Well… We Just Got Divorced

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By Vishnupriya Devi Dasi

Vishnupriya: “Hare Krishna mataji! It’s so nice to see you! How are you and your good husband?”

Mataji: Well, I’m fine. But my husband, well. we just got divorced.”

I’ve had similar exchanges to the one above at least six times this past year. Usually a list of justifications follows the news. After hearing many unpleasant details, in four occasions I have been immediately introduced to a new lover. Yes. a “favorable” non-devotee! Some of the former spouses feel ashamed or sad, but others sound like they’re making a toast: “Free at last!” Interestingly, four of these six couples did not have any children, although they had been married for several years and were apparently healthy. These facts make me think that the main reason for the breakup was due to misconceptions about the purpose of marriage according to our tradition. Certainly there might be legitimate reasons for a divorce, like domestic violence or infidelity, but often the main reason seems to be dissatisfaction in sense gratification.

Divorce is unacceptable to Srila Prabhupada. In Srimad Bhagavatam 1.17.38 we find, “The divorce act is encouraging prostitution, and this should be abolished.” Further, in a letter to Rupanuga das he wrote, “Regarding remarriage, no, remarriage should be always discouraged. Remarriage means encouraging sense gratification. Our mission is to curtail sense gratification. Three times marrying in a year, this is not good, and they are doing this.” Simply because devotees were already misbehaving in front of Prabhupada does not mean we should not improve our condition. Relying on his mercy is an ungrateful way of practicing spiritual life. Besides, as Prabhupadanugas we must follow his instructions. It’s alarming how divorce has become a common practice among devotees. We all know about the negative effects of divorce on children, and as devotees, we should give the example that our sacred vows are not to be taken lightly. If we care about our children and spiritual life, then divorce should not be an option. As responsible and honest friends, we should also talk to devotees with marriage problems and help them understand in practical terms the purpose of marriage. We must remember Prabhupada’s words in Bhagavat Gita 1.40 Prabhupada states, “Good population in human society is the basic principle for peace, prosperity and spiritual progress in life. [.] Therefore, both children and women require protection by the elder members of the family. [.] On the failure of such varnasrama-dharma, naturally the women become free to act and mix with men, and thus adultery is indulged in at the risk of unwanted population. Irresponsible men also provoke adultery in society, and thus unwanted children flood the human race at the risk of war and pestilence.” This reflection is meant to be a call for introspection for devotees considering divorce. Try talking to devotees in stable marriages to give you advice. Remember that Prabhupada teaches us that marriage is meant to maintain social order and to advance in Krishna consciousness. We must be consistent and practice what we preach. Moreover, as spouses and parents, we should understand that being steadfast in our marriage vows is vital to being faithful to our children’s education and to the welfare of the Vaishnava society we are struggling so hard to create.

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Hare Krsna,

Dandavats.

I think this is one of the biggest problems within our society right now. The modern stressful lifestyle and previous conditioning has made it even more difficult to sustain a good grhastha life. Moreover when there are no children it becomes even more easy as there is hardly any responsibility.

One needs to understand that man and woman natures are generally not compatable or so to say quite different. Even in higher realms there are disagreements between husband and wife…Lord Shiva and Parvati hag their disagreements. Even on earthly plane couples used to have disagreements but they never went for divorce. Actually there is no synonym for divorce in Sanskrit because it just didn’t exist in the Vedic society.

One reason which is believe is prominent is a lack of good training in the beginning both with boy as well as girl and the culprit is our modern education system which is making us more or less like Hi-Fi animals.

Secondly there seems to be a lack of Higher Purpose to sustain the marriage. If both the parties follow their egoistic ways then there is no future in that relationship. Forgiveness protects a relationship ..without it no relation can ever sustain on the material plane.

This subject matter is very very sensitive and cannot be genaralized anyway but i would like to thank the author for such thought provoking subject matter and one of the biggest evils in Vaishnava society these days.

Your servant,
vibhava krsna das

Comment posted by vibhavakrsna das on July 1st, 2010
2 pustakrishna

This is naturally a sensitive, and for many, a painful topic. Krishna consciousness is realization that Krishna is the only Enjoyer, everything being His creation is meant for His pleasure, from the lowest material plane to the highest levels of rasa. We are marginal potency, tatashtha-shakti, on the verge of either material engrossment or spiritual loving service. Within the core of our hearts, by the grace of Sri Gurudeva, we have been at least given the option of choice. Before that awakening, we are simply madly thrashed about by Maya. Krishna has clearly explained all of this in the Bhagavad Gita.
Interestingly, I have just completed reading Jaiva Dharma, by Srila Bhaktivinode Thakur. Literally, it has taken me over 2 years to get through. It is an astonishing treatise about the nature of the jiva-soul in its true relationship with Radha Krishna. Srila Prabhupad used to say that hearing about the Rasa-lila will help transform the sexual urge from exploitation of matter, toward spiritual service to Krishna. To a great extent, that will depend upon our sukriti or piety, and good fortune. We live in difficult times, the Kali-yuga, the age of quarrel, three of the four legs of dharma have been broken. We have been given a Vedic ideal by Srila Prabhupad, that (with respect to marriage) is not much different from Biblical or other scriptural concepts of marriage. We know, and perhaps feel, that Krishna is observing us at each and every moment, and He is the ultimate sanctioning agent of the material environment that we find ourselves in. We want to see Krishna as the ultimate sanctioning agent, and we observe how Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu reacted when His wife, none other than Lakshmi-devi, died from a snakebite. Thus, the flow of situations is the changing environment that has been arranged by Krishna. We are not in control of this and are merely passengers in this changing material play. It will help us to see things in this way.
I also have seen devotees heart-broken by the loss of their spouse either by divorce or by death. We must try to take shelter of the Holy Name, Sri Krishna. He will do what is best for us, at least we must have that confidence. Taking refuge in the Holy Name, always feel that you are dependent upon His mercy, that He is your Guardian, and that He is your dearmost Friend. That is the only resolution of all misgivings.
Offered in humility and sympathy, Pusta Krishna das

Comment posted by pustakrishna on July 4th, 2010

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