Suitable arrangements for marriages
atas tvam rsi-mukhyebhyo
atmajah paridehy adya
vistrnihi yaso bhuvi
Therefore, today please give away your daughters to the foremost of the sages, with due regard for the girls’ temperaments and likings, and thereby spread your fame all over the universe.
The nine principal rsis, or sages, are Marici, Atri, Angira, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhrgu, Vasistha and Atharva. All these rsis are most important, and Brahma desired that the nine daughters already born of Kardama Muni be handed over to them. Here two words are used very significantly – yatha-silam and yatha-ruci. The daughters should be handed over to the respective rsis, not blindly, but according to the combination of character and taste. That is the art of combining a man and woman. Man and woman should not be united simply on the consideration of sex life. There are many other considerations, especially character and taste. If the taste and character differ between the man and woman, their combination will be unhappy. Even about forty years ago, in Indian marriages, the taste and character of the boy and girl were first of all matched, and then they were allowed to marry. This was done under the direction of the respective parents. The parents used to astrologically determine the character and tastes of the boy and girl, and when they corresponded, the match was selected: “This girl and this boy are just suitable, and they should be married.” Other considerations were less important. The same system was also advised in the beginning of the creation by Brahma: “Your daughters should be handed over to the rsis according to taste and character.” According to astrological calculation, a person is classified according to whether he belongs to the godly or demoniac quality. In that way the spouse was selected. A girl of godly quality should be handed over to a boy of godly quality. A girl of demoniac quality should be handed over to a boy of demoniac quality. Then they will be happy. But if the girl is demoniac and the boy is godly, then the combination is incompatible; they cannot be happy in such a marriage. At the present moment, because boys and girls are not married according to quality and character, most marriages are unhappy, and there is divorce.
It is foretold in the Twelfth Canto of the Bhagavatam that in this age of Kali married life will be accepted on the consideration of sex only; when the boy and girl are pleased in sex, they get married, and when there is deficiency in sex, they separate. That is not actual marriage, but a combination of men and women like cats and dogs. Therefore, the children produced in the modern age are not exactly human beings. Human beings must be twice-born. A child is first born of a good father and mother, and then he is born again of the spiritual master and the Vedas. The first mother and father bring about his birth into the world; then the spiritual master and the Vedas become his second father and mother. According to the Vedic system of marriage for producing children, every man and woman was enlightened in spiritual knowledge, and at the time of their combination to produce a child, everything was scrutinizingly and scientifically done. (End of Srila Prabhupada’s purport.)
HH Candramauli Swami: So before I begin I would like to take the blessings of all the assembled Vaisnavas so I can somehow or the other say something that is meaningful. So this particular section here is being described as. Actually if you go through these verses you see that it talks a lot about suitable arrangements for marriages and especially this verse.
First of all Kardama Muni was a progenitor and he produced nine very qualified and very devotional girls. Those nine girls were later given to nine rsis. The matter is mentioned in the beginning of the fourth canto. The first chapter describes which girl went to which rsis and all their progeny actually populated the universe. So it is described very scientifically here.
Srila Prabhupada spends most of his purport describing the accordance of marriage as a basis for practicing spiritual life and how that combination is a feature of the success of ones Krishna consciousness. Herein it is mentioned how character should be matched up and if it is not done Prabhupada uses the word unhappy, the relationships become difficult and it is very hard to practice Krishna consciousness.
So in Vedic culture the authority of seniors was given so much importance. Here it is mentioned Lord Brahma is giving the recommendation on what to do. Kardama Muni could and he is in the position as the father of these daughters to make arrangements for the daughters. Lord Brahma said gives his recommendation, “Here is nine very qualified sages and your daughters are also very qualified so please make this arrangement and you will see they will live very successfully both in populating the universe and having the best of all devotional children.”
So Kardama Muni follows that. The very interest part of this verse is the following of authority. Srila Prabhupada explains that in married life especially in today’s societies, not only in western society but all societies that are no longer based on the Vedic culture, people no longer take advantage of direction from authorities. They act independently according to physical attraction, physical infatuation and what is the result? Generally the result is that there is varna sankara, unwanted population.
When there is unwanted or undesired population the type of population were the soul is called in to enter into the womb of a mother who is not following the Vedic culture, the Vedic traditions or the Vedic samskaras, purifictory processes and what is the result? We have what we call population that is not obedient to anyone, to the parents, any form of authority. That is the situation in Kali-yuga.
So this attraction between men and women, Prabhupada mentions this many times it is not healthy material. Spiritually it is a different point. Materially it is unnatural. The natural attraction is between the living entity or the soul and the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
That desire for pleasure is situated within the soul so there is rasa, the essential attraction between the living entity and Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that attraction is spontaneous, it is natural and doesn’t have to be learnt but when that attraction becomes devoted to something else then it becomes perverted and the epitome of that devotion is the attraction between men and women in the material world.
