July 11, 1998
The institution of marriage is universally accepted by most of human society and was honoured until the Second World War. The romantic charm of the female has exercised an unfailing influence on the male and it still remains so now. A question can be asked whether spirituality or even mentality has anything to do with this area. Even gods have been endowed with marital status and romantic attraction in myths and stories.
Mother says the only joy in human life is the sexual relation. Obviously, it is a physical joy as the act itself is intensely physical. Biologically, it is one of man's conscious acts in which his own subconscious skill is greatest. From the point of view of the survival of the species, it is a very important act. The vital emotion of one person for the other, or the vital craving of the female for a child triggers the act. In the measure a person is charmed by another, it is romantically elevated. Life and literature have elevated that romantic emotion to sacred divinity. Poets all over the world have sung about the rarefied emotions that this vibration generates in humanity.
At the ideal height of this attraction, the nearness of the beloved brings a blissful sleep to the lover, Mother says. The Rishi loses himself in trance by the touch of inner divinity. A minor version of that trance is this sleep. When emotions become refined, they expand so much that the gross physical can no longer be awake or conscious in the presence of one who loves. Close friendship is known to turn hours into minutes, offering itself as an illustration of the same principle.
At bottom, this vibration is triggered by the urge for procreation, sustained by exuberant youthful energies, and maintained by the aura of romance. The mind's intelligent endorsement of a basic need acquires the evanescent fringe of idealistic feeling, which in its first incidence is felt as romance. The one characteristic of romance is intensity. But by definition, intensity is short-lived. By their own inherent nature the pristine purity and vitality refuse to be born a second time. It is often said that the heart opens only once, like the banana tree which sets fruit only once in its lifetime. An endless charm is natural to its fleeting character. It is by this device that the species maintains the urge for its own survival. Man becomes more human by feeling that eternal charm. The collective charm felt by a single individual proves to be all-powerful. There is no question of man outgrowing it, however powerfully he can suppress it or escape it by various devices, religious or occult.
Writers often talk of two souls in one body. Sri Aurobindo says the subtle physical can merge with that of the other person so that one could term it two souls in one body. Theoretically, two persons can identify themselves at the mental and vital levels, but not physically except in the man-woman relationship.
When the bodies unite it is the first stage of union. Vital emotional identification is the second stage. The realities of married life and the structure of human thinking do not have much in common so as to lend themselves to identification. The mind is known to have developed its own unique individuality through its opinion formation, even as the thumbprint has, unless a person is one who espouses social opinion as his own. The character of the mind is divisive; its sight is partial and one-sided. Its opinions are formed on the basis of sensual input. The institution of marriage rarely rises to the plane of mind. Nothing of its inherent requisites seems to need the play of mind. Identification on the mental plane is possible by espousing similar ideas. At that point, the mind moves to its conceptual capacity, liberating it from the physical mind.
Spiritually, the sages have said that the last stage of the journey towards the Divine must be done in single file. Suppose a man rises to those peaks and finds a woman of like temperament having risen to the same height. In that case their united life can be ideal. It has so far remained a rarity. That is why the saying, "except in the pages of fiction, an ideal marriage is not to be found."
Assuming that an ideal marriage does exist, I am sure the world, which has ostracised saints, prophets, sages and avatars would not spare it that same attention.
In this article I would like to consider the role of Mother's Grace in the existing institution of marriage as it functions. Some of these issues are:
v What can Grace do to enrich the harmony of married life?
v Can Grace restore harmony between estranged couples?
v What is the relation between harmony and other aspects of life, especially wealth?
v Affluence sometimes brings disharmony. Should not affluence coming from Grace increase the harmony in a home?
v What is the goal of married life? What is the position of a devotee?
v Even if unattainable, what is the height of that goal for devotees?
v How far does married life belong to Life? What is its special stamp?
v Can we understand a few marriages we know in that light? Will they bear examination?
v Mothers says marriage is to be abolished. How can She act in the lives of married couples?
v Will married life help one to reach MOTHER?
Before answering the above questions, we must consider truisms of life that have a bearing upon them. Most of them will be self-explanatory and incidentally answer several shades of the questions raised.
¯ Marriage is not indispensable, it is dispensable both for spirituality as well as biological existence.
¯ Most of the problems of marriage are problems of life.
¯ There are problems particular to married life. The most significant of them is a desire to dominate the other person.
¯ Money, prestige, caste, age, property, borrowing, and lending are all problems of life. Coming into wedded life, they are considered problems of marriage. In essence, they are not really so.
¯ Marriage is a social institution.
¯ The level of civilisation and culture determines social justice. It also would determine the justice within wedlock.
