Vedic Training: How To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife For ISKCON Brahmacarinis
"Advice On Arrangement Of Mariage" chapter of the Brahmacarini
Training Manual. >Contents
Advice On Arrangement Of Marriage:
I thought it would be good to
include a little advice on how to get ones self married. This section
is just my personal advice. Srila Prabhupad instructed that arranged marriages
are best. It is the
only system that he instructed us to follow. However, he has also said that
without the father taking the responsibility to get the daughter married,
it is almost impossible for
the girl to get a good husband. In absence of father Srila Prabhupad has
recommended that the temple presidents or GBC (or guru) or a person they
appoint make an arrangement. Each
temple has their own system. Personally he did not check astrologically for
compatibility, but he has recommended this as being the Vedic system.
The point about marriage without the father is
important. I have had the experience that sometimes other authorities make
suggestions for arrangements that do not have the best interest of the
girl or the boy, but are often based on other criteria.
example, I have seen a manager try to convince a man
who worked under him to marry a certain girl because the manager wanted
the girl to become his secretary. The boy and girl were obviously totally
The arrangement was not
at all properly based, it was not made with either the girls or boys
best interest in mind. Fortunately they rejected it.
In the same way, I have
seen a boy who seemed
qualified for a certain girl, the manager turned down the request because
the girl was the manager's secretary and he didn't want to loose her.
The girl was finally married to a devotee
who also worked with that manager. But, it was such an obvious mismatch,
the marraige ended in divorce a few years latter.
In 1993 in Alachua one mataji
was telling me how, when her daughter reached puberty at 12, the girl naturally
became agitated for a husband. The mother knew that Srila Prabhupad has
instructed that the parents marry the girls at such young age, so she asked
the boy's ashram teacher if he could help her find a husband for the daughter.
The teacher obliged and came back with his suggestion. There was one boy
in the ashram who was totally out of control, he did not respect or obey
authority. Irresponsible, not at all interested in his studies. He was
a disturbance to the ashram.
was thinking, this boy is already fallen, and since married
life is a fall-down, he is the idea best choice for this girl.
He told the mother, just see, this obviously is "Krsna's arrangment".
I was wondering what to do with this boy, and now your daughter is
for marriage, so just see, Krsna's 'perfect' arrangment.
Fortunately the poor girl's mother had
more intelligence then the boy's ashram teacher.
This illustrates that as Srila Prabhupad
has said, except for the father, it is almost impossible for the girl to
get a good husband. This teacher did not posses the mind-set that this
girl is like his own daughter and thus he had no concept or idea or desire
to assure that he made very best arrangement for her. Instead, what was
nothing more than the most materially convenient situation for 'himself',
he grossly and foolishly took that to be 'Krsna's divine arrangement'.
The point I am making is that the father is the
only one who has the real personal interest of his daughter in mind. That
is the father's only concern. Or should be. (Some well-to-do or publicly
known families may make arrangements that are for the "family's" financial
or social or political interest. Even such marraiges can still be proper
and good, but only if the father makes the decisions also based on what
is the best for the daughter. That the boy is fully qualified, properly
trained, etc. Therefore, father is best to find the right person.
As Srila Prabhupad says, without
father, it is almost impossible for the girl to get a qualified husband.
What is my advice? Srila Prabhupad has said to
accept what Krishna has given, and to let the authorities make the decision.
He has said that generally the boys and girls, especially the girls, are
not able to make a
proper decision on their own. My advice is to follow this, but to use some
personal discretion. If you are convinced that your authority has your
best interest in mind, then
accept what they are suggesting (although submissive inquiry to help determine
that their choice is best for you may be considered wise). In smaller temples
there may be fewer
choices, unless a GBC is looking far and wide. If ones initiating or
instructing guru is making the arrangement, they 'should' have your best
interest at heart, but again,
submissive inquiry to try and confirm that, asking why they feel their choice
is best, is, in my personal opinion, not bad advice, especially in today's
And, for the temple authorities who read this, I beg that
you please consider the seriousness and far reaching implications and that
you act on behalf of the girl, as her father. More for the girl, protection
of marriage is to protect the girl, so in an arrangment the emphasis is
what is best for the girl.
