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Is Astrology Useful in Krishna Consciousness? Part Two

Monday, 08 February 2010 / Published in Articles / 8,534 views

“HARMONY IN MARRIAGE”

By Patita Pavana das Adhikary

The value of astrology in placing a marriageable candidate in the company of a compatible partner cannot be underestimated. Properly utilized, astrology can make the difference between a life of loneliness and suffering, or a contented platform from which to blissfully serve the lotus feet of Shri Guru and Shri Krishna. Through quotes from several sources, this article will prove that Shrila Prabhupada encouraged astrological compatibility in marriage for the members of ISKCON. Of this male-female compatibility aspect of the stellar science, technically called rasi-maitra, Shrila Prabhupada writes in his Bhaktivedanta Purports (SB 9.18.23)

“According to the Vedic system, the parents would consider the horoscopes of the boy and girl who were to be married. If according to astrological calculations the boy and girl were compatible in every respect, the match was called yoṭaka and the marriage would be accepted. Even fifty years ago, this system was current in Hindu society. Regardless of the affluence of the boy or the personal beauty of the girl, without this astrological compatibility the marriage would not take place. A person is born in one of three categories, known as deva-gaṇa, manuṣya-gaṇa and rakṣasa-gaṇa. In different parts of the universe there are demigods and demons, and in human society also some people resemble demigods whereas others resemble demons. If according to astrological calculations there was conflict between a godly and a demoniac nature, the marriage would not take place…

“The central idea is that if the boy and girl were on an equal level the marriage would be happy, whereas inequality would lead to unhappiness. Because care is no longer taken in marriage, we now find many divorces. Indeed, divorce has now become a common affair, although formerly one’s marriage would continue lifelong, and the affection between husband and wife was so great that the wife would voluntarily die when her husband died or would remain a faithful widow throughout her entire life. Now, of course, this is no longer possible, for human society has fallen to the level of animal society. Marriage now takes place simply by agreement.”

Shri Krishna explained to Arjuna this understanding of various human qualities by explaining that the entire material universe is controlled by the three modes of material nature. Simply put, matching of horoscopes is based upon placing together those who are affected by similar modes of nature. After marriage, once a couple has settled into a friendly relationship, the real business of life—progressive cultivation of Krishna consciousness—can be furthered as a family unit. As stated in Bhagavad Gita As It Is:

“There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from the three modes of material nature.” (BG 18.40)

And…

“This divine energy of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.” (BG 7.14):

Again, Shrila Prabhupada summarizes the super-excellent value of astrology in the matter of vivaha-yagna, or religious marriage, in his Purport concerning Lord Brahma’s request to Kardama Muni. Lord Brahma said:

“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.” (SB 3.24.15)

PURPORT: “The nine principal rishis, or sages, are Marīci, Atri, Aṅgirā, Pulastya, Pulaha, Kratu, Bhṛgu, Vasiṣṭha and Atharvā. All these ṛṣis are most important, and Brahmā desired that the nine daughters already born of Kardama Muni be handed over to them. Here two words are used very significantly—yathā-śīlam and yathā-ruci. The daughters should be handed over to the respective rishis, 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 Brahmā: ‘Your daughters should be handed over to the ṛṣis 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 Bhāgavatam 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.”

Once a servant of Shrila Prahupada’s confided in me that Shrila Prabhupada would sometimes sit very still for long hours if he became disturbed by a disciple writing to request a divorce. Gurudas Prabhu once noted that—before the days of watches with batteries—Prabhuppada would sit so still that his automatic self-wind Bulova watch would stop. Once, breaking a long silence, His Divine Grace simply said, “All the problems in our society are created by the mixing of men and women.” He also noted at another time, “The boy is good and the girl is good. But when they come together they become bad.” His Divine Grace offers the solution in his Bhaktivedanta Purports quoted above. That solution is to arrange marriage scientifically according to the tenets of Vedanga Jyotish as advocated by Lord Brahma, who created the planets under Shri Krishna’s guidance. Quite simply, there should be rashi-maitri or friendliness of Moon signs and nakshatras, plus an overall balance between the two horoscopes and their directions. Only then should there be talk of marriage.

As far as the actual purpose of marriage is concerned, Shrila Prabhupada explains this in his Purport to SB 4.21.46 :

“Marriage is not intended for sense gratification but for getting a son fully qualified to deliver his father. But if a son is raised to become an unqualified demon, how can he deliver his father from hellish life? It is therefore the duty of a father to become a Vaiṣṇava and raise his children to become Vaiṣṇavas; then even if by chance the father falls into a hellish life in his next birth, such a son can deliver him, as Mahārāja Pṛthu delivered his father.”

