A God-centered Relationship
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© 2004 - Hansadutta das

Marriage and Krishna Consciousness

by Hansadutta das
31 October 1993, Singapore
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Prabhupada said, “Make the best use of a bad bargain.” So whatever our situation is or wherever we find ourselves at a particular time, we should begin from that point, understanding the ideal is this, but this is where I am and strive to attain that higher ideal. We should not become fanatics, but at the same time, we should not become complacent.

SITHU: One question that is very important to people is what happens to my wife? Like… okay, I’m into religion, but what about married life? Where does it stand? I mean—

HANSADUTTA: No problem. You want to get married? Take a wife. Wife is also given by God. So husband and wife will love Krishna. That kind of relationship will last, because the love is not for each other’s body or platonic, mental, intellectual love, but the love is for the highest cause, the service of Godhead. Such a relationship has real… you see? It has a real basis. Relationships that are not God-centered will not last. After they become familiar with one another’s body or mental and intellectual nuances, they become bored. Familiarity breeds contempt. Why people are being divorced? Because they have lost the centrepiece of the human relationship or the marriage relationship, which is God.

Formerly there was some… even though… like my mother and father, although they were not… of course, my mother is quite religious, I have to say, but people of that generation were not necessarily very spiritually advanced, but they had at least a formal and abstract understanding that there is a God, there is a supreme authority, and one of the things you don’t do is you whimsically marry and then… [divorce]. You have to be responsible. Once you marry, it is forever. It is for life. And they accepted that.

Now people don’t accept that. So they simply marry for love, so-called love. What is that love? “I love your body. I like the way you wear your glasses. Or the way you comb your hair or swagger down the street.” Something trivial. Or “I like your mind. You have a very active mind.” Such a relationship, after one becomes familiar with it, then familiarity breeds contempt.

SITHU: So when he looks for a wife or when a wife looks for a husband, there would not be any sense of falling in love, searching for somebody to share?

HANSADUTTA: Yes, you share that ideal of serving Krishna. Such a marriage is desirable.

SITHU: What if he marries and say… I mean, he is going to marry, and he says, “Okay, I’ll marry you, but do you promise to serve Krishna?”

HANSADUTTA: Well, I wouldn’t take a post-dated cheque. [laughter]

SITHU: That’s true.

HANSADUTTA: I would make sure there is money in the bank. No, it’s a dangerous thing to do. I would not advocate entering into a relationship of marriage with someone who is definitely not a committed and experienced devotee, a person who has understood, “Yes, my life is Krishna consciousness.” I have seen it happen again and again, because a boy thinks, “I’ll convince her to be a devotee.” You get what you see. That is basically what…. In marriage, one of the most important things to remember is what you see is what you are going to get. If you think you are going to change it and make some… customise this person to your liking, you are greatly mistaken. It never happens. People are what they are. And in material life we have this habit. In fact, this is what material life is. We see the world as we want to see it, rather than as it is. So when we… sometimes a boy sees a girl and there are certain things that attract him, and some things he doesn’t like, but he just overlooks that, or he thinks, “I’ll straighten it out later.” But those are the very things that completely ruin a relationship later, because he cannot straighten them out.

SITHU: What happens if you change after the marriage? Like if he or she changes after the marriage? I mean before marriage, she appears to be Krishna conscious, but after marriage, she becomes materialistic?

HANSADUTTA: Yes, that happens also. Well, then you have a problem. [laughter] That’s why the ideal thing is if you can maintain yourself as a brahmachary, but it is not always possible. But at least be trained up in Krishna consciousness first, so that even if one marries, he will never forget his brahmachary training, his brahmachary life, his intense devotional life, and he always thinks of it, and at some time later, he comes back to that, when everyone has grown up.

SITHU: So is it possible that… I mean, brahmacharya usually starts from very young.

HANSADUTTA: Supposed to at the age of five, but you know, we are—

SITHU: If you have never been a brahmachary and you have no idea of it—

HANSADUTTA: You can do it.

SITHU: What is the advantage [?]

HANSADUTTA: Well, it’s better late than never. Prabhupada said, “Make the best use of a bad bargain.” So whatever our situation is or wherever we find ourselves at a particular time, we should begin from that point, understanding the ideal is this, but this is where I am and strive to attain that higher ideal. We should not become fanatics, but at the same time, we should not become complacent. We shouldn’t say, “Oh, this is impossible. It cannot be done, so let me just go have a drink.” No.

