कथं विना स्याम सुहृत्तमेन ते ।
तत्रानुयानं तव वीर पादयो:
शुश्रूषतीनां दिश यत्र यास्यसि ॥ ३४ ॥
kathaṁ vinā syāma suhṛttamena te
tatrānuyānaṁ tava vīra pādayoḥ
śuśrūṣatīnāṁ diśa yatra yāsyasi
tvayā — you; kṛtajñena — a most grateful personality; vayam — we; mahī-pate — O King; katham — how; vinā — without; syāma — shall exist; suhṛt-tamena — the best of our friends; te — of you; tatra — there; anuyānam — the following; tava — of you; vīra — O hero; pādayoḥ — of the lotus feet; śuśrūṣatīnām — of those engaging in the service; diśa — please order; yatra — where; yāsyasi — you will go.
O King, O hero, you were a very grateful husband and the most sincere friend of all of us. How shall we exist without you? O hero, wherever you are going, please direct us there so that we may follow in your footsteps and engage again in your service. Let us go along with you!
Formerly, a kṣatriya king was generally the husband of many wives, and after the death of the king, especially in the battlefield, all the queens would agree to accept saha-māraṇa, dying with the husband who was their life. When Pāṇḍu Mahārāja, the father of the Pāṇḍavas, died, his two wives — namely, the mother of Yudhiṣṭhira, Bhīma and Arjuna and the mother of Nakula and Sahadeva — were both ready to die in the fire with their husband. Later, after a compromise was arranged, Kuntī stayed alive to care for the little children, and the other wife, Mādrī, was allowed to die with her husband. This system of saha-māraṇa continued in India even until the time of British rule, but later it was discouraged, since the attitude of wives gradually changed with the advancement of Kali-yuga. Thus the system of saha-māraṇa has practically been abolished. Nevertheless, within the past fifty years I have seen the wife of a medical practitioner voluntarily accept death immediately when her husband died. Both the husband and wife were taken in procession in the mourning cart. Such intense love of a chaste wife for her husband is a special case.