Some times people make their own arrangements,
or find someone they think they like. Marriages based on like and dislike
of the bodily features and movements and character behavior are not at
all good as the basis
for marriage. It is practically impossible for a young person who is agitated
by the strong urging of the senses to make an unbiased decision in these
matters. Often, if the
person has bodily features that attract ones mind and senses, the mind
will work its best magic to convince you that that person is the most qualified
for you. That is called maya, and falling under the spell of maya. The mind,
under maya's influence, will convince you that the person is divinly perfect,
when in fact, the mind is simply infatuated on some material temporary beauty.
It is best to seek help in this from a proper and authorized devotee who
can make the arrangements on your behalf.
When the choice is made on the basis of material
attraction, of like and dislike, it is a very thin foundation for a marriage.
As soon as some difficulty arises and one becomes disenchanted with the
spouse, there is nothing for
the relationship to fall back on. If attraction was the basis and one temporarily
becomes un-attracted then the relationship is finished. Or as soon as someone
comes who attracts
you or your spouse more, again finished.
The basis of a Krishna Conscious marriage must
be duty. I accept this wife or this husband as my duty. I have taken a vow
to be life long responsible or life long surrendered and that is now my
duty to fulfill that sacred vow.
It is my duty to Krishna to remain responsible and to give my children, young
devotees of Krishna, the best Krsna Conscious family life they can have.
That is my service, my duty. This duty never
changes. When one makes this duty the basis and foundation of the marriage,
then no mater what happens in the marriage, even if all material attraction
never changes. The basis and foundation does not change and the marriage
stays strong and healthy in good times, and in bad, for better or for worse.
Then the marriage
Unfortunately many of our children have not
learning this in the gurukula. I spoke with one boy, he was about 22, and
was born an ISKCON devotee, his father being a disciple of Srila Prabhupad.
I discussed this point
with him and his response was that if he wasnt attracted to the womans
body, then he wouldnt want to remain married to her. It is so sad to
see that he has had no good training, or no good realization, in this matter.
Material attraction will never
last for long. It will fade away in hours, days, a few years, but it will
never last. About 6 months later he married a devotee's daughter who was
very attractive. I pray that he made enough advancement to base the marriage
on more than her temporary so-called good looks.
I saw one report on TV several years ago where
they interviewed older couples who were married for over 50 - 75 years. They
asked the couples what was the one thing that held their marriages together
for so long. What the interviewers were expecting were wishy-washy love
stories, how much they loved each other. And they were expecting to hear
how ideal their marriages had been, with no major crisis or trouble that
might tear apart relationships. Instead, one after the other, the single
most common underlying
their marriage's longevity was found in one word. Duty.
They took marriage vows seriously.
The words and concepts that came up most often were duty and responsibility
and duty to God was also common.
SB 3.22.11 (Marriage of Kardama and Devhuti)
Therefore please accept her,
O chief of the brahmanas, for I offer her with faith and she is
in every respect fit to be your wife and take charge of your household
The words grhamedhisu karmasu
household duties." Another word is also used here: sarvatmananurupam.
The purport is that a wife should not only be equal to her husband in age,
character and qualities,
but must be helpful to him in his household duties. The household duty
of a man is not to satisfy his sense gratification, but to remain with
a wife and children and at the same
time attain advancement in spiritual life. One who does not do so is not
a householder but a grhamedhi. Two words are used in Sanskrit literature;
one is grhastha, and the other
is grhamedhi. The difference between grhamedhi and grhastha is that grhastha
is also an ashrama, or spiritual order, but if one simply satisfies his
senses as a householder, then he is a grhamedhi. For a grhamedhi, to accept
a wife means to satisfy the senses, but for a grhastha a qualified wife
is an assistant in every respect for advancement in spiritual activities.
It is the duty of the wife to take
charge of household affairs and
not to compete with the husband. A wife is meant to help, but she cannot
help her husband unless he is completely equal to her in age, character
Srila Prabhupad says the boy and girl should be
completely equal in age, character and quality. This point, made here in
this purport, that the girl and boy be of equal age is interesting,
and I will explain my understanding of it.
As I have pointed out before. The girl must not be more advanced than
her husband. If the man has sudra like qualities he should not marry a
girl with brahminical training and qualities. Being of equal quality and
are very important.
However, what about completely equal in age? By
research we have found that Srila Prabhupad has only instructed that the
boy must be older than the girl. Time after time he has said
the ideal age for the boy is 20 to 25 years and for the girl, at puberty
or before. Never later than 16 years old she
is to be married. Once, a devotee, Radhaballabha, specifically asked Srila
Prabhupad what ages are recommended for marriage. Srila Prabhupad indicated
that for the girl, before or
just after puberty, no latter than 16. He asked what was the minimum age
for the boy, Prabhupad said he had to be 5 years age older than the girl.
Strictly, he said, the girl
must not marry a boy who is younger than herself. 8 to 10 years older he
said is most usual. When asked what was the maximum age difference, Srila
Prabhupad said there is no
maximum limit. An 80 year old man can marry a 16 year old girl.
But, best ages were 8 to 10 years older. Manu
Samhita recommends the girl to be 12 and the man to be 30, 18 years difference.
He has also said that a girl should be given a
child as soon after she reaches puberty as possible. That is generally 12
to 15 years old, but could even be 11. If we take this purport to mean
the boy and girl should be of the same age, then this would
mean the boy would be 11 to 15 years old.
No. We know Srila Prabhupad never taught this.
Therefore, the way I understand this one
statement that boy and girl should be completely equal in age is in relation
with all his other instructions. We must see with eyes of shastra, so taking
all other instructions
into consideration, I see this to mean that the boy and girl be of equal age to
be married, in accordance with and in relationship to scriptural injunction,
not in relationship to each other.
That is, a girl can be married as a child. Srila
Prabhupad has said that 6 years old is not too young (dont misunderstand, she does
not live with husband until she reaches puberty, but as soon as puberty comes, she is to
live with husband, according to Srila Prabhupad). That means that if a girl marries at,
say 10, she will not reach puberty, say, for 3 years. So, a boy of equal
marriageable age for her would be a boy who is no less than 5 years older, or 15.
That means that he will be 18 when they live together. Preferably he should be 8 to 10
years older, meaning he would be 18 or 20 when she is 10, and he would be 21 to 23 when
they live together. That is considered a proper and equally marriageable age
by Vedic standards. The boy and girl are of equal age to be married, not that
they are the same age. A boy 13 and a girl 13, although being the same age are
not of equally of age to be married. A girl can be, and should be, married at that age,
but not a boy. Or even 16 and 16. A girl 16 is of marriageable age, a boy at 16 is not
mature enough yet. And, Srila Prabhupad says the boy must be at least 5 years older. That
means they are not of equal age to be married. The boy needs
to be at least 21 to be of equal marriageable age for a girl who is 16.
So, what about a girl in her 20s or even
over 30? What is the right age for her husband? He must be no less than 5
years older. If she is 25, she should not marry anyone under 30. There
is no maximum age. That means if
she is 20, even a man 40 or 50 is not too old (at least technically speaking,
as there is no maximum age difference limit).
There are many other quotes and references to
the topic of marriage and training. And there are many other related topics that need to
be studied. Some I give in the Kany Daya book. My wife would also like to add a section on
how to be a good devotee mother, but the most important part we covered, and that is the
mother has to set the proper example.
I will add that Srila Prabhupad has said that if the baby can be
fed only the breast milk of her mother for the first 6 to 12 months, then
he says that person will be healthy for life. That is very interesting.
If the baby is fed only the
mothers milk, it appears that this will create such a strong healthy condition that
the body will be able to maintain its good health throughout life. Mothers
should keep this in mind for their own children. It can seem like an inconvenience, but
really, it is not. Our three children have never had a rubber nipple in their mouths ever.
(Once they could hold a cup, we used those plastic cups with the hard plastic spout on
them, only because they minimized the spill factor. Otherwise, in a village they would
have gone from mothers breast to a cup with no bottles and rubber
nipples ever). For over 6 months they lived only on mothers milk, and
over 12 months that was their main diet. None of the children have had any