¯ Age is a determinant of obedience or humility.
¯ To wish that the other should behave as one wants is the root of problems.
¯ To take the other man's point of view is to be civilised and cultured. It will reduce problems.
¯ Those who are unfit to survive in life are also unfit to marry. If such a person marries and then complains of marital problems, it is really a problem of someone incapable of survival.
¯ When people of different levels of culture marry, problems arise. These too are not problems of marriage, but those arising out of a lack of culture.
¯ The basis of marriage is the same as the basis of life: health, income, good habits, etc. Problems arising out of lack in any of these areas cannot become marriage problems.
¯ The idea that the spouse should be a good friend or intellectual companion or one of temperamental compatibility is extraneous to the institution of marriage which is meant for childbirth and child rearing.
¯ This idea is no more than seeking social upliftment through marriage, which also is extraneous to it. All those who seek such goals in marriage are those who are barking up the wrong tree.
¯ The above said aims belong to friendship. Friendship is dissoluble. I would say that just now, all over the West, the institution of marriage has started to give way and it uses any available social reasoning to achieve this goal.
¯ As the marriage relationship cannot be easily broken, problems arise.
¯ Freedom is the basis of harmony. Society denies that freedom in some measure for the dissolution of marriage. In that measure, problems arise. The same is true when individual sentiment stands in the way of dissolution. Exploitation of one person by the other provided by lack of freedom is the genesis of friction.
¯ If problems of life and problems arising out of temperament or lack of culture are removed from the basket of marriage problems, very few problems will be left.
¯ Insoluble tangles in wedded life are mostly what people intentionally create and from which they draw benefit or satisfaction.
¯ Inter-caste, inter-religious, inter-racial marriages abound in problems more because of those differences than out of the inherent nature of marriage.
¯ The greater the gap in social status between the married couple, the greater is the disharmony.
¯ This is excelled by the gap in individual culture.
¯ Either in the boy or in the girl, unknown traits will inevitably surface after marriage. Some of these will surprise even the individuals themselves.
¯ One cannot escape inevitable circumstances. Trying to do so at the expense of another person by blaming them for the circumstance inevitably creates problems.
¯ The basis of any family is the responsibility of earning the income and raising the children. Shirking basic responsibilities like these brings in an unbridgeable cleavage.
¯ Often one uses marriage for social upliftment. Marriage is not meant for that. Bending the institution of marriage for an extraneous purpose strains it.
¯ An unloving mother or unaffectionate husband creates problems. They are problems pertaining to their own nature and character, which will prevail whether they are married or not. They are not problems generated from marriage.
¯ A girl from an affluent family suffering in a poor family is a problem of poverty, not of marriage.
¯ A stingy boy who does not allow the wife to eat well is a similar problem
¯ As soon as the mind adores another outside the marriage, the marriage dissolves psychologically. The social appearances will then be empty.
¯ More than half the marriages do not have problems. To create problems wantonly is unpardonable.
¯ Power corrupts. Marriage is a field of no exception.
¯ When entire freedom is there, the woman loves the domination of the man.
¯ Mother says the woman will not be liberated as long as she desires a child and loves male domination.
¯ Man loves to submit psychologically to the woman. He cherishes it.
¯ The Puranas say when the physical demands are not met, man or woman disregards age, looks, status and everything except the physical need.
¯ The mind cannot be loyal. Only the soul is capable of that.
¯ Romance is of great intensity, rather of greatest intensity. Hence it will be short-lived.
¯ Romance in great literature ends in tragedy.
¯ Force and intensity belong to youth. Even as youth is transitory, romance of youth too is transitory.
¯ Nothing is so close to the male heart in sweetness as a woman.
¯ He who loses himself in love will find it is endless. It is oblivious too.
¯ Fairness and liking are opposites. Fairness cannot entertain likes. Liking cannot be fair-minded.
¯ The mind seeks attraction; it seeks it in spite of all its obscurities or absurdities. Mind does not seek culture; only the soul is capable of it.
¯ Our acts can be pure, not our inner feelings.
¯ Our depths enjoy both good and bad. They do not seek purity.
¯ He who seeks purity of emotions is one who neither understands purity or the depths of human personality.
¯ Society accepts appearances and their brilliance.
¯ Man has extolled caste, adored money, and cherished power. He has never cherished purity like that.
¯ What is true for the world is the successful lie.
¯ Chastity can force Time to halt. (Nalayini, the chaste wife of a rishi, ordered the sun to postpone its setting to save her husband).
¯ A chaste, devoted woman can call the Supreme without doing tapas or yoga. [Anusuya called the Supreme to convert Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma into babies when they ordered her to serve them food naked.]
