said that Shiva was wild and vagabound Parvati turned him into a householder. He became god, loving husband and father at the same time.

    What is more important, like your love story, Shiva and Parvati also faced oppostion from her parents since Parvati was a princess. However, Parvati stuck around and married Shiva. Thus, their story continues to inspire lovers for generations.

    That is why in the Indian context, perfect couple would be Shiva Parvati. Ram Sita were almost perfect, well almost.

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  2. Yes whatever your husband said is fully correct! I advise you to please read this. Neeti Saara is a very popular collection of morals written by Telugu Poet Baddena aka Bhadra Bhupala who lived during the 13 th century. Since this was written by an Indian keeping in mind the Hindu culture, it outlines the qualities an Indian bride should have.
    Meaning of ‘ Karyeshu Dasi, Karaneshu Manthri; Bhojeshu Mata, Shayaneshu Rambha, Roopeshu lakshmi, Kshamayeshu Dharitri, Shat dharmayukta, Kuladharma Pathni ‘.
    1) Karyeshu Dasi: works like a servant
    2) Karaneshu Mantri : advises like a minister
    3) Bhojeshu Mata: feeds like a mother
    4) Shayaneshu Ramba : Pleases in bed like the heavenly beauty Rambha
    5) Roopeshu Lakshmi : Beautiful like Goddess Lakshmi
    6) Kshmayeshu Dharitri : Having patience like Earth
    7) Shat dharma yuktah: woman who has this six virtues
    8) Kula dharma Patni : good housewife (a married woman who is not employed outside the home)
    In short, a good housewife should
    Be like a servant in doing the chores of the House
    give intelligent advice like a minister to her husband
    serve food to the husband as lovingly as a mother feeds her son
    like a courtesan in the Bedroom
    Beautiful like Maha Lakshmi and
    Have the forbearance of Mother Earth.

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