So we want to purify that attraction and bring it to the point of bringing it back to Krishna consciousness. Married life is a very important situation. This is the way to dovetail the physical attraction to the opposite sex in an environment which allows us to fulfill ones desires in relationship with the opposite sex by producing Krishna conscious children. But ultimately we have to become detached from that situation and ultimately practice complete renunciation, with dependence fully on the Supreme Personality of Godhead and go back home back to Godhead, which is the goal of life.
In order for that process to play itself out properly there should be nice arrangements within married life that in such a way that there is compatibility were one can satisfy ones sensual nature but at the same time practice Krishna consciousness. It is all based on accepting authority. That is what this whole section is about.
Prabhupada mentions in the Vedic culture what was the authority? It was the father and the mother. They would arrange for both the girl and the boy according to the quality and character to become situated within their asrama, not independently, not whimsically. Some people say that today that is not practical, it is not possible, the training is not there and it is too difficult and what are the authorities now? The parents are also not trained especially in western culture.
They will say, “My parents never got married like that.” One has to take direction from Srila Prabhupada says here, second birth, the spiritual master. So the process of devotional service in order to move into that ashram nicely. Srila Prabhupada speaks about his own life how his parents especially his father arranged for his marriage and Prabhupada speaks out on one tape, it is interesting he mentions, “I wanted a second wife.” Because as he puts it in his own words, “I did not like my wife so much. But my father said, ‘No you stay with her and this arrangement will allow you to fulfill your needs and at the same time become renounced.’”
So although Srila Prabhupada accepted the authority of his father for marriage he had another idea that he could take another wife but his father said no and he accepted that. So again the acceptance of authority and then he fulfilled his obligation in married life and maintained his wife very nicely and when it was time to leave that situation he did.
When one follows the authority, this is the point that I am trying to stress then one can get the mercy and blessings of both the authorities and the Supreme Personality of Godhead. When one acts independently according to ones immediate attraction and that happens all the time.
We find in western society, especially materialistic society, this was about five years ago, of course this is from materialistic society but we can still learn from it. Seventy percent of marriages ended in divorce within the first three years. Then those persons who got divorced end up getting married two or three times and there is also the mention that physical attraction, this initial infatuation, physical or even some emotional attachment becomes somewhat dissipated in the course of time.
Unless there is something else to keep that relationship together then they become restless and look for something in order to satisfy their desires. That is why Vedic culture teaches that within the relationships between man and women there should be the practice of Krishna consciousness according to the regulative principles and even if there is disagreements, or even if the characters are not fully perfect then one can some how or the other rise above those difficulties.
Challenges and difficulties are actually opportunities to make spiritual progress. When two people are roped together based on religious principles, getting guidance from seniors and through spiritual leaders and work through the difficulties even though it may seem impossible then that relationship becomes stronger. That is also given as a statistic that when two people somehow or the other agree to make it work despite the difficulties then in that effort success is there then that relationship becomes stronger. This is an important point to understand.
Actually this is the whole process of life itself. One makes advancement both materially and spiritually when one accepts difficulties as opportunities. When we see difficulties or challenges, of course we have to be fixed within our duty and our responsibility, and when we accept the difficulties as the mercy of the Lord then those difficulties actually awaken within us the realizations how to perceive our responsibilities. Krishna gives the intelligence.
Nowadays I see so many things how within our Krishna consciousness society being in the position I am in people come to me with so many marital challenges, problems and sometimes they want immediately to call it off and they want my blessings to call it off. Srila Prabhupada when he first began the Hare Krishna movement, in those days of course no one knew anything about Krishna consciousness marriages or how to become Krishna conscious within the marriage situation. So Prabhupada took on the responsibility for being the priest during the marriage ceremony and giving the directions, the blessings and the instructions on what it means to become responsible in marriage life.
After three years Prabhupada decided not to do that service anymore because he said, “You are not taking it seriously.” So it is difficult. Sometimes you may say unless you are in the situation you can’t really understand the situation, but we can understand from the authorities that ultimately that the goal is to become Krishna conscious and the opportunities to accept difficulties in the relationship and to rise above those difficulties or to accept them as the opportunity to become more connected in our devotional way.
So Radhanath Swami Maharaj tells this story, it is a personal story but he tells it also in classes. It is interesting when he was a little boy, about eight years old his mother said, “Your father and I don’t get along so good so we are thinking that maybe we should get separated.” As a little boy being attached to both parents he started to cry and his mother was really emotionally affected by her sons crying so she went to her husband and said, “Our son is really upset that we are going to be breaking up so lets try to make it work.” And because of that they stayed together just for the benefit of the child. Then of course later on their relationship became strong, so strong that later on they both became fully Krishna conscious. And his mother left the world at the Krishna Balaram Temple by the grace of her son.