That is the present situation in the world. Who is a brahmachary? There are no brahmacharies. In America children are taking crack cocaine when they’re nine years old. They’re dropping acid and running around with guns. Here it is not so bad yet, but when I see Singapore, the pulse of Singapore…. Like yesterday on Orchard Street, I’ve been there before—not walking like that so much—and I always feel that the pulse is intense, and one of the things that is very intense in Singapore is sex. Just like you were saying. All the ladies, all the girls are very exhibitive, and that definitely acts on the opposite sex. And that will intensify, because of the bodily concept, and because there will be no satisfaction, so they will intensify. One is not enough, so that leads to two girls or three or whatever. But it will intensify their drive for sense gratification, which will eventually end up in drugs. I don’t care what you tell people. You can hang people from the Telekoms Building, but they are going to take drugs. [break]

SITHU: We were talking about marriage.

HANSADUTTA: You got that, right?

SITHU: Because I think that is one of the most important things that people do [?].

HANSADUTTA: Yes, the important thing is… you see, formerly, in former times, the parents took care of that. They actually calculated the horoscopes, and the question of love never came into it, so-called love, which is not really love; just really lust. They made arrangements on the basis of their compatibility, which was determined by examining their horoscopes. But today, all that is gone….

In Krishna consciousness, the important factor is “Is this person dedicated to the service of Krishna and the spiritual master?” If the answer is yes—and that's the first consideration—the next one of course is, “Are we compatible?” Although people may be dedicated, they may not be compatible. There are… although we are not this body, we do have it. It’s a real body. And we have to think, “Are we compatible? Is our mindset, our particular habits… are they compatible?”

And Prabhupada… one of the things that he advised was that Indian boys should never marry Western girls. He said, “But Western boys can marry Indian girls,” and he said that was good, because they help the boys go up. But when Western girls marry Indian… when Indian boys marry Western girls, they go down. The boys go down, because the Western women are so heavy. They are impossible to control. They are passionate and really aggressive, and the Indian boys are generally very gentle and meek. Not meek, but gentle, and they just get exploited. So he advised against it.

Another thing he said, a boy should never marry a girl the same age or older. Ideally, the girl should be five years or more younger. When Prabhupada himself was married, he was twenty-one, and his wife was eleven years old, a child marriage. But the principle behind those marriages of the old style was that girls at eight or nine years old would be betrothed to a certain boy who might be nineteen or older. The girl was just a child, so she would see anyone that age almost like her father, and so the mother trained the girl to serve him. Like if he would like to eat a certain thing, she would teach the girl how to make it and give it to him, and the girl, doing that, would see that it made him happy, and she became happy. She became pleased. Gradually a relationship developed of service to her husband. And when she came of age, then she was actually married, but before that, they were not combined. And Prabhupada said that a girl like that would just be totally… she would never think of having another husband, no more than she would ever think of having another father. It would never come to her mind. The affection and love was so deep and intense that there was no question of divorce or separation or anything like that. And she would always maintain that kind of innocent subservience like children have, which is highly desirable in marriage. It makes a man very peaceful and happy, and he wants to take care of her. A man wants to take care. He thinks, “Oh, that poor little thing. I have to take care of her.” [laughter] And the girls actually want to be taken care of. It’s natural. The Western system is where they think they are equals, they are always arguing and bickering. The girl thinks she is just as intelligent as her husband or more. It’s always like… loggerheads. It should not be like that. Of course these are the ideal… we’re talking the ideal thing, but these are the principles behind these ideas, and if you understand them, then we can conduct ourselves by them. I used to wonder, “How is that possible for someone twenty-one to marry someone only eleven years old? Why do people do it? It's crazy.” But when it was explained what the arrangement was and how it worked, then I understood, and it made sense—“Oh, yes. That’s very good.” Like childhood sweethearts, except it is not on equal… it is not equal. The man is definitely the boss, and the woman is definitely submissive, and therefore it works. Somebody leads, and somebody follows.

Prabhupada used to say, “If a girl gets a good husband, then her life automatically…. Automatically, whatever credits, material and spiritual assets that her husband develops, she inherits them all just by being chaste. Like you inherit your father’s estate by being an obedient son. If the husband is spiritually advanced and qualified, the wife inherits, even if she doesn’t know anything, just by being submissive and chaste. That is her duty. That is the ideal qualification of the wife, being chaste.

BHIMA: Likewise it also says that when the wife is chaste, then the husband also achieves—

HANSADUTTA: Yes, sometimes. Prabhupada explained that sometimes a good woman saves a bad man. That’s rare, but he said it does happen, and he cited an example of somebody, one of his sisters.

SITHU: But we live in a society where animalistic passion is everything.

HANSADUTTA: Where what?

SITHU: Animalistic passion is idolised.

HANSADUTTA: Well, this is the society we live in. Therefore we have our spiritual master, we have Krishna conscious philosophy, and we have the Bhagavatam, which explain the pitfalls of this lifestyle, danger of this lifestyle, and we have to avoid them, because if you don’t avoid them, you become a victim.


Hansadutta das
Rittvik Representative of His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Trustee, BHAKTIVEDANTA BOOK TRUST
WORLD SANKIRTAN PARTY


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©2004-Hansadutta das
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