¯ The Lord of Death bows before the power of chastity.
¯ Chastity is a condition of mind. What the society approves is not that.
¯ The course of civilisation will thrive as long as it is in tune with Nature.
¯ Mostly the effort of civilisation runs counter to Nature. It is often the opposite.
¯ Sometimes the ways of society start in tune with Nature and then deviate. At that point decay sets in. Marriage is one such.
¯ The nomad sought settlements, agriculture, and community. The family was the unit of that community. Marriage was its essence.
¯ Agriculture gave way to industry. The joint family that was necessary for agriculture began to crack. The community it fostered disappeared. With that, marriage -- which was the seed of all that -- lost its significance. Marriage has no future.
¯ Mother says there will be no private property in one hundred years.
¯ Chastity gives life to marriage. All over the world the woman was expected to be chaste. There is no word in any language for male chastity.
¯ Property was at the root of chastity.
¯ No man would like to give his property to a child born of another man. Hence the woman won her husband's property for her children by being chaste, thus proving that the children were his own.
¯ Property, which is the foundation of chastity, will go. Then marriage that was fostered by chastity too will go.
¯ Mother is an iconoclast. Pioneering ideas will help Mother's action.
¯ From a social being man has to become an individual. In future, he has to become a soul.
¯ For the social being, it is progress to become an individual.
¯ Man becoming an individual will make marriage a success.
¯ Should man be acceptable to himself he must be conscientious. At least he must be a good man.
¯ One who is good according to his own lights, may be good or bad, but it is enough to make marriage a success.
¯ The marriage of a good man of goodwill will become a spring of sweetness by Mother's touch.
¯ The very first condition for being a good man is he should be aware of all his defects.
¯ It is difficult to erase all the defects at once. At least he must come forward not to insist on his defects. In action, he must strain to act in an opposite manner to such traits.
¯ As he does not insist on his own defects, he should refuse to see the defects of others.
¯ It is necessary to relate only to the other man's good points so that he would not be adversely affected by their defects.
¯ We should accept others even as we accept ourselves. The husband must accept his wife like that.
¯ That is a condition conducive to harmony.
¯ Harmony is the basis of affluence.
¯ If this one idea about harmony is appreciated and the spouse accepts it, he can foster harmony by using the flower "Harmony". For him no prayer is necessary to become an ideal couple. The surface mind and social appearance will be bright or even brilliant. Deep down the mind will remain as before. As the domain of crossing the mind belongs to yoga, it is left untouched.
¯ He who seeks to benefit from these ideas must be one free of the vitiating aspects of temperament.
¯ Falsehood, theft, cheating, tricks, deception etc. are the low aspects of life from which the devotee should be free.
¯ He who claims that he speaks no lie is one who cannot distinguish between lie and truth.
¯ To seek social acceptance, these are essential to some extent.
¯ Only he who disregards the society mentally can give up these false aspects. Without acquiescing in them to some extent, one cannot survive in the society.
¯ To do so, one needs strength of mind.
¯ Mother will give that strength, if only man makes the decision.
¯ Enjoyment is accomplishment.
¯ Life can be enjoyed either way, high or low.
¯ He who greatly enjoys marriage will accomplish much in life.
¯ He who seeks accomplishment in marriage must accomplish in life.
¯ Accomplishment increases with increasing freedom.
¯ To extend freedom to others will enhance one's own accomplishment.
¯ He who receives freedom will destroy the giver.
¯ To give maximum freedom to the spouse within his own limits will accomplish most in life as well as in marriage.
¯ Marriage will be a success if you do not recognise the defects of the spouse.
¯ A silly, shabby husband will not appreciate a responsible, noble girl. He will appreciate only a silly wife.
¯ If husband and wife are both silly, they will FEEL intimate, though they will often quarrel hotly. They will be attached to each other.
¯ For silly couples, the ideal of frankness will land them in trouble.
¯ It is not necessary to be good or noble in order to be an intimate couple. It is enough one is affectionate. Other things are immaterial.
¯ The basic relationship between husband and wife is rivalry.
¯ One important contention is the status of respective families. Each considers his own family higher which is the source of friction.
¯ To try and prove that one has condescended in marrying is the beginning of the end.
¯ One confides in the other in moments of frankness. To later quote that information against him in a moment of bitterness creates a cleavage in the sensation of trust. That never heals.
¯ "The wife should listen to me," "The husband disregards my advice." Neither is right. What is right is rational, sweet, good behaviour, not who should listen to whom.
¯ Suspicion of any description is inimical to married life.