So we can see how when two people somehow accept difficulties as
opportunities to become responsible then the mercy comes in different ways. So even if not perfectly matched according to character and taste and it is very hard these days. I was told by some devotees that they got more than one astrological reading. They don’t like the first one they get another one and if they don’t like that one they can have multiple choice to see which one is the most suitable for their desire. You might say that it has an element of cheating in it.
Of course another way to determine what gives a safe entry into a relationship is to get the recommendations of seniors and friends who know both the boy and the girl and when they say, “Oh yes, we know her and it seems like it will work and so we give our approval. “ That is another way. That is very important also because we cannot somehow see through that situation.
Married life especially in this age is such a trip! So many difficulties, Kali-yuga is filled with so many faults, kaler dosa-nidhe rajann (SB 12.3.51) an ocean of faults especially when two people try to work together to practice Krishna consciousness. So it takes determination, it takes allegiance to authorities and it takes faith that by following that it will work out.
One time one lady came to me in Vrindavan she said, “Maharaj my husband is very nice but he doesn’t talk to me. He sits and reads Caitanya Caritamrta all day. The only time he talks to me is when we take prasad. He is just too busy reading Caitanya-caritamrta and I am like practically not even there most of the time. What should I do?” You can think about how to answer this one!
First thing is that you too should sit next to him and read Caitanya-caritamrta and in that way based on that there will be a relationship but I said, “I think you married a brahmacari.” So later on we found out that the marriage did not work out. He married Caitanya-caritamrta and she became very much renounced and is practicing Krishna consciousness now very successfully. Both of them are very strong characters and both of them are fixed in their Krishna consciousness. So they were able to move on but that is not always the case. I bring up this point just to show that many times although relationships are there and one partner tries to make it work, there has to be cooperation from both. Okay we won’t speak too much and take comments or questions.
Question: Maharaj thank you for the class. Hare Krishna. My question is that in Kali-yuga very often we have bad experiences with authority, we are cheating or we are getting cheated we loose faith in the process of getting knowledge, the descending process. We try to depend on our own wits and our desires. So my question is, in your experience what is the key to creating faith in authorities?
HH Candramauli Swami: Loosing faith in the authorities because the authorities are not qualified to act so you gain some faith or is it that one just doesn’t have faith in the authority. From the authorities side or the other side. From the authorities side it is unfortunate. Prabhupada said, he gives the example of the child who very lovingly puts his head on the lap of the mother and if his mother is not qualified she may decide to abuse the child. The child has faith in the mother’s protection but the mother does not reciprocate it. That is unfortunate.
Srila Prabhupada did give us the authority within our society; those who are representing Srila Prabhupada have to be fixed on the teachings and the mood that Srila Prabhupada gave. Srila Prabhupada said seniors should be very kind and affectionate to the juniors and the juniors should be very obedient and faithful to seniors. To be an authority means to be kind and concerned for the spiritual well-being of others otherwise there is the deficiency in the authority.
So following those authorities that have that should be done and those that don’t have that should be corrected because the worst thing is an unqualified authority. They lead others in the wrong direction. Without faith there is no question of Krishna consciousness. When trust is not there then one will give up surrender.
Having faith in the authority means to hear from the authority, to serve, get direction and develop a relationship with the authority. So we have to build relationships. It is not that the authority is so distant. He or she is the authority from a distant. This is a personalists movement so that authority also has to develop a relationship otherwise one may have some trust but not fully until the relationship develops. When there is a relationship then that relationship is based on love and trust then one can accept whatever is given by his authority. When that is not there one will be hesitant and not accept anything.
Everything is based on relationship. We are developing our relationship with the Supreme Personality of Godhead and we also develop relationships with Vaisnavas.
Question: Sometimes when we come from a different culture were we are trained to accept authority never mind what is the problem with the authority still we have to remain faithful to encourage that person to get his qualification or realize his offences or Krishna will take him away
HH Candramauli Swami: Krishna will take him away. That is usually the case. That happens. There was a situation were the temple presidents wife was not so much trained in devotional life, she was encouraging the cooks to put eggs into the food. The temple president was also involved in it. So the whole thing was exposed and brought to Srila Prabhupada’s attention.
During that time some devotees left and some stayed So Srila Prabhupada in his evaluation of the situation he said that the senior devotees who left he said they made a mistake, they should have stayed and corrected the situation. For the younger devotees he said it would have bee better for them to leave because in that way they would not become victimized. Prabhupada gave two different evaluations as to how we should respond in such a situation.
So when the authority is not qualified or not trustworthy then one should approach the other authorities to get some help and some guidance or some correction in order to make the situation better for the practice of Krishna consciousness. Not that one has faith and just goes on but one should try to make the corrections.
Prabhupada says if you want to be successful then you need two things, in any activity in Krishna consciousness two things are required, prayer and endeavor. You pray for the mercy, guidance, and intelligence and then you make and effort.
Prabhupada gives the example of Arjuna, Krishna was on the chariot but although Krishna was there he still had to fight. So we have to make the effort. Without the prayer we will not get the blessings and mercy.
Our society is set up in such a way that we can always make inquiries into the situation and get help. I have seen, and have been in the midst of were authorities are not qualified and so many devotees actually loose faith.
Question: Krishna is interested in bringing devotees to loving reciprocation with Him …….So I am often wondering that we see so many marriages breaking within our movement. Some really want to be devotees. (unclear)
HH Candrmauli Swami: Krishna has arranged for them to be broken apart? (Questioner -Yeah, Krishna breaks relationships all the time we see in sastra.)
I think it is a little dangerous to make that conclusion without getting that complete and clear understanding from ones spiritual master or someone who is in the position of a spiritual master because to think that the marriage breakup is Krishna’s arrangement. It could be the person. The could be many reasons why the marriage may not work but the basic principle is lack of training in both understand what it means to be responsible in married life and practice those religious principles in accordance to the needs of the ashram. Obviously in our society there has been many mismatches.
If somehow following the regulative principle and this is a very
controversial statement but it is mentioned that Prabhupada says that generally it is due to the weakness of the ladies that the marriage falls apart. In is written the the ….canto. Men have big egos and part of keeping your husband happy is to satisfy that ego in a Krishna conscious way. A man gets married because he wants someone to take care of him, understand his nature and to serve that nature nicely and then when he sees that then he is inclined to give himself completely to his wife. But if a woman does not follow the nature of the man then there is always some kind of imbalance.
The Vedic system is the ideal system was a woman understands the nature of the man, not his material nature but what he needs in order to practice Krishna consciousness nicely. Also in a material way by providing affection, by care and kindness and service when that is there then the man is inclined to give himself completely. That is the nature of the male ego. If you get married and then your wife does not cooperate then what is the use of marriage? Or if the husband is not qualified then the wife feels why should she take so much time and effort to satisfy the husband when actually he has got too many material tendencies.
There are various examples throughout history were ladies have made their husbands Krishna conscious by chastity and service and they have won the hearts of their husbands in such a way that the husband actually becomes Krishna conscious and he becomes more inclined of taking care of his wife. So these are the finer aspects or the subtleties of the relationship but still religious principles are the culmination of that.
Now in the early days Srila Prabhupada also separated men and women. One of my dear God-sisters, Cintamini, she was there, she had just come to England for the first time, and she was describing her she was speaking how Prabhupada arranged for her marriage to Sudama and they got married and at one point Prabhupada was looking for persons to take sannyasa. So Sudama got the idea that it was good to take sannyasa and he wanted to take sannyasa so he cam to Prabhupada and said, “Prabhupada, I would like to take sannyasa.” Prabhupada said, “You have to get permission from your wife.”
So he went to Cintamini and he said it in such a way that, “Prabhupada wants more sannyasis. I want to be a sannyasi. Could you give me permission?” And she said, “Okay.” And that was the end of the marriage so he went on and took sannyasa. It was like that, whatever Prabhupada wanted. She thought Srila Prabhupada wanted her husband to take sannyasa so she agreed. The desire of the spiritual master became most important in that situation.
So she got married because of Srila Prabhupada’s desire and she got separated because Srila Prabhupada wanted sannyasis, obedience to authority – really hard to accept!
Question: Thank you very much Maharaj. Maharaj, we hear of Srila Prabhupada marrying some disciples but without astrological compatibility for example Bhurijana Prabhu in one of his classes spoke about how he and Jagattarini Mataji they were married without astrological compatibility and they are still together in Krishna consciousness. So how do we understand this? Is it special mercy?
HH Candramauli Swami: Some arranged marriages work some don’t. Some unarranged marriages work and some don’t. So what is the standard? Krishna consciousness! That is the foundation. The more we accept the principles of the ashram and apply that according to the instructions of the spiritual master that is how success can be achieved. If we go outside of that then we are very much on the mental platform so it is always guidance of authority, sastra and guru or sadhu.
Okay I don’t know too much about marriages. People come to me all the time and they say, “Maharaj can you help me with this marriage arrangement.” I say, “My name is Candramauli not Vanamali!” Vanamali was the marriage arranger who arranged marriage for Lord Caitanya to His wife Visnupriya. (Laughter.)
Srila Prabhupada Ki Jai!