I hope you all are in good health and are doing well. It is exciting to be here once again to share with you all more insights on important topics.
As promised last week I shall continue with the second part of the topic “dynamics of a relationship 1“. Last week we had listed three main points to consider when establishing a relationship and today I shall elaborate on a few more.
However before we proceed, I shall attempt to respond to a very pertinent question I raised last week; can vaisnavas date?
In as much as I would love to give you a straight yes/no answer I think it is best if we take a brief look into the vaisnava culture for a second. The concept of dating is not foreign but not encouraged for many reasons in the past. The traditional setting was as follows: a young boy was to receive education under the tutelage of a qualified teacher while living there as a boarder. He was to learn all there was to learn including the very art of celibacy and self control. Upon graduation he was allowed to return home and marry a wife. Now the ladies had a different training as they were taught all the various forms of art and they were guided by their mother, to avoid any association which could taint their image or corrupt their minds.
Thus every family knew the other, as people were very close and social ties were not just a formality but a way of life. A regular family who had a son would approach a family who had a daughter of marriageable age and propose their intentions to them. The family of the girl will then take into consideration factors like the compatibility of the couple to be, their astrological charts, their mental dispositions and family background. Should all these factors tally positively then the marriage was arranged and a date was selected under the guidance of a family priest. Please note that up until now the man and lady to be married may have never met and may meet for the first time on their wedding day. So definitely dating was out of the picture.
One may wonder. How on earth was this possible? Questions like: what if they don’t like each others physical appearance? What If they don’t get along? Well this entire arrangement took place based on certain factors.
1. Parents knew their children through and through and as such were disposed to find a suitable partner not just externally beautiful but beautiful also on the inside. That is having good character.
2. The man or woman intending to get married had complete faith and trust in their parents choice, seeing how successful their parents marriage has been. Thus they have no fear knowing that their parents had their best interest at heart.
3. The families also consulted with a qualified astrologer who was well trained and versed in the science of astrology and could tell a lot from consulting the charts of the intending couples. This was a safe line to help them see beyond the physical.
4. The family priest also was expected to look into the proposal and see if it was a good match. Then priests had the power of clairvoyance and could see into the future and thus their decision was a second safe line. If there were any irregularities, the priest could proffer a solution and/or pick a favorable date to minimize the influence of certain negative factors.
5. Finally the marriage was blessed by elders and the parents of couples to be, and also solemnized in front of God. This was the ultimate factor making the couple to be to understand that it was more than just a formality or function and that they had a duty to maintain.
6. Divorce as a topic was totally out of question and as such couples saw their parents as a living example and knew that once they committed to each other it was for life. Only on very extreme cases was the idea even considered.
7. Both families knew that their wards were getting married to each other completely free from any form of carnal knowledge with anyone prior. Thus it was certain that the couple were to be each others first and last experience. This reduced any fear of disease, inability to conceive due to past sexual escapades,etc. it also gave both of them a unique sense of absolute exclusiveness to each other.
Now let us fast forward to the present day scenario. Today everything is different, many people are raised by single parents, or even live with other family members because their parents are off doing their own things. Divorce is weaved into the marriage from day one by the introduction of signing pre-nups, girls now have a different educational background, as they also can school far away from their parents, hence making it difficult to vouch for anyones character, the invention of social media and telecommunication devices makes mingling very easy and thus more difficult to establish any method of restriction in “free mingling”. To make it even more difficult, today we do not have the breed of astrologers we had back in the days (this doesn’t discredit the genuine few we have today), and our priests also have lost most of the abilities they used to have.
Schools now have dormitory where boys and girls live together and from a young age, it is indirectly infused into them that there is nothing wrong with mingling, in fact if a kid shows some self restraint these days people may think his sexuality is affected or “different”. So we can all see that the setting that allowed the above system to thrive back in the days is not available now. This is not to say there no exceptions to the modern day system. There are families who still follow the above system with a good success rate but they are the “exceptions”. Originally it was a general norm just like dating is today.
In other words, what am I saying? In a spiritual setting say the vaisnava community the type of “dating” there is, is one that exists between intending couples solely for the purpose of getting to know each other better prior to marriage. It is supervised, and monitored by parents, elders, and the spiritual mentors. This is definitely needed so that the couple may at least get to understand each others temperament before they get married. Today not many parents can vouch 100 percent for their wards total abstinence from pre-marital intercourse, not many parents can vouch totally for their wards character, nowadays parents do their best and pray for the rest.
Thus when I mention “dating” in the vaisnava setting, it is not the regular hookup and makeup scenario in everyday secular world, but a system put in place to compensate for the short comings of our present day scenario of parents who have fallen short of their duties, children who have fallen short of their duties, astrologers who have fallen short of their craft, and priests who have fallen short in spiritual potency. If the intending couple are matched to get married and it is more or less certain that it will happen then some concession can be given. I would very well love to proceed with the remain guidelines I had commenced with in part 1, but it may render this too long to read and many vital details may be lost in the whole dissertation. So I shall humbly request that I be allowed to break this into a third and hopefully final part.
Till then have a great week ahead and subscribe to the email service to get notified whenever a new post is up. Do share this within your circle. Cheers