Should a devotee marry or not to marry or settle in temples? A-Z Tips!
Actual questions from two devotees:
(1) A male devotee (Name hidden):
“Hare krishna Prabhuji PAMHO I am 25 years old now(not initiated but in Sadhana Ladder). I got introduced to Krishna Consciousness at the age of 22 through an Iskcon centre of the city where i was working. (though i knew before as my parents follow sri sampradaya i was not interested/ serious earlier). I have been practicing KC under the guidance of that Iskcon centre ( Staying in a BASE/ Ashraya) . At this point of time i feel and i am very much interested to serve as a full time devotee under the guidance of a Bonafide Spiritual Master in the association of Sincere Devotees. I have introspected myself for the past year on this and i feel that becoming a true (Sincere) dedicated full time devotee serving Guru and Gauranga is what i love doing . When i disclosed it to my Counsellor he suggested me to join full time if i am really interested but finally he left it on me said it’s my Call (Your wish) .
My parents (especially my mother) want me to get married and practice KC accepting Grihasta Ashram and they are hell bent on that. I am confused (some times also feeling Obliged) whether to do what i truly love ( Serving full time) or to accept Grihasta Ashram and practice Krishna Consciousness as a Grihasta and Satisfy my Parents also. As of now , I don’t see much stake for myself personally in Grihasta Ashram except the Cause of Satisfying my parents provided that their wish of getting me married is backed by Krishna. I am willing to follow Grihasta Ashram, Only If Krishna wants me to accept it and for no other reason(not even to satisfy my parents). My counsellor asked me to do as i wish but i strongly feel like and i have no my wish in this aspect (even if internally i might have my own wish i am willing to suppress it and execute Krishna’s wish and I really mean it).
I only want to Execute Krishna’s Wish. The problem i am facing is I am unable to See / Understand what is Krishna’s wish, which Ashram Krishna wants me to be in , which path /option would Krishna appreciate better or prefer for me. Hence I am Unable to take a Call and i am facing an internal Turmoil within myself. I am also praying to Krishna Everyday to Guide Me. Please kindly Guide me. Thank You Very Much in Advance
P.S: Sorry for the Long Question I only want to Express my self Completely for you to better understand. Also please hide my name in reply for personal reasons i would like to go Anonymous.
(2) A Girl devotee who requested anonymity asked like this:
“Hare krishna Prabhu m a 25yrs girl…Prabhu m getting married soon..with time i’ve started believing everything and is just MAYA.. now i dont want to get married…i dnt want to get into any materialistic relationships…also i dnt want to have baby after marriage.. i dnt want to make the baby suffer like me in this sinful world,so i dnt want a baby.
Prabhu is it right to think that way??? Or iz a sinful thought??? kindly show me the right path.
I hve started with Hare Krishna maha mantra recently…whenever i sing the mantra i weep also when i attend d arati , i weep..i get so attached..even m not concerned who’s looking and who’s not . Not only this, whenever i read Bhagavad Gita most of the time my eyes gets wet.
Prabhu, why this happens to me??? anything wrong with me??? kindly dont dusclose my name”
FIRST, SOME GENERAL SUGGESTIONS ON THIS ISSUE:
There is no doubt that your wish to serve a guru and the Lord directly being a full time devotee is very genuine and is the best desire one should have in his life.
(Can a present good devotee with dirty past marry a devotee by birth? READ HERE!)
However, Considering the realities, pressures and the practical aspects existing in this kaliyuga, I like to give some extra details to be considered before taking any decision in this regard.
One should take decisions evaluating his family background, dependants, responsibilities, etc. If even after considering all these aspects, your mind is fixed only in the full time service to the Lord or to avoid marriage, you can definitely do so.
A single advice will not match for everyone. So, let me highlight different aspects of this matter.
Most of us do not know the REAL MEANING of the term BRAHMACHARI or SANYASI.
Actually, those who remain as a brahmachari should never think of sense gratification even within mind. They should see every person including opposite sex as athma and the children of Krishna.
If you are confident of being like this, you can remain as brahmachari for ever. However, in this kaliyuga, everyone has to go out for earning. Otherwise, it is difficult to live in this kaliyuga. So, they have to come across many girls/ boys on their duty and studies. So, they find it very difficult to control their senses. Because of this, many brahmacharis skip marriage for some reasons, but, are thinking of women within mind.
Scriptures say that THOUGH A PERSON THINKS OF HAVING SENSE GRATIFICATION, ACTUALLY IT IS EQUAL TO HAVING SENSE GRATIFICATION DIRECTLY.
That is why, I have been advising the Devotees to first try for marriage within the devotee circles of equal devotional status. If they do not get a spouse, it is not their fault and it is their karma.
(SHOULD A DEVOTEE NEEDS MARRIAGE WITH ANOTHER PERSON SINCE KRISHNA IS THE ONLY PURUSHA HUSBAND FOR ALL? READ HERE!)
What is detachment?
This is the mistake many devotees do after coming to Krishna Consciousness, or, in general, devotional practices. Earlier, They were somehow having some ‘hold’ in their life. But, after coming to Krishna Consciousness, or, in general, devotional practices, they start to hate everything around them.
Though we are advised to have “Detachment with material affairs and also attachment with Krishna”, most of you have understood detachment wrongly.
The preachers must realize that they are making changes in the minds of audience and their words should not spoil their life set up. So, they must explain what ‘actually’ the detachment is. If they stop just by saying “detach from material life”, the audience will start to lead an uninterested life hating others. This is dangerous and spoiling the life of the audience.
They should not stop with preaching only the scriptures like Bhagavad Gita, Bhagavatham, etc, but, should ALSO speak about some practical problems faced by the devotees. If they preach, they should preach all the aspects. Otherwise, they should not touch such sensitive topics like detachment. If the preaching is incomplete and insufficient, many people understand the concept partly and lose interest in life.
Krishna is the best example for detachment. Many atheists say that Krishna married thousands wives for pleasure. They see Krishna like ordinary man and hence say so. The reality is that Krishna never received any enjoyments from anyone, as all pleasures are coming from Him.
(GUIDE FOR DEVOTEES : WHO SHOULD COMPULSORILY MARRY? WHY? READ HERE!)
He lived as a grahastha with 16,108 wives. He took care of His children. He helped His wives. He behaved like a normal householder. But, throughout His presence in the life with His wives, Krishna was never attached with them. He gave them the opportunity to serve Him as they wished. He remained like water on the lotus leaf. He did not find any pleasure in His wives. He did every act as a duty as a husband. Not for sense gratification. Because, Krishna Himself is the reservoir of pleasure. So, he does not need any pleasure from outside.
Though Krishna is detached, He did not hate the gopis, but He satisfied their wishes also. Krishna Himself married and led Grahastha life. You are aware that almost all the gods in all the temples are shown with wives only. Even Lord Shiva, who is the great controller of senses, is seen with His wife.
I have seen may boys and girls who, after hearing the preaching partially, skip marriage in their young age and speaking justifying their decisions. But, many of them have struggled with disturbances of senses and the negligence of the society in their day to day life.
Evaluate yourself thoroughly. Why do you like to avoid marriage? List the reasons. Also keep in mind that if such devotees, because of some disturbances and/ or emptiness, decide to marry in their middle or late thirties, or even forties, they find it difficult to get a right groom/ bride. So, They struggle throughout their life fighting between the senses and devotion.
Only if you are 100% determined that you will never involve in sense agitations in future, you must skip marriage life. Do you have that determination? Can you predict your future changes now itself?
Don’t skip marriage trusting that the devotee community will protect you in your last period of life. It may not be possible as it is not the business of the temples.
CAN OTHER DEVOTEES OR TEMPLES TAKE CARE OF YOUR WHOLE LIFE TILL DEATH?
PRACTICALLY, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE FOR THE TEMPLES TO PROTECT ALL THE DEVOTEES WHO DESERT THEIR MARRIAGE. They will allow only the required number of devotees for the services and also depending on the financial position of the temple.
(GUIDE FOR DEVOTEES: WHO SHOULD AVOID MARRIAGE? WHY OTHERS SHOULD MARRY? READ HERE!)
They can just preach, but can’t come with you when you are in distress. You only have to take care of yourself keeping some relatives with you. So, you need some people as relatives.
If you come out of this relative circle, no committed persons will be there to help you. No one may be with you when you leave this world, EVEN TO give a glass of water. The world is very selfish. In fact, no one from outside world will take care of you in life. Only your sons and daughters will do though they don’t like it. If you have a son or daughter, atleast they will give a glass of water with murmurs or love. Atleast they will admit you in an old age home and pay for it.
So, don’t play with life. Remember, practically, the temples can give you extra care only until you are donating well and/or doing some physical service support to them. It is understandable.
Now a days, there is no guarantee that other devotees will protect us when we become bed ridden. If you are a Leader in a sathsangha, your followers may do some support for you as a service. At the same time, whether they will help for other ordinary devotees who are in the same stage like them, is not sure. They may have their own preferences and pressures in their own life. We can not find fault with them. We only have to protect ourselves.
Of course, scriptures say that the Lord is pleased when a person respects and serves His other devotees. But, practically, in this city based life style, now a days, the devotees may humbly offer respects to other devotees on seeing them. They may help other devotees to small extent. They may even help for once, twice or thrice. But, if we remain bed ridden for 10 years, who will do for us? If you have a son or daughter, he may help you or you can atleast approach a court to direct him to take care of you. That is, he/ she is LEGALLY bound to protect you. But, how can we expect that other devotees will take care of us? So, the risk of being deserted is there in terminal age.
(How to find good devotees using Social media to associate or marry? READ HERE!)
You hear a lecture that everything in this world is maya – girls are maya – everything is maya. So, you avoid marriage. In case, you remain alone and suffer with so many physical illness, will that devotee who preached you that the women are maya, come to you and take care of you till you die?
In case you prefer to stay in a temple where you were serving for long, can they appoint a maid to take care of you? Will they clean your body? Will other devotees change your dress daily for 10 years? Will other devotees bring food for you all the years? If the manager of the temple is the same for 10-15 years, he might have known to you well. If the manager is changed and new, how can you expect that he will recognize your services for that temple for all these years? If there are any issues in the management, or if they decide to take austerity measures and cut spending and hence reduce the number of man power in the temple, where can you go?
So, hear the preaching. Analyze them honestly. If you don’t understand, get them clarified with some practical questions as explained by me here. Review what you will do if you are bed ridden in your old age. You will get a solution.
(After coming to devotion, I hate and avoid non-devotee family and others that makes them angry. Why Krishna allows this? READ HERE!)
Don’t believe this selfish world of kaliyuga and don’t waste your life. If you decide to marry, marry a devotee of equal devotional standing. You should involve in Krishna Consciousness / devotion along with your wife/ husband seriously. Don’t expect much from your spouse, but, do everything based on mutual needs. Honour only prasadam, Chant more, follow regulative principles and associate with vaishnavas in regular intervals.
YOU CAN ALSO HELP THE TEMPLES & DEVOTEES BY BEING A GRAHASTHA.
WHO CAN STAY IN THE TEMPLES?
(i) IN CASE YOU HAVE NO DEPENDANTS (like parents, sisters to be given in marriage, under aged brothers, etc)
(ii) IF YOU HAVE NO FAMILY SUPPORT AT ALL
(iii) IF NO ONE WILL BE AFFECTED IF YOU SETTLE IN THE TEMPLE,
(iv) IF YOU HAVE SUFFICIENT SAVINGS TO BE USED DURING YOUR LAST YEARS OF LIFE, AND
(v) YOUR GURU (OR) ACHARYA ORDERS YOU TO SERVE FULL TIME IN THE TEMPLE OR TO HIM DIRECTLY, IT SHOULD BE CONSIDERED THE ORDER OF LORD AND OBEYED.
(IMPACT OF MARRIAGE & CHILD BIRTH IN LIFE BASED ON KARMA! READ HERE!)
THEN, YOU CAN TAKE THE DECISION TO SETTLE IN THE TEMPLES WITHOUT ANY CONSIDERATIONS.
I do agree that there are some issues in marriage life. I can’t give a guarantee for a problem-free marriage life. Of course, there are definitely some pressures and problems in marriage life, since two people of different backgrounds have to live together. But, it has benefits also along with the problems. If you close your tongue and ears, you can avoid many problems.
Though marriage life has some issues, it is safe for girls and boys to keep their senses under control and lead a controlled life. Atleast your mind will stop with a single woman/man.
We must learn to stand like water on lotus feet even in grahastha ashrama and use that ashrama to worship Krishna along with wife. So, if you marry, lead a materially detached, but Krishna Conscious life.
If you are 100% determined that you will not be affected by the sense agitations in future, you can skip the marriage life and live as a full time devotee. Do you have that determination? Can you predict your future preferences in life now itself? If yes, then skip marriage. If not, try marrying a devotee person.
(Can devotees marry without matching horoscopes? READ HERE!)
Many ask whether it is right to be a brahmachari putting our faith on Krishna. Actually, Krishna also says that He is our intelligence. So, we must apply our intelligence and evaluate ourselves and our backgrounds honestly and then come to a decision.
By not using the INTELLIGENCE that is Krishna Himself, you should not take any decision in life and then suffer. Krishna has given freedom for you to think and act and he is just silently watching. If you try to do something putting your faith on Krishna, that is good. If you remain idle putting your faith on Krishna, it is not nice.
If a student has faith on Krishna and goes to exams without preparing, how can Krishna help him? So, efforts are important.
So, it is practically difficult to be a perfect brahmachari in kaliyuga. Grahastha ashram is recommended since they are protected from sense inducements with the help of spouse and hence they can concentrate in the services of Lord without sense disturbances.
marrying or skipping the marriage should be decided purely according to your situation. Not because of the general advice given by devotees.
(Finding Match for marriage Satisfying both Parents and Krishna! Tips! READ HERE!)
WHAT TO DO NOW?
If there is no barrier, just marry and continue life. if there is any serious barrier, you can think of quitting it.
So, just watch how this world is going on now. Everybody is concentrating in safeguarding himself. So, they do not worry to take care of others.
You and others have different karma. You should not compare your karma with the karma of others. The wife of another man may be non cooperative. You may get a good wife.
So, ATLEAST TRY for the ashram of marriage. If your grahastha life is somehow manageable, manage it patiently and while serving the Lord. Act decently and gently and patiently.
Though Krishna will protect us, we must take sincere efforts by facing life with a detached mindset.
If the spouse is uncorrectibly not fit to be a wife, then you can come out of that family life and go for full time devotion as done by Srila Prabhupada.
ONLY THE ATTACHMENT SHOULD BE AVOIDED, NOT THE PEOPLE.
KEEP THESE POINTS IN MIND:
(i) NEVER DEPEND ON OTHER PERSONS FOR THE NEEDS IN YOUR LIFE.
(ii) DON’T EXPECT THAT OTHERS WILL DEFINITELY TAKE CARE OF YOU.
(iii) YOU STAND ON YOUR OWN LEGS.
(iv) SPEND A PART OF YOUR EARNINGS FOR KRISHNA AND ALSO SAVE FOR YOUR OLD AGE. DON’T SPEND ALL YOUR MONEY FOR OTHERS. KEEP A PERCENTAGE FOR YOU AND SPEND REMAINING FOR OTHERS AND THE LORD.
(I do not get married though I am a devotee, but, my cousin, a non devotee is to get married. Why? READ HERE!)
(V) THOUGH YOU SAVE FOR LAST PERIOD, DO NOT HAVE ATTACHMENT WITH THAT MONEY.
Every ashrama has its own problems in this kaliyuga. There are many problems in the Brahmachari or Sanyasa life also in this kaliyuga.
Krishna wants us to perform our prescribed duties thinking of Him. He does not expect us to entrust ourselves to others and remain idle. We must apply our intelligence given by Krishna and act.
Everything in this world is risky. Travel by plane is also risky. Do we avoid plane travel? Similarly, there may be 20-25 % risks for the failure in marriage. Just because of that , why should you hesitate to ride in the vehicle of marriage?
But, you have to enquire thoroughly before marrying a girl/ boy. Marry a girl/ boy ONLY AFTER discussing about your priorities clearly with him/ her that she/ he must help you in your devotional practices and you too assure her/ him that you will help in the development of her/ his devotion.
Thus, if you discuss everything before marriage, the chances for failure will be reduced.
If you enquire, discuss and decide to marry a girl/ boy, proceed with that decision putting your faith in the mercy of Krishna. If your spouse co-operates with you in devotion, thank god. Most of the marriages can be managed somehow.
(Is it good for a girl devotee remaining unmarried instead of marrying a non devotee boy? READ HERE!)
If he/ she is not helping in devotion properly, do the following:
(i) First, try your level best to involve him/ her in devotional practices and services and to be a responsible husband/ wife. Patiently try atleast for two years.
(ii) If you fail in your efforts, as the next trial, remain unattached mentally and live with spouse just physically. You perform your Devotion sincerely without worrying for the activities of your spouse and thanking the God for having given atleast a house for staying and performing devotion.
(iii) If the spouse happens to be a person who is involving in illicit activities or a torturous person though you are innocent, and could not be corrected even after many efforts in the trial period of two years, you can think of taking further steps to cut his/ her association physically by living separately for the another trial period of six months.
(iv) If everything goes against you though you have remained perfect and gentle and your spouse could not be corrected at all, don’t worry, there are other options to free yourself from that relation by applying for divorce and thereafter continue your devotional practices.
(v) Thus atleast 2-3 years should be spent to correct him/ her before taking the decision of divorce. Protect the marriage until it is helpful to follow the devotion.
TO REDUCE THE PROBLEMS IN MARRIAGE LIFE, MARRY A GIRL/ BOY WHO IS IN SIMILAR DEVOTIONAL STATUS LIKE YOU.
For example, It is better for an initiated devotee to marry another initiated devotee. Non initiated devotees may better marry another non-initiated devotee.
Whatever the case may be, FRANK DISCUSSION BEFORE FIXING THE MARRIAGE WILL DEFINITELY MINIMIZE THE ISSUES IN FUTURE.
Just think of all the points given above and then decide what to do.
(Is marriage necessary or unnecessary? READ HERE!)