¯ Suspicion arises mostly from one's own defects.
¯ When there is no ground for suspicion, to behave so as to raise a suspicion is ignorance. Once it rears its head, it is in nobody's hands to get the better of it.
¯ Bad mothers often mischievously instruct good girls. Nice boys are forced to act rudely by violent fathers. Those who refuse to do wrong will not entertain ill advice.
¯ Charming males are sought after by numberless girls. She who marries a charming man finds herself in a trap and a ruin. Girls of queenly bearing have long lines of doting admirers. He who marries such a girl finds life like a funeral ceremony eternally attached to his life. Unseen traits surface after marriage. Often they are unseen by dotage. Rarely is the individual himself unaware of the turn for the worse.
¯ During the days of feminine slavery, there were women who had their husbands under their thumb. In these days of feminine intransigence and hegemony there are tyrannical husbands worshipped by the wives. This is so because human nature gets the better of the prevailing social atmosphere.
¯ Long bitter spells come to stay in married life. Even these crises of several descriptions -- danger to life or property or honour -- make the man realise that his only real support is his wife. The woman too experiences that. It is better that both hold that truth before them as a reminder during normal life.
¯ It is good to keep the distinction between the flowering of emotions and the pressure of sensation.
¯ It is good that one does not reveal his shortcomings to another. One expects the other to adore him in spite of his deficiencies. One expects that the other should adore her defects as endowments. To entertain a complaint that her own values are unappreciated is not to know married life. Separation brings about that recognition.
¯ Human sympathy and altruism tend to offer a lost life to another in an impulse of generosity. Invalids, deserted people, people ill used by others rarely receive such offers. It is good that he who makes such offers knows that the one and only motive the other person has is to ruin his life.
¯ There are doting wives or husbands oblivious in their adoration. Those emotions do not issue out of appreciation of the other's higher values. Their base is some very silly sensations.
¯ Married life is a part of family and community life. If it is to be sweet, that sweetness must be there either in the community or family. What is not there in the wider unit can never be witnessed in the smaller unit.
¯ Mother says the capacity to rule the country or manage the house is the same.
¯ Events are a mixture of good and bad. The boss of the situation, viz. the individual, should be able to tilt the equilibrium in favour of the good if life is to be smooth.
¯ The crude, rough man will express even love crudely.
¯ Only perfect people can aspire for a perfect life. The highest that low people can aspire for is harmony.
¯ Kings in Andhra State in India were known as children of their mother, because the only identifiable parent was the mother.
¯ The woman is an unpaid servant. The man is an earning male.
¯ Life is mostly simple in its texture. It is cloistered virtue that gives married life happiness.
¯ To some extent, one can have a life of wonder. The marvel can sustain itself even in spite of the other's defects. To be able to raise the emotions and values of another is an illusion.
¯ Honesty, loyalty, truthfulness, integrity, gratitude, friendship are high enduring values. Chastity is one such value, much more potent and powerful. It can overcome Time, dissolve karma when it reaches its height.
¯ The fisherwoman sits in all night prayer when her husband goes fishing in the sea for days. Her prayer saves his life. This is an axiom in that community. Therefore, they are honest in other walks of life too, in order to preserve that power of prayer.
¯ The son who is named after the father is now entitled in certain countries to choose the mother's name as well.
¯ Some countries have removed the legal bar over illegitimate children.
¯ Without either trust or superstitious faith in another, marriage will not survive psychologically.
¯ The wise minister of Emperor Akbar proved that all men listen to their wives. [Akbar called the male population to collect in two groups before the palace, those who listen to their wives, and those who refuse to listen. Only one man was found in the second group. On enquiry it was found that he was standing there because his wife had instructed him to shun the crowd.]
¯ In an Arab country there is a well of fame. He who drinks the water from the well first after the wedding will rule over the other. Couples race to that well after their wedding, says a fable.
¯ To try and fulfil in married life what has remained unfulfilled until then is a human aspiration. "All my life I waited for a soul-mate. But even she has let me down," is an oft heard complaint. Thus, people wish their unjust ambitions to be fulfilled in married life. It is a dangerous seed.
¯ Meeting after a long interval, the spouse may not immediately offer a welcome. After a while the husband and wife talk. Even when they part, they silently take leave of each other a few hours before actual departure. The hearty welcome or happy goodbye is unknown to them. This is an animal behaviour, lingering in man. Those who are familiar with animals know this.
¯ A selfish husband’s first thought in a crisis is to run away from the family regardless of the children or his age.
¯ When the husband is broke, it is not uncommon for the wife to wish to give him up. The long years of sweetness and their sentiment suddenly disappear at the touch of life's realities.