When the husband and wife live together as friends and companions in the mutual execution of Krishna consciousness, there is spiritual progress and abundant happiness. If, on the other hand, there is astrological incompatibility and discord, marriages lead to misery—not only for the husband and wife, but also the children. The wife is the counterpart of her husband. The shastras offer the Krishna conscious wife no end of praise for her endless contributions. As Prabhupada says in his Purport to SB 4.26.16:

“…A woman accepted in marriage by ritualistic ceremony is called dharma-patnī, which signifies that she is accepted in terms of religious principles. Children born of a dharma-patnī, or a woman married according to religious principles, inherit the property of the father, but children born of a woman who is not properly married do not inherit the father’s property. The word dharma-patnī also refers to a chaste wife. A chaste wife is one who never had any connection with men before her marriage. Once a woman is given the freedom to mingle with all kinds of men in her youth, it is very difficult for her to keep chaste. She generally cannot remain chaste. When butter is brought into the proximity of fire, it melts. The woman is like fire, and man is like the butter. But if one gets a chaste wife, accepted through a religious marriage ritual, she can be of great help when one is threatened by the many dangerous situations of life. Actually such a wife can become the source of all good intelligence. With such a good wife, the family’s engagement in the devotional service of the Lord actually makes a home a gṛhastha-āśrama, or household dedicated to spiritual cultivation.”

The matching of birth charts according to the qualities and tastes of the bride and groom has been fine-tuned to a science by the great sages since Lord Brahma created the Universe. It is tried, true and proven and works accurately to this day. On the other hand, modern education with its emphasis upon a presumed equality of men and women only serves to undermine the family unit and bring forth unwanted population. Of this dilemma, Shrila Prabhupada writes in his Purport to BG 16.7:

“The demons have now neglected such injunctions, and they think that women should be given as much freedom as men. However, this has not improved the social condition of the world. Actually, a woman should be given protection at every stage of life. She should be given protection by the father in her younger days, by the husband in her youth, and by the grownup sons in her old age. This is proper social behavior according to the Manu-saṁhitā. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed up concept of womanly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. Nor is the moral condition of woman very good now. The demons, therefore, do not accept any instruction which is good for society, and because they do not follow the experience of great sages and the rules and regulations laid down by the sages, the social condition of the demoniac people is very miserable.”

Prabhupada gives a final judgment on the practical value of marriage in the last chapter of Bhagavad Gita (18.5):

“The Lord says here that any sacrifice which is meant for human welfare should never be given up. Vivāha-yajña, the marriage ceremony, is meant to regulate the human mind to become peaceful for spiritual advancement. For most men, this vivāha-yajña should be encouraged even by persons in the renounced order of life. Sannyasīs should never associate with women, but that does not mean that one who is in the lower stages of life, a young man, should not accept a wife in the marriage ceremony. All prescribed sacrifices are meant for achieving the Supreme Lord.”

And once again His Divine Grace underscores this point in his Bhaktivedanta Purport of SB 1.2.10:

“Because the body is made of senses, which also require a certain amount of satisfaction, there are regulative directions for satisfaction of such senses. But the senses are not meant for unrestricted enjoyment. For example, marriage or the combination of a man with a woman is necessary for progeny, but it is not meant for sense enjoyment. In the absence of voluntary restraint, there is propaganda for family planning, but foolish men do not know that family planning is automatically executed as soon as there is search after the Absolute Truth. Seekers of the Absolute Truth are never allured by unnecessary engagements in sense gratification because the serious students seeking the Absolute Truth are always overwhelmed with the work of researching the Truth.”

Each of us is born under one or another of the 108 aggregate padas or quarters of the twenty-seven nakshatras. Each one of these padas has certain tastes, qualities, influences, character and preferences which correspond favorably or unfavorably to the other nakshatra-padas. When the nakshatra-padas find compatibility, only then the total analysis of the chart may be undertaken and continued. As recommended by Shrila Prabhupada a better fortune follows the auspicious couple who marry with the blessings of the stars. By living together in harmony, a foundation is created from which life’s real necessity, or bhakti-yoga, can be pursued in earnest. This is Shrila Prabhupada’s blessing.

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