स्त्रीत्वं स्त्रीसङ्गत: प्राप्तो वित्तापत्यगृहप्रदम् ॥ ४१ ॥
strītvaṁ strī-saṅgataḥ prāpto
yām — which; manyate — she thinks; patim — her husband; mohāt — due to illusion; mat-māyām — My māyā; ṛṣabha — in the form of a man; āyatīm — coming; strītvam — the state of being a woman; strī-saṅgataḥ — from attachment to a woman; prāptaḥ — obtained; vitta — wealth; apatya — progeny; gṛha — house; pradam — bestowing.
A living entity who, as a result of attachment to a woman in his previous life, has been endowed with the form of a woman, foolishly looks upon māyā in the form of a man, her husband, as the bestower of wealth, progeny, house and other material assets.
From this verse it appears that a woman is also supposed to have been a man in his (her) previous life, and due to his attachment to his wife, he now has the body of a woman. Bhagavad-gītā confirms this: a man gets his next life’s birth according to what he thinks of at the time of death. If someone is too attached to his wife, naturally he thinks of his wife at the time of death, and in his next life he takes the body of a woman. Similarly, if a woman thinks of her husband at the time of death, naturally she gets the body of a man in the next life. In the Hindu scriptures, therefore, woman’s chastity and devotion to man is greatly emphasized. A woman’s attachment to her husband may elevate her to the body of a man in her next life, but a man’s attachment to a woman will degrade him, and in his next life he will get the body of a woman. We should always remember, as it is stated in Bhagavad-gītā, that both the gross and subtle material bodies are dresses; they are the shirt and coat of the living entity. To be either a woman or a man only involves one’s bodily dress. The soul in nature is actually the marginal energy of the Supreme Lord. Every living entity, being classified as energy, is supposed to be originally a woman, or one who is enjoyed. In the body of a man there is a greater opportunity to get out of the material clutches; there is less opportunity in the body of a woman. In this verse it is indicated that the body of a man should not be misused through forming an attachment to women and thus becoming too entangled in material enjoyment, which will result in getting the body of a woman in the next life. A woman is generally fond of household prosperity, ornaments, furniture and dresses. She is satisfied when the husband supplies all these things sufficiently. The relationship between man and woman is very complicated, but the substance is that one who aspires to ascend to the transcendental stage of spiritual realization should be very careful in accepting the association of a woman. In the stage of Kṛṣṇa consciousness, however, such restriction of association may be slackened because if a man’s and woman’s attachment is not to each other but to Kṛṣṇa, then both of them are equally eligible to get out of the material entanglement and reach the abode of Kṛṣṇa. As it is confirmed in Bhagavad-gītā, anyone who seriously takes to Kṛṣṇa consciousness — whether in the lowest species of life or a woman or of the less intelligent classes, such as the mercantile or laborer class — will go back home, back to Godhead, and reach the abode of Kṛṣṇa. A man should not be attached to a woman, nor should a woman be attached to a man. Both man and woman should be attached to the service of the Lord. Then there is the possibility of liberation from material entanglement for both of them.