¯ A man returned to his deserted wife after thirty years. She was proud of serving him in that old age of need.
¯ A woman eloped with someone else. The man ran after her, begged her to come back, prostrated before her to return home. When she did return, he was the happiest of men.
¯ What is right and what is wrong is not the question. Need, convenience, enjoyment are the standards of human justice.
¯ Imposing anything on the other person, however good it is (even Mother) will be infructuous.
¯ All surface troubles issue out of temper. Deep-seated conflicts are generated by character. They are two versions of selfishness.
¯ The Vedas speak of evil women who do harm to their lords and says Brahman achieves even in their lives at the end.
¯ Children swallow all the lies issuing out of the mother's mouth as long as it does not touch their personalities. That place is taken by the wife after marriage.
¯ One out of ten people have felt life was scorched on the day of their wedding.
¯ It is meanness that one seeks prestige at the expense of another's defects, real or imaginary. Some wait for the wedding to proudly disclose their defects, saying they have cheated the other person.
¯ Loving couples and their intimacy are often an eyesore for others.
¯ Man changes radically when the basis is threatened. Instead of one changing his attitude when his property, position or honour is threatened, he should come forward to change out of understanding.
¯ The second wife wanted to visit the husband. The first wife threatened to commit suicide if she was allowed. Later the second wife became the Chief Minister and celebrated a marriage. The first wife was one of her honoured guests at the wedding! It is better to remember this truth of power in married life.
¯ A man gathered the population to help him drive a friend out of town. Later that friend became rich and came back to the town to visit his former boss. This man, who was an employee in that company, walked a long distance out of respect to give a farewell to his erstwhile friend! That is man in his depths.
¯ As the woman's entire life depends on one man, man's capacity to become autocratic is endless.
¯ A child was born blind. The family heckled him and drove him out. He went out into the world, sought God and became a realised soul. The family sought him out, hugged him, and showered affection on him.
¯ Mother's Grace changes the hearts of people who drive their own people out. Faith in Mother changes their hearts before they can drive them out.
¯ The abuses of a concubine, a rich man or a celebrity do not hurt. Man is even proud of them. When the abuse comes back to his memory, it is sweet.
¯ It is never difficult for man to change. When the right occasion presents itself, he readily changes. Instead, Mother invites him to change through comprehension.
¯ The experience in India is that people are cunning, crafty, unreliable, mean, treacherous, shameless, and petty. A girl who went to Canada found people there the opposite. External good behaviour attracts Grace. It is better man is innately good for marriage to become a success.
¯ The first level of family = the socially approved one.
The second level of family = happy family based on goodness.
Final level of goodness = to rise above human goodness to Divine Goodness.
¯ The first daughter-in-law happened to be an angel in behaviour. The mother-in-law knew that the second daughter-in-law might change the first one after she came. She decided against the marriage of her second son in order to preserve her domestic happiness!
¯ Marriage is a good instrument for raising intimacy to identification. But that opportunity is used to seek greater identification through quarrels.
¯ An impertinent girl decided to behave. She was mistaken to be an angel. The whole family doted on her and adored her. That is the power of behaviour.
¯ Marriage dissolves the moment the heart's adoration strays away from the spouse.
¯ Man can submit or dominate. He cannot treat another as an equal. That requires generosity and magnanimity.
¯ Without man dominating the wife there is no married life. The woman respects the man in proportion to his capacity to dominate. She seeks it only for that enjoyment. Henpecked husbands cannot hope to be popular with their wives even in future. The man dominates physically and compensates for that by submitting psychologically to his wife. In a marriage domination must continue, but the motive for dominating can be raised to one of love.
¯ Domination deteriorating into mean tyranny degenerates. To submit out of love and to take liberties makes marriage alive.
¯ All conflicts lend themselves to rational solutions. Experience helps. Knowledge of literature softens the mind. Beyond all these, the touch of Mother wipes out all conflicts the moment one calls Her.
All problems in marriage arise out of the attitude of taking undue advantage over another. To tyrannise over the helpless was the rule of man and it still continues to be so. The victims have changed, not the victimisation. Earlier the victims were workers, daughters-in-law, pupils, laity, and the population. Now it is the turn of management, mothers-in-law, teachers, the clergy and the rulers who are harassed by an intransigent public.
What should be abolished is the capacity to victimise.
Whatever the problems of marriage at whatever age, if one comes forward to accept Mother, to give up unfair attitudes, petty meanness, etc., the harmony in married life will rise one level.
Mother offers to MAN what exists only in fiction, not in life.
To receive it, MAN must acquire an attitude that life does not have today.