to marry or not to marry…

A friend had sent me some wedding snaps with some comments as well, and had given a brief explanation of the Kashi yatra. I have witnessed countless weddings but hadn’t a clue or even bothered about the significance of what this part was all about (I doubt if anybody else did either, else they were being pretty secretive about it! 😉 ) ….anyway , it turned out to be quite interesting…

This a very important part of the ceremony. Immediately after his student-life, the young bachelor has two alternatives before him Married life ( Grihasta ) or asceticism ( Sanyas ). Being by nature escapist, he prefers the ascetic life to the tribulations of married life. He therefore “makes his way” to kasi (VARANASI), complete with slippers, umbrella, bamboo fan etc. On his way, the bride’s father intervenes and advises him of the superiority of married life to ascetic life. He also promises to give him his daughter as companion to face the challenge of life. The umbrella is to remain with groom, to remind him in the future, of this advice.the real tradition.

(However there are different view points on this aspect. Given below is an observation by Sri. Narayan of Malaysia :

During the wedding ceremony the groom is welcomed as Mahavishnu Svarupaya varahaya ie maha vishnu himself ( or the Siva the equivalent in the Adi Saiva tradition ) and the bride as Lakshmi. Thence , it is imperative he knows no sin, thence he needs to perform a yatra to kashi , submerge in Ganges and comes and does the wedding purified.

In the days of yore , when a man after education takes a yatra like this ( it takes up some months, sometimes a year on foot) , he gets to see the world , otherwise which he would not have been exposed to , thence from Brahmacharya , before moving to grahasta ashrama he come experienced and purified, disiplined ( goal oriented) and fit to take up the challenges of married life. And those days the groom would have been engaged ( nischya dartha) , and proceeds on this yatra and is welcomed back after the father in-law etc after coming back, with this words Maha Vishnu Svarupaya, and given the kanya dhana.

Samnyasa and Grathasta ashrama are both pillars of the society , which is still relevant and have positive contributions to society.This has to be clearly understood.

Narayan, Malaysia )

Source: Sanathana dharma – South Indian Wedding

Wrt “come experienced and purified” above, is really an important pre-requisite for married life and a reference to getting atleast an infinetessimal glimpse of the Infinite within oneself. Not necessarily everyone in the country has an opportunity to go to actual River Ganga, but this “submerge in Ganges” has to be done within oneself! One may have a lot of theorotical knowledge, but all the theory isn’t any comparison to even one single moment of actual experience.

Anyway, not sure if becoming a sanyaasi is really escapism… but this forwarded mail says otherwise 😉 …

sadhu with no advice

One Response to “to marry or not to marry…”

  1. msanjay Says:

    Paulo Coehlo has this story

    The disciple approached his master:
    “For years I have been seeking illumination,” he said. “I feel that I am close to achieving it. I need to know what the next step is.”
    “How do you support yourself?” the master asked.
    “I haven’t yet learned how to support myself; my parents help me out. But that is only a detail.”
    “Your next step is to look directly at the sun for half a minute,” said the master.
    And the disciple obeyed. When the half-minute was over, the master asked him to describe the field that surrounded them.
    “I can’t see it. The sun has affected my vision,” the disciple said.
    “A man who seeks only the light, while shirking his responsibilities, will never find illumination. And one who keep his eyes fixed upon the sun ends up blind,” was the master’s comment.

    On the other hand, Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingstone Seagull says this:

    A seagull never speaks back to the Council Flock, but it was Jonathan’s voice raised. “Irresponsibility? My brothers!” he cried. “Who is more responsible than a gull who finds and follows a meaning, a higher purpose for life? For a thousand years we have scrabbled after fish heads, but now we have a reason to live – to learn, to discover, to be free! Give me one chance, let me show you what I’ve found…”

    The above do not refer to marriage – but somehow atleast in Indian culture, the word responsibility is heavily linked with marriage!

    I guess Socrates himself didn’t have a concrete answer… 🙂

    “As to marriage or celibacy, let a man take which course he will, he will be sure to